Two Easy Questions

1. Would Romney be a better president than Obama?

2. If a third party candidate ran to the right of Romney, if he were nominated, is there any chance of Obama NOT being reelected?

To me the answers to this are too obvious to need to be spoken aloud, but lets do it.

1. Of course Romney would be better than Obama. Does that mean I prefer Romney to any of the other GOP candidates? No. Does that mean I like the idea of Romney being president? No. Does it mean that pretty much any of the current Republican field, including Romney, is better than Obama? Hell yes.

2. It is going to be very, very hard to beat Obama as it is. The solid blue states get him most of the way there in terms of electoral votes. His supporters are united, mobilized, well-funded, and they will have a massive MSM barrage on their side. It is very difficult to unseat a sitting president. Even though the country is in an ongoing economic disaster, and even though Mr. Obama has done a miserable job as president, he is still barely below 50 on Intrade. Most likely he will bottom out long before the election. Odds are, he will win, as it is now. If the opposition is divided, Mr. Obama sails to victory, and we get four more years of this.

If there is any defect in that analysis, please tell me what it is.

(Do not engage in personal insults directed at me or I will delete any such comment. They do not advance the discussion. Save that for your own blog.)

29 thoughts on “Two Easy Questions”

  1. I am old enough to have seen so much in politics to realize there are no absolutes. I remember Reagan v Carter – it was supposed to be a tight election. I had the fond memory of seeing Reagan at his very last 1980 campaign stop – on election day 1980 in the parking lot of the Mission Valley Shopping Center in San Diego.

    It was about 6PM, our polling stations were of course still open but one of his aides suggested to the crowd that his campaign knew something the MSM wasn’t reporting that night – the possibility of a blow out. Conventional wisdom was that Reagan had a very uphill battle to unseat Carter but a lot of people were suffering under that era – I can remember 22% home interest rates believe it or not.

    There are a lot of blue collar workers suffering who voted for Obama. Do you think they are going to vote for him again? People who supported him last cycle are, like the generation before with Carter, embarrassed to admit it today. Not everyone, of course as any generalization is wrong. The man who bragged he would raise a billion dollars for this cycle couldn’t even raise $30 million this quarter. People are not giving him money.

    Of course the hard core union people will support him (who seemed to be one of the few beneficiaries of his economic “policy” – but even among union members over 40% have voted Republican in the past.

    Am I saying this will be a blow out?


    I am saying that the future is unpredictable but one shouldn’t assume anything.

    One of the reasons we ended up with Bill Clinton (in addition to Ross Perot) was that “conventional wisdom” in Democratic circles was that G H W Bush was unbeatable with 90% approval after Desert Storm.

    The top tier of potential Democratic candidates decided to sit that cycle out instead of form exploratory committees and fund raise right after that war. With 90% approval you can see the reasoning. The second tier, including a governor from Arkansas, decided to give it a try. But a lot changed in that year.

    The future is unpredictable but I would not assume it will be difficult to beat Obama any more than I would assume that it will be easy to beat him. That would of course, be a dangerous assumption. Just ask President Dewey.

    A lot depends on external world events. And the economy. It’s the economy, stupid” was the refrain of a well-known Democratic strategist.

    If this economy keeps either in its malaise (another Carter term resuscitated) – or – it gets worse – I’ll put my money on the former assertion.

    But nothing is a certainty.

  2. >If there is any defect in that an alysis, please tell me what it is.

    I think you are correct.

    I think whoever the the GOP candidate is, they will face a wall of emotional relentless personal attacks from most of the news/entertainment media. It is going to ugly. The closer the polls are, the uglier the media will be.

  3. Obama beat the wrinkled old man in 2008 and he will beat Romney because there is no difference between them. They both lie about what they believe and they are both socialists. Obama wins because he has Iranian money behind him. Herman Cane can win.

  4. High unemployment is traditionally very bad for incumbents, so there’s that.

    Otherwise, I agree. The MSM (and social conservatives, in their own suicidally narcissistic way) will go all out to win it for Obama.

  5. I still think the Once will win. That said, I don’t think it is the worst thing to happen. We will almost for sure have a R Senate and House, and Obama’s agenda goes nowhere when that happens. No more radical justices, zip. Also, nobody ever blames Congress for the bad economy, it always falls on the guy at the top. With that sort of ammo, the majorities in 2014 and 2016 can be solidified for a generation, and the R’s would almost certainly sweep to the presidency.

    This is, of course, assuming that the whole place (i.e. the economy) hasn’t blown up by then (metaphorically speaking).

