"When the economy is strong, elections can turn on a variety of issues. But when the economy is poor, elections are seldom about anything else. The 1980 race was illustrative.
Though the Carter/Reagan race is remembered now as a landslide for Ronald Reagan, the contours of the victory were not apparent during the campaign. As late as October 29, Gallup had the race as a dead heat, with Reagan at 44 percent and President Carter at 43 (it was a three-man race). Other polling showed larger margins for Reagan but nothing like the 10-point margin of victory he achieved. At the time, the contest was perceived as close.
It was after the first and only debate, a week before Election Day, that voters definitively moved into Reagan's column. At the time, inflation was running at 13.5 percent, unemployment was 7 percent and interest rates were 21 percent. American hostages remained in Tehran. Carter's approval ratings hovered in the 30s during the final year of his tenure.
Why wasn't Carter perceived as hopelessly weak? Perhaps because as bad as things were, voters needed to be confident about the challenger's fitness. Carter had succeeded to some degree in frightening voters about Reagan's (you guessed it) right-wing extremism. Reagan's reassuring debate performance allayed those fears. And Reagan's summation drilled to the heart of voters' concerns. Ask yourself, Reagan advised, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"
The economy today is in some respects worse than it was in 1980. Barring a catastrophe, little else will matter in 2012. Any credible Republican can defeat Obama -- which is why Axelrod is already smearing as "extremist" a person whose name he does not know."
"I am 75 years old, I have a defibrillator implant, and some of my more vital statistics include: (a) an American Express card holder since 1960; (b) a Delta Medallion member for over 20 years; and (c) have owned my home (my primary residence) for 15 years.
These facts are easily available from any of the credit reporting agencies. Let me also assert that it is extremely unlikely that any would-be terrorist would possess these attributes or metrics.
Nevertheless, since I cannot go through a scanner, I am routinely subjected to a 25-minute fondling at LaGuardia airport. Behind me and "stacked up" during this time are severely handicapped individuals in wheelchairs, elderly people with canes or walkers and, of course, the ever-dangerous group of small children.
At the very least, could you not locate a few smart people to do some basic studies of travelers that would separate, say, non-terrorists from possible terrorists by dint of measurable and meaningful characteristics? And please note: there's not a hint of racial profiling in what I suggest."
Open Letter to Janet Napolitano from Papa B., from Doug Ross