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  • Trying to be reasonable

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on September 6th, 2011 (All posts by )

    In a non-partisan setting, I had the following to say:

    Without regard to my personal wishes with regard to Mr. Obama, my assessment of him as a politician, in 2008 an his chances in 2012 are as follows. Mr. Obama had a very good hand dealt to him in 2008. A very unpopular sitting president, a weak ticket from the same party, then a sharp downturn to the economy. Plus, his relative youth, his surface appeal to centrism, a vague but optimistic message, and of course the unique feature of being the first Black president. It added up to a solid win, but not a landslide win. (To see what a landslide looks like the three in my lifetime, 1964, 1972, 1984 are good examples.) Since then, he has had a very rough time. The economy is terrible. Whether you approve of his policies or disagree with them, so far they have not had any discernible positive effect. He seems unsteady in office, and to lack a capacity to command and lead, and the public wants a strong executive in times of crisis. The American public is an extremely unforgiving employer. We have had three people elected president who were popular and seemingly highly capable, whose reputations were destroyed by failing to overcome a weak economy: Martin van Buren, Grover Cleveland, and Herbert Hoover. Jimmy Carter is a less extreme example of the same phenomenon. Unless Mr. Obama suddenly has a run of good luck, he will be very weak going into the 2012 election, for the same reasons and will suffer the same fate. That said, the GOP may not be able to nominate a candidate that is popular and can reach into the center. Or the GOP could split off a third party, putting Mr. Obama back in that way. Mr. Obama’s supporters are highly motivated, organized and well-funded. Public employees unions will be practically fighting for their lives in 2012 and will work hard for him. The media will support him as fervently and with as much, if not more, slant and spin as they did in 2008. These advantages may make up for a terrible economy and weak performance in office.

    Bottom line: It is too early to tell what will happen. The current Intrade odds show Mr. Obama a hair below even odds. Interestingly, Intrade shows a generic Democrat a hair above even, which suggests the possibility of a primary challenge to Mr. Obama. That could happen, probably from the Left. He will easily overcome any such challenge, and it may actually help him in the general election.

    Interesting times for political junkies.

    — Am I wrong about any of this?

     

    6 Responses to “Trying to be reasonable”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      Not wrong but you are certainly trying hard to be reasonable.

      The big question is whether the 2008 election was a fluke or a sign that the country has changed fundamentally.

    2. Jim Bennett Says:

      Pretty objective take, Lex. Ramesh had a good article this morning (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-06/obama-s-weakness-leading-to-republican-overreach-ramesh-ponnuru.html) on the possibility that Obama’s weakness will drive the GOP into a conservatism machismo contest that could be disastrous in terms of capturing the critical independent vote.

    3. Mike Says:

      I think the 2012 election is the Tea Party / Libertarian wing’s to lose, not Obama’s to win. There is A LOT of dissatisfaction and anger out there in America, and that anger is directed at the politicians in power. The “stimulus” robbery alone has everyone I know, on the right and left, upset and angry.

      People are thirsty for clarity and leadership. They see the precipice. They feel the danger. They know the system is broken.

      Now is the time for us to boldly proclaim our ideals and vision for the future. Americans want a path out, they’re looking for someone they believe can take them out of this. They need to hear a plan, clearly stated, founded on principle, with a promise to be carried out with skill and determination by someone with a track record of leadership.

      I am less interested in the person – a savior, if you will – then a well thought out and executed platform of ideas:

      1. A plan to eliminate the debt in 10-20 years.
      2. A balanced budget amendment.
      3. A vast reduction the the size and power of the federal government.
      4. A plan to make the US more business friendly and competitive.

      I would support any candidate who supports those goals, and just as importantly, I would donate money to them. And if we win, I believe that’s how we’ll do it.

    4. Michael Kennedy Says:

      It is ominous that approximately 50% of the population pays no income tax and receives benefits paid for by the rest of us. Next year will show us whether that situation is fatal.

    5. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      I tend to believe that a primary challenge to Obama is impossible.

      1) The Democrats cannot win national elections in the absence of the 97%+ Democrat votes of Blacks. They will not vote Republican, but if they simply fail to show up in their usual numbers, the Democrats lose.

      2) Obama is the second Democrat Black President. Or at least so the Clintons claim. He is the first with actual African ancestry. American Blacks are tremendously attached to him, and any attempt to remove him from office by any non-Black Democrat will trigger massive disaffection and feelings of betrayal.

      3) Unless it was Charlie Rangel or Maxine Waters running, it would be suicide for the Democrats. It is better for them to take even a landslide loss and preserve their coalition; than to permanently lose any significant part of it.

      4) For better or worse, Buraq Hussein Obama is going to be the unchallenged Democrat presidential nominee, in any elections in 2012.

      Subotai Bahadur

    6. Bill Brandt Says:

      In politics remember Nov 2012 – 14 months – is an eternity.

      Remember when Bush Sr’s popularity was 90%? How long did it take for him to slide? I don’t believe in Obama’s case it is likely he will recoup but then anything is possible and nothing is certain.