The Republican folly over Obama

When I say that Obama is very likely to make a comeback before November 2012, that is not based on some inside knowledge of the economy; it is based on the commonsense observation that nothing in politics or in any competitive endeavor remains the same for very long. The bottom dog comes up, the top dog comes down. For this simple reason, it seems far from certain to me that Obama, currently written off as a hopeless loser by the entire political class, is going to remain in that same condition for the entire next year. Our experience of the course of human events tells us that something will happen and his position and popularity will at least somewhat improve.

I’m not making a prediction; I’m simply saying that it is reasonable to expect that at some point in the next 13 months Obama’s popularity will have risen and that he will be in stronger shape politically than he is now.

And this is why the constant frenzied Republican sack dance over Obama’s supposedly prone body is utterly foolish. Imagine how devastated the Republicans will be if, after they’ve spent a year and half collectively jumping up and down yelling, “Obama’s finished! He’s finished! He’s finished!”, Obama wins re-election.

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John McNeil writes:

I agree with your assessment. I remember in April of 2004, it seemed that Bush was doomed. His approval rating was down, Fahrenheit 9/11 hit theaters, the war in Iraq was going poorly, and Kerry kept launching attack after attack with no response from Bush. I felt he was politically a dead man. But then in August of 2004 Bush went on a massive campaigning counter-offensive, an effective three-month strategy that led to his re-election. I feel in my gut that something similar will happen to Obama, not to mention the inevitable backfire that will occur as soon as the Republicans pick their candidate. If it’s Perry, it will be about stopping Bush 3.0. If it’s Romney, it will be about fighting corporate greed. If it’s Bachmann, it will be about fighting theocracy. And if it’s Paul, it will be about fighting libertarianism and non-interventionism.

The Republican Party also needs to realize (but never will, which is why supporting the GOP is a waste of time) that their fate is tied to that of white America. As white America dies off, so does the GOP’s political chances. While things are not quite that bleak yet, 2012 will be much harder fight than 2008, which in turn was a harder fight than 2004.

David B. writes:

Remember how confident Republicans were of beating Bill Clinton in 1995? They were shocked when Clinton sailed to reelection in 1996.

JC in Houston writes:

I quite agree. In fact what is frightening is that the so called “all time low” poll numbers have been in the mid to low ’40s for two years now. It’s scary that 40 plus percent of the population still approve of the job that Obama’s doing.

LA replies:

Even today (I mean literally, in the last 24 hours), pundits of both the left and right are still describing Obama’s current and long-standing 43 percent approval rating as a new “low” to which he has “plummeted.” They are quite mindless in this regard.

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Timothy A. writes:

Jay Cost has a very useful chart showing the first term approval ratings of Presidents going back to Eisenhower.

Obama’s approval ratings are similar to both Clinton and Reagan at this point in his Presidency. Clinton had a good economy, pivoted to the center and won a plurality of the popular vote.

The Reagan comparison is more instructive. In September 1983, the economy had been bad for several years and Reagan’s approval had been as bad or worse than Obama’s for more than a year. Then in September the economy started to turn around, continuing to improve right through November 1984. There was also the successful U.S. invasion of Grenada which led to a burst of patriotic pride. Reagan won a landslide reelection. (Historical data on the economy in the form of the misery index is here.)

If the economy turns around, Obama will be reelected. How likely is that? Who knows.

September 20

Howard Sutherland writes:

Good posting about premature Republican gloating over Barack Hussein Obama’s purportedly dismal re-election prospects. I believe, looking at the situation 14 months before the event (that’s my disclaimer), that Obama will win re-election, and rather easily. If Republicans should nominate a principled conservative candidate who will fight unapologetically on a principled conservative platform, I might well be wrong. However, how likely is that?

As Victor Davis Hanson implies, Obama has been the most consistently successful leftist (emphasis intended) president since Franklin Roosevelt, if not ever. Viewed from the point of view of his most devoted followers, he’s not exactly a failure. A lot of smoke-screen criticism of him from the left may well be meant to obscure that fact for the rest of us in the run-up to the real campaign.

Obama will win because he will have no challenge within the Democratic Party, and Democrats will present a united front behind The One throughout 2012. The wild-card is Hillary Clinton, who may be fed up enough with Obama and her current job and feeling her advancing age enough to bolt his administration and challenge Obama, something for which I suspect she might pay a high price. I think that is unlikely, but my conspiracy-theory meter (usually dormant) came alive a bit when the embarrassed Anthony Weiner—very much a Clinton courtier—gave up the fight to keep his seat and slunk away so quickly and (for Weiner anyway) quietly. Is he a potentially embarrassing talking-point the Clintons want well down the memory hole by 2012? Still, I think Obama will get the Democratic nomination unopposed, not least because it would be intolerably bad form to oppose The First Black President. (Sorry, Bill Clinton; you weren’t it.)

Obama will win because he will have no serious challenge from the Republican Party, and Republicans will weaken itself relative to the Democrats with over a year of internal fighting among their hopefuls. The wild-card is what I said above, that the GOP break decisively with most of its history (I’ll make an honorable exception for Calvin Coolidge) and run that principled conservative and let him run a principled conservative campaign. Again I ask, how likely is that? Republicans will also handicap themselves McCain-style in opposing Obama. Being The First Black President will deter unrelenting Republican attacks on Obama’s record almost as effectively as it deters Democratic opposition. Republicans, predictably reduced to quivering aspic by any whisper of “racism,” will be unduly hesitant and polite with respect to Obama. And in this campaign, it won’t be whispers, it will be shouts—from all quarters of the Democratic Party, the media, Hollywood and academia—no matter what Republicans actually say and do.

That is not what I hope will happen, but what I strongly suspect will happen nonetheless. The Republicans will be too afraid of the racial angle in the campaign to oppose Obama effectively. It might not be quite as pathetic a spectacle as John McCain’s near-collusive taking a fall to bring about This Great Moment in Our History in 2008, but I fear the result will be the same.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 19, 2011 09:21 PM | Send

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