Jewish World Review Aug 2, 2012/ 14 Menachem-Av, 5772
100 days is a long time
By Victor Davis Hanson
The presidential election is about 100 days away. President Obama and
A lot can happen in 100 days or thereabouts. Napoleon, for example, went from ignominious exile at Elba to triumph in
What could change the pulse of the election in the next three months? Strangely enough, it may not be the economy. It is now boringly predictable: flat and not likely either to rebound or plunge much further before the November election. The new normal is 42 consecutive months of 8 percent-plus unemployment. The dismal economy is expected to slog along at less than a 2 percent rate of annual GDP growth each quarter.
The public shrugs at four straight
Yet Obama has not yet suffered all that much politically for the hard times, at least not in the manner once accorded incumbents
Romney counters that Obama's neo-socialist policies turned a natural recovery into a near-permanent recession. Expanded government, more regulations, constant talk of higher taxes, astronomical debt, a federal takeover of health care, insider subsidies to failing companies, and nonstop demonization of successful businesspeople stalled the economy and scared the daylights out of job-creating entrepreneurs.
The public is about evenly split between the two arguments. About half seem to want even more big government and public assistance; the other half want far less of
Everyone still insists the election will hinge on the economy and voter turnout, but at the same time there is no national consensus yet on whether Obama should be blamed for making bad things worse -- or on whether Romney could do any better.
Barring some atrocious gaffe, personal scandal or miserable debate performance, what else might break things open in the next 100 days?
Here are a few scenarios. In the next three months, an Iranian detonation of an atomic bomb, or a preemptive Israeli (or American) strike at
If a regional war breaks out over
A major al-Qaeda strike, heaven forbid, on the homeland would remind us of all the crazy talk about trying Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court, the silly politically correct euphemisms like "overseas contingency operations" and "man-caused disasters," and promises of shutting down Guantanamo within a year of Obama's inauguration. Continued quiet, however, will recall Obama's wise continuation of the Bush-era predator drone program, renditions, tribunals and preventative detentions.
An election that is supposed to turn on the economy may not. And in the next 100 days, an inward-looking, divided electorate may be forced to look abroad.
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
© 2012, TMS