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Handicapping 2012

Will I get a pony?

Will I get a pony?

Barack Obama has been the presumptive President-elect for three weeks now (he won’t actually be President-elect until the Electoral College votes in December) so I figured it was time to make my predictions for the 2012 campaign.  I want to get on record early so no one claims I plagiarized their ideas and I can claim to be the first to accurately predict events.  On the other hand, if my predictions turn out to be inaccurate, it will be the fault of my “Magic 8-ball”

On the Democratic side the predicting is easy.  It’s 99% certain that Obama will be the nominee.  No one (Hillary) will be allowed by the party establishment to even consider challenging him in the primaries.  if anyone does, it will be someone like Mike Gravel who will not be considered a serious candidate by the media or the voters. 

It would require more than just low poll ratings for a challenge to be permitted, such as a juicy scandal that was almost but not enough to justify impeachment.  And the challenger would have to begin raising money and seeking endorsements in early 2011 (right after the mid-term elections) hoping that Obama’s poll numbers didn’t recover.  I doubt anyone will dare challenge him because of the consequences to their political career.  Ted Kennedy’s political career survived his 1980 challenge of Jimmy Carter because Carter was unpopular AND an outsider to the party establishment (and Teddy is a Kennedy.)

The GOP side is far less certain.  The first factor will be how Obama is doing around the 2010 midterm elections.  If he is struggling in the polls and the economy doesn’t look to recover before 2012 then the GOP will mount a serious challenge to his reelection and you can expect the GOP establishment to unify behind one candidate before any votes are cast, as they did in 1999-2000.  They won’t want a real competition for the nomination at the ballot box. 

If Obama looks unbeatable in 2010-2011, expect the GOP establishment to run someone like Bob Dole or John McCain as a token candidate, but don’t expect any big names with real ambitions to agree to be the sacrificial lamb.  But if the party bosses don’t commit to a “heavy-weight contender” that means that a long-shot candidate could take the nomination just like Clinton did in 1992.  In 1990 George H. W. Bush was very popular so the Democratic frontrunners like Mario Cuomo decided to skip 1992 and wait for 1996, which allowed the Big Dawg to get the nomination and win when Poppy’s popularity went bye-bye.  If Obama’s poll numbers tank in 2012 (this scenario assumes they were relatively high through 2011) then we could see an unexpected 45th President.

Right now the four GOP names getting the most attention are Palin, Huckabee, Romney and Jindal.  Let’s start with Bobby Jindal.  He is the governor of Lousiana and was previously a Congressman from LA-1.  He is believed to be a favorite of the GOP establishment who is being groomed for the future.  He is of Punjabi descent (his parents were immigrants) but is a practicing Catholic.  Despite the buzz in the media he is currently polling in single digits.  I predict he will be no more than a VP nominee in 2012  but may contend in 2016 or 2020.  However he may run in 2012 just for practice and to gain name recognition.

Mitt Romney is the former Governor of Massachusetts and gained fame for his job organizing and running the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  He is independently wealthy and is a favorite of some of the GOP fat cats but he is not popular with the hard core conservatives.  His biggest weakness is that he is a Mormon, which is anathema to many religious fundamentalitsts, i.e. a big chunk of the GOP base.  The fallout from Propostion 8 in California has made Mormons unpopular with progressives and the LGBT community, which techically won’t matter in the GOP primaries but could affect his support if it is percieved he can’t win in the general. (Troll prophylactic:  I have nothing against Mormons, I am just recognizing that some people do.  I oppose bigotry in all forms)

Mike Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas and currently has a show on FOX News.  He is also a former Baptist minister.  He was a favorite of the religious fundamentalists in the 2008 GOP primaries but has not shown he can win the votes of the rank and file or the support of the GOP establishment.  Although he comes across as warm, funny and non-threatening in interviews, he has made some statements that might come back to haunt him.  He could be a “long-shot” candidate if the GOP establishment doesn’t back a candidate and there is no one else to challenge him for the fundie votes.

