Wednesday, August 03, 2011
First, Walter Russell Mead quite nicely describes the fundamental reasons why progressives have not won a durable majority in a generation, and probably will not do. The first half is stronger than the "nerd vs. jock" analogy in the second half, which he might have reinforced with reference to the anti-gun and anti-hunting sensibilities of the coastal elites, but the essay -- which any conservative would regard as essentially self-evident -- ought to be interesting to liberals.
Second, the WaPo's Charles Lane more than persuasively points out that the left's claim that the right has a monopoly on violent or divisive rhetoric is, well, complete and utter nonsense. See, e.g., the transporting hypocrisy of The New York Times.
Release the hounds.
Your gentility is nice to see, but pardon me for thinking rougher words are in order in this instance. The left hasn't won a majority because their ideology is detached from American culture, their arguments are vapid, and their champions are (like the President) self-absorbed, self-impressed and nasty. They, like he, leave the voter with the strong impression they are driven by unreasoning hate of market capitalism, and of businesses; and he and they are fully creatures of the public employee unions, and care not a whit for the worries, responsibilities and indeed, the jobs, of American voters.
As a side point, I would note that the President got by on charisma for awhile (how silly that seems now!) but the country has a good fix on him today, and his reelect numbers are sinking down accordingly. In fact, I have a prediction: if the economy doesn't improve and soon, he will not run for a second term. It won't really matter anyway, because it's the ideology that is defective more than the messenger. Substituting Hillary will not in the end solve the problem, unless she comes in espousing a more "centrist", market focused message. She would, for example, have to run against Obamacare and I just don't see her doing that. The lecture have to pray for a bad GOP candidate, because that's their only prayer. Sorry to go so far off topic.
I disagree with the prediction that Obama will not run for a second term and the reason why is is your post.
Self-absorbed, self-impressed (and arrogant) folks like Obama always think they can win and are incapable of recognizing the obvious.
Liberals have a hard time maintaining a solid majority because the *main* theme behind their whole movement is Robbing Peter To Pay Paul.
The idea seems pretty popular with Paul, but in a democracy you only have so many taxpayers to rob before you get voted out.
Obama will run, and he can still win.
Today Rasmussen has him at "negative 19" when you net "strongly approve" versus "strongly disapprove". For my money this poll is the single best indicator. Significantly, Obama has lost about "seven negative points" in recent months in this poll. Obama will always get 20-25% "strongly approve". But he's now over 40% "strongly disapprove". (He's been at 45% before). If "strongly disapproves" approaches 50% it's hard to see how he wins, given the electoral map.
Obama campaigns -- and governs -- like he's a late 1960s Big City Mayor. A cross of John Lindsey and David Dinkins backed by a coalition of blacks, rich trendy whites, municipal unions, and Lefties With Causes. Jews and Hispanics are expected to fall in line. He doesn't "get" the rest of the people who live in a Big City. By extension, he doesn't get the flyover Red States at all.
Unless what Obama has already done gets reversed, he'll already have been a Transformational President -- Prime Directive achieved.
Debt Ceiling Chicken didn't solve the Big Problem: our federal government has to get much smaller, else it will get much bigger. Healthcare is the Big Driver. The deal just struck reflects divided government and political stalemate more than anything.
I can't see how our economy improves over the next 12 months, I've been calling a double dip for quite awhile.
So how can Obama win?
The core of the Democratic party will be unified, and desperate.
The Republicans have looming schisms.
Independents aren't a single block, and can split in various ways.
So the outcome isn't certain, no matter how much indicators say Obama should lose.
I do think it's likely that one or both of the parties will look very different in five years. Our big political fault line lies between those who get government checks and those who pay for them. Both parties straddle this fault line, although the Republicans profess not to.
While I like Ignornamus' comparison of the President to John Lindsey and David Dinkins, an apt comparison, and I agree with the second Anon that the President (and his core ideological supporters in the Democrat party) are so taken with his brilliance that they may be blind to the obvious, I still hold to my (probably too bold) prediction.
To win re-election, the President needs to take the majority of battleground states to win, places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin in the industrial heartland, and North Carolina and/or Florida in the south. He is behind with independents in every single one of those states, and GOP self identification is as high right now as in 2010 in all of them. Ace asked a great question yesterday, to wit: Do you know any people who voted McCain in 2008 who have been persuaded by Obama's performance to come over to his column in the next election? Why, even here in a hugely Democrat town, the idea is ridiculous, and you all would probably answer "no", as I did. Democrat self identification is lower than in 2008, the President has alienated independents, is losing in key battleground states (forget his national number-at this stage of the game-- it is less important), and he hasn't brought any new constituencies into his coalition.
The economy, and fear of his now-obvious ideological commitment to socialism and centralized control of the economy, are driving more voters away from him every day. Even his fellow socialists in the national media haven't been able to find a propaganda approach that works in his favor.
Obviously, the Republicans can still screw this whole thing up: enough talk about social conservatism could do it, or an ignorant, shrill national candidate could emerge. But right now that's Obama's only hope, and the professional politicians at the core of the Democrat party can see these facts just as well, or better, as we and that's why I predict that he will not run again, unless the current dynamic changes hard and soon.
I don't think I'm disagreeing that much with Anon 10:49 am.
I do think that Obama will run for similar reasons for why Pelosi still leads the House Democrats and Harry Reid is still Speaker of the House. If the party was truly "democratic" there would have been a change at the top in response to the November 2010 election. There wasn't, which says a lot. I don't see Obama doing an LBJ, and I don't see a true primary challenger emerging.
Agreed, if he runs, Obama will likely lose --- but that's not certain. Agreed, the Republicans can still screw it up.
Unlike 2010 when relatively few Democratic Senators had to run to keep their seats, a lot will in 2012. The Republicans are poised to gain > than 60-seat control in the Senate, along with the White House, while still keeping the House. If that happens, the Democrats will have to re-evaluate lest they go into the dustbin of history. And James Carville saw Democratic hegemony for a generation. And Karl Rove thought there'd be a permanent Republican majority.
But there's a potential schism in the Republican party right now -- we just saw it in the way that Debt Ceiling Chicken played out.
The Independent vote is "split table" if issues get muddied, and the Republicans run the wrong candidate.
Here's the Democrat party internal news organ, Politico, talking bluntly about the tough election ahead for Obama.
Soon, a draft Hillary movement will emerge.