The reason this is not the most important one ever is because we are very unlikely to have fixed much by 2016 regardless of who won the 2012 election. These events have a natural timeline to recovery or health or whatever you want to call it. For the most part a president can either create an environment that speeds things along some or impedes progress some.
A few years ago I joked about some lucky bastard winning in 2016 and being credited as the genius who “fixed it” although it will have been a right time right place situation. I still think this will still generally be how it evolves but I think it will be more like 2020.
For many months I had been saying that this seemed like 2004 in terms of a weak incumbent that cannot be unseated by the opposing party. I am of the opinion that Romney would have been a little less of an impediment to progress toward “fixing” things but we will never know.
The question now is whether Obama comes more to the middle one way or another in an effort to enhance/improve/build his presidential legacy. While I believe that is the right question, Steve Liesman made an interesting comment last night on CNBC’s coverage. He said that he thinks that Obama believes Obamacare and Dodd-Frank make for a positive legacy.
I’ve spoken to Obama supporters who believe Obamacare is a great plan and I don’t know anyone on the right with anything positive to say but assuming Liesman is correct then there is a greater possibility of more of the same which is to say very little gets achieved.
Several months ago a close friend and Obama supporter (although not militant about it) commented to me that the GOP in the house has done everything possible to sabotage Obama by not working with him. My thought on this has been the same which is that the GOP probably has tried to sabotage the Obama presidency by not working with him but I believe that the onus is on the leader to recognize a situation and then figure out how to manage it in order to get things done and that has not happened. Liesman’s comment, if correct, implies that he will see not need to move to the middle.
Hopefully everyone in Washington gets religion on the debt and that all Americans realize that making meaningful progress means everyone will have to give up something. Hopefully the government figures out how to do this effectively and actually wants to solve the problem.