That might work if Obama had something that Carter had: a powerful opponent who wasn’t afraid to present a grand vision for the country.
There’s another problem with this approach, too.
In the Carter era and through the ’80 election, Americans were still shocked by the things you mention, even though some of these challenges predated Carter (oil embargo, “whip inflation now,” etc.).
High gas prices, high unemployment, national debt, fear that faraway Middle East turmoil was a danger to Americans: These things were new, or at least new-ish.
Today, these things may not hurt Obama as much as one might think because people aren’t surprised by them. They didn’t just appear on inauguration day 2009.
Plus, the voters who care about one major aspect of Romney’s plan — deficit reduction — may be forgiven for feeling confused on the debt-and-spending issue.
The GOP threatened a national-debt default a summer ago because its leaders said we had to fix the spending problem once and for all.
Well . . . did we or didn’t we? If we didn’t, then why all the bother?
These domestic challenges might be surmountable with an awesome candidate with a full, original idea bag of his own, and a candidate who wasn’t afraid to do a lot of give-and-take with lots of different voters of different backgrounds on his own new proposals . . .