Economic crisis could be Obama's
ticket to two terms
November 17, 2008 | A Republican president with record
low approval ratings, skyrocketing deficit spending
and a scorching economic downturn. Sound familiar? It
should, we've been through it before several times.
Both times there has been a regime change, a party shift.
And both times it involved a Bush.
In 1992, George H.W. Bush had just finished a successful
war in Iraq in a unilateral international effort, proving
himself to be one of the most experienced successful
foreign policy oriented presidents ever. However, the
Clinton campaign launched an attack on the Bush administration
claiming that he was disconnected with the American
people, citing the economic downward spiral as evidence.
Clinton's camp often referred to the slogan, "It's the
economy, stupid," and the foreign policy efforts and
successes were long forgotten by the American public
that was too preoccupied with their lightening wallets.
Clinton went on to win the election and in short time
the economy began to turn around. The Clinton administration
took the credit and used the growing income to balance
the national budget for the first time in years.
Nevertheless, the very nature of the American economy
leads to recessions and then to periods of growth. Clinton
was elected in a perfect time to take credit of that
particular economic boom and reap the benefits in the
If you have been keeping up in the news about the
enormous task that Barack Obama faces, you should think
twice before assuming that it is a bad thing. After
all, it worked out great for Clinton.
With expectations for the next four years so abysmally
low, if there is any sort of rebound, Obama will be
able to ride that through another election. He has to
only avoid the same mistakes that Jimmy Carter did after
the stock market crash and the high inflation of the
70's. Carter's policy was to raise taxes and spend it
on social programs. His plan was to pull a 'tax and
spend' much like the response to the Great Depression.
However, the economy changed and so did public response
to higher taxes and increasing governmental involvement.
This did not solve the problems and he faced the consequences
when Ronald Reagan walked into the White House in 1980
on a campaign of lowering taxes and calling the federal
government the problem, not the solution. He too, went
on to reap the benefits of a recovering economy, claiming
that his renewed tax policy had fixed the economy and
went on to a land slide re-election in 1984, winning
every state except two.
Obama has the opportunity do like Reagan and Clinton,
allow the market to straighten itself out. If he plays
his cards right, he could look to use the economic boom
for a winning campaign slogan and be rewarded for being
elected president in the right time. Or he could end
up as Jimmy Carter did and despite his best intentions,
keep the economy stagnant through high taxes and increased
The current economic debacle is much larger than the
crashes and recessions that occurred in the '90s or
the late '70s. And while the future of the economy and
stock market is ambiguous at best, this also allows
more room for improvement. The crisis could be turned
around for a huge success for the Democratic Party and
When Obama runs for re-election in 2012 the question
will be asked, are you better off now than you were
four years ago? Many will be able to answer that they
are in fact better off than they were before. But the
real question is, how much credit should we give to
Obama, and how much to the American capitalist system?