“Obama is done! He’s a lame duck. It’s over for the president.”
These are the type of the comments we saw in the media as 2013 came to a close. As some political pundits saw it, Obama can forget seeing any of his proposals enacted and should simply enjoy the perks of being president -like free cable and limo rides.
Could they be right? Sure, it’s possible. Obama’s approval ratings are near his lowest as president and his disapproval rating is at 54 percent, his worst ever.
With that said, 2014 could be a great year for the president—in fact, it could be his best ever. I know some of you are thinking: I must be crazy. Well, a lot of people who have been called crazy later went on to be recognized as geniuses. Of course, some who were labeled as “crazy” actually turned out to have mental disorders.
In either event, here are the six reasons that 2014 could be Obama’s finest.
1. The US economy is improving: A good economy generally equals higher approval ratings for president and in turn more political capital for him to push for his proposals. Even President Clinton had an approval rating of 73% in the midst of his impeachment. Why? One big reason was the US economy was strong with unemployment at 4.5% and falling. Currently, the US economy appears poised for growth. The unemployment rate is at its lowest point during the Obama administration at 7%. This is in sharp contrast to the 10% unemployment rate we saw at one time in Obama’s first term. In addition, the stock market just had its best year since 1997, the GDP for the third quarter of 2013 grew at a surprisingly strong 3.6% annual rate and the IMF recently raised its 2014 growth projection for the US economy.
2. Obamacare will get better: It has to-It can’t get worse. And Obamacare was the number 1 reason cited in a recent NBC News/WSJ poll for why people gave the president only a 43% approval rating. But here’s the thing: The Obamacare website issues are now behind us and over 2 million people and counting have signed up for the program. That means Obamacare will soon be judged on its actual merits—not on website issues nor on the constant Republican fear mongering about the law’s uncertainties. If we start hearing stories from Americans whose lives have been made better by this law, expect to see public support rise.
3. Obama has key issues on his side: President Obama recently stated that 2014 will be his “Year of action.” So expect to see him push hard on issue like immigration reform and raising the minimum wage. Both of these have broad public support. Immigration reform -including a pathway to citizenship as Obama has championed-has the support of 73% of voters. On minimum wage, a November Gallup Poll found that 76% of Americans support a raise form the current level of $7.25 an hour to $9—including 76% of independent voters. Obama is in a win-win situation on these two issues. They pass and it helps him as well as Congressional Dems. The Republicans block them and it will hurt their standing.
4. Republican Party has no ideas: Frankly, the only issue the badly splintered Republican Party seems to agree upon is to repeal Obamacare. That’s a lot to stake your entire 2014 midterm election campaign on—especially given that there’s a real possibility that Obamacare becomes more popular during the year. If the Obamacare issues fades, so, too, do the GOP’s chances of success in 2014 election since the only other issue getting them press is the infighting between its Tea Party and establishment wings.
5. Political fortunes change fast: Anyone remember right after the government shutdown in October headlines declaring, “Major damage to GOP after shutdown?” Polls at that time found that the public favored Democrats 50% to 42% over Republicans in generic Congressional match ups. Flash forward just two months later and pollsters now find Republicans leading Democrats 49% to 44%. Who knows where we will stand by November 2014 but all you can say for sure is that the current polls numbers are about as meaningful as the storyline on Duck Dynasty.
6. 2013 was so bad for Obama he can only go up: When we look back a year from now on the fortunes of President Obama, it will, of course, be contrasted to 2013. Lets be honest: There are some benefits to having really bad year—namely, it’s easier to make the next one appear better.
So there you go: My six reasons why I think 2014 could be an amazing year for President Obama. I encourage you to save this article and if turns I’m right, I expect to be heralded as political soothsayer second only to Nate Silver. And If I’m wrong, I will of course, offer a long list of excuses.