First off, we notice that Pete’s contributions are being taken quite seriously on the ELECTION CENTRAL blog.
Not only that, one of the threaders gave us two more comparisons:
Why 1980 and 2004? How could anyone compare Obama to Carter and Bush?
A better pair of years are 1992 and 1996.
In 1992, we had a president who was successful in foreign affairs (Poppy’s Gulf War now Barry’s getting bin Laden, etc.)–But Bubba won with the simple expression, “it’s the economy, stupid.”
Bubba couldn’t show that he was better, all he had to do is point out that 12 years of Republican rule had led to economic stagnation. But Bubba was a poor kid who made good. People wanted to have a beer with Bubba. And when it comes down to it, that’s what’s important. Mitt Rockefeller really can’t convince people that he’s one of them (I mean human!).
But I think it would be better to compare this year with 1996. The president had been beaten up. The mid-term elections had brought in an overwhelming opposition. He seemed to be going down without hope. But then, at the last minute, the cavalry arrived!! The Republican Party felt obligated to pick a candidate it felt it “owed” it to–Bob Dole, who had run before, and paid his dues.
ON 1996: You can say that a big difference is that in 1996 the country was rolling in peace and prosperity, and that the president had clearly defeated Speaker Gingrich in a key showdown. Not only that, Clinton, chastened by defeat, had clearly become more moderately sensible on domestic policy. Divided government featuring Clinton and Gingrich at least looked real smart, and it’s hard to fault its successes (which would have been greater absent the Lewinsky interlude). So Obama=Clinton doesn’t work for me. 1994=2010 is an obvious parallel that’s closer to perfect. The thought that Romney=Dole in enough ways to suggest a clear Obama victory despite it all haunts me.