I was reading a commentary the other day that struck a nerve with me and made me think what the 2012 election will really be about. Its going to be about who rightly or WRONGLY will get the credit for fixing the economy.
A lot of folks forget that the economy is a market place and like any market adjusts and eventually corrects for most of the issues that cause an economic downturn. That is the business cycle. Government has little power to stimulate the economy overall and lots of power to cause disruptions. Most government actions in response to economic downturns are more in the category of damage control than fixes while the actual economic factors that are the real problem are absorbed and corrected by the market.
Quite frankly Presidents get credit for the economic conditions that occur on their watch even though they really have little effect on them. Which brings us to the 2012 election. The economy is slowly starting to recover from the 'great recession' and while still shaky is likely to continue to improve over the next four years. Which means that the President that wins the 2012 election can position himself to claim to be the savior of the economy without really having to do much more. Obama can claim it was his policies and a GOP president can claim it was his stopping Obama's policies (even if he doesn't really do more than a few token gestures).