Dan Balz has a column up about Obama advisers holding on to hope for 2012, grabbing the Gipper’s political story as a lifeline. I hope it gives them comfort, but it misses the picture by a mile. First, the economy today is much worse than what the U.S. was suffering under Reagan, plus the politics today are far more toxic and complex for Pres. Obama for many reasons, with his troubles right now nothing to take lightly even this far out.
The Jewish discontent is a point of concern I’ve been harping on for quite some time; the graphic here from the latest Pew poll showing Jewish support for Democrats dropping significantly, while rising among Republicans. Remember that Obama won Florida by only 3 points in 2008.
The Israeli press has been brutal on Obama, which has caused him a lot of trouble. Obama’s tough settlement stance was important, but ultimately ineffective. People’s hopes were raised on Friday with the announcement of talks in Washington, but the truth is that Pres. Obama has a very weak hand, and the looming settlement agreement about to expire in late September. Nobody in the Middle East is moved through anything but strength. Expect theater.
Charles Blow also weighs in, offering a sober reminder of just how precarious Pres. Obama’s position is today, which hardly compares to anything Reagan was suffering in the 1980s.
In April, the Republican polling firm McLaughlin & Associates released a survey that they said showed that only 42 percent of American Jews would vote to re-elect President Obama. He captured 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008.
Recently, the democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg and the Israel Project, a nonprofit in Washington, conducted a poll that they said found American support of Israel was dropping like a rock.
Wherever the truth lies, it is fair to say that it doesn’t bode well for Obama. While Jews are only 2 percent of the United States population, their influence outweighs their proportion. Furthermore, in crucial battleground states like Florida, their vote is critical. Obama won Florida by 3 percentage points in 2008. Jews represented 4 percent of the overall vote in that state. …
Meanwhile, long before the Cordoba House fury, a survey done by Brookings and Shibley Telhami showed Arab support for Obama revealed their “confidence collapsing,” to use Marc Lynch’s assessment. In 2009, only 16% of Arabs were “discouraged,” with that number now 63%. The “hopeful” meter where the Obama administration and the Middle East is concerned has gone from 51% in 2009 to 16% in 2010. Lynch writes these results “do point to some significant and uncomfortable realities about the costs of failing to deliver meaningful change.”
In a moment of Republican panic, yesterday The Hill reported that Newt Gingrich has backed out of the “anti mosque 9/11 rally.” Joe Scarborough deserves a lot of credit on this one. He made Newt Gingrich a daily punching bag last week, with Patrick J. Buchanan joining in, as well as Mark McKinnon and others, including Ted Olson. No doubt Newt also got some polling revealing his Nazi railing was unpopular with thinking adults. I guess Newt figured 2010 short-term gain wouldn’t pay off with 2012 voters, with moderates and Independents wanting no part of Newt’s fire breathing Nazi wingnuttery.
Looking to 2012, with no real standout on the right, while Pres. Obama continues to struggle and the economy dipping again, there is a growing vacuum in the political dialogue for an Independent candidate to rise up. Of course, we’re talking about Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a potentially dangerous opponent for both big two parties, because not only will Bloomberg have many business and Wall Street allies on his side, but he’ll take his share of the Jewish vote as well. Howard Wolfson made an appearance on “Morning Joe” Friday, acquitting himself very well as deputy mayor and someone who would be an able asset to Bloomberg if he does jump in. After his leadership on the Cordoba House, New York’s mayor also likely made some Muslim friends in Michigan.