Can Obama take the economy off the table in 2012?

Expect the president, eager to distract voters from his embarrassing record on the economy, to repeatedly tout his foreign policy successes

Edward Morrissey

Conventional wisdom predicts that the 2012 presidential election will be primarily about jobs and economic growth, and that doesn't bode well for the incumbent at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It's been more than 70 years since we re-elected an incumbent president with unemployment above 8 percent. Even though the official jobless rate under Ronald Reagan went higher than we have seen under Barack Obama (10.8 percent in November and December 1982), it dropped below 9 percent 13 months before the 1984 election, and descended to 7.2 percent in June 1984, with the economy gaining a stunning 6.55 million jobs in just 19 months, averaging a gain of 345,210 jobs per month during that period.

No one expects that kind of job growth in this cycle. It's highly unlikely that the economy will move from a liability to an asset for President Obama or the Democrats. If conventional wisdom and electoral history hold, Obama will be a one-term president. But what if he could turn voters' attention away from the sputtering economy and make 2012 into an election based on a perceived strength in foreign policy and his performance as a war president?

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.