1979 Reruns

Remember the two most important rules of space travel according to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? Don’t Panic. Bring a towel. Makes sense to me.

For a while now I’ve felt like I was living through a 1979 rerun, so I decided to check out PBS’ American Experience documentaries (on Netflix, natch) on Jimmy Carter and Ronald Regan. I was barely conscious for 1979, being just 8 years old, but I do remember loving Reagan by the time I was 10 or 11 and hating him by the time I was 15. Anyway, I figured a brush up was in order so I could explore my intuitive feelings on this matter. I’m halfway through the nearly four hours on Carter and have watched the intro on Reagan. Most notable is how freakishly parallel the Carter/Obama phenomenons really are. Both spent some time in the state senate and had limited national exposure before running and winning their respective presidential elections.

Carter was a one-term governor who ran a pretty crooked campaign to win that gubernatorial election; he was even on the radio campaigning as a segregationist who would not cater to “blahk voters.” He campaigned hard as a segregationist and then gave a flowery speech about equality on racial matters at his inauguration, then proceeded to run Georgia with an iron fist, and with much hubris and arrogance, the combination of which cost him the next election.

For his presidential election, he enjoyed the same dynamics Obama did; GOP fatigue and a carefully constructed personal narrative that was barely half-true. Makes you wonder. I’ve always known him under his modern image of Saint Jimmy, so this was news to me, but every bit of it is reported by insiders who knew and were there. I’ve yet to get to the Reagan documentary, and I’m sure it will be just as enlightening.

But I’m not the only one who’s feeling the 1979 vibe. Check out Wayne Allyn Root, the former VP candidate for the Libertarian Party and according to his wiki, quite the handicapper. He’s a favorite on the Tea Party trail, of course, and a Ron Paul fan, so he really doesn’t have a dog in the Romney-Obama fight, but he still thinks Romney will win in a landslide (h/t Denise). First he suggests ignoring the polls, which I’d already started to tune out once they switched to the ridiculous “poll averaging.” Then he lays out some of his (admittedly also intuitive) reasons pretty convincingly:

Here is my gut instinct. Not one American who voted for McCain 4 years ago will switch to Obama. Not one in all the land. But many millions of people who voted for an unknown Obama 4 years ago are angry, disillusioned, turned off, or scared about the future. Voters know Obama now- and that is a bad harbinger.

He goes on to break it down according to voting blocks, which is definitely worth the read, especially in light of all the attempts to hype demographics. He predicts 88% black support for Obama in 2012. We’ll see. For my money, the most interesting blocks he covered were youth voters, small business owners, and military vets:

*Youth voters. Obama’s biggest and most enthusiastic believers from 4 years ago have graduated into a job market from hell. Young people are disillusioned, frightened, and broke- a bad combination. The enthusiasm is long gone. Turnout will be much lower among young voters, as will actual voting percentages. This not good news for Obama.


*Small Business owners. Because I ran for Vice President last time around, and I’m a small businessman myself, I know literally thousands of small business owners. At least 40% of them in my circle of friends, fans and supporters voted for Obama 4 years ago to “give someone different a chance.” … Four years later, I can’t find one person in my circle of small business owner friends voting for Obama. Not one. This is not good news for Obama.


*Military Veterans. McCain won this group by 10 points. Romney is winning by 24 points. The more our military vets got to see of Obama, the more they disliked him. This is not good news for Obama.

Did you get that? Vets like Romney 14 points more than they liked the actual POW survivor. That’s a lot of capital blown on Obama’s part. Here’s what he ends with:

Forget the polls. My gut instincts as a Vegas oddsmaker and common sense small businessman tell me this will be a historic landslide and a world-class repudiation of Obama’s radical and risky socialist agenda. It’s Reagan-Carter all over again.

Bolding mine. Now obviously conservatives of all stripes need a lesson in the difference between socialism and fascist neoliberalism, but other than that socialist remark, he’s pretty much hit the mark.

I suspect the answer is going to be 42 again. As in 42% is the percentage of votes that Obama will likely pull on November 6, 2012. That’s my gut instinct right now, anyway, though that could change. Did I mention that The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was first published in 1979? Don’t panic, friends, and bring a towel. We may need to hitch a ride off this planet either way.


9 comments on “1979 Reruns

  1. JohnSmart says:

    great stuff. I need to bone up on Carter’s early years.

  2. carol haka says:

    In those days, we had 30 minutes a day of National News- ABC, NBC & CBS. I was finishing college in May of 1980, having a baby during spring break of 1980 and starting law school in August of 1980 (and was required to work June & July as a Flight Attendent to keep my job) – the only thing I remember about any of that 30 minutes a day was …… wait, wait, wait for for it………….Oh yeah, I don’t remember anything about politics in 1980. Side note: Women can have it all – that is if you can be cloned!

    Carter and his crew of misfits brought us the Taliban. I would like to suggest a toast: “Executions for Treason All Around”!


    • leslie says:

      Funny, how so many of us have such similar recollections of the 80’s. And for many of the same reasons. Just different details.

      I remembering liking Carter, at first, then voting for Anderson and absolutely loathing Reagan.

      Lola ~ Great post.

  3. elliesmom says:

    Packing up my sewing room and turning it into a guest room for next week. (Expect some serious withdrawal issues, I’m in the middle of a quilt). I turned the Jimmy Carter documentary on while I worked. I had forgotten about the Bert Lance debacle. I wonder if Eric Holder will have the same effect on Obama?

    • I almost made a comparison between the Lance Affair and Fast & Furious in this post, but decided it wasn’t necessary. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one to think that, though.

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