2012 not a repeat of 1980

Posted October 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm


A lot of Republicans are having wishful thinking right now, hoping that 2012 will be a repeat of 1980 when their candidate came from behind in what seemed like a deadlocked race to score a landslide victory over the incumbent President.

Despite the similarities to 1980, this is not 1980 and will not be 1980. 1980 was a whole different world. The economy was bad and getting worse. Today, the economy is bad but getting better. In addition to high unemployment, we had double digit interest rates and double digit inflation. None of that now. Gas hit a dollar a gallon in 1980. That was a real shock and slap in the face for the American consumer. Today’s American is used to 3 and 4 and 5 dollar a gallon gasoline (in California in 2008 it hit that amount) and we keep filling up the car.

Foreign policy. A Mideast in turmoil in 1980 and again in 2008. But that year we had 52 Americans held hostage in Iran and a bungled attempt to rescue them, and the anniversary of the US Embassy siege fell on Election Day. Plus the one big foreign policy blunder Americans never forgave Carter for–giving away the Panama Canal two years earlier.

The last debate in 1980 was decisive. Reagan asked Americans if they were better off then they were four years before. Carter blew it by saying he consulted his 13 year old daughter about nuclear arms policy. The debates are upon us and Obama is not likely to admit he consults Malia and Sasha on anything. As for the better off question, we all know that: the Stock Market is booming, 4.5 million jobs created in the last 24 months, the troops are home from Iraq, the US auto industry is alive and flourishing, homes are selling and being built, we are slowly crawling out of the mess Bush and Cheney left us in. And Osama bin Laden is as dead as a doornail. America is a more secure place.

So the Republicans can dream on. I feel kind of sorry for them. I used to be one. I remember how I felt when the first Bush lost and then four years later Bob Dole could not get off the ground with his presidential run.

But this is not 1980, never has and never will be.


David Shipp

Castro Valley CA