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100 Days is a Long Time ^ | August 2, 2012 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 08/02/2012 5:18:56 AM PDT by Kaslin

The presidential election is about 100 days away. President Obama and Mitt Romney are roughly even in the various polls, with Obama holding slight leads in the key swing states.

A lot can happen in 100 days or thereabouts. Napoleon, for example, went from ignominious exile at Elba to triumph in Paris to utter defeat at Waterloo. South Korea was lost and then saved by Gen. Matthew Ridgway in about 100 days of winter in 1950 and early 1951. In 1948, supposedly doomed incumbent President Harry Truman went from 17 points down in the polls to a victory margin of 4.5 percentage points on Election Day.

What could change the pulse of the election in the next three months? Strangely enough, it may not be the economy. It is now boringly predictable: flat and not likely either to rebound or plunge much further before the November election. The new normal is 42 consecutive months of 8 percent-plus unemployment. The dismal economy is expected to slog along at less than a 2 percent rate of annual GDP growth each quarter.

The public shrugs at four straight $1 trillion-plus annual deficits. Balanced budgets belong to the last century. Housing is still depressed after four years. Home equity and interest on passbook accounts are fossilized concepts. Not even the administration is arguing that the $831 billion in stimulus borrowing, Obamacare, a $5 trillion increase in the national debt, or three years of near-zero interest rates have primed the economic pump.

Yet Obama has not yet suffered all that much politically for the hard times, at least not in the manner once accorded incumbents Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush. Instead, Obama argues mostly that the nightmare could have been worse. Or that four years ago George W. Bush left him a mess. Or that a Republican majority in the House of Representatives beginning in 2011 derailed his successful agenda after two years of Democratic majorities. Or that Romney is the sort of rich financial pirate who got us into the mess of 2008.

Romney counters that Obama's neo-socialist policies turned a natural recovery into a near-permanent recession. Expanded government, more regulations, constant talk of higher taxes, astronomical debt, a federal takeover of health care, insider subsidies to failing companies, and nonstop demonization of successful businesspeople stalled the economy and scared the daylights out of job-creating entrepreneurs.

The public is about evenly split between the two arguments. About half seem to want even more big government and public assistance; the other half want far less of Washington. Romney sounds more competent in matters of the economy, but also stiff. Obama can still soar with his hope-and change-rhetoric, but the now-canned content increasingly ends up all too predictable if not wearisome.

Everyone still insists the election will hinge on the economy and voter turnout, but at the same time there is no national consensus yet on whether Obama should be blamed for making bad things worse -- or on whether Romney could do any better.

Barring some atrocious gaffe, personal scandal or miserable debate performance, what else might break things open in the next 100 days?

Here are a few scenarios. In the next three months, an Iranian detonation of an atomic bomb, or a preemptive Israeli (or American) strike at Iran, could change the entire complexion of the election. If the threat is diffused, Obama reminds us that he really is the guy who got bin Laden. If things blow up, then he proves another bumbling Jimmy Carter who fiddled while the Middle East burned.

Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez or Kim Jong-un might time a new round of adventurism to predate the November election.

If a regional war breaks out over Syria, or Israel intervenes next door, or dangerous weapons fall into the hands of terrorists, Obama will be caricatured as a naif in matters of the Middle East. If Assad leaves quietly and reformists take over, then Obama appears steady.

A major al-Qaeda strike, heaven forbid, on the homeland would remind us of all the crazy talk about trying Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court, the silly politically correct euphemisms like "overseas contingency operations" and "man-caused disasters," and promises of shutting down Guantanamo within a year of Obama's inauguration. Continued quiet, however, will recall Obama's wise continuation of the Bush-era predator drone program, renditions, tribunals and preventative detentions.

An election that is supposed to turn on the economy may not. And in the next 100 days, an inward-looking, divided electorate may be forced to look abroad.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bho2012; vdh

1 posted on 08/02/2012 5:19:02 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
Obama hopes the election is not about the economy or about his incompetence

He also hopes the clearly democrat skewed polls showing an evenly split electorate are correct.

