“America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, human rights invented America” – Jimmy Carter
I have said in the past that I think the 2012 presidential election is still a toss-up, and I’m not prepared to change that position. I think one can make a very plausible case for either candidate’s path to victory from here.
Having said that, the more times people can say “much like Jimmy Carter, president Obama [… insert quandary here]” the worse it is for the sitting president. Their terms already bear great resemblances. Each rose to power after a Republican-led debacle from a faux-conservative (Nixon with Watergate & Bush with the housing/banking crisis). Each was a political outsider with questionable (at best) credentials for the job, winning on a wave of hope-for-change from the left in an unlosable election. Each faced a terrible economy at the time of election (blame it on whoever you want, the situation was awful in 1980 and is awful now).
And now, president Obama faces radical Islamists in the middle-east storming U.S. embassies. Yesterday radicals in Egypt scaled the embassy wall and took down the American flag. In Libya, radicals stormed the U.S. consulate and a state department official was killed. “Which state department official?” you ask. Good question. The story here indicates that the U.S. ambassador was being rushed out of the consulate when gunmen opened fire and launched rockets at his car, killing him and three other personnel. What that article doesn’t state, but this one does, is that the three others died of gunshot wounds, but the ambassador himself died of suffocation. Got that? Without having been there I’d say an approximate interpretation is this: they hit the car, rushed the disabled vehicle, shot the three staffers to death and then suffocated the ambassador.
The “October surprise” came early this year. I’m not saying anyone planned these events as a political foil, but they are here now, and they will determine the election. There is only one proper course of action for the president right now (and I say this in vague terms, not with military specifics) – he has to unleash an absolute fire storm in response. If he does any less, he won’t cross the 46% threshold on November 6 and will lose in a rather convincing fashion. But if he does go on the offensive, then I suspect he wins re-election rather easily.