I asked readers how President Obama reverses his slide in the polls, both in his approval rating and in match-ups against Republican opponents in 2012.
Cwillia11 thinks it is hopeless: “Every day Obama’s incompetence becomes clearer to all. The left is stuck with him until he is defeated. His base will stay at home in 2012. The Republicans have a number of credible candidates but no one of the stature of Reagan.” I don’t think his base will disappear, but generating the same enthusiasm as he did in 2008 is going to be a tall order.
Stevendufresne has a number of good ideas including this:
The political reality is the GOP will have the House and potentially the Senate after 2012. Obama must show the nation he can work with the GOP to move the country forward, otherwise the country will feel no progress can be made unless a Republican is president. So, Obama has to triangulate as Clinton did, i.e., throw his party under the bus on one issue. Clinton did it with welfare reform famously. The likely candidate for Obama is Social Security. The Bowles and Simpson committee has a bipartisan approach to solving the issue for 75 years. If the economy does not look to be in a strong growth stage heading into next year, I would expect Obama to look to implement the Simpson-Bowles plan near the end of the year.
DonMega says, in essence, Obama must do what he cannot: “Can he turn it around? Short of a stunning economic turnaround, or Obama repudiating his ideology, it is hard to see how. At this point, I wouldn’t count on either.”
I would add a few thoughts. First, Republicans should not underestimate the importance of selecting a viable, articulate nominee. Obama is weak, but the Republican opponent can’t look worse if the GOP hopes to get back the White House. Second, many smart conservatives worried from the get-go: What if he endorsed ALL of Simpson-Bowles proposals? That, I think, would pose the greatest challenge to the GOP. And finally, Obama could champion tax reform that does not raise rates. If it is revenue-neutral but pro-growth (as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has suggested), he could simultaneously improve the economic outlook, defang business critics and enhance his appeal with independents and liberal Republicans. But, perhaps DonMega is right — what would save Obama is antithetical to his ideology and temperament. And that is why Republicans remain optimistic about 2012.