Here’s a new prediction for Intrade the online prediction market:
When does President Obama proudly proclaim, “I am NOT Jimmy Carter.”?
Place your bets now because the Obama as Carter narrative has reached critical mass in the media. Here are a few examples:
- The Second Coming of Jimmy Carter gleefully pronounced by Fox News.
- Will Obama Be the Jimmy Carter of the 21st Century? from our German friends at Spiegel.
- Obama’s starting to look unlucky, like Jimmy Carter declares Peggy Noonan at the WSJ.
- Will the oil spill be Obama’s Iranian hostage crisis? Politico discussion on Obama Jimmy Carter.
- Obama’s other looming Jimmy Carter moment as the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capeheart prophetically foretold Obama’s disastrous Oval Office speech. The column also displayed video of Carter’s now infamous Oval Office “energy independence” speech for easy comparison.
So you get the picture.
Some of the same people who shoved Obama down our throats in 2008 have finally come to the realization that our most inexperienced president (a less than one term senator) is reminding them of our second most inexperienced president (a one term governor of a small southern state.)
For those of us who always thought Obama was a hyped-up media creation, there is no surprise that his accelerated career trajectory has crashed. For in more normal Washington time, freshman Senator Barack Obama would be finishing his first term and most likely running for his second.
Instead, the man sworn in as senator in 2005 and by 2007 was running for president full time, is 18 months into his job as Commander in Chief, and Commander of Crisis — Day Sixty Plus, now resembling that 70’s President JC, rather than JC The Anointed One.
“The One”, as the McCain campaign referred to him, who on June 3, 2008 after winning the Democratic nomination said: “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…”
That darling of the media who could do no wrong, who caused one of these now critical media types to get a “thrill up his leg” on national television.
So was Obama all smoke and mirrors? Has the greatest celebrity in the world been permanently branded with that Jimmy Carter moniker of presidential failure? Yes and no and here’s why.
It is obvious Obama/Carter branding is in high gear and could stick to him as long as oil sticks to pelicans because in politics, perception is reality. For once negative branding takes hold, it’s difficult to change the perception.
So you might hear Obama say “I am NOT Jimmy Carter” and when he does, that phrase will rank right up there with “I am not a crook” and “I did not have sex with that woman…”
There will be much snickering and some may think his presidency is over, but those people will be WRONG. For here are three political reality checks, especially tailored for Republicans thinking about their 2012 presidential prospects.
Reality Check #1
Most young and minority voters under 33, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama don’t know who Jimmy Carter was, and furthermore don’t care about a president elected before they born.
Reality Check #2
The Republicans do not have a Ronald Reagan type candidate to defeat a Jimmy Carter branded Obama in a 1980 style landslide.
Reality Check #3
The demographics of our nation have significantly changed since 1980.
Today, using the same percentages of minority votes won by Reagan, means his 10 point landslide victory would be diminished to a 3 point victory according to a well known Republican political consultant. Any Republican presidential ticket expecting to defeat Obama in 2012 must increase their percentage of Hispanic, African American, young voters and women by significant margins or their defeat is inevitable.
Obama may be branded as Carter but that doesn’t mean Obama’s presidency will end like his.
Myra Adams is a media producer, writer and political observer. Her media clients have included national associations, political interest groups and corporations. She was on the creative team with Mark McKinnon that created the now infamous John Kerry “Windsurfing” ad for the Bush 2004 presidential campaign and served on the McCain Ad Council during the 2008 McCain campaign. Myra’s web site TheJesusStore.com contributes all profits to Christian charity.