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Obama Hasn't Won It Yet

Memo Pad

Obama Hasn't Won It Yet


WASHINGTON — If the election were held right now, President Obama would likely win by about the same margin that propelled him into office in 2008. But how fragile are his current advantages?

The biggest concern for the Democrats (and the best hope for the GOP) is that the president’s lead is far from overwhelming, even though Republicans — and particularly Mitt Romney — have been badly weakened by their nomination battle, and Obama has been left largely unmolested by the conservative super PACs.

E. J. Dionne

Besides contributing to The National Memo, E.J. Dionne, Jr. is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, and a university professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University.

His most recent book is Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (2013).

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  1. freethinker February 27, 2012

    The President’s weakness is his own words. It is almost impossible to find a speech of his that, at one time or another, he has not contradicted himself. Even more, the comparison of his words to his actual record is stark. Once the Republicans start running Obama against Obama, the President’s true record will be a hard, real hurdle for him to overcome.

  2. PatrickHenry February 27, 2012

    I believe many Democrats wish they had someone else to run than Obama. Look how divided the Democratic Party was with Hillary & Obama! Many Democrats have the same ideas and anger about big spending & debt, are opposed to Illegal “immigration” & Amnesty, too much Federal Government control & power, and more Federal Programs like Obamacare, and are probably closer in the ideas and policies of Gov. Romney than Obama, they are just used to the idea of that, they are Democrats. But it is the Democratic Party, especially under Obama that has strayed so far from their beliefs.

  3. PhillipB.Shamas February 27, 2012

    Please do not assume that most Democrats would like to have another candidate. What has basically transpired, is the desire by many to totally revamp the Federal System and begin anew. It is extremely presumptive to assume that “we” are angry about big spending, debt, illegal immigration, and the Federal Health Care Program. Most of the United States agrees that we must and do need a comprehensive health care plan and President Obama was the first to have the tenacity to pass such a measure. Medically, we are in trouble as a country. This did NOT begin with our current President but during the Johnson’s Administration and his War on Poverty. Had Kennedy lived, the programs and incentives would have been much different and comprehensive health care would have been a reality in the 60’s instead of the 21st century. Again, do not assume what you feel is correct for the majority. Inform yourself, Patrick Henry.

  4. Michael H. Prosser February 27, 2012

    It seems clear that the three leading Republican candidates are indeed damagaged by their internicine war, and that overall, it is a very weak field. The sometimes goofy declarations that defy logic really make them all rather dangerous to the future of the country (and beyond). On foreign policy their claims make almost no sense; the social issues, the moon colony, even their jobs creation and financial improvement ideas are not making much sense.
    The swift change of circumstances globally, in the Middle East, and domestically, all lead to an unruly election period.
    I am pleased to see that President Obama seems to be more aggressive in calling out the disingenuity of the Republicans, and that he could conceivably get reelected, but worrisome that his situation remains fragile. (A caveat, I voted for him in an absentee ballot from China in 2008, and expect to vote for him again.)
    Assuming that Romney will be the Republican candidate in the general election, it is likely that Obama could clearly emerge as the stronger debater.Santorum’s last debate was quite weak and rather disjointed. Ginrich certainly has a lot of baggage and hubris, and though he thinks that he could win in lengthy debates with Obama, it is highly unlikely.
    If American voters are wise, they will certainly will want evidence from whoever is the candidate in the general election for each party to back up their often outrageous claims with solid, honest, and reliable evidence.
    Personally, I hope that if Obama is reelected, he will continue to focus on job creation, and will work toward sensible immigration policies, debt reduction, and as he says everyone having an equal share in the lingering economy.

  5. merman February 27, 2012

    I recall that it wasn’t until about 8 weeks before the 2008 election that Obama pulled decisively away from McCain. Romney and Santorum’s embracement of John Birch Society values has clearly alienated more independants and energized more of the democrats to get out the vote, but Obama also won by energizing the youth vote the black vote and the hispanic vote. It remains unclear how much that vote will turn out, especially with many Republican states legislatures passing new laws intended to restrict minority voting.

    November 6th is a long way off and with record amounts of Republican billionare PAC dollars for advertising, and untold wars, economic and natural disasters facing the US and the planet between now and then nothing is settled yet.

