While President Obama was in Everett, Washington last week touring a Boeing 787 Dreamliner plant I was in Josephine County. Back in 2008 voters in Josephine County voted for John McCain over Barack Obama 55% to 41%, a whopping 14% spread. Poor Jeff Merkley received just 34% of the votes with Josephine County voters giving Gordon Smith 56% of the vote in the same election.
I parked my car next to a car with a Ron Paul bumper sticker. My car sports a 2012 Obama bumper sticker. I was meeting my nearly 88 year old father at the Three Rivers Hospital in Grants Pass to assist him on a round of medical tests. While he was being shuttled from test to test I sat in front of a flat screen watching CNN, pecking on my laptop, answering cell texts. I was half listening to CNN when I noticed a small crowd gathering behind and beside me staring at the screen. Obama was speaking. They were watching President Obama tout his efforts to change federal tax policy to reward companies like Boeing for keeping jobs in America. Obama was pressing to take tax breaks away for those companies that move work overseas.
I expected a whole lot of uncivil discourse regarding President Obama. Instead I heard resignation and quiet acknowledgement that 2012 will be Obama's second term. I heard a little muttering about a clown car. Obama has crept back to his strongest position in months. People seem more optomistic about the economy.
The Republicans have three fears: the economy, an unelectable Tea Party candidate and another term for Obama. More and more folks realize the Republican Party has run out of highly electable presidential candidates. Meanwhile Romney and Santorum are in a statistical dead heat in Michigan.
It's way to soon to predict victory for Obama. I do sense a serious shift in his political fortunes even in Josephine County.