Thingish Things

2012 Nearing

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Mar• 07•11

Prospective Republican candidates for President are taking their first baby steps towards running. That usually entails political trips to Iowa or New Hampshire and fundraising trips to New York and California. The place to watch, though, to determine the number and caliber of Republican candidates for President in 2012 is Washington, DC.

If President Obama continues to look deer-in-the-headlights on the international stage, and if the economy remains anemic — if gas prices keep rising —  we should see solid Republican candidates actually enter the GOP primaries, not just floating trial balloons.

The expression you can’t beat something with nothing applies — there is no wow! GOP candidate out there right now — but there doesn’t need to be.  A competent one will do. The American people tend not to tolerate a rudderless White House for long, and that’s exactly what this one has become. Besides, there will be no incumbent wow candidate to run against.

Senator Obama decidedly fit that category as a candidate in 2008. His rhetorical skills blew the electorate away. But he’s all talked out now. His handlers over-exposed him, burning his ace in the hole. The public knows his complete rhetorical inventory now and are numb to it.  The President will need to rely on his record, not his words, to get reelected.

Barring unforeseen circumstances — and there are always unforeseen circumstances — here are the President’s best rationales for re-election right now, as I see them:

1.  It’s Bush’s fault and Wall Street’s fault. I inherited a huge mess.

2. Through bold and decisive action, I stabilized a country in a tailspin. The economy is now growing again and jobs are being created. It took longer than I wanted, but please refer back to rationale #1.

3.  I saved General Motors and Chrysler, which are now profitable and on par in labor costs with foreign automobile manufacturers for the first time in history. The American auto industry is back and poised to be better than ever.

4. I provided health care insurance to 40 million uninsured Americans by sticking to my guns and doing what was politically unpopular. This has been an elusive goal for more than half a century and I accomplished it.

5.  I pulled troops out of Iraq as promised and on schedule, and I have brought the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan where it always should have been waged. We are making slow progress, but we will prevail and leave.

6. I have kept the country safe. There has been no major terrorist action on my watch, and

7. The United States rejoined the international community as a friend and partner in world affairs.

Best commercial fodder:  GM and Chrysler

Employing the same caveat about unforeseen circumstances, here are the best arguments against re-election for the President as I see it:

1. President Obama is bankrupting America.  We are $14 trillion in debt and he has no plan to save us.

2.  The President is a reckless and arrogant ideologue.  He forced through a deeply-flawed, budget busting healthcare fiasco no one wanted. It’s government overreach in the extreme; it’s probably unconstitutional, and it’s going to damage the quality of U.S. healthcare.

3. President Obama broke the soaring promises on which he ran: Unemployment skyrocketed under his watch; he did nothing with illegal immigration; he has been one of the most partisan presidents in decades; the seas aren’t lowering, and not only did he not streamline government as he said he would, he stole from our kids in spending trillions of dollars we don’t have.

4.  Hillary Clinton was right. President Obama is still not ready for the 3 a.m. telephone call. World events, particularly in North Africa and the Middle East, have bewildered him. We have no coherent foreign policy.

5. The U.S. has badly lost world prestige under President Obama. He sold out allies like Israel to cozy up to tyrants, and got nothing for it.

6. The President is lost. He has no plan, no political compass, and no vision.

Best commercial fodder: Broken promises. Rhetoric v. Reality.

It is important to remember that presidential elections aren’t national elections. They are 50 individual state contests, with around eight or 10 being competitive. Once again, it will come down to states like: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota, and Florida to decide our next president. Which rationales will ring more true to voters in those states?  It will likely depend on the economic momentum in those states at the time.  Which way is the possession arrow pointing; in the direction of continued decline or in the direction of relief?

President Obama remains stuck well under 50% in the Real Clear Politics compilation of U.S. polls.  He has hovered in the 46-48% range for most of his presidency. If he is still there by mid-summer,  we can expect to see a qualified and spirited GOP field emerge.


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  1. Your Friend says:

    The biggest problem with the republican field is optics. The only people who are recognizable, are unelectable. It took Obama a long time as an unknown to develop a rapport with the American people before he won. That is now the norm and since no one is doing that on the other side of the aisle, it likely won’t happen. And that means you’re stuck with Romney and Huckabee. Can you hear eveyone stifling a collective yawn? I totally agree, it will all come down to the economy in 8-10 key states. Early signs are looking good on that front for Obama. I know I’m biased, but the list you put together for Obama above looks better than the one for his opponents.

  2. I suspect the election will be a referendum on the President more than on the other guy. He (the challenger) will have to be competent and convincing, but I don’t think the GOP needs a Reagan. Keep an eye on Mitch Daniels.

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