The pundits and pollsters have often spoken of this year's election being similar to that of 1980.
A Democrat incumbent has prevailed over a miserable economy, has sagging poll numbers and has proven himself to be in over his head, out of his depth.
Only this time, instead of the media directing its vitriol and derision at the GOP presidential candidate (as with Reagan 32 years ago), it is targeting VP candidate Paul Ryan, whom Democrats and the Hollywood Left regard as being to the right of Attila the Hun. But tens of millions of Americans didn't think Reagan was too extreme to vote for him, and the same will happen for the Romney-Ryan ticket.
Carter's economy featured hideous 21 percent interest rates, 13 percent inflation and unemployment in the 7-8 percent range. But at least his budget deficits were reasonable, and he didn't have as many hard left loons in his cabinet as does our current president.
Obama's centrally-planned economy features fearsome deficits, years of above 8 percent unemployment, 46 million people on food stamps, smothering regulations, and the very real threat of 2013 tax increases hanging over the heads of business entrepreneurs, corporate CEOs and individual consumers from coast to coast.
The arrogant overreach of Obamacare promises to exacerbate deficits, raise healthcare costs and degrade our healthcare system in part by worsening what is already a serious shortage of physicians. The EPA, Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services, among other agencies, are led by leftist ideologues whose designs on America and the American economy are frightening.
But beyond the economic malaise and incompetency in the Oval Office, the nation of Iran is a common denominator. On election day 1980, our 53 hostages languished in Iran one year after they were captured when the American Embassy was overrun by Islamist radicals. There was talk of an "October Surprise" that might boost Carter sufficiently enough to ensure his reelection. Perhaps a bold rescue, but more likely a negotiated settlement allowing both nations to save face. (The rescue option was highly doubtful, let's not forget, because an attempted rescue mission had failed in April 1980, resulting in eight American deaths).
There were also charges several years after the election that Reagan's VP running mate, George H.W. Bush, had secretly negotiated an agreement with Iran's mullahs to hold onto the hostages until after Reagan took office, then release them. Congressional investigations during the 1980s proved this conspiracy theory to be without merit. (Shocking!)
These days, Iran is getting close to developing nuclear weapons. Many analysts believe Israel might attack Iran's nuclear reactors to disrupt development of these weapons. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spouted off today about how the "tumor" of Israel will soon be wiped out. Some here in the United States have predicted Obama may strike Iran prior to the election to garner "rally-round-the-flag" support to push him over the top in the election. But that sounds far-fetched to me, as it could easily backfire on him and things in the Middle East could turn catastrophic in a hurry, causing gasoline prices to skyrocket.
Another theory has Obama negotiating a deal with Israel: Hold off on attacking Iran until after the election, and we promise to provide all of the military support you need. This also sounds unrealistic.
Obama and the western nations waited far too long to impose strict sanctions on Iran, and Obama's decision to try negotiating with Iran and respecting its disgraceful government proved to be incredibly naive and ridiculous.
The two huge differences between now and 1980 are:
1) Technology and a more balanced marketplace of ideas (talk radio, conservative blogs, Fox News, etc. counteract the liberal/insular media elites) and
2) Changed demographics, with a much higher percentage of Hispanics in the total population.
Both of these will affect the outcome; it's not unreasonable to suggest that No. 1 will help counteract No. 2, as Hispanics tend to vote Democrat and this large a Hispanic population in 1980 may well have given us two terms of the peanut farmer. Think about it: No talk radio, no Internet blogs, ABC/NBC/CBS/NPR/NY Times/WaPost et al providing their biased coverage as lapdogs for the Democrats and shoveling bunk about Reagan being a neanderthal, reactionary racist. Thank goodness the conservatives can counter the typically left-wing journalists these days, or we wouldn't be on our way to being Greece, we would be Greece.
My best guess: The economy and genuine alarm with Obama's true colors are much more likely to decide this year's election than developments in the Middle East.