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Monday, June 18, 2012
Politics ...

President Obama has had some bad breaks over the past two weeks, and allegedly some Democrats are starting to worry about his prospects for re-election this November. There was the politically naive statement that “the private sector is doing just fine” following a series of discouraging economic reports, the refusal of prominent Democrats to support Obama’s vilification of Bain Capital, reports on strong GOP fundraising for the fall, polls showing Romney and Obama running neck and neck (not a good sign given that Obama is by now a well-known commodity, whereas Romney still has a chance to sell himself to the public), the resounding victory of Republican Scott Walker in the Wisconsin governor recall election, and the real possibility that the Supreme Court will soon vitiate the heart of Obama’s signature first-term achievement, i.e. the Health Care Reform Act.

That doesn’t sound good. But as some pundits point out, November is still months away and a lot can happen in the meantime. In fact, I read two things this past week that could tilt things back in Obama’s favor. They aren’t so much positive features of Obama so much as they are foibles of today’s Republican Party. First off, it turns out that the Libertarian Party has a candidate, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who might actually get some attention by Election Day. Johnson hopes to attract the GOP faction that fell in love with Ron Paul and gave him almost 10% of the vote in the GOP primaries. So, if Mr. Johnson runs a good third party candidacy and picks off 1% of the vote, well you know that 1% was NOT going to otherwise go for Obama; quite the opposite. If the present polls are any indication, the upcoming election will be a very close one, and just a 1% tilt away from Romney could lock-in a second Obama term.

The other shadow over Romney’s prospects regards his VP pick. At least one observer believes that the VP horserace is coming down to Rob Portman and Paul Ryan. Portman would be a safe pick, but given all the conservative momentum in the GOP today, Romney might feel compelled to pick a guy who could energize the Tea Party types. Ryan would certainly get that crowd going.

But in my opinion, Ryan would do for Romney what Sarah Palin did for McCain in 2008. Not because Ryan is pretty and stupid; just the opposite, the guy has both the body and the mind of a conservative wonk. (And not that Palin is all that pretty; she has a trailer-park kind of glamor, you might say.) But just as Palin did in 2008, Ryan will give a small but crucial segment of voters a reason to stay away from the GOP ballot line on the first Tuesday in November. That crucial component will be retirees in Florida and soon-to-be retirees in other economically challenged swing states like Ohio. Ryan has floated some bold plans to bring the national budget back into balance, and these plans focus a lot of the necessary cost savings on benefits to the elderly (mainly Social Security and Medicare).

The Obama campaign will not hesitate to paint Ryan as Doctor Death to your upcoming retirement plans. This could be the one-percent effect needed by Obama in Ohio and Florida. If Romney loses either state, he will join former rivals Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain on the GOP / Fox News lecture and commentary circuit. Or go back to Wall Street to make some real money (and not lose a fortune like former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine did after his fall from political grace; Republicans are much better around big money).

Ah, humanity. It’s always interesting when a situation comes up where ego and ideology causes a group to make a choice that anyone outside of the loop can clearly see to be a loser. Romney and Ryan — that would be a clear example of hubris. And ironically, it would allow Barack Obama to walk away despite all of his own hubris, e.g. the man who would turn “the rise of the oceans” and let “our planet [begin] to heal”.

Oh well. Even if Romney blows it, Obama will take some well deserved shots to the gut in the upcoming campaign, and will have a fingernail-biting election night (and early morning, most likely). If nothing else, Mr. Romney will perform a much-needed hubris exorcism on Barack Obama. Perhaps Obama might yet become a problem-solving President, a guy who learns how to make things happen despite all of the political lunacy (in the Bill Clinton tradition).

◊   posted by Jim G @ 12:30 am      

  1. Jim, I think it’s too early to start predicting whether or not Romney will win the election; after all, he’s not officially nominated yet, altho I do think he has enuf votes to get the nomination when the GOP has the convention. Yet, he’s still not officially the nominee. I suppose for that matter neither is Obama, altho somehow it seems Obama is more of a sure thing.

    Then too, Romney has not yet chosen his VP. I find myself saying, Rubio who? and Portman who? Ryan who? I guess I’m not keeping up with politics as much as I should. But then again, I have lost any possible faith in the Republicans, even tho my parents are probably having a fit wherever they are, staunch Republicans that they were.

    As I’ve said before, I’d truly love to find something I really like about at least SOME of the GOP; but I can’t seem to find it this year. Last election, I DID respect, very highly, John McCain; I think he’s done a fine service to this country and suffered greatly for it; he was crippled for life in Vietnam–he was tortured, especially in his arms, that he will for the rest of his life be semi-disabled in using them.

    But for the current GOP? Haven’t got much to say for them. They seem to be able to say everything they don’t like about the Democrats, Obama in particular, yet have no positive contribution to make and refuse to compromise in any way, shape, or form with Obama–somewhat similar to the situation with JFK back in the 1960s, only Obama has lived longer in the office at this point (I think) than JFK did.

    I DO have to argue a bit with you on a point: Altho I have really little respect for Palin and her politics, I find myself wondering why exactly you say that Palin has a “trailor-park kind of glamor”. Altho I don’t think much at all of her politics, I DO think she is a very good looking woman, better than a lot of them in politics. I do not find her “trailor-park” material; I think she looks pretty good.

    I also find myself wondering just exactly why you find Obama requires a “much-needed hubris exorcism”. Because of his recent executive order regarding immigrants? I think it’s about time he actually did something good for people who have lived here since they were small children/infants. I don’t for one minute think that the Republicans would not hesitate to issue executive orders if something came up that they simply WANTED to do. I can see that Obama seems to be assuming a different attitude recently. I tend to think it’s a sense of confidence that he’s gotten since he’s now been in office 3 full yets, starting the 4th year.

    As to Obama, I find myself wondering just when (if??? I doubt “if”) the gloves are going to come off when it comes to ads against Romney. As much as the GOP can take out after Obama, the Dems certainly will be able to have a field day with a lot of GOP/Romney “stuff”. But we aren’t there yet. I think there’s plenty of time to “talk politics” after Romney is actually nominated and has chosen his VP.

    And I must be honest: The tho’t of Romney being president is enuf to make me think about moving to Canada. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — June 18, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

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