    All that said, at this point, it appears more likely than not Barack Obama will win the popular vote and the electoral vote once more for another term as President of the United States of America through December 2016. With Obama as President the economy will continue to slowly recover. With Romney or Santorum as President, expect the economy to tank again and the country to remain severly depressed and divided economically and emotionally into the 2020’s. It will take at least 8 years Obama to correct 12 years of deregulation and mismanagement by the Bushes, and if Romney of Santorum takes office it will take even longer after that to get the country back to running on all cylinders again.

  6. ps323945 February 27, 2012

    Many Americans lives under Health probleams, USA. Health Care Insurance,
    Seems like is more Businesses than Human Care. The Healthcare on pacients
    Is very poor asistance, by Doctors by not providing real care Health benefits,
    I think Obamacare healthcare Policy, is the begain for Healthcare,
    But I do believe Obamacare needs to be adjusted or fix. I believe no one
    Should be force to purchase Healthcare Insurance. It is Our government
    Obli gations to provide healthcare benefits for those who can not afort it,
    Our government can not dinial healthcare to any individual who needs
    Healthcare, I think president Obama is on Healthtrack but for sure Does
    Need adjustments to correct. Thanks.

  7. ps323945 February 27, 2012

    On my past I was dinial for Healthcare surgery, still I need surgery to
    Correct my lefting conditions, I believe the Jeff Dinials must be eliminate
    These are the resons I Support The Healthcare Programs. Malpractices
    Is other issues the must be correct. No Politiacian has any rights to interfear
    On any individual healthcare benefits, Americans must be supported by
    Prividing the best efficience of healtcare benefits , in order to function
    Our day work obligations. Thanks.

  8. itsadogslife February 27, 2012

    It would be nice to be able to believe that President Obama will win just because of the lack of quality in the GOP presidential field. But, I personally will not take anything for granted. All I have to do is remember what happen in Florida when Jed and the Supreme Court decided the election instead of an honest recount of the ballots. The only true way to win this election is to vote and make sure that you encourage everyone you know to do the same. Hands down President Obama is the better man and should be re-elected – but I for one will not start celebrating until the votes are in. Just imagine how different this Country would look if Al Gore had not had the election stolen from him. We need large margins to accomplish that and to make it harder to manipulate the vote.

  9. John St. Clair February 27, 2012

    If Obama does win a second term, it will be important to keep the pressure on him and Congress to end financial deregulations that allowed the financial collapse of 2007-2008. It is important to remember that Clinton signed the Republican backed deregulations in the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in 1999, which effectively gutted the regulations in the Glass–Steagall Act, allowing the risky banking practices that caused the near collapse of the financial sector. If Romney wins we can expect deregulation to continue to line the pockets of the rich as our economy cycles through financial sector booms and busts, and the middle class continues to shrink.

  10. drifty February 27, 2012

    The extreme wealthy know where to hit Obama the hardest and they’re starting a campaign already. Gas Prices. Simply by raising gas prices by another .40 cents, the economy will stumble. The first thing the pres. should do is freeze Petroleum prices at last months numbers. The economy can not handle $4.50+ Fuel costs. It will Halt trucking and Industry in it’s tracks as it has before. The petroleum industry believes it can dictate it’s own wealth. That is true to a point. When the flea kills the only dog in the yard and there isn’t anything to replace it what then?

  11. Indy February 27, 2012

    Obama is if nothing else very good with speeches. When you have a man who has done what has been necessary to turn things around we certainly do not need someone who will again bury the middle class (or what is left of the middle class). He has done nothing that has hurt and has finally got some form of health care reform in place. There could be some tweaking done to any program but to dismantle it is pure idiocy.

  12. scareygary February 27, 2012

    Does no one remember the recent comments by BIG OIL that they would make Obama pay for not approving the controversial Keystone pipeline. AND…when discussing gas prices, why do so few even mention the fact that we EXPORT a good deal of our oil and gas, nor, the costs to us from oil speculation by big banisters and hedge funds, not the least of which is Goldman Sachs?
    Surely no one could believe that the recent spike is due to ‘supply and demand’. Some hedge fund billionaires are getting much richer off all this ‘de-regulated’ manipulation. Read “Griftopia”….

  13. EATHERICH February 27, 2012

    obama’s refusal to prosicute crooked bankers has proven he’s just another front man for the slime that owns U.S.

