Democrats Need a Little Perspective

For Your Reading

Did you guys hear?  Obama is a failed president who needs to be primaried in 2012 lest we lose the presidency to some reality tv star.  It’s totally true, because everyone is saying it.  I mean his approval rating is a paltry 48% according to Gallup.  No way he can recover from that, right?

Indeed, although 1983 began for Reagan with a 35% job approval rating — the worst of his administration — things started to look better.His ratings moved back above 50% by November 1983 — not only because the economy was picking up, but also in part as a result of rally effects associated with the U.S. invasion of Grenada and the terrorist explosion that killed 241 American Marines in Beirut, Lebanon.

By 1984, Reagan’s job approval ratings were consistently above the 50% line that is a symbolic standard for an incumbent president seeking re-election. In Gallup’s last October poll before the November 1984 election, Reagan received a 58% job approval rating, and he went on to soundly defeat Democratic nominee Walter Mondale by a 59% to 41% popular vote margin, receiving 525 electoral votes to Mondale’s 13.

Bill Clinton’s approval rating during this exact same time period in 1994?  42%.  Remind me again about that disastrous 1996 presidential election.

Look, we wouldn’t be Democrats if we weren’t always a little bit pessimistic about our electoral prospects.  We’ve seen defeat snatched from the jaws of victory so many times we just can’t help it.  But let’s try to keep things in perspective.  I’m not saying 2012 will be a cake walk, far from it; we will all need to work just as hard, if not harder than we did in 2008.  But we’ll have something that we didn’t have in 2010: Barack Obama on the ballot.  And despite high unemployment and 2 unpopular wars, the man still polls better than Reagan or Clinton at this exact same time in their presidencies.  I think that says a lot.