2 posted on 08/02/2012 5:32:45 AM PDT by JIM O
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To: Kaslin

October and November surprise prediction time.

3 posted on 08/02/2012 5:34:50 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Kaslin
"100 Days is a Long Time"

Just wait until after the election, if obama loses. It will seem like an eternity to get to the inauguration.

4 posted on 08/02/2012 5:47:18 AM PDT by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
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To: Kaslin
If Assad leaves quietly and reformists take over, then Obama appears steady.

Assad leaving quietly???!! He has his nighttime slippers on, he's so quiet. /s

Just ask the people in Homs, Aleppo, and Damascus.

C'mon VDH. I expect better.

5 posted on 08/02/2012 6:25:25 AM PDT by sauropod (You can elect your very own tyranny - Mark Levin)
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To: Paladin2
October and November surprise prediction time.

He will propose Student Loan Forgiveness in a second term. This will cause a surge in heavily indebted voters flocking to him, seeking a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to escape the crushing yoke of debt.

Of course, the joke will be on them come January.

6 posted on 08/02/2012 6:35:05 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Kaslin

I have one October surprise nightmare:

September 30th I have read we are bumping against the debt limit again. There is talk of a resolution to continue for six months. What if the Democrats and Obama insist it is not enough. Whatever the reason they block raising the ceiling. Dire warnings about what will happen when the government shuts down. This time rather than threatening seniors with cutting off Social Security, Obama cuts off all welfare. Then with the help of the more than willing media blames it on those mean Republicans.

Can’t you see him reading his speech about how the Republicans really want to starve the poor and hurt children? NBC, CBS and New York Times parading a host of “victims” of this vicious assault by Republicans on our American poor. Even showing the Romney clip saying he doesn’t care about the poor.

Conservative websites praise the action stating it is about time these parasites worked for a living and the Democrats use this as further proof of racism.

When the welfare cash benefits run out and the EBT cards don’t get filled things will get ugly in the urban areas. Riots ensue with the entailment class rushing to get what is owed. The administration calls on local law enforcement to use the urban assault vehicles purchased with Homeland Security funds. The National Guard is called out. Obama gives speeches about restoring civility at the same time placing the blame on Republicans.

By the end of October some cities are in flames and Obama calls for the troops to all come home and restore order. It is too little too late. Even if the checks go out the Welfare offices have been burned, the post office can’t deliver in a war zone and there are no stores left to use EBT in.

The riots now turn to the outer suburbs to get their fair share. Each day the mob moves further out. By Election Day there are few places not affected by the hordes. Turnout is lowest in history, voters afraid for their safety don’t leave their homes and others vote Obama just to make it stop. Combined with burned out districts reporting 110% voter participation Obama wins in a landslide.

NBC,CBS and CNN jointly reporting from a bunker provided by the administration says our republic has survived a historic election and Obama now has a mandate. They carry his first speech in which he says he will use the full extent of the law to pursue and prosecute the perpetrators of this travesty.

Obama promptly has Eric holder issue arrest warrants for all conservatives. Big Sis shuts down 10,000 websites that were critical of the Administration during this crisis.

Somewhere in the bowels of the earth Saul Alinsky looks up from the fires of hell and smiles.

7 posted on 08/02/2012 7:00:48 AM PDT by shoff (Vote Democratic it beats thinking!)
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To: Kaslin

All you have to know is right before Ronald Regan slaughtered the previous worse president when the votes were counted is that:

The polls showed a close race.

The media is lying, they are loading their polls up with Democrat leaning cockroaches.

When I took Rasmussen questions on the phone Monday night, the computer question asked if I was a TEA Party type. I told the truth and I bet they tossed my responses out. They probably didn’t believe me when I said Obama was VERY DESTRUCTIVE every chance I got.

8 posted on 08/02/2012 7:02:19 AM PDT by politicianslie (Obama: Our first Muslim PRESIDENT,destroying America $1 Trillion at a time! And America sleeps)
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To: Kaslin

What does Odumbo have to do with Syria?

9 posted on 08/02/2012 11:43:43 AM PDT by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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