Saturday, January 19, 2013
Obama is not Carter. Understood.
Now that we are coming up on the second inauguration of Barack Obama I might as well say this: I'm still trying to get a fix on why I was wrong about the last election.
I have long harbored two (strictly inconsistent) theories about the cycles in American politics. One was the Schlesinger theory, according to which politics in the US, especially at the Presidential level, works in roughly 30 year cycles. Since 30 is not divisible by four this, as observed in Presidential election results, required a periodicity of either 28 or 32 years.
At any rate, according to the theory of Schlesinger cycles, Obama had to be another Jimmy Carter. After all: 1976 + 32 = 2008.
Carter himself on this view was Harry Truman. 1948 + 28 = 1976.
Truman only served one term (in his own right) and Carter only served one term (without qualification). So, if Schlesinger cycles were in operation, Obama would only serve one term.
During this election cycle, when the opportunity to predict the outcome came up, I generally made reference to the Schlesinger cycle and predicted a Republican win -- another Eisenhower or Reagan. I had also long harbored a second theory, but I've suppressed it of late.
Oops. Better go with the second theory, which I will discuss next week.