That leaves Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the current presumptive front-runner.  The rank and file GOP loves her, as do non-establishment conservatives and the fundies.  The fact that the media hates her would be a definite advantage for her in the primaries.  There are two main caveats – will she run in 2012 and what will the GOP establishment do if she does?  If she runs she is the early favorite to win the nomination, but she would be crazy to run if Obama looks likely to be reelected, since losing in the general will probably kill any chance of ever running again.

Palin is a Goldwater-type conservative and a fundie Christian.  Her ability to discuss politics, cooking or moose hunting with equal ease is a part of a unique persona in politics.  She is intelligent, funny, telegenic and female.  The latter quality would give the GOP that chance to win a majority of the votes of women for the first time in decades.  If the media and the progressive blogosphere continue to make hysterical, misogynistic attacks on her that will help her win the votes of many former Hillary supporters.

By 2012 she will have had the chance to deal with her two main weaknesses, which are her lack of experience on the national stage (doing hostile interviews and comfortably discussing national rather than state issues) and her lack of political support in the Republican establishment.   She is rapidly gaining experience with hostile interviews and she will doubtlessly be studying up on the issues. 

She does not currently have the support of the GOP establishment, which does not want a genuine reformer in the White House, but if she can get their backing (or at least eliminate their oppostion) she will be likely the nominee in either 2012 or 2016 if she chooses to run.  But if Obama looks beatable and the GOP backs someone besides Palin, she will probably not run or will drop out early and bide her time.  The GOP will not hesitate to ride Palin back into the White House if they think she can win and that they can control her once she is in office.  That has nothing to do with sexism, they did the same thing with George W. Bush. 

But if they back someone else and she challenges them, they will be merciless in destroying her, and though it might look like misogyny it won’t be.  Misogyny is low on the priority list for the GOP establishment.  Like racism, it is a tactic, not part of their ideology.  Their ideology is money and power, which are basically the same thing. 

The GOP establishment will back Palin if the alternative is Huckabee, or if they split over backing Jindal and Romney but those two fail to gain traction with voters and Palin remains popular.  Their backing will probably be with the condition that they can exercise some control over her appointments.  She will have little choice because she has few political connections in Washington right now anyway, so she will be dependent on party insiders..

If Palin looks to be the GOP nominee and Obama is struggling in the polls, look for him to dump Biden and nominate Hillary as his running mate in 2012 in order to neutralize Palin’s attraction with women.  If Palin is the nominee, I predict a traditional GOP candidate (white-male-conservative-Christian) will be her running mate, perhaps someone like Governor Tim Pawlenty but more likely a Washington insider.

If Obama is popular and looks likely to be reelected, my favorites for his token opposition would be Rudy Giuliani, Rick Perry of Texas, or Mike Huckabee (the GOP establishment would let him run only if he has no chance of winning.)  Pawlenty or Jindal are likely VP candidates because the GOP wants to groom them for 2016 or later.  Jeb Bush is a non-starter, as is Newt Gingrich.  Jeb has the Bush brand name which is political kryptonite, and even Newt’s friends can’t stand him.

If Palin does not run in 2012, my prediction for 2016 is Sarah vs. Hillary.

Just so you can gauge my ability to predict the politcal future four-eight years hence, in 2007 I was sure Al Gore would run (and win) this year.


45 Responses

  1. You really think Hillary in 2016? She’ll be sixty-something or seventy, I think. Think she’d still be interested?

  2. Obama’s biggest selling point is, and has always been, “I’m not the other guy.” Without an adversary, he’s bland; with one, his blandness becomes marketable. As president, with nothing but presidential crises to provide the foil, he will quickly lose his luster and American will lose it’s patience. With the further explosion of the internet, the world’s volatility on all fronts, and “George Bush-lite” in charge, 2012 has the potential to be an unpredictable free-for-all in constant flux on both sides of the aisle.

  3. very interesting new AP-Yahoo poll out:


    Conventional political wisdom says it can be pretty much taken for granted that most voters lean sharply left or right and commit to one candidate early on, and the real campaign fight is over a small slice of undecided voters in the middle.

    But like much of the conventional wisdom in this anything-but-typical election year, that may be wrong. Election polls that showed only gradual shifts in support for Obama and McCain were masking a much more volatile electorate. Few voters made unwavering, long-term commitments to either candidate.

