Eight years have passed since the election season of 2004. Most significantly and off the cuff, in the early days of 2004 we were still closer to the initial Iraq invasion than we were to the surge. We hadn’t yet sunk deeply into the mire of IEDs, suicide bombs, mass casualties or the full ripening of the anti-American vitriol that spewed from all those entertainment and media cowards who just the year before had been as jingoistic as any Colonel Blimp. In short, 2012 is not 2004, and if Team Obama is taking solace in the recent polls based on the events of 2004, they are in for a rude awakening.
If Obama’s supporters are pinning their hopes for reelection on a replay of 2004, they are setting themselves up for some big disappointment. Here are just some of the big differences between ’04 and ’12:
’04 was a foreign policy election: According to Gallup, the war in Iraq was by far the most important issue to voters in the 2004 election. The exact opposite is true today. Switching out your Commander in Chief in the middle of a war is just a different question than replacing a president whose economic policies are failing.
’02 was not a mirror image of ’10: President Bush’s party gained ground in the ’02 election. Obama’s lost ’10 in a landslide. The defeat of Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., in the Democratic primary, the rise of the netroots and their preferred candidates, Sens., Jim Webb, D-Vir., Jon Tester, D-Mont., all happened in 2006, two years after Bush was reelected. The Tea Party rose and got organized much faster. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, lost his primary in 2010. The Tea Party has already sent Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to Congress. The base of the Republican party is simply far more organized and united now than Democrats were in ’04.
Economic growth: At the core of almost every presidential election model is economic growth. In 2004, the U.S. economy grew by 3.5 percent. According to the CBO, the U.S. economy is projected to grow by just 2 percent this year.
Obama is simply in far, far worse shape today than Bush was in 2004.