Update on this post: Clinton trounces Obama by 20 points in head to head poll
It’s time to think about 2012. Yes, it’s true. As we know, the world doesn’t end until 12/21/12 so we will have one more presidential election…presumably….
It’s way to early to make valid predictions. So I will satisfy my need for predictions by attempting some that may be inoperable in short order. But first I will reach back to one of my previous crystal ball moments about THE ONE. (Forgive me regulars, you’ve heard it all before.)
Obama is toxic for Democrats (made in Feb 2008). He would upend the Democrats, obliterate the Left, and accomplish next to nothing that the Democrats presumably stood for…and he said he did too. The returns are in on this point. You can google it. The Left will recover a bit now that the midterm is over, but it’s essentially neutered for a generation.
Further it was evident from early on that Obama’s real agenda dovetailed nicely with W’s, if one cared to look. Clinton and McCain both stood for departures from W’s agenda in one way or another. Clinton in particular could not be relied on to do as told. They had to be stopped, so they were. In broad strokes that meant Obama actually stood for this:
The expansion of centralized, corporate control. The HC law is not an intrusion of the government into the private sector so much as it is an admission that the Federal government and corporations are one and the same. Ditto for the bank and auto bailouts. I expect the talk of repeal will fade after a show vote or two. The law will be tweaked to adjust the most obnoxious elements. Nothing that damages centralized control in any real sense will occur.
War. Toning down the Iraq theater, while expanding of the wars elsewhere. Obama followed through on W’s Iraq agenda. He has expanded the Afghan war into Pakistan dramatically. Hell, Obama may even believe he’s set a deadline for an Afghan pull out. If he’s that naive, he’s in for a surprise. Ain’t gonna happen.
Social Security ‘reform’. Bush overplayed here in 2005. Too much, too soon, the economy was too good. Now Obama is in position to finish W’s job with a big hand up from the newly minted Congress.
These were always Obama’s big 3 agenda items. Everything else was for show or ignored.
Our candidates are selected for us. I am convinced of this. When predicting Presidential elections one has to A. Survey the landscape for those who are viable. Then B. Assess if these people are acceptable to the ‘powers that be’.
A number of Republicans hit both marks. Thune, Daniels ( it seems), Huckabee, possibly Romney. Marco Rubio is an even bet to be on any GOP ticket as the VEEP. Palin and Gingrich both fail on A. or B. or both. They will not be nominated no matter how many votes they get in primaries. (See 2008 Democratic primary campaign for a primer on how this might work.)
The Democrats are stuck. Firstly, the ‘powers that be’ have turned on the presumptive 2012 Dem nominee. Secondly, it’s unclear if he will be viable in 2012. Probably to a degree, but his brand is damaged badly. We are then left with Biden, who is a nonstarter, and Hillary Clinton, who has become acceptable to some of the Powers That Be if only because the mistake they made in 2008 is so overwhelmingly in evidence. But she’s stated repeatedly that she won’t be running and I believe her.
Whether or not there is a viable Dem nominee in 2012 may be beside the point. I suspect GOP voters will nominate as they are told to (both overtly and covertly), and then their guy will win the election. Please note this, as no one else seems to think it, I feel it needs to be repeated: The Tea Party PEAKED on Tuesday. The midterm was the beginning of the end of the tea party as a movement. They are now mainline Republicans circa 1984. Subsumed. Nothing they want diverges dramatically from what the Post GW Bush-Pre GHW Bush GOP establishment wants. They are in the tent. Rand Paul will act as a Bernie Sanders for the other team, interesting on occasion, mostly powerless, and always pointless.
As far as a second term for BHO goes it matters less if he improves in the country’s eyes, what matters is if he improves in the eyes of those who selected him in the first place. In terms of policy he’s done alright by them. The Fed’s happy. Wall Street got away with it. No public option. No prescription drug reimportation. The war(s) have expanded. The shucking and jiving about DADT lasted long enough to kill its repeal. Where Obama has failed astoundingly is in communication (He’s actually right here, but is referring to the wrong audience.). The promise of another great communicator in the White House to bamboozle most of us, most of the time has been brutally dashed. He’s just not that good at it. The same cabal that backed Obama in 2008 won’t be coming around again in 2012. He’s annoyingly disappointing. His character flaws seem to negate any possibility for a recovery. They fly in the face of his prime function as the Chosen One: to convince us that he’s one of us. Fail on this count and you’re out.
2012 will be interesting for 2 reasons. 1. To see who the GOP lands on to beat Obama (Who is most acceptable to the ‘selectors’?) and 2. To see if Obama decides to put himself through a losing campaign.
Ah, it is early. But this is may take from 11/8/10.