    Those abandoning one candidate were often canceled out by others gravitating to him, resulting in little net change in the candidates’ overall support. Yet the frenetic, beneath-the-radar movement helps explain why the two political parties spent hundreds of millions of dollars this year. They needed to constantly woo new supporters while keeping those they thought they already had from defecting.

    Stephen Ansolabehere, a Harvard University political scientist who has studied voting behavior, said such movement has been especially pronounced lately. He cited Republican defections because of unhappiness with President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq, uncertainty over which party could best address the economic meltdown and this year’s influx of young and other first-time voters.

    “Right now there are a lot of voters who are kind of up for grabs on a long-term basis, not just for a short-term campaign,” he said.

  4. Now where is that magic 8-ball?

  5. ack! moderation???

  6. I agree with a lot of your analysis, but don’t discount the notion of Obama choosing the relatively dignified one-term option due to low poll ratings. You’re forgetting the LBJ precedent.

    Yeah, politics have changed — but have they really changed that much? Yeah, Obama is corrupt, arrogant and ambitious — but those adjectives described Johnson to a Texas T.

    For all the talk about JFK, I’ve long felt that Obama reminds me more of LBJ than of any other Democratic predecessor.

    Hillary will not run in 2016. It’s 2012 or never. If Obama’s poll ratings plummet, I would expect Hillary to leave the SOS position in 2010 over an issue of conscience. (Which issue? I dunno, but there will surely be something.) That gesture will position her for a run. And she’ll have all sorts of dirt on Obama.

    As for the Republicans — there’s room for an insurgent candidacy, which means someone who is currently off our radar could step in. Someone other than Palin.

    On the other hand, don’t count out Mitt. True, fundies will always mistrust Mormons, and a certain percentage of the fundies will consider that factor a deal-breaker. But how large is that percentage? No-one seems to know for certain.

  7. “If Obama looks unbeatable in 2010-2011, expect the GOP establishment to run someone like Bob Dole or John McCain as a token candidate, but don’t expect any big names with real ambitions to agree to be the sacrificial lamb. But if the party bosses don’t commit to a “heavy-weight contender” that means that a long-shot candidate could take the nomination just like Clinton did in 1992. ”

    Token candidate could be Palin. If she doesn’t show up, that could mean that the establishment bosses have changed opinion and consider her a heavyweight.

    Also Obama is already running. He is spreading the meme to the Progressives, that their wants will be met in his second term, while reassuring the Repubs that in defence their guys will be in charge.

    “The best example of the Obama Battleplan Version 2.0 is Robert Gates”

    And Axelrod has declared his total dedication to the Obama vision:

    My role is circumscribed to those responsibilities. I’m not trying to rebuild the Democratic Party or any of these other — I think Mr. Rove had quite an expansive portfolio. I think mine is very focused.”

    Axelrod told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week”: “I expect I’ll do what I’ve done for the last six years, which is to try to help organizationally with the message of the administration. Barack Obama knows exactly where he wants to lead. I want to make sure that all communications channels are imparting that message and doing it in a way that’s consistent with his vision and his values.


  8. Ack!!! moderation!!!!

    Has Hillary actually accepted SOS yet?
    I keep trying to keep up, but haven’t seen anything but might have missed it..

  9. Laurie, you’ll probably know about Hillary day after tomorrow.

  10. ““Right now there are a lot of voters who are kind of up for grabs on a long-term basis, not just for a short-term campaign,” he said.”

    PUMA converts, anyone?

    Romney was always the man I wanted to win this election. I was quite surprised when he dropped out of the primaries because he was in the lead. I honestly expected him to get the VP pick until Palin appeared.

    I think a Hillary VS Palin election would be awesome just because no matter who wins, it’ll be a major victory for women. I’ll be voting for Palin.

  11. I’d only add one name to the Republican side, Eric Cantor — he will be a player in 2012.

  12. Hillary turned 61 last month, so if she ran in 2016 she would only be 69. She is in good physical shape so I see no reason she couldn’t run.

