While President Obama and his Republican challengers rev the engines for the 2012 Presidential race and worry about the decisions they’ve made as President, Senators, and Representatives. I have a much simpler formulation when it comes to analyzing Mr. Obama’s chances for reelection. As a disclaimer, I borrowed pretty liberally from a discussion I had with my friend Ryan Nelson-graduate student in history at University of Illinois-Springfield a few years ago.
We came to a pretty interesting formulation actually. I’m not an expert on karma obviously, but the gist would be something like: A president does good and bad things during his term in office. If the good things he does, outweigh the bad, than he will achieve the political form of enlightenment and be re-elected, but if he has done more bad things while in office, than he will be defeated, and returned to civilian life as an arguably lower life form. Of course, I could also be wrong and have just offended a billion people in India and my best friend in the process.
There’s one big problem with my theory of a karma presidency though. It would seem to require a thorough and rigorous airing of a presidents complete record successes and failures and in the sound bite culture we currently live, the odds of it occurring are virtually none. The campaign will most assuredly be dominated by the economy and jobs, maybe entitlement reform and so called Obama-care, and if there’s any breath left over: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But maybe if we used something like a karma system, our leaders wouldn’t continually disappoint us.