You can’t beat Obama with nothing
I am a bit worried about the overconfidence I see about beating Obama. It is more than a year before the election and that leaves plenty of time (1) for Obama to recover at least somewhat, and (2) for the Republicans to do something stupid. They are not called the stupid party for nothing; and you can’t beat something, even if it is not very much, with nothing; and most of the Republicans, as you have effectively pointed out all too often, are nothing, or even less. With opponents like Perry and Romney, the President has less to worry about than it might seem from current polls.
As for Obama bowing out, on the LBJ “model,” I must point out that there is a widespread misconception about LBJ’s decision not to run again. He was not chased out of office or demoralized by opposition to the war, but decided not to run because his heart condition would certainly kill him if he continued under the strain of office. In fact it did kill him in 1973.
Regarding the prospects of Obama’s defeat, I see two very contradictory indications. On one hand, the Democrats are extraordinarily weak now. I was watching the cable TV news stations last night, especially MSNBC, and it struck me how the more the Democrats’ program is discredited, the more hysterically they embrace it and the more they keep trying to build fear of Republicans. The left’s enthusiasm over Elizabeth Warren’s video diatribe, with its resentful, class-warfare, quasi Marxist message and Warren’s unhinged manner, shows how far out of step with America and reality the left really are. As I reflected on this, an instinctive feeling grew in me that the Democrats are heading into a catastrophic defeat in 2012, bigger than 2010.
- end of initial entry -
On the other hand, the opposite thought immediately arose: for the Democrats to suffer such a loss, at least on the presidential level, the Republicans must have a winning candidate. And I don’t see such a candidate.
As for LBJ, I don’t agree with you that he dropped out because of his health. He was already running for re-election. He was a candidate in the 1968 New Hampshire primary. So evidently his heart condition was not stopping him from seeking another term. But then Eugene McCarthy stunningly came within four points of him in New Hampshire (46-42), and a week or two later Robert Kennedy declared his candidacy, and Johnson shortly thereafter dropped out of the race. Now LBJ’s health may have been a factor. But it was not the deciding factor. It was the appearance of strong opposition to his re-nomination that led him to withdraw.
Alan Levine replies:
LBJ’s decision not to run again was made in 1967. He kept it secret for a time, and made it seem that he would run again, to avoid the problems he would get if it was clear he was a lame duck. Walt Rostow and General Westmoreland have backed the statements LBJ made about this in his memoirs.
I didn’t know about this, but I’m still doubtful. Suppose that McCarthy had not done so well in New Hampshire and that Kennedy had not entered the race. When would Johnson have informed the country that, because of poor health, he was not a candidate? In May? In July?
Also, why didn’t Johnson say anything about his poor health in his actual withdrawal announcement?
By the way, I was a college freshman at the time of Johnson’s statement. I was watching it on TV in the den of my parents’ house. When he got to the last part and suddenly declared that he would not be a candidate, I leaped into the air and slapped my hand against the ceiling.
Jim C. writes:
Mr. Levine writes:
I am a bit worried about the overconfidence I see about beating Obama. It is more than a year before the election and that leaves plenty of time (1) for Obama to recover at least somewhat, and (2) for the Republicans to do something stupid. They are not called the stupid party for nothing; and you can’t beat something, even if it is not very much, with nothing
1. How is Obama to recover? He is now a proven unethical incompetent. He doesn’t have a clue, and most Americans know this.
2. Contrary to the accepted wisdom, the Republicans have a strong, nuanced field, and any one of them could defeat Zippy—yes, even Paul (if Paul were the candidate you’d get someone like Cantor or Ryan as his VP).
No, the issue is not about the Republican field, it’s all about the staggering affirmative incompetent a plurality of dumb, PC-obsessed Americans elected.
The GOP doesn’t have nothing, but it’s not much more than nothing, from our point of view. What makes for a qualified GOP candidate?
1) Have “(R)” after your name
2) Fog a mirror
Given the immigration buzzsaw Perry ran through, the candidates may have to plug in
3) make some immigration restriction noises
Herman Cain sure has adjusted to that buzzsaw nimbly. If Mitt Romney were as malleable-by-the-people as we would like, he’d be adjusting, too.
Regarding the perceived weakness of the current crop of GOP presidential contenders, I assert that it would be impossible for it to be otherwise.
Modern technology’s proliferation of visual images and freely available information has done away with the privacy of political candidates. Given that politicians are mortal humans, with, like all humans, failings and weak spots, these are now more likely to be exposed. As has been noted, in the modern era, FDR’s wheelchair, Ulysses Grant’s drinking, Abraham Lincoln’s personal homeliness, JFK’s tomcatting, and other leader’s foibles, embarrassments, and weakness would be heavily exposed over the Internet, in a way that they weren’t back in the era when people got their political information from newspapers or personal conversation.
Add to this that the MSM is of course constantly actively scanning with a fine-toothed comb for any information that will put Republican candidates in a negative light (e.g. this) in a way that they haven’t and won’t with say Obama’s radical past or his smoking. Thus, I would imagine from here on out all Republican presidential candidates will come to seem to us fundamentally flawed in some way.
I don’t agree. The inadequacies of the candidates that we’ve been discussing have to do mainly with their positions on issues and with their speaking and other political abilities, not with their personal foibles.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 30, 2011 11:21 AM | Send