Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Obama-Reagan parallels

Republicans need to win 39 House seats this fall to take control of the House and a lot of political prognosticators think they can do it.
But even if the Republicans’ wildest dreams come true and they ride a tidal wave of voter resentment back to power in the House, it will ultimately mean very little.
President Obama may seem to be in a precarious position with his low poll numbers and his party possibly slipping into the minority, but he would still be better off than Ronald Reagan was at the same point in his presidency.
During the 1982 midterm elections, two years after Reagan swept to victory over former President Jimmy Carter, his poll numbers were almost identical to what Obama’s are right now. Furthermore, his party lost 27 seats during that election. But the big difference for Reagan, was that his party was already in the minority at that point. They lost 27 seats when they didn’t have that many to begin with. Republicans had 192 seats and fell all the way down to 166. By comparison, Democrats currently have 256 seats and even the most optimistic forecasts for Republican election prospects don’t have them dropping below 200. So, even in a worst case scenario for Obama, he will still have more allies in the House than Reagan did after his mid-term fiasco. And we all know what happened to Reagan two-years after that. He won one of the biggest landslide elections ever over a major Democratic establishment candidate.
Republicans will be lucky if they can even get one of their better candidates through the primary process which is likely to be controlled by the extremist Tea Party faction.
So while things might look bad for Obama in the short-term, his long-term prospects are likely to improve as the economy continues to recover.

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