for all the attention on Syria, Egypt and other areas of conflict, the most important crisis for Mr. Obama remains the European economy because of its impact at home. “Europe’s weakness is likely to blow back on Obama’s efforts this fall — just at the wrong time,” she said. “He’ll have to run harder because of it.”Spending time and energy on the Euro crisis and the rest of the world's problems mean that Obama will have that much lesser to devote to his own re-election campaign.
Kind of crazy, therefore, that Obama's re-election might heavily depend on the strict European mom, Angela Merkel:
The clouds in Europe are casting a shadow over the American economy, which, in turn, is casting a shadow over the president’s re-election effort. And Obama administration aides admit there is little they can do except cajole European leaders not to let a big Spanish bank go under or to let austerity measures drag the continent’s economy down even. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has her hand on the German finance spigot, has more far more control over this piece of the president’s re-election puzzle than does the president himself.Meanwhile, the tension over the Euro crisis is building up, which then makes the political theatre that much more unscripted;
[European Commission President José Manuel] Barroso, asked by a Canadian reporter why North Americans should help pay for Europe's crisis, broke from his conciliatory tone and effectively blamed U.S. practices for causing the European troubles.Nice try, Mr. Barroso, to blame the US for the crisis across the Atlantic. His cause would be better served if he had instead said that we are all in it together.
"This crisis was not originated in Europe," Mr. Barroso said. "This crisis was originated in North America. Many in our financial sector were contaminated by unorthodox practices from some sectors of the financial market."
All these get way too complicated for Obama because not everything is well on the domestic front. For one, it is only a matter of days before the Supreme Court rules on Obamacare.
And then there is that huge problem that remains awfully stubborn: unemployment.
The year-over-year increase in part-timers not working at their capacity is troubling in light of the decline in unemployment. The unemployment decline may paint a rosier jobs picture than is warranted and would mask the persistent fact that 18% of U.S. workers are having difficulty finding the level of employment they would like. Anyone who works at least an hour per week for pay is considered "employed," by both the BLS and Gallup.The following cartoon from the Economist captures well how unemployment influences Obama's re-election:
For example, if a worker spends two hours a week mowing lawns and gets paid, that person is counted as employed, even if he or she wants to work full time. So while fewer people are unemployed, many are still not working at their desired capacity, as measured by Gallup's underemployment rate.