THE BLOG
09/22/2011 02:18 pm ET Updated Nov 22, 2011

Weak Opponents May Keep Obama in the White House

Luck plays a large role in life and in politics.

President Obama, who has been lucky in his political career from Illinois to the Oval Office, may still have some of that luck hanging around him during the 2012 presidential campaign.

Historically, candidates have not won re-election to the White House in the past fifty years when unemployment has been above 8%, but the key to re-election is and always has been who is your opponent.

Right now a dearth of strong candidates for the GOP makes it likely that Obama may return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue even though all of us voters are in a very sour mood indeed.

If the world were a fair place and a person of Ronald Reagan's stature was heading the Republican ticket Obama would definitely be a one term president.

Look back over our recent political history in presidential elections.

Lyndon Johnson, in one of the largest landslides in our history, completely wiped out his GOP opponent Barry Goldwater. Like Rick Perry, Goldwater frightened the voters on Social Security issues, as well as with his hard line views on foreign policy and nuclear war.

Richard Nixon was lucky in having as his opponent Senator George McGovern who also scared a large part of the voting public who thought he was a peacenik (whatever that may mean) and I worked for his campaign for a long time. Looking back, it seems ironic that Watergate happened, as Nixon would have won the election by a large margin without any of his illegal (and really stupid) actions. Nixon could have sat back and enjoyed his victory without his ridiculous illegal attempts at finding out what his opponent was doing.

Jimmy Carter was lucky in 1976, as President Ford's pardon of disgraced President Nixon still angered large numbers of voters. Carter was lucky that he was running in the post Watergate era, when voters were looking for an outsider to fix our country's ills.

Ronald Reagan was lucky to have to run against Jimmy Carter who was stuck defending high inflation, gas shortages and the hostage crisis in Iran.

Reagan was lucky again in 1984 to run against Walter Mondale, who, immediately upon his nomination at the convention, informed the American voters that he would raise taxes if elected president. The race was effectively over once he uttered those ill-chosen words.

George Herbert Walker Bush was lucky to run against Mike Dukakis who did not look good in a helmet sitting in a tank and showed no emotion when comments were made about his wife during a televised debate.

President Bill Clinton was lucky and fortunate to run against Senator Bob Dole in a lackluster campaign in 1996 on the GOP side.

And George W. Bush might have lost against another opponent than Senator Kerry, who ran a less than impressive race in 2004.

And, finally Obama was lucky to be running against Senator McCain in 2008 when the senator from Arizona let it be known that economics was not his strong suit -- just as the country's economy was in free fall.

So, luck and the good fortune of not having a strong opponent has been a key to the winner's eventual election to the presidency.

If a Ronald Reagan were running in 2012, Obama's luck would run out and he would be heading back to Chicago. But at this point there are no GOP candidates of Reagan's stature and Obama's luck may hold.

As the saying goes in politics, one can be beaten but there has to someone on the other side with enough stature -- or luck -- to beat you.

Even with the mood of the country in the pits over the economy, the constant blaming of the president for a lack of peace in the Middle East, an apparent coziness with Wall Street and a lack of empathy for the jobless, Obama's luck may hold.

Weak opponents may keep Obama in the White House!