Obama Still the Front-Runner for 2012

Thursday, 21 Oct 2010 10:53 AM

By Jon Friedman

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Much has been made about President Obama's failings and failures. Amazingly, his most vocal detractors seem to be his biggest supporters. They feel anywhere from let down to betrayed by their president's inability to demonstrate the same can-do spirit he displayed on the campaign trail in 2008.

They have a point, but so does Obama when he tries to calm them down.

Obama is too sensible to sound smug and ask the only relevant question out there right now: Who's going to beat Barack in 2012?

Game. Set, Match.

As much as the American people traditionally love to throw dirt on the graves of first-term presidents at the time of the midterm elections — hello, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — the incumbent still has the best home-field advantage in the world.

And Obama's position is greatly strengthened by the knowledge that the Republicans have yet to present a presidential candidate of any real consequence. Plenty of good things can happen for Obama in the next year or two.

The economy could turn. The stock market could take off. The jobs picture could brighten. The country could start to feel good about itself again, whether or not it wants to give any of the credit to POTUS.

It won't matter much whether the voters love him. It only matters whether Obama can muster the required 51 percent.

He will be able to take the credit for anything good that happens in the country.

And even if the nation lags a bit by 2012, Obama will be able to stare down the Republican nominee. It's hard to imagine the GOP fielding anyone who can put pressure on Obama.

Of course, as President Obama knows all too well about political frontrunners, things can change.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.

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