    If Reagan could do it, why not Hillary?

  13. Cantor might be a VP pick but other than that he won’t be a player.

    Who was the last Representative to run and win?

  14. Joe:

    If Obama doesn’t run again it will be because he’s running for Galactic Overlord or something.

    Or if he isn’t having fun because the crowds stopped cheering for him.

  15. MyIq, I was throwing Cantor out as the wild card inside-the-beltway leveler. I agree he’d be a VP pick. As a three termer who just won his fourth, you don’t become Minority Whip without some outside help.

  16. I expressed a view, many threads ago, that BO will never be satisfied, in fact cannot be satisfied, with any position he holds. My gut feeling about him is that he HAS to have new, bigger, and better things to do because his deep seated low self-esteem needs constant reassuring. What position, you might ask, is more prestigious than POTUS? I do not see it in BO’s personality to want the hard work and real pressure of being POTUS. If I were to predict it would be, with Joe Cannon, that he will be a one-term President. I would also predict that Hillary will be no more in favor with the Democratic party than she is now: something for PUMAs to work on. As Neils Bohr so wryly observed: “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” (No, he said it before Yogi Berra).

  17. Urge, if he converts to Catholicism and starts wearing a hint of red in his sneaks, we have a clue.

  18. I’m expecting an slaughter (political) in 2010 — the GOP will ride the disgust of the voters with Obama and the Democrats and retake the House. Buyers remorse seems to be hitting a lot of voters as they see that he seems to be using the Chicago style “pay to play” rules.

    It will become obvious by next summer that the media has again sold America a bill of goods — and that Obama is a badly flawed political operative. The GOP really held back, as if they were setting him up to take the fall for the worsening world wide economy. Although both parties are guilty as sin.

    Will Hillary have a chance in 2012, I really don’t believe she will run again. Anyone associated with the Obamanation experiment will probably have trouble finding jobs.

    By 2011 voters will be demanding a clean up crew.

    Or the alternative scenario — Obama will continue to bamboozle just enough suckers (and black mail the rest) to keep his hold on the white house. He will remain in the campaign mode (as we learned that his campaign for 2012 began on 5 Nov.) — so he’ll be making appearances (using his trusty teleprompters) — he’ll be the puppet (while his “adviser” will be drawing swords on each other in the background). Since he is no more than an academic gadfly and has no understanding of how government really works — he doesn’t understand when the meetings dissolve into a name calling and hair pulling exchange between competing advisers.

    In private the reporters covering the white house will be calling Obama names like “clueless”.

    I really believe that Obama will be lucky to “reign” for the full four years — all of the dirt that the GOP have on Obama could be used to get him tossed.

  19. I don’t think BO will get the nod for nomination to Galactic Overlord. His mixed marriage to a Klingon will kill his electoral prospects in sector 367A of the Nebulon cluster. 🙂

  20. Obama will run again in 2012 and will win (got to have hope 😉

    Hillary will never run again. This was her last chance and she gave it way when she didn’t fight til the convention.

  21. I can’t even contemplate 2012.The economic disaster I’m envisioning for our near future takes precedence. The fight for women’s equality, especially in the media, takes precedence.
    But not to deny anyone else of their crystal-ball gazing.

    OT, from other discussions, I’d be interested in hearing about fundies and how not to see them as bigoted fools- I have little experience of them (by choice).

  22. frenly, on November 26th, 2008 at 6:50 am Said:

    Thats truely funny.

  23. “I’d be interested in hearing about fundies and how not to see them as bigoted fools”

    Well, to put it simply, they believe in loving and respecting people even if they think those people are wrong. I live in the panhandle of Texas, so I’ve encountered a lot of Christian groups. Some preach hatred, but others preach about the “love thy neighbor” aspect of Christianity. I’ve found those very uplifting. They think homosexuality is wrong, but they are NOT the least bit bigoted toward homosexuals. They view them as human beings worthy of love and respect, the same as everyone else.

  24. myiq: “In 1990 George H. W. Bush was very popular so the Democratic frontrunners like Mario Cuomo decided to skip 1992 and wait for 1996, which allowed the Big Dawg to get the nomination and win when Poppy’s popularity went bye-bye.”

