Can there be political bubbles like financial bubbles?
Financial bubbles, inflated by hopes and dreams, burst when reality negates any possibility that those hopes and dreams will be realized. At that point, sky high stock or bond or real estate prices come crashing down to earth.
Can the same thing happen in politics? Can a skilled politician, who has become popular with soaring rhetoric and promises, deflate when it starts becoming clear that he is not going to deliver?
Of course, I am thinking about our president.
Mitt Romney demonstrated in the first presidential debate that the considerable gap between President Obama’s rhetoric and his performance makes him a vulnerable candidate.
Yet, the president’s bubble is far from bursting.
Romney, in the debate, was aggressive but deferential toward Obama. He was deferential because, despite the poor state of the country after almost four years of the Obama administration, Barack Obama is still a popular president.
Recent polling shows his approval remains around 50 percent. At similar stages in the presidencies of the last two presidents voted out after one term, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, their popularity ratings were in the thirties.
What accounts for Barack Obama’s Teflon? How is it that, after almost four years of terrible economic results – high unemployment, sluggish growth, huge deficits and mounting national debt – that Obama’s persona is not more tarnished?
Shouldn’t today’s economic facts on the ground be sufficient to puncture the Obama bubble?
One part of the answer to this puzzle is the changing demographics of the country.
The United States today is a nation that is much less white, much less married, and less traditional than it once was. These are growing trends and each reflects in at least some large part constituencies with values supportive of Obama’s world view - activist government and moral relativism.
What was once the exception to the rule in America – not being white, not being married, not having traditional views on family, sex, and abortion – is now becoming the rule. And these constituencies are becoming sufficiently large to elect a president.
National Journal released a poll right before the debate showing Obama and Romney dead even nationwide – 47 percent each – among likely voters.
The poll shows Obama’s white support at just 38 percent.
Obama was elected in 2008 with 43 percent of the white vote. It appears that he could be re-elected with even less.
In Gallup’s polling of last week, Obama’s approval among white voters stood at 39 percent.
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