If you watched Monday’s GOP debate, you saw that the Republican presidential hopefuls are pretty sure they know what this election is going to be about: the deficit. The size of government. Jobs. But what if they’re wrong?
In 2000, it was pretty clear that the next administration would mainly be caretakers of our peace and prosperity and managers of our surplus. Then came 9/11, and we realized, in retrospect, that the 2000 election was perhaps the most consequential in memory. The 2008 election was supposed to be about Iraq, but late in the game, the financial sector cracked open. We barely hear about our two wars these days. Who’s to say the 2012 candidates have any firmer grasp on what the issue will be next year, or in the second year of their hoped-for terms?