Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weekly Standard: How to Make 2012 into 1980

When Republican strategists like Karl Rove cite 1980 as a model for this year’s election, they usually have in mind two main elements: Ronald Reagan’s question in the late October presidential debate about whether voters felt better off than four years earlier, when they elected Jimmy Carter, and Reagan’s ability in that debate to reassure swing voters about his ability to serve successfully if elected, converting a very close race into a ten-point blowout by “closing the deal.”
Reagan toasting 1981
The premise of most GOP analysts is that because of the bad economy, Carter was seen as presiding over a failed presidency, and that to throw him out four years after he had ousted the Republicans, all the voters needed was affirmation that Reagan was up to the challenge of turning the economy around. The application of this precedent to Mitt Romney’s race against Barack Obama is too obvious to need much elaboration: establish Romney as economically qualified and the election will be his.\

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