  14. hermanwyatt February 27, 2012


  15. Tellthetruth February 27, 2012

    I think it is time to identify the truth about President Obama. He is an African American Man, no question. There is nothing of real concern about his political prowess, he has it. And it is strong. When George W. decided to invade Iraq because “that man tried to kill my father” no one complained, now let’s add up that cost. Now that the president has said that no American should die as his mother did, because of lack of medical insurance you balk. If we are true Americans and we judge people by “the Content of their Character” (The Reverend, PhD. Martin Luther King Jr.) then there is no doubt that Mr. Obama is the better candidate. Republican or Democrat the most important question is who is the better person to run this country at this time? Who will represent all of the people fairly and attempt to bring a just situation to all? This is the premise by which we as American should be making our choices, “The only consideration!”

  16. kitoko February 28, 2012

    The best way to compare self with an other man is to find out if you can do samething and at the same circumstances than what that man did or is doing. I am a great follower of the Republican debatters.The only new idea or principle I learned from these men who are trying to replace president Obama in the next election is……´´ I will make sure Obama is one term President´´…..,but none among them could demonstrate or prove any defficiency since President Obama became The Obama. I am sure that America cannot be led by Comedians.The republicans are waving in their choice for candidate to replace their strong President and President Obama seems unchallenged when viewed by his inovative ideas,ideal to mention but a few.Personally,I could be happy if a strong and dynamic candidate faces President Obama but it seems that, the next election will be a one way trafic and the president will CARRY THE DAY.GOD BLESS AMERICA

  17. Jillzee February 28, 2012

    When are the people in this country going to start opening their minds and stop listening to soundbites? The price of oil is not going up because of lack of oil, in fact we have more oil in this country now than ever due to changing driving habits,and better MPG. The real problem is that the big oil companies and their political cronies are determined to force the present administration to pass the Keystone Oil project and to force open our public lands to do there thing “DRILL BABY GRILL” All of them keep saying Alternative Energy is not ready yet, but they have been saying that since the 70’s. Can you imagine where we would be if they did start working on alternative energy in the 70’s. The people need to wake up.

  18. ajaxgeneral February 28, 2012

    Not only would this pipeline have the potential to contaminate our Country’s water supply (in the direction their intending to take) but once it arrives at it’s destination (in Texas) it will be shipped primarily to China and other areas (bought by puppet leaders for these same sellers) then refined (at poverty wages) and resold and shipped back to us at it’s highest profit margin. Meanwhile, because the pipeline will be in operation, we will enjoy (slightly) lower prices from the excess of other oil companies but unfortunately short lived once the oil returns from those other Countries. A grand manipulation by the Grand Old Party and their mega-rich bedfellows.

  19. Joyce Thoms February 28, 2012

    The Republicans have damaged themselves by threatening social security and medicare for seniors who have no other income alternatives and have earned these entitlements. They are clueles toward the average Americans lifesyles and only identify with the rich and richer. They are hateful and cruel. They are obstructive and put the burden on the populus that has the least and want to keep boosting the rich. They are dishonest and they are bigots. Who in their rightmind would want beasts like that to run a toilet let alone a country? They are simply evil and crazy.

  20. Howz 1 February 28, 2012

    That is what this election is really about. Are we going to roll back the progress we have made or build on it? Are we going to move forward on creating a green energy economy or is it drill baby drill? Will we expand health care for all and reform the system or do away with the reforms started upon and leave everyone to the mercy of the insurance companies again, where you can loose coverage on a whim? Strengthen the EPA to help curb greenhouse gases or gut it and let climate change go un abated. Expand retraining oppurtunites or do away with them? Have women control their own reproductive systems or will churches and old white men do it?Teach science in the classrooms or creationism? Lessen our military footprint or intervene in endless war? Control the excess of Wall St. or go back to winner take all? Make the 1% pay their fair share or make them richer than the 256% above everyone they are now? These are some of the choices in this election. Vote with an eye toward the future and not have your head stuck in the sand saying it will never come

