President Barack Obama stands in danger of suffering the same fate as incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter in 1980, Politico
reports. Gasoline prices were soaring then, just as they are now, and Carter paid the price, losing the 1980 election to Republican Ronald Reagan.
Gas prices are now approaching $4 a gallon, almost twice their level when Obama entered office in January 2009. Just as in 1980, developments in Iran are responsible for much of the price run-up. Then it was Iran’s revolution that sparked higher prices; now it’s Iran’s threat to block oil shipments in the Persian Gulf.
Both Carter and Obama have emphasized energy conservation and development of alternative energy sources. And the Energy Department, which Carter created, is serving as the launch point of Obama’ policy.
To be sure, the two Democratic presidents are’t exactly identical in their approaches to the crises. Carter “just got this reputation of thinking we’re in a deep malaise and everybody has to cut back and use less,” Charles Ebinger, who served in President Gerald Ford’s Federal Energy Administration, told Politico. By contrast Obama is sunnier.
But Ebinger, now at The Brookings Institution, says Obama may be no more successful than Carter. “I think it’s good politics to be more upbeat about it,” he said. “But I don’t think he can win in the short run because prices are going to keep going up.”
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