    Could this be the start of what soured some of the Democratic elite on Clinton? First he won when he wasn’t supposed to, and then the Democrats lost control of the Congress in the mid-term election. (the fault of which has always been laid on Big Dawg’s shoulders).

    Interesting lesson here. When the opportunity to run is there, you run, or the chance may never present itself again.

  25. as far as 2012 things are going to get so bad for berrry . im sure that communty organizer job is still open Nahhhhhhh that s aiming to high

  26. I heard that Cuomo decided not to run because of family dirt. Rumor here in NY had it that his wife’s family (the Raffas) were Mafia-connected.

  27. I thought this past election taught us all that government isn’t about us and who we vote for but who the two political parties tell us they want to run the government.

    When a man with a hidden past was given the nomination through chicanery and fraud while nothing we did could prevent it ; while the other political party watched and did nothing to point out the chicanery and fraud ; and while media suppressed every negative thought about “Obama “but published every rumor they could find or make up about the other candidates (McCain, Palin , Clinton – both) why would any of us believe there will miraculously be a fair and honest election in 2010 or 2012? It’s like suddenly expecting a robber to put the money he stole back!

    If the government being run by the two political parties prefer someone other than Obama in 2012, he’s toast regardless of whether he is “popular” with the People or not. The Democratic party gave him the nomination and the Democratic party can take it away if he doesn’t behave himself.

    Cynical? Yes. But the definition of cynical is “tending to disbelieve” and after the last decade of government, I’m “tending to disbelieve” anything government or political parties promise me because they have yet to act in conjunction with the Will of the People; preferring to have their own way. After all, Pelosi and her party was elected to reign in Bush and then did a 180º turnaround in 2008 and “took impeachment off the table” because she didn’t think he had done anything wrong. If that doesn’t make the voting populace cynical about promises of “hope” and “change” in 2009 nothing will.

    I’m far more worried over how this beleaguered country can withstand a 7.76 TRILLION dollar bailout which is half of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product of barely $14 TRILLION.

    Bush has done nothing in his last days and the guy known as Obama is going into Our White House ignorant of how to handle finances because we’ve seen how he throws around campaign donations (logos, Greek temples, private airplanes with personal logos, around the world tours for him and his campaign at taxpayer expense, and on and on and on…) Only now he”ll be gambling with OUR taxes!

    Where would this nation be if FDR had been more concerned over his “image” when Japan attacked Pear Harbor or if JFK had taken time to think about his “legacy” if his confrontation with the USSR went badly? Courage before narcissism is no longer in vogue it seems.

  28. I’d be interested in hearing about fundies and how not to see them as bigoted fools

    Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – “seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

    We ought to remember that the republicans – no, make that BOTH parties – have been winning elections by deliberately stirring up anger, one side against the other.

    And like a Greek tragedy (Antigone), the same word or symbol can mean different things to each side.

    Beneath all that anger is fear – on this side, beneath the anger about pro choice is the fear of being enslaved by reproduction. What’s beneath the anger on the other side? When was the last time anyone tried listening sympathetically and sincerely with an eye toward understanding the real feelings motivating this person?

    Because if we are afraid the conservatives are gonna vote to enslave us as women, and the conservatives are afraid that something equally awful will happen, really the take-away lesson here is that they are like us: we’re both afraid of the people wielding political power in this nation…..even if we are misguided about just who has what power, the basic fear seems to me to be the same.

    And it’s really the very people we ought to be opposed to who are so successful at using these fears to set us against each other.

  29. MM- who would those people be,those we should be opposed to? I would venture its the global corporations, or perhaps the uber-rich.

    I asked for the info on fundies to see more positives, tending to be quite biased myself.

  30. I used to have the same bias until I got to know some fundies personally.That’s the ticket–when you know individuals you lose your dismissiveness of an entire group. One example.

