Obama beating Reagan?

This will likely drive some people over the edge. Recent polling indicates that President Obama is in better shape politically today than Republican icon President Ronald Reagan was at the same point in his first term.

That’s right. Obama at the midterm outpolls Ronald Reagan at this point in his presidency.

The National Journal/Congressional Connection poll conducted with the Pew Research Center over Oct. 21-24 found that 47 percent of the public would like President Obama to run again in 2012. While that number isn’t overwhelming, it certainly beats Reagan’s number in August 1982 — an underwhelming 36 percent, according to Gallup. At that point, 51 percent said Reagan should not run for reelection, and his numbers worsened after the midterm elections that year.

Of course, we all know, President Reagan won reelection in 1984 despite these troublesome early numbers.

So what does it mean for President Obama at this point? Well, not much, really. Other than to say that the Tea Partiers and their leaders like Mitch McConnell may be measuring the drapes at the White House a bit prematurely.

Reagan’s ability to turn around his political fortunes and win reelection relied mostly on an economy that began to recover in 1983. President Obama, who like Reagan inherited a terrible economy from his predecessor, still has the opportunity to benefit from an economy that is already showing signs of recovery before he faces voters in two years.

Even with gains in Congress this year, the Republicans are sticking to their same playbook of moving America backward. In order to beat Obama in 2012 they need the economy to remain in recession. In order to win, they need you to lose your job or not find one. As they have been doing for the past two years, the Republicans will continue to root for America to fail and for the economy to tank so they can win an election.

In a telling comment about the next two years, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) this week told National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” McConnell’s idea of “achievement” illustrates everything that’s wrong with the Republican Party. For Republicans, it’s not about creating jobs; not about economic recovery or security; not about creating better educational opportunities.

For Republicans, it’s about partisanship over solutions — obstructing progress in the hopes of winning electoral victories. When they win like this, America loses. Mitch McConnell knows that 47 percent for the president does not mean he will not be reelected. That’s why Mitch McConnell has no choice but to root for America to fail, so he can succeed.

More in Transportation

From turbulence in the air to turbulence on the flight deck

Read more »