Andrew Busch writes a interesting piece in which he argues that the potential for electoral mischief for President Obama may be coming at him in more than one direction. The first and most obvious source of re-election woe is, of course, the still faltering economy. But, as Busch argues, "the economy will likely recover at least a bit by 2012, even if not by the midterm elections in 2010. The picture is less likely to be unambiguously bad than it is to be mixed." And, in any event, the "blame Bush" phenomenon appears to have a long "half-life" while getting voters to understand the complexity of economic cause and effect and vote accordingly is notoriously and frustratingly difficult. There’s no guarantee that the blame for any future difficulties will fall squarely on the shoulders of Obama. I would add that this is particularly true given the current state of GOP "leadership" on the issue.
But looking back to the Carter years, Busch argues we may see parallels in the coming years:
"It should not be forgotten that it was not the economy alone that made Jimmy Carter a one-term president. Rather, it was the deteriorating economy in combination with a series of foreign mishaps and crises that made the president look weak, naïve, and vacillating."Busch seems to think that it will be much more difficult for Obama to blame Bush if things turn sour for him on the international stage--and the potential for biting into some lip-pursing pickles is all around Obama at the moment. Read the whole thing for a more thorough discussion of where these pickles might sour according to Busch’s thinking.