    My neighbor Jesi is one of the finest, most admirable people I’ve ever met, and I knew she was religious but I didn’t realize how fundie her church was until I went with her one day. She invited me and I went partly from curiosity and partly because I knew it was a gesture of love on her part. Two things amazed me at that church: First, the church service was like a giant party, with music and dancing and everybody hugging–not at all like the staid services I was used to. Second, it was a powerful community. A total stranger, I felt immediately welcomed with open arms. The church also is involved in myriad activities that help its parishioners and the community as a whole. It’s a community of mutual help and support, not just spiritually but materially (as an example, the church sent a team of volunteers to Jesi’s house to paint it, fix her deck, and install new flooring, all at no charge).

    That said, the sermon at her church was a real turnoff, a hate-filled rant against liberals, feminists, and all the usual suspects. It was hard to reconcile this community of loving people–who organize volunteer work for single mothers, people with AIDS, the homeless, veterans, and so on–with this hateful nonsense.

    I don’t know how much of them believe it or tune it out; maybe it depends on the individual. Personally, I don’t think Jesi buys all of it but I know she buys some (e.g. she voted for Dubya because he was pro-life). Does this make her a bad person? On the contrary, I think her spirituality is what informs her kindness and her optimism in the face of hardship. It’s a mixed bag, just as it is with any person.

    Years ago I worked with a woman who was a fundie but didn’t talk much about her religion. She was also an extremely nice person, always helping others, always happy and cheerful. She told me once that she felt the best way to evangelize for the Lord was to show people how much happiness He brought her. Well, it was tough to argue with that!

    Knowing these people, and a few others like them, made me realize that they aren’t necessarily mindless drones but just people looking for spiritual peace and community. We all have our ways of finding those things. It doesn’t make me forgive, or accept, their hateful stances on things I believe in, but it does help to see them as more dimensional than you might have previously thought.

  31. stillife, on November 26th, 2008 at 7:54 am Said:
    I heard that Cuomo decided not to run because of family dirt. Rumor here in NY had it that his wife’s family (the Raffas) were Mafia-connected.

    I heard that too, in Italy-from an elderly lady much in the know.

  32. janicen, on November 26th, 2008 at 7:34 am Said:
    Interesting lesson here. When the opportunity to run is there, you run, or the chance may never present itself again.
    He predicted the opportunity in 1987…I heard him say, when he was asked if he was going to run in ’88, that Bush was unbeatable but the economy was going to deteriorate and that Bush could be beaten in ’92.

  33. Karol–That about sums up my take on the situation, as well. However, I agree with Joseph Cannon that there’s a strong possibility Obama won’t be given an opportunity for a second term, but not for the reasons Joseph mentions.

    LBJ was one of the savviest old-time politicians of my lifetime. He brutally used his power, his knowledge of skeletons in the closet, and his list of favors owed to make sure that we received Medicare and Medicaid–and thank goodness he did. But he was also savvy enough to know that his missteps on Vietnam would never allow voters to trust him enough to get us out of there.

    So far, Obama’s selection of financial and economic advisors/cabinet members tells me that he’s still stuck in trickle-down economics mode. No surprise, since these are all the people who helped buy the election for him. Unlike LBJ, who, after many years in the Senate was owed many favors, Obama is the one who owes favors to others. That makes for a weak presidency. My prediction: Obama will eventually try to initiate the type of programs that could truly help consumers, but, by then, it will be like LBJ with Vietnam: people just won’t trust him to be the one capable of pulling it off.

  34. Dancing opossum- that is the conundrum, the loving community and the hateful doctrine. I’ve often thought if there were such a welcoming secular group, I’d be there in a flash. Being politically active fills some of that need, but who could have imagined the Democrats would be so hateful this year.

  35. DancingOpossum,

    I don’t automatically loathe fundies because of experiences similar to yours. The way to make inroads against their stance on homosexuality (at least among the fundies capable of decency) may be to show how their politics cause suffering and difficulties to real people. For example, I read a DU thread by a gay man whose partner has to compromise his own health care to provide it to teen relatives of whom he is legal guardian.

