The Obama Watch

Obamaflation Arrives

President Obama will not be re-elected. Period.  

By 4.26.11

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President Obama will not be re-elected. Period.

Why?

Obamaflation has arrived, and this is what it looks like.

Milk. A gallon of skim. At the local Giant in Central Pennsylvania:

January 11, 2011: $3.20
February 28, 2011: $3.24
March 6, 2011: $3.34
April 23. 2011: $3.48

That would be a 28 cent rise in a mere 102 days, from January to April of this year. The third year of the Obama misadventure.

Then there's the celery. Same sized bag. Same store.

January 11, 2011: $1.99 a bag.
March 6, 2011: $2.49 a bag.

A rise of 50 cents in 54 days.

And the gas price during the administration filled with those who think "drill baby drill" is so yesterday? As one Internet photo had it, the numbers for regular, premium. and diesel were replaced with "LOL," "OMG," and "WTF!" Thus be it to governments who seem not to understand that energy is what makes the economic engine -- and your car -- hum.

What does this mean? It means Barack Obama is not going to be re-elected president of the United States. Period.

Neither Rush Limbaugh nor our founder, R. Emmett Tyrrell (as far as I know) shop for groceries in our local Giant. (Hopefully he may have created a job where someone else down there at his Southern Command does it for him.) But having been keeping tabs on groceries here for the last four months with an eye to writing this exact column four months later, I find it astounding although not surprising that Rush and Bob Tyrrell seem to be two of the few (Rush noted yesterday that Fox's Brit Hume gets this as well) who understand the President is a political goner. Or, as the delightfully subtle Mr. Tyrrell has put it for months, politically "dead in the water." All understand why.

You can get away with a lot of things as president and blame them on other people. For Obama its George Bush or now the oil companies or also now those evil corporations or… well… yada yada yada. But when average Americans begin to understand that Obamanomics is directly responsible for a 28 cent rise in the price of milk (with over a year and a half to go to the 2012 elections), there is going to be political hell to pay. And the buck, so to speak, stops, as it always does, with the president of the United States.

And voters here in Pennsylvania are making exactly that connection between Obama and the cost of their milk and their gas..

Like clockwork, in perfect synchronization with the rising cost of milk right here in a part of Pennsylvania afloat in dairy cows -- comes this from Public Policy Polling.

President Obama's approval numbers in a state he carried by over ten points in 2008 has him with a disapproval rating of 52% -- and within the margin of error with three potential Republican presidential candidates. Says the poll:

Obama is basically tied in the state with Mitt Romney, who he trails 43-42, Mike Huckabee, who he leads 45-44, and Rick Santorum, who he leads 45-43.

What's particularly startling -- not to mention ominously telling for Obama -- is that Santorum is a former Senator from Pennsylvania, a well-known commodity here, who lost his last re-election race in 2006 (to Bob Casey) by 18 points! Now he trails Obama in the same state -- by just 2 points!

With all fairness to Romney, Huckabee and Santorum, what this poll reflects is much more than any individual familiarity or favorability they may have with Pennsylvania voters. What it means is that voters in Pennsylvania are going to the grocery store every day or every week or every month, not to mention the gas station -- and Obamaflation is hitting them right where they live.

Their pocketbook. And they have already understood who is to blame -- and why.

IT IS WORTH GOING BACK to that telltale 1980 election to understand what's happening. 

Then, as now, a Democrat had carried Pennsylvania four years earlier. Jimmy Carter's margin was shy of 3 points, not Obama's 10. But liberal Republicans were aghast at the idea of nominating Ronald Reagan, once again insisting only a moderate could carry the state -- as they insisted when picking Ford over Reagan in 1976, Ford going on to lose the state. Reagan even lost the Pennsylvania primary's popular votes to George H.W. Bush in April of 1980 -- although a better Reagan organization delivered the majority of elected delegates district by district.

After Reagan was nominated, the media insisted this was going to be a close race and that Carter was ahead, both around the country and in Pennsylvania.

They were absolutely, totally dead wrong.

Reagan trounced Carter in Pennsylvania by over 7 points -- and nationally, in a three-way race no less -- by 10. Reagan carried 44 states.

