Over the past several weeks the media has focused on the three ring circus that is the race for the Republican nomination. And why not! The Republican candidates have provided more grist for the media mill than any pundit could ever want.
In the past twenty four hours alone we have witnessed some of the most bizarre behavior ever displayed on the political scene.
The Cain Train got knocked off the rails by accusations of a thirteen year extra marital affair. Cain naturally denied the allegations. But when five women accuse you of some type of inappropriate sexual behavior it is time to reassess your candidacy. Cain said he was going to reassess. Then he said he wasn’t. When pressed to clarify he responded with: “9-9-9, we're fine.” Bizarre!
Meanwhile the Newtster continues to take aim at his own foot. Denying allegations that he acted as a lobbyist for Freddie and Fannie; Newt said that the proof that he never, ever acted as a lobbyist lies in the simple fact that he didn’t need the money. He says he was charging $60,000 for a speech and the “number of speeches we were selling was on the rise.” Nothing endears a candidate with the voters like bragging that you make more money for a 30 minute speech than the average elementary school teacher makes in a year.
Rick Perry (remember him?) while addressing a youth group urged all those “who reach the age of 21 by the November 12th election day to get out and vote.” Apparently Governor Perry does not realize that the voting age in this country has been 18 years of age since 1971…or that the 2012 election will be held on November 6. Maybe it’s different in Texas!
While Democrats are no doubt giddy watching the Republican circus spin out of control, there is cause for concern.
The Gallup Daily Tracking Poll released today shows the President’s approval rating at a historic low of 43%. That is the lowest rating recorded for a President during this time in his first term in modern history; dropping the President below the previous low marks given to Jimmy Carter in 1979. Obama’s approval rating among independent voters is even worse; an alarming 30%.
In 1979 the country was on very unsure footing economically. The Middle East was in turmoil and the US Embassy in Iran had been seized. The race for the Republican nomination was a muddled mess with a B grade actor named Reagan in the thick of things. Jimmy Carter held the White House. But the electorate saw Carter as a technocratic President who thought he was the smartest guy in the room. They saw him as being too aloof, too isolated and too self absorbed to master the little things necessary to get things done in Washington. Carter’s historically low approval ratings soon proved to be prophetic.
It’s beginning to feel an awful lot like 1979.