In a strange way, the 2008 presidential election is a mirror image of the 1980 presidential election. By mirror image, I mean everything is the same but in reverse.
In 1980, the democrats (Carter) held the presidency, but were blamed for economic troubles including rampant inflation beginning with an uncontrolled rise in the price of oil and disturbing turmoil in the financial sector arising from troubles with the interest rate. Ditto 2008, except the republicans (Bush) held the presidency.
In 1980, the Republican Nominee (Reagan) was known as a populist and known for his ability to draw from the uncommitted. Ditto Obama.
Reagan was known for his remarkable speeches, Obama is known for his remarkable speeches.
In 1980, the democrats were blamed for an ongoing situation in the middle east (the Iranian hostage crisis). In 2008, the republicans are blamed for an on-going situation in the middle east (Iraq).
Reagan drew strong support from young republicans, the unions and baby boomers. Obama draws strong support from young democrats, the unions and baby boomers.
Reagan made it cool to be white again. Obama makes it cool to be black again.
In 1980, the republicans were one president away from one of their own who faced impeachment for something stupid (Nixon). In 2008, the democrats are one president away from one of their own who faced impeachment for something stupid (Clinton).
In 1980, Carter was known as a bellicose political outsider. In 2008, McCain is known as a bellicose political outsider.
Reagan was popular for his foreign policy ideas even though he had zero foreign policy experience. Obama is popular for his foreign policy ideas even though he has zero foreign policy experience.
In 1980, Reagan won by a landslide. Will the same hold true for Obama? Only time will tell.
For the record, although loved by millions, Reagan was not my favorite president of the 20th century. He wasn't even my favorite republican, Nixon was--but that's a story for another day.