  6. @Dan – if that assertion is correct then ObamaCare will prevail and The Once will have gotten most of his agenda. We won’t have enough of Congress to overturn a veto.

  7. I agree Lex. Romney is pretty enough, slick enough, and surely your point is well taken.

    It’s a shame that Ron Paul is the only candidate with a completely internalized and expressed philosophy. All the other candidates progressively express more of his ideas. They express the ideas more and more but only up to a point. I think the future will trend the same way with the “point” becoming closer to Paul’s positions as time goes on. Paul’s ideas are leading the way…..the others, not so much. The electorate is following along slowly but don’t or won’t recognize Paul’s percipacity (largely due to the MSM, it seems) and so a changable, bottomless politician is apparently the only alternative.

  8. Interesting – In the right hand column, InTrade is putting the odds of a Democratic win for the presidency next year at 48 percent.

    As of now, I would bet, at even odds, on the Republican. (I haven’t decided how much above 50 percent I would go.)

    That isn’t to say that Republicans can’t screw things up, as they showed during 2010 in Delaware, Colorado, and Nevada.

    For those thinking about this problem, and the possibilities, I would suggest reading Barone’s latest column.

  9. It is not completely obvious to me that Romney would have a better chance of beating Obama than would Cain. I think there are a lot of people who are influenced by considerations that don’t fall neatly on a left-right axis. The fact that Cain is not a member of the governing establishment would, I think, energize a lot of people who would likely stay home in a Romney vs Obama election.

    OTOH, Romney would probably attract more $$$ from large donors. There was a story today suggesting that Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan), who supported Obama last time around, may be thinking about supporting Romney—I doubt if he would support Cain, and indeed the nomination of Cain, with his lack of establishment cred, might drive Jamie back into the Obama camp.

  10. I agree with Bill Brandt’s first comment. The election may or may not be close and only time will tell. By the same token I think it’s too early to make confident guesses about the Republican nominee. Romney would be much better than Obama but who knows if it will be Romney.

    One point that hasn’t been emphasized enough in this discussion is that the country may not have the time for a leisurely reform process. The financial damage from the impending entitlements collapse will be greater the longer we wait. A reelected President Obama who monkeywrenched serious reforms until 2016 could be extremely destructive even with a Republican Congress. It is therefore very important for the country that Obama not be reelected, even if a squishy Republican gets elected instead. (Of course the points about Obama and the USSC and foreign policy apply here as well.)

  11. Mitt Romney: Said to be lacking a heart, the Tin Woodman.

    Rick Perry: Desiring a brain, the Scarecrow.

    Ron Paul: The Neo-Isolationist Lion.

  12. Paul Milenkovic:

    Ron Paul: The Neo-Isolationist Lion.

    Calling Paul’s position “isolationist” is just plain incorrect. All of us, Ron Paul included, know that the US couldn’t “isolate” itself from the rest of the 21st century world if our very existence depended on it. It doesn’t surprise me that establishment Republicans label him that way, but readers and contributors to this blog have no excuse for not knowing better.

    Favoring free market engagement over military intervention and government-to-government foreign aid strikes many people as utopian or naive. I don’t think so, but obviously there’s a discussion to be had.

    But mischaracterizing the position short-circuits that discussion. The only reason to do so is to avoid actually talking about the issue. Again, I expect that sort of thing in the Republican debates, but Chicago Boyz is a forum for honest discussion of substantive ideas.

  13. I agree that Ron Paul is not an isolationist. He sets a very high bar for using the US Military abroad. I am coming more and more to agree with that position.

  14. Chicago Boyz is a forum for honest discussion of substantive ideas.

    Well, on second thought let me modify that:

    Except for posts and comments on cows, bands, roast chicken, and Wizard of Oz characters, Chicago Boyz is a forum for honest discussion of substantive ideas.

  15. “Neo” isolationist, people, Neo.

    Boy, some people can spoil a joke. I couldn’t call him the Cowardly Lion because that would disrespect him and many others who are not cowards but believe quite sincerely that the U.S. cannot fight every war. So I came up with “neo-isolationist” as a kind of wonky description of this “new thing” (hence neo) that Dr. Paul represents.

    As to the Wizard of Oz being frivolous, there was a piece a while back in Reason (do I have that right?) about how the Wizard of Oz was political metaphor much as many of the nursery rhymes have historical/political antecedants. In other words, “Oz” is an abbreviation for a unit of precious metal, the Wizard was supposed to be President McKinley, the Cowardly Lion was supposed to be William Jennings Brian, and the underlying theme was the Gold Standard vs Free Silver debate which was one of restrictive vs expansive “monetary policy” in the pre Federal Reserve days, which is perhaps still a hot topic of political debate (i.e. how Mr. Bernanke would be treated “down here in Texas” if he inflated the money, which would be a “treasurous, um, er, I mean treasonous” thing to do.

