Happy New Year: Welcome to 1948!

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve, and so far your resolutions are still intact. I know everyone thought the calendar was switching over to 2012, but if you look more closely, I think we’re entering 1948 all over again. In that very year, Harry Truman waged a campaign for reelection that nobody thought he could win. The media, his Republican opponents, and many within his own party thought his candidacy was a lost cause. Yet, by campaigning on his predecessor’s policies, an arguably strong foreign policy and a Congress he dubbed the ‘do-nothing’ Congress, Truman managed to shock everyone and win.

Well here we are in 2012, and it’s hard not to make the same conclusions about this president. Obama, like Truman, is a Democrat who is seeking reelection in 2012. He is also battling a Congress with one of the worst legislative records in decades, arguably a ‘do-nothing’ Congress. And as November 2012 draws closer, it is looking like he is going to have an even more difficult time securing reelection. Does that mean if Obama campaigns on the same principles as Truman, he too can shock everyone and become a two term president? Probably not.

There are some tricks that Obama can take from the former Missouri farmer. He does need to link together the poor record of this Republican led Congress with the eventual Republican nominee. The country will need to believe that a Republican vote equates to a continuation of the lacklustre leadership of Congressional Republicans (that jab is for you, Mr. Boehner).

However, that is a very fine line to walk. Americans elected Obama to work together with Congress to fix the problems of that nation, and regardless of how difficult it may be to negotiate with them, he has equal blame for the current situation. Ultimately, his leadership is the one being evaluated in November 2012. The leadership and decisions of Congress (while still important) could be judged as being secondary. Not to mention, the economic outlook in 1948 was much better than it is now.

Obama and his team have a tough year ahead of them. It’s not that there haven’t been important achievements (Bin Laden’s death, an end to the War in Iraq, etc.) but there are many more unsolved issues, that are becoming increasingly problematic. The President’s masterful oratory used to be enough to inspire confidence that better times are ahead. Now, it just makes him appear more and more out of touch and unable to find a solution.

So what’s the answer? Well regardless of whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, I personally think we all should be ashamed of the two parties. They both have a chance in 2012 to show how they can lead by example and put the needs of the country ahead of their own. A victory for either side will be meaningless if it comes at the expense of real and genuine progress towards a brighter future.

President Obama, the eventual Republican nominee, and everyone in the 112th Congress better shut up and get to work. 2012 can be a year of fantastic successes, or another year of embarrassing failures.


Inspired by the following CNN article: http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/27/politics/obama-do-nothing-congress/index.html

Also, if you are on twitter, don’t forget to follow TOP (@theordinarypoli) and also go follow West Wing Report (@WestWingReport). It is a fantastic account with all sorts of facts about current and past administrations. Very interesting for anyone who enjoys presidential facts (in 140 characters or less).

No post about Truman is complete without one of the ultimate political 'Oh Snap' moments.


About Chris James

A student of political science at a Canadian University sharing stories of interest on Canadian and American political and social issues.

Posted on January 5, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: