There is good news and bad news for President Obama in the latest economic reports. The bad news is all too obvious. Gas prices are sky high. Houses are not selling. Job creation is slowing. And the unemployment rate is inching back up – to 9.1% for May.
Between general elections every two years, there are comparatively few electoral contests that can give a sense of the national mood. To be sure, there are off-year gubernatorial contests, a host of mayoral elections, and local races of all stripes. But at the national level, the lone electoral pulse-taking is the occasional special congressional election to fill a vacancy in the House of Representatives, or on rare occasion, the Senate.
Elections have consequences. So too does legislation. No more so than in Wisconsin where Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to roll back collective bargaining rights for state public employees is beginning to roil the electoral process.
Here are several ways to look at the fledgling Republican presidential field. There are the secular and the morality-based candidates. There are the Tea Party favorites and those preferred by Wall Street. And looking at recent Gallup polls, there are the known and the unknown.
When it comes to President Barack Obama and reelection, probably the best comparison is not with fellow Democrat Bill Clinton in 1995-96, but Republican Ronald Reagan in 1983-84.