But why?

A thousand years ago the Sung Dynasty of China was the first to discover the problem that printing money at the will of the leader can effectively be an economic drug -- and the dynasty overdosed. Followed by the Yuan dynasty and another overdose -- the same results obtained. Time after time since then -- whether the French Revolution choking to death in a flood of assignats or the German Weimar Republic doing the same in marks or (China again) Mao's losing opponent Chiang K'ai-shek wiping out the middle class in 1949 or Jimmy Carter's administration committing economic chaos with the dollar in the late 1970s -- the principle is the same.

Too much money, as the economists say, chasing too few goods. Said the Wall Street Journal on February 7 of this year:

The U.S. bond market has begun sending a message that inflation risks are rising and the Federal Reserve may be too slow to act, potentially marking a significant turning point in the economic recovery.

"Inflation risks are rising."

This is the talk of economists, journalists and politicians.

Paying an increase of 28 cents for a gallon of milk inside of less than four months? This is the language understood by average Americans too busy with daily life to pay much in the way of attention to the economists, journalists, and politicians. But 20 million a week are paying attention to Rush Limbaugh because Rush understood exactly what was going to happen if Obama got his way with Obamanomics. "I hope he fails" he said at the time… and he said it, to much flack, because he knew this was exactly where America would end up with Obama doing exactly what he has now, in fact, done. Rush was right. As is Bob Tyrrell.

Now, to borrow a phrase, the chicken -- Obamaflation -- is coming home to roost. Right there in the dairy section of grocery stores all across Pennsylvania. In November of 1980, voters buying milk, gas, and anything else were staring at an inflation rate of over 12 per cent. The election the media had insisted Carter was winning was called within minutes that night, as Ronald Reagan steamrolled over Jimmy Carter before he even literally got out of the shower at his California home to start the evening.

That would be the same Jimmy Carter who had managed to use the same principles of government as Barack Obama -- Obama thus securing precisely the same results as Carter.

Which is to say, there are now a lot of increasingly angry Pennsylvanians who are making the direct connection between Obamanomics and the arrival of Obamaflation -- the price of their milk and gas. Just as the Pennsylvanians of 1980 made the same connection with the same policies to Carter.

WHAT SEEMS TO HAVE LEFT Obama strategists clueless is the fundamental historical fact that inflation comes slowly. Milk today, celery tomorrow, and gas almost every day. Then, too late, there's a collective gasp of recognition by Americans walking around the grocery store that it's no longer just the milk and the celery but the soup, the chicken, the hamburger and perhaps now critically -- the Excedrin. Don't forget the rent, either. The shock of realization dawns that somehow the patient -- America -- is suddenly in dire economic health and the only way out is a brutally painful form of political surgery.

It is such moments that elect a Ronald Reagan in 1980. And more to the point, over time casts an air of economic incompetence over liberalism that takes two or three back-to-back GOP presidential terms to shake. At which point Americans discovering the rise of milk prices remember the old lesson all over again -- or if younger, learn it for the first time.

And whatever else is going on in the Obama White House, you can be sure there is a cluster of increasingly panicked politicians gathering around a president whose record thus far indicates he would rather go down with a ship full of bad economists -- read liberals -- than do anything that violates left-wing economic orthodoxy and his headlong drive to re-create America into some sort of Europeanized welfare state. A place where all Americans are dependent on government in the name of a mythical "fairness" -- and hence the Democrats' political organization -- rather than their own creativity, individual initiative, innovation and, dare we say it, imagination and willingness to risk. 

As with Jimmy Carter's bleak ending in a politically suicidal witches brew of inflation, high unemployment and soaring interest rates, defiant righteousness appears to be preferable for Obama and company in facing the spreading economic conflagration already showing up in supermarkets across the country in places like the dairy and fresh vegetables sections of my local Giant.

Which in turn goes straight to the issue of Barack Obama's re-electability.

The hard political reality is that the real election here is who will be the next Republican president of the United States. Because the rest of this election is already over.

Barack Obama has lost his re-election.

With a gallon of milk and a gallon of gas. And a stick of celery on the side.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.