TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE 2012 ELECTION CYCLE

When evaluating President Obama’s — or a Republican challenger’s — chances in 2012 relative to the jobless rate, history is instructive. No American president since WWII has been reelected with unemployment as high as it is today.

You may be asking yourself, “Self, why is Charles beginning his first post of the new year talking about an election that won’t take place for almost two years? Well, as the late, great James Brown used to sing, There Was A Time. And yes, there was a time when a presidential election campaign was confined to a calendar year – many, many years ago – or at least a 12-14 month period – Bill Clinton announced on October 3, 1991, less than four months before the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. But, those days are long gone and most likely, will never ever return – then-Senator Barack Obama announced on February 10, 2007.

And, that’s exactly what we’re about to see on the Republican side of the race. In recent years, the GOP has had either a sitting VP – Bush 41 – or a designated front-runner – Bush 43 – ready and waiting in the wings. Or, in 2008, a tried and true campaign warrior who after a rough start, would easily vanquish his opponents – John McCain.

But, 2012 is different and that’s why we’re about to see an early start to what might be the most brutal GOP presidential campaign in our time. Let’s get one thing straight from the jump – Republicans do not like Barack Hussein Obama and they really, really don’t like him as President of the United States. Now, they will tell you that their opposition to him is based on policy and philosophical differences and while that may be true to a certain extent, their vitriol and barely disguised anger says otherwise. And now that the GOP is in charge of the House again and are a smaller minority in the Senate where, because of arcane rules, they can be far more disruptive than they could in the House, we’re going to see more and more outrageous behavior and comments than ever before.

Everything Republicans will do and say in the House, Senate, on FOX News, on talk radio and in interviews in 2011 will be aimed directly at 2012. They have no intention whatsoever of doing anything that will help President Obama be successful because they have their eye set on regaining the Senate and more importantly, the White House, in 2012. And if that means the American people have to suffer in the meantime, then so be it.

Elections have consequences – Democrats had better heed and believe that more now than ever before.

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