What Barack Obama has going for him in 2012 is, well, put it this way: human nature.
Witness the French. Witness the Greeks.
Part of being human is wanting all you can get without paying any more for it than absolutely necessary. In the context of 21st century governance, this translates into a popular plaint heard throughout Europe and the United States: Namely, suffering is for the birds!
The French and the Greeks, worn out by government austerity measures intended to bring their resources more in line with their enormous debts, threw out their governments over the weekend. Sometimes sacrifice and renunciation just don't work; as, for instance, when they hurt. When that happens, the voters demand a new set of leaders with, maybe, a new set of policies.
The Socialists, in France, have new policies all right -- higher taxes on the wealthy, a higher minimum wage, earlier retirement for longtime manual workers, and the hiring of 60,000 more teachers. The Greeks, who dislike the idea of paying back money borrowed from foreigners, will try to cobble together new policies that make indebtedness more enjoyable without making it go away or something.
Anyway, enough pain, enough deprivation. On go the government benefits, with maybe some new ones thrown in, for a while longer. The French and the Greeks can think about it tomorrow or whenever.
The example of French and Greek voters turning on the responsible adults in their governing class won't be lost on the Obama White House, which would love nothing better than to blame the Republicans for the very thought of enforcing economic discipline.
Whack, whack, whack! -- that's the sound Democrats would encourage the electorate to imagine themselves hearing if the GOP should win; the lash of Republican wrath falling across the sore backs of the middle class. The mantra is depressingly familiar: Tax cuts for the 1 percent; Social Security and Medicare turned over to Wall Street interests; government programs slashed; government payrolls reduced.
Contrast this bleak picture with the one showing no distressing changes, whatsoever, if President Obama receives a new term. No sacrifice; no sorrow; everybody happy -- save, of course, the evil 1 percent. On with the party!