Watson: Why Obama has already won 2012 election

Scott Watson

The fight for GOP front-runner has been a vicious battle, a gruesome spectacle complete with blood and gnashing teeth, leaving behind little more than a pile of deceased campaigns and the survivors posturing for position. Voters are torn about who the right person for the job is in the 2012 Republican nomination race.

With no candidate able to maintain a firm grasp on the majority vote, the hopeful elects have resorted to differentiating their meager campaigns by means of malignity and defamation of their same-sided opponents. Voters seem weary of whom to put their faith in and vote for. Meanwhile, Democrats have their man along with a bolstered confidence in the direction our president is taking us.

Assuming one of the candidates is left standing after the nomination process, there lingers another, larger question — will the elected nominees’ campaign maintain credibility, and will it be good enough to defeat our sitting president, Barack Obama?

Everyone remembers the 2008 Obama campaign slogans of “hope” and “change” — proudly optimistic, yet vague enough to be rendered indefinable all at once. It was the perfect campaign with the perfect person to back it. Now, sit back and think hard about this — what are the 2012 Republican campaign slogans? … Exactly.

While it is true, this is not the 2008 election. A large majority of the population still has hope that the promised change is on its way. According to “RealClearPolitics,” 49 percent of Americans are satisfied with Obama’s performance and wish to keep him on board. As of now, only 44 percent find Romney, the current Republican front-runner, to be a favorable substitute.

In a poll measuring satisfaction of Americans in major issues and policies such as health care reform, immigration laws and unemployment, a near even split of approval to disapproval of major issues handled in Obama’s presidency suggests feelings of contention among the people of America.

This has been ugly warfare fought by the Republican candidates. More is known about the personal lives and shortcomings of Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Herman Cain than I do about their qualifications to presidency. These past and present candidates spend so much time attempting to point out each other’s flaws; they are failing to realize the simultaneous implications arising from their own actions, creating a public relations disaster.

Public relations are a major topic of discussion in several classes of mine. They also are huge in politics. It shouldn’t be a secret to anyone that the majority of voters are extremely uneducated on the issues the respected politicians endorse. Decisions are often based off personal voting history, or a stumbled-upon fragment of information about a candidate, on which grounds often constitute for the complete decision. A simple and powerful statement or expressed feeling often can build better sentiments among society than either words or actions.

Optimism is a difficult beast to bring down. The 2008 Obama campaign brought an optimism people believed in, with many still carrying those unwavering sentiments around with them like an old gift card you don’t want to admit is no longer worth its weight.

It often seems that whether or not a current president is re-elected often hinges on if the president has done anything terrible enough to not warrant a re-election. While mistakes were made in George W. Bush’s first term, none of them were bad enough to hinder the approbation of a second term. The 2012 Republican Party nominees are plagued by foolish misstatements, easily interpreted as a reflection of incompetence.

There’s also security in the familiar. Obama has earned that familiarity with the people. I don’t think anyone still believes the world is on the brink of catastrophe. He has, so far, proved he can guide a country without driving it off a cliff or getting himself into trouble. Look around, is America really much different than it was three years ago? With the exception of a few bills that could be reversed in a few years, Obama has done nothing outside the norms of any presidency to suggest a sign of worse things to come. My point here is that a lot of people approve of what is happening in America, and that will be a difficult thing for the Republican Party to counter.

Experience goes a long way with voters. Those who are satisfied with the direction, or lack thereof, in which Obama has taken us will likely vote for him again, even if for no other reason than maintaining a current state of comfort in the familiar actions of a seasoned leader.

Romney has been moving ahead of the pack, distinguishing himself as the most likely face for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Still, a large number of voters would prefer the bittersweet familiarity of an Obama-run America than take a chance with the unknown in a mild-flavored Republican.