Why 2012 Is Not 1980

Some in the GOP are comparing President Obama to Jimmy Carter in 1980 and predicting that Mitt will win just as Reagan did.

But I believe there’s a fatal flaw in that thinking.

Carter won in 1976 because it was the first presidential election since Nixon had resigned in disgrace, and voters wanted to tell the GOP what they thought of Watergate.  They also viewed Gerald Ford as somewhat illegitimate because he had been appointed vice president, not elected.   To add insult to that injury, Ford, this guy nobody had voted for, took it upon himself to pardon Nixon.

When the economy blew up under Carter, with the prime rate at 20% and gas lines stretching to the horizon, voters recognized that Ronald Reagan had nothing to do with Watergate or Nixon or Ford.  By voting for him, they weren’t in any way condoning or returning to the way things had been under the last Republican Administration.

That’s why voting for Mitt now is different from voting for Reagan in 1980.  While the economy is not exactly going gangbusters under Obama, Mitt would take us back to the Bush policies, to the complete lack of interest in regulating Wall Street, that led to the Great Recession. He would support the kind of drastic austerity that would pull us right back into recession.

We may not like where we are, but we hate where we’ve been, and we’ll be damned if we’re going back there.  Forward!