    It’s complicated, though, because tribalism runs deep in our species: the use of scary boogeymen like liberals, feminists and queers helps bind the community by creating an us-and-them mentality. There is also class resentment. Poor, working class, ordinary gays are invisible; the visible ones are the gentrifying urban gay communities and the gays in the media, therefore gays are wrongly identified with the rich upper classes. As gays come out of the closet in all walks of life, this starts to change, but the risk of doing so is assumed by each gay person, not by anyone around him or her.

  36. bluemorning, liberals are not so enthusiastic in their network services because they’re not recruiting.

    Liberals champion the idea that the state should provide for its citizens, therefore they do not believe that the church should, therefore they are not putting their resources there.

    Conservatives believe that families and networks are more reliable than govt (and yes they really do pass around things like photos of subsidized housing to prove the point). Liberals are about more rights for the individual, while conservatives are more about everyone prioritizing the group over the individual. Which can make for a really strong, powerful group, and can be really nice when it’s a voluntary sacrifice (but not so much when you have no choice, the downside of their system). My daddy told me a long time ago that anyone “could do worse” than to join with the Mormons; they ‘look out for their own’. And it’s true. Not coincidentally, their church is growing and it is strong and it is powerful, and they see the liberal agenda as a direct attack on what keeps them strong and growing.

    And their allies in government help out, by keeping liberal projects “broken”. Because nothing persuades people to join a self help network better than proof that liberals are dreaming when they suggest that government can and should take care of its citizens. (Watch out for “education debt”. The last thing we need is to introduce another new liberal project – an expensive one making big promises – before we’ve successfully fixed or completed the projects that are crumbling all around us.)

    I think the gays have the solution. They have entire communities where they band together and form new types of networks based on new rules. The only power, the only safety there is involves first, being in a network, and second, your network has to be strong. But voluntary sacrifice only goes so far; a powerful network eventually must mean things like duty and sacrifice and loyalty and obligations and a commitment to shared (group) values – boom! you’re in the conservative camp as soon as you utter those words.

  37. If the Republicans make significant gains in 2010–or worse, actually retake Congress–look for Obama under the nearest bus. The Dems will want someone who can negate or reverse those gains and keep the R’s out of the Oval Office in 2012. Hillary will then be in an excellent position, with a firm grasp on foreign relations and a background in progressive domestic policies.

    Obama’s status as the first AA President will make him untouchable only to AA voters and cloud-cuckoo-land academics. Joe Lunchbucket won’t give a damn about his skin color, and his twenty-somethings will turn on him if the war’s still going on and/or if they’re out of a job or underemployed.

  38. I don’t think HRC will run in 2016. 2008 was her year and I believe that she knows that her run for the WH is now over. This is why she is leaning toward the SoS post. It’s either the SoS or the Senate for her, or maybe a Governorship (unlikely). In 2016, HRC would be considered “too old” for the WH and would face the same type of age-ism that McCain encountered. If we are living in an American Idol/MTV era now, it’d be even more of one and all the more superficial by 2016, when people are less accepting of older candidates. The country is trending toward younger candidates and less of those who are much older, i.e. in their 70s. Younger voters do not see age as experience but rather of a representation of the “same old” establishment. BO “won” for many, many reasons and one of which was definitely his age factor. McCain might have been way more attractive as a candidate if he were at least 20 years younger. During the election season, I had come across many people who did not want the GOP/McCain and leaned toward BO because they were just so fed up of the same old, same old stuff. They wanted something different, no matter what it was, as long as it seemed or looked different than what they saw they were getting from the GOP. I do understand of course that what looks different and what is actually different are 2 entirely opposites, but to most voters, something different is all that matters. I suppose it’s not that much different than if you were working at a company for a long time and you felt you needed a change and searched for a job at another company. While the new company you move on to in the end may not be uniquely that different, the fact that it is a different company is sufficient enough for the time being until you get bored and need “change” again.

    The GOP needs to rebrand itself if it hopes to win big. People drank the BO Kool-aid and were dazed by his hot air because he presented the type of difference that they wanted to see, feel and be a part of. Yes it was an illusion, but remember, illusions sell and attract people. This was how BO managed to get many Republicans to cross over to vote for him. I personally knew Republicans who did. If the GOP fails to rebrand itself by 2010-2012, they’re going to continue to lose, and who knows they might fail in 2016 again.

