‘Why is it so hard for pundits to admit that Reagan was just as unpopular in 1982 as Obama is in 2010?’
This contemporary article is a reflective one, That possibly disagrees with many contemporary views on the Reagan era today. It makes comparisons with the Obama administration, suggesting that now 30 years on Reagan is seen in a different light particularly after his death in 2004. (Starts to be acknowledged for his achievements).
In this article it is argues that Reagan was just as unpopular as Obama is today. It quotes;
‘Reagan, as president, was not some magical political super-being who was immune to sagging public confidence, poor midterm election prospects, and intraparty dissent and second-guessing that Obama is now faced with.’
Similarly it states that a Presidents success can often rely on the state of the economy, if steady then the President has the job of keeping it steady. If unstable the President is criticised for not doing enough to fix it. Similar economic and Political downturn existed in both Presidents terms in office; high rising unemployment, and involved in conflict, contesting powers/emerging powers. These are all similarities that both Obama and Reagan faced.
However the article then presents an alternative viewpoint that suggests the similarities are only slight, and often differ. Arguing that Americans in 1982 had more confidence in Reagan’s economic program than they have today in Obama’s;
‘Contrast Obama’s attempt to develop a politics to justify his economic program with what Reagan did in 1982. Faced with steadily rising unemployment, which went from 8.6 percent in January to 10.4 percent in November, Reagan and his political staff, forged a strategy early that year calling for voters to “stay the course” and blaming the current economic troubles on Democratic profligacy. “We are clearing away the economic wreckage that was dumped in our laps,” Reagan declared. Democrats accused them of playing “the blame game,” but the strategy, followed to the letter by the White House for ten months, worked. The Republicans were predicted to lose as many as 50 House seats, but they lost only 26 and broke even in the Senate.’
However this view is then criticised heavily, for its suggestive nature regarding the prediction of seats lost. It is then argued that only losing ’26 seats’ as oppose to 50 seats, does not suggest that there was more confidence in Reagan than there Is in The Obama administration.
For example where was the confidence in the 1982 mid-terms;
‘when double-digit unemployment prompted voters to toss 26 of Reagan’s Republican allies out of Congress and to hand seven new governorship to Democrats and 11 state legislative chambers to the Democrats?’
By the summer of 1992, just 24 percent of Americans said their country was better off because of the Reagan years, while 40 percent said it was worse off — and that more Americans (48 percent) viewed Reagan unfavorable than favorable (46 percent).
Similarly just 49% of Americans say they trust Obama, and 48% believe he is not a strong leader.
Thus the article concludes that Reagan was just as unpopular in 1982, it wasn’t until after this that polls and employment rates started to take a turn for the better- ‘His personality amounted for nothing’.