Making it Up as He Goes
Allan Lichtman must be hard up for attention, or he must owe somebody in the Obama Administration a favor. Because Lichtman today boldly predicted that Barack Obama is a shoe-in for re-election.
No, really, he did.
The raconteur/professor/former Senate Candidate/space cadet uses his “13 keys to the Presidency” which he claims can accurately predict who will win the next Presidential Election. Using his “keys”, he says Barack Obama will be re-elected.
Of course, Lichtman’s interpretation of the keys leaves a bit to be desired:
KEY 1 (Party Mandate): After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than it did after the previous midterm elections. (FALSE)
Well, so far that seems to be going in the right direction. It seems like the Democrats are going to get clobbered at the ballot box, but let’s not get too cocky. I’ll agree and see False.
KEY 2 (Contest): There is no serious contest for the incumbent-party nomination. (TRUE)
I’m classifying this as to-be-determined. Anybody who seriously thinks that Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is going to walk away with a $13 million federal war chest and not seriously consider challenging the President from the center is sorely mistaken. And Bayh would, in all likelihood, do serious damage to Obama in the primaries.
KEY 3 (Incumbency): The incumbent-party candidate is the sitting president. (TRUE)
Can’t argue with that.
KEY 4 (Third party): There is no significant third party or independent campaign. (TRUE)
Also to-be-determined. As much as Republicans hope that the Tea Party Movement doesn’t spawn off a serious third party or independent campaign, that could be incredibly wishful thinking depending on who the Republican nominee is in 2012.
KEY 5 (Short-term economy): The economy is not in recession during the election campaign. (TRUE)
Only a moron would say that the economy in 2012 is going to not be in recession. I’m not saying it is, but given this President’s economic policy it is wishful thinking to think things are going to be better. I would label this as to-be-determined.
KEY 6 (Long-term economy): Real per-capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms. (FALSE)
More than likely, Lichtman’s got this right. I’ll agree.
KEY 7 (Policy change): The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. (TRUE)
Well, so far that’s true insofar as health care reform has passed. However, Lichtman automatically assumes that this is a positive for Obama. Lichtman’s model does not take into account the fact that such a change was railroaded through Congress against the will of the people. Nor does it assume the possibility that a change in party could radically change the makeup of the aforementioned change prior to its full implementation. I will agree that this is true….but it’s an albatross around Obama’s campaign neck.
KEY 8 (Social unrest): There is no sustained social unrest during the term. (TRUE)
Which is interesting, because if you believe MSNBC Tea Partiers are running amok. But be that as it may it is true…..for now.
KEY 9 (Scandal): The administration is untainted by major scandal. (TRUE)
I’m not sure what planet Lichtman is from. The entire administration has basically been one scandal right after another. If only somebody predicted two years ago that Barack Obama was a scandal in a box…..
KEY 10 (Foreign/military failure): The administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs. (TRUE)
Also to-be-determined. Because in case you didn’t notice….America’s approval ratings are in the dumps since Obama took over. If you want to get really technically, the collapse of the Copenhagen climate summit could be consider a “major failure” in foreign affairs, but that would imply that such a failure was a bad thing.
KEY 11 (Foreign/military success): The administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs. (FALSE)
KEY 12 (Incumbent charisma): The incumbent-party candidate is charismatic or a national hero. (FALSE)
Amen to that
KEY 13 (Challenger charisma): The challenging-party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero. (TRUE)
Also to be determined because neither Lichtman, nor me, or the Lord above knows who is going to be the Republican nominee in 2012. It could be virtually anybody. and until such a time as we know who the Republican nominee is, any speculation as to the answer to this is completely pointless.
So by my count, we’ve got three trues, five falses, and five to-be-determineds. What does that mean for Barack Obama’s chances in 2012 as of right now? Absolutely nothing.
The problem with such speculative yarns as Allan Lichtman is trying to write is that he is trying to apply a historical formula to an event before it happens. When you combine his historical pre-analysis with his moonbeam liberal biases, you get a completely warped view of the political environment in an effort to prop up a failed administration. Lichtman, in his analysis, is just making it up as he goes. His analysis has no value.