  39. As a person who was sure Al Gore will NOT run in 2008, let me say something.

    Bobby Jindal vs. Palin. Those are the two most exciting candidates, and will gain more experience and grooming in the next 4 years.

    It doesn’t matter that Jindal is in single digits now. Who cares? He has 4 years to build his profile.

    If you remember, Bush started campaigning for 2004 from the moment he was inaugurated. He pandered to swing states (FL, PA), and started to weaken his possible oppoents and take them out (see Daschle).

    So, will Obama do a Bush, and try to make life difficult for Palin or Jindal?? It’s possible. Less federal grants and projects may flow there, and democrats may put hurdles in Alaska’s new natural gas pipeline project, since that project was negotiated by Palin, and it is a huge victory for her.

    I have a pet theory. Governments either govern for people or re-election. It’s difficult to do both simultaneously.

  40. Wow, there are some great discussions here. I suck at predictions, so I won’t play that game. But I don’t have Obama pegged as someone who would voluntarily step down, even if he had extraordinarily low approval ratings. Frankly, he seems the type to invoke martial law on November 3rd so he doesn’t have to leave office.

    Re fundies: It really is the getting to know them personally that makes the difference. The guys I got to know were sweet, intelligent, compassionate, and incredibly community minded. They also believed the bible was literally true. They weren’t mean to me after hearing about my life (which is very much in opposition to their beliefs), but they did step up the conversion efforts.

    Their community is very giving to other members of the community (and as far as I can tell ONLY to other members of their community). In fact, I heard a story about dispatching a group of volunteers to build a fence and a porch very similar to the one mentioned upthread. They house the younger single members of the congregation with the older established families. They have social events and church groups every night and every weekend. It’s competitive exclusion- if you only ever see your church people, you don’t get exposed to outside ideas. It scares me for being cult-like, but its the church that scares me, not the members of the church. I found them deeply likable.

    mm, I pretty much fundamentally disagree with your assessment of conservatism versus liberalism. I don’t know if there’s an easy way to explain it, but it seems like Liberals (in my experience as a far-left borderline-socialist Canadian) are very much about the greater good at personal expense- higher taxes and more common benefits, freedom from persecution for everyone even if it restricts individual freedom some (i.e.: hate-speech laws), whereas conservatives are pro individual freedom- to spend my money as I see fit, to choose my own healthcare options and not have to worry about what other people want, to send my kids to private school, to say whatever I want, to own guns, etc. If anything, I feel like liberals (in Canada at least, this seems to be different here) are more concerned about society at large, while conservatives are more concerned about protecting their in-group from the big bad out-groups. This might explain libertarianism and states-rights enthusiasts too. Of course, clearly the liberal elite this year are just as enthused about an I gots mine philosophy.

  41. Liberals are really no more tolerant or intolerant than Conservatives as we have seen in this election. After all, it is the Democratic party that was guilty of misogyny and race-bating.

  42. Karen:

    Don’t confuse liberals with the Democratic party.

    The current Democratic party may be progressive, but it damn sure isn’t liberal.

  43. Um, if by Democratic party you mean the elites in the party, maybe. Not the rank and file.

  44. Progressives or liberals who seem to be screaming and yearning for Jindal seem to have not researched nor read his stands. I truly do not see how a progressive or a liberal who claims that they are for LGBT rights, progressive social reforms, stoppage of the creep in limitation of civil liberties, etc. can ever think of supporting Jindal. He is everything that HRC is not. While I can understand the anger about how HRC was treated by the DNC, flocking toward people like Jindal will hardly help in the winning of the overall fight against misogyny, homophobia, erosion of civil liberties, etc.

    Here are some facts about Jindal:

    * Supports the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.
    * Voted (as a Congressman) against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and has a 0% approval rating from the Human Rights Campaign.
    * Supports the “traditional” definition of marriage. Opposes civil unions and prefers a federal constitutional amendment to that effect.
    * Voted yes on making the PATRIOT Act permanent.
    * Opposes embryonic stem cell research. Voted against increasing federal funding to expand embryonic stem cell lines.

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