Insiders Offer Mixed Take on Impact of Iran on Obama's Reelection Prospects
National Journal's political Insiders varied on how detrimental the Iranian threat would be to President Obama's re-election prospects.
Among Democrats, about two thirds said it was not a detriment at all, three out of ten said it would be somewhat of a detriment, and only a handful believed it was a major detriment. Among Republicans, roughly half assessed it would be somewhat of a detriment, while a third said it was not harmful and a small 14 percent said it was a major detriment.
How detrimental is the Iranian threat to President Obama's reelection prospects?
|Somewhat of a detriment||29%||53%|
|Not a detriment||67%||33%|
Many Insiders of both political stripes believed foreign policy would play second fiddle to the economic picture.
"The irresponsible GOP rhetoric on Iran may fire up their base, but this election is about the economy, not foreign policy," one Democratic Insider said. Another offered: ""It is not a detriment now; no American voter is focused on it at all and won't be unless something happens there to get voters attention-but even then, the economy is a pretty big elephant in the election room."
"He has demonstrated an inability to influence Iranian decision making," said a Republican counterpart. "Having said that, the economy is still the overriding factor, and his weak foreign policy won't impact much."
"Issue #22 to most voters," another agreed.
Others noted that there were too many unknowns to really predict how the issue would play out in the months ahead.
"To say it would be detrimental is to possess a crystal ball," one Democratic Insider said. "My grade level ain't that high. Sorry."
Some Republicans, of course, took a dimmer view, saying the president had taken a weak position on Iran that would undercut his foreign policy credentials.
"It depends on how well he handles, but likely will remind voters why they prefer the GOP for national security," one GOP Insider said.
"The Obama theory of constructive engagement with tyrants and despots has proven neither constructive nor engaging," another said." Iran's entry into the nuclear-arms brethren is a major blow to American exceptionalism."
Democrats too expressed some concern about how the situation could play out.
"Anything you can't control in a campaign is a potential problem. Clearly, the Iranians can't be controlled," one said.
"If that situation explodes (pardon the pun), the president's carefully constructed foreign policy/antiterrorism record will implode," another agreed.
Still others, however, said that for once, a sitting Democratic president had too strong of a foreign policy dossier to be too damaged by the Iranian threat.
Or as a Democratic insider put it: "This is the president who killed [Osama] bin Laden and helped get rid of [Muammar el-]Qaddafi. I don't think anyone is doubting his chops on taking on dictators."