    Then again, the Wizard of Oz may be pure children’s fantasy and the writer at Reason was reading too much into it . . .

  16. Boy, some people can spoil a joke.

    Sorry, reflex reaction. Obviously, the “isolationist” canard really pushes my button.

    I also agree that the Oz books are not frivolous. But they certainly are fun, as opposed to the circus surrounding the GOP nomination.

  17. 1. Would Romney be a better president than Obama?

    Honestly, it’s not an easy question at all, for me. The best answer I can manage is, “Not necessarily.”

    Obviously, the combination of Obama and a Democratic House and Senate is the worst of all possible worlds.

    But add enough squishy Republican Congress members, and the question becomes more complicated.

    There are a lot of Republicans who are useless or worse than useless unless they have a Democratic President to oppose. Put a Republican, any Republican, in the White House, and they will roll over for just about anything.

    Think about how many disastrous pieces of legislation, like the incandescent light bulb ban were signed by Bush.

    But Obama’s political capital, should he be reelected, will be zilch. Congressional Republicans of all stripes would have very little to lose by Just Saying No to everything he proposes. There are worse things than gridlock.

    A lot of this hinges on whether you think Romney would actually sign a repeal of Obamacare, and whether he would be given a chance to do so. It also depends on how good or bad you think his Supreme Court nominations would be. I’m not fully convinced.

    The next four years will probably be pretty ugly in any case, and I’d much prefer that Obama and his fellow travelers take another dose of the blame they so richly deserve.

  18. I know his Supreme Court nominations would be better than Mr. Obama’s. That alone is enough to decide the question.

  19. I will be voting for Romney with the admittedly unscientific gut feeling that he’ll be a slight surprise to many conservatives. Of course he’s currently a moderate Republican. How else could he be elected Governor of Massachusetts, birthplace of Mike Dukakis and home of Harvard University? When his constituency changes I suspect so to will a President Romney.

    Tea Partiers may currently be uninspired by Mitt but that’ll change once negotiations between Romney and Palin conclude. Once she secures his word for a prominent cabinet post she’ll stump for him and they’ll fall in line. Unbecoming, perhaps, It’s the way our system works. She’ll be one step closer to the presidency and get a few years to bulk up her resume.

    Bill mentioned it, and I’m sure we all remember 1991-1992 when Bill Clinton bludgeoned George H.W. Bush with the economy and Jobs. Well things are exponentially worse today. Whoever the Repub. nominee is needs to do the same with Obama. Bludgeon the current incumbent with jobs/economy economy/jobs. Romney’s the best candidate to make that case.

    On November 6, 2012 a few million Independents and center leaning Democrats in key battle ground states will walk into their voting booths for a couple moments of privacy. In those moments I can’t imagine they’ll decide to re-hire Barak Obama. Not unless the political right scares those voters with a Tea Party favorite who may turn their stomachs. Now is not the opportune time for the right to wage a cultural war, as sympathetic to such a pursuit as I may be. Our immediate concern needs to be Obama’s defeat.

    And his name isn’t Mittens, It’s Willard, thank you. ;-)


  20. In answer to your 2nd question, if Herman Cain ran to Romney’s right, split the black vote, and pulled enough votes in enough places, we might end up with nobody getting a majority. At that point, would a Tea Party majority in the House vote for their own party’s nominee or the candidate closer to their hearts?

    I think Cain has an actual shot at winning in the GOP but if anyone could pull off a winning 3rd party candidacy, it would be him.

  21. I would like to submit two more questions.

    1) Who could end up being a candidate that conservatives and independents alike will trust most that his campaign promises will become actionable policies?

    2) Who could best stand up and confront Zero in head-to-head debates as well as overall with his clear, consistent pro-American message and unquestioned leadership abilities as well as being more than electable than the others?

    His initials are H.C.

  22. TML — I don’t see him running a third party race. The GOP candidates will rally to the winner, as they should. Getting Mr. Obama OUT is very important.

    G from V — That’s all fine but he needs to get nominated first. Heart says I hope so: Brain says, probably can’t happen.

  23. Lexington Green – I also do not think that it is probable that he would do it. I was just looking at the field and asking, given the decision and will, could anybody pull it off. The best answer was Herman Cain.

Comments are closed.