Obama Will Win By Defending the Safety Net
There's a rumor going around that Obama wants to face Rick Perry in the general election. At first this seems counter-intuitive-- the Governor is agressive, has a somewhat-positive record on jobs, and has already been christened as the candidate who can get the support of various wings of the Republican Party.
My hunch is that Obama wants to go against Perry because Perry has been the most adamant about dismantling the social safety net. In Perry's 2010 book Fed Up!, he writes that Social Security is "by far the best example" of a program "violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles." He later expressed his view that both Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. (Seems like when he says he wasn't planning on running for the presidency, he must have meant it.)
According to Nixonland author Rick Pearlstein, when a Democratic candidate can show the middle class that he or she is willing to fight for their interests during rough economic times, they tend to win. With voters still largely blaming Bush for the terrible economy, I almost don't think the economy will decides this election. The middle class is scared. With shrinking incomes and dwindling prospects, they're not going to want to vote for a guy (or gal) who promises to dismantle the one bit of economic security they have left.