With the collapse of the Soviet Union and America's stunning victory in the first Persian Gulf War, George H.W. Bush was considered such a shoo-in for a second term that Saturday Night Live actually staged a televised skit called "Campaign '92: The Race To Avoid Being The Guy Who Loses To Bush." In it, impersonators of Mario Cuomo, Richard Gephardt and other "top-tier" Democrats explained why they should not be nominated.
But Bill Clinton campaign strategist James Carville disagreed, insisting the unknown from Arkansas could challenge the elder Bush for failing to adequately address the economy, which had slid into recession.
Now, nearly 20 years later, voters complain the Republican field of potential challengers appears lackluster, while President Obama's supporters point to his jump in the polls after Navy Seals killed terrorist Osama bin Laden last month.
Yet something else familiar also looms.
Job growth slowed to 54,000 in May, down from 232,000 in April and the smallest gain in eight months. Furthermore, the official unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent, the highest level this year, and that doesn't count millions of experienced Americans who have simply given up looking. "If job creation doesn't continue on the pace it's been on in recent months, that's going to be an enormous hurdle for the president," Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist, told Bloomberg.
The position of majority D.C. Democrats on the looming debt crisis and their inability to craft a new federal budget over the past two years is to merely borrow more money -- even as Moody's threatens the lowering of America's bond rating -- while waiting for Republicans to come up with budget proposals that the Democrats can demagogue as "throwing granny over the cliff."
Mr. Obama hasn't suffered in the polls, so far. But Republican candidates for the White House are making the economy an issue. And because the president's solutions focus on government interventions rather than getting government out of the way, little Mr. Obama has done has worked.
Ronald Reagan, who faced an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent on Election Day 1984, is the only U.S. president since World War II to win re-election with a jobless rate above 6 percent.
Businessmen, investors, employers, all seek stability and predictability. ObamaCare, the debt and over-spending crisis, the threats of higher taxes and harsher regulations, all provide just the opposite.