Will Obama get a second term?

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, July 12, 2012

Most of our modern presidents have been given two terms. The mindset of not changing horses mid-stream prevails. One of the glaring exceptions was the 1992 upset of George Bush Sr. by Bill Clinton. It was the economy that caused Bush’s demise, not his underachievement. The economic state of the nation drives the vote of most Americans for the presidency.

When Bill Clinton set sail to derail Bush’s quest for a second term it was well known that he had two pronounced problems. First of all, it was common knowledge in political circles that he had a bimbo problem. As Governor of Arkansas he had innumerable extramarital affairs. Most of these dalliances were with unsavory women who were likely to kiss and tell. His unbridled and insatiable sexual appetite was likely to continue as he moved into even greener pastures on the national campaign stage.

Clinton’s second proclivity was his inability to stop talking. His verbosity made him expound on every conceivable subject and issue. It was to this problem that his campaign focused. Thereby the well known admonition employed by Clinton’s campaign guru James Carville is often mimicked today. Everyday Carville would implore Clinton to not deviate from the script and message. Carville would make Clinton stand and repeat 100 times, “It’s the economy stupid.” When Clinton would stray from the script in a loquacious dialogue, Carville would admonish him and make him repeat 100 times, “It’s the economy stupid.”

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You can bet your bottom dollar that Obama’s handlers, and especially Mitt Romney’s managers, will take the Carville page from the 1998 playbook. If that election was about the economy, this 2012 election will definitely be about the economy. The economy is not just the pervasive issue this year. It is the only issue. Obama won because of the economy in 2008 and if he loses this year it will be because of the economy.

The economy is picking up in Alabama. Our unemployment rate has dropped to 7.5 percent. However, it could go to zero and Barack Obama would still not win in the Heart of Dixie. The Republican candidate will carry Alabama regardless.

Speaking of the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney will be coronated the GOP standard bearer at the National Republican Convention in Tampa next month. Our delegation will be split. The results of our March 13th primary will have our state casting votes for three candidates. Rick Santorum will get 22 votes. Newt Gingrich will receive 13 and the ultimate nominee, Mitt Romney, will be awarded 12 delegate votes from Alabama.

Romney should carry Alabama overwhelmingly, probably by as much as 60% or better. It will be the ninth straight presidential win for the GOP candidate in Alabama. It has been 36 years since a Democrat has carried Alabama. In fact, Georgia neighbor Jimmy Carter’s 1976 victory is the only Democratic win in Alabama since 1960. In other words, in the past 52 years the scoreboard reads: Republicans – 11, Democrats – 1, and George Wallace as an Independent – 1, and nine straight Republican wins since 1976.

Under our antiquated Electoral College System of selecting a president, the election will be held and decided in six pivotal swing states. Whichever candidate prevails in Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia will capture the White House. The contests in these states will hinge on one issue, the economy.

If there is a secondary factor in this year’s presidential race, it is the enormous significance of the Hispanic vote.

Hispanic voters are now the largest ethnic voting bloc in our nation. Approximately 13 percent to 15 percent of all votes cast on November 6th will be by voters of Hispanic origin.

Hispanic voters will be critical to victory in the pivotal battleground state of Florida. It appears obvious that the key to a Romney victory is for him to choose the popular, freshman, conservative, Hispanic, Republican Senator from Florida Marc Rubio. Rubio’s presence on the ticket gives Romney the edge in Florida. If Romney carries Florida and Ohio lights are out for Obama’s days in the White House.

Obama’s game plan is very transparent. He has recently made a blatant, unconstitutional, unilateral proclamation of amnesty for some illegal immigrants. This was the ultimate play for the Hispanic vote. Romney’s choice of Rubio trumps Obama’s play and cuts his legs out from under him.

Current polling indicates that Romney may be able to carry Florida without Rubio on the ticket. Therefore, look for him to probably pick Ohio Senator Rob Portman to be his running mate.

Ohio has 27 electoral votes. Florida has 29 electoral votes. Under our system of choosing our president through an Electoral College system, it is all about electoral votes and it is all about Ohio and Florida.

See you next week.


Steve Flowers served 16 years in the state legislature. He may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.