  21. rustacus21 February 28, 2012

    … in THIS Prez, other than the $$$ that has piled atop he & his admin., causing a paralysis unprecedented in American history!!! The SCT majority knew the xact consequences of allowing the level of $$$ to tidal-wave over the American political terrain, like a tsunami, destroying everything of decency, virtue & honor in the American political system!!! “Freethinker”, “P.Henry” & other Cons, who fault the Prez, instead of reflecting on where we’ve been, in association to where we ARE 2day. Conservatives & Republicans R like whinny children, crying in hysterics, til some 1 pics them up & stuffs a bottle in the mouth, just to shut them UP!!! This is an adult game – American politics, but Americas voters have failed the Prez, by not voting in a Liberal/Progressive majority in the Midterms, which essential left the Prez stranded & at the mercy of blood-thirsty Conservative derelects! Cons have no business in this game, if they don’t believe in the citizenry or the system of govt WE own – not they, the legislators. We’re their boss, but the “CON” game played on weak-minded voters has convinced them they’re powerless & ineffectual, in the face of legislative incompetence. $$$ is the root of this civic “evil”, to be corrected by a vote for the same Liberal/Progressive initiatives that saved the country over & over – after Conservatives endeavored to DESTROY IT – in ’29, ’80, ’01 & if given the chance, in this election year! Being guilty of all of the hideous “qualities” (there’s an oximoron 4 U!!!) spoken on by “JoyceThoms” above, who in their rite, wrong or 1/2 mind would vote 4 a Conservative?!?! This or any year?! This should be an easy “W” 4 the home team, but it won’t be – there’s still 2 many Americans sharing the vile, corrosive & ignorant pathologies of the Conservative vampiristic crime gang, now touring the nation. Will we be smarter this year? Only Liberal/Progressive Conservatives AND Democrats CAN & WILL decide…

  22. rustacus21 February 28, 2012

    … is in order: there’s no such thing as “Obama-care”, which, in itself, is like the same health program U’r (P.Henry) own representative enjoys!!! Would U like to have the same such coverage U’r self?! U can’t!!! B/c U vote Conservative!!! “EatTheRich” also is representative of the same dejection gripping the electorate, leaving them helpless & afraid of the future!!! Conservatives & now Democrats have indeed “embraced” the slim, but what choice do they have, when voters vote against themselves & each other?! If/when govt. fails, its ALL OUR FAULT!!! 4 NOT educating & encouraging each other!!! Ea post-er here knows what has happened this last 11 yrs, so lets stop pretending. If a vote is cast, merely as a statement “against” the “other” candidate, U’r voting for the absolute WRONG reason! “P.Henry”, “FreeThinker” (another oximoron!!!), “Indy” & other Cons above talk about all the “problems”, but like the whole Cons field, offer no solutions beneficial to WE the people – who ARE once again, their BOSSES!!! They kiss the a@# of the rich for payoff $$$, but have no idea what “representative govt” is, does or, well, represents! Tax cuts for the majority tax payer demographic (the Middle Class), environmental prservation & advance of renewable energy, education equity reform, health care reform, banking & finance sector reform, voting syst reform (making it EASIER – NOT MORE DIFFICULT for the citizenry to vote!), beefing up of comprehensive, overall enforcement(s), Democratization initiatives (here & abroad), peace initiatives in nations suffering enduring conflict, economic & trade initiatives (advancing economic & Democracy stabalization initiatives), etc., are what Liberal/Progressives advance, EACH term, which do more for the $$$, for every man, woman & child, rich & poor, White & non-White person & the natural environment, planet-wide!!! Conservatives’ agenda? Tax-cuts 4 the rich. Free-market. Oil. No gays (tho most Cons are closeted cases themselves!). No abortions. Irrelavancies, in other words, impacting miniscule numbers of people overall… The choice is pretty clear-cut, if U aren’t brain-dead, or a racist/class/ideologically obsessed voter…

  23. Hankk March 1, 2012

    Let me tell you about our national debt and how our last 5 presidents fit into the mix. In 8 years R.R increased the debt 2 trilion dollars, in just 4 years G.H.W. Bush increased it by 1.4 trillion, W.Clinton in 8 years increased our debt by 1 trillion dollars, G.W.Bush in 8 years was right on when he made the statement on national TV, that the debt did not matter, because he increased it by 4.6 trillion dollars, so far in 3 years and 2 months Obama has increased the dept 1.5 trillion trying to help clean up the mess that George left. Now I know the media has spread the teapublican message that we have a 15 trillion dollar debt, but that is a lie. However we do have a 10.5 trillion dollar debt, the above figures show that. The other 4.5 trillion dollars can be found in the Social Security,Medicare and Bond funds that congress has raided and knows that with the mess they have made, they can not pay back. So if they can convince you and I that S.S.& Medicare are entitlements they can borrow the money to pay the seniors instead of taking it out of the general fund as we the people put it in. No folks neither program is going broke, there is well over 2.7 trillion dollars in them as I write. Also folks President Obama is not the cause of our national Debt, and putting this information on line sure pisses the teapublicans off, it spoil’s their lies. hankk, MI


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