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December 08, 2010

The Dems' dilemma in 2012 [Fritzworth]

First off, it's useful to remember that 2 years is an eternity in politics; we need only look at the 2008 vs. 2010 elections to remember that. And, of course, it's hard to underestimate the ability of the Republican Party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as the 2006 and 2008 (and, for that matter, 1992 and 1996) elections show.

That said, Obama is clearly damaged goods at this point. His approval rating is now lower than George W. Bush's. Much of his party is furious at him for his tax-cut "sellout". A large chunk of the population thinks that he shouldn't be re-elected in 2012, and that's starting to include vocal leftists as well.

I've been sure for some months that Hilary has been carefully keeping her powder dry -- artfully parsed denials, notwithstanding -- in anticipation of stepping into the 2012 Democratic primary. Michael Goodwin over at the New York Post thinks that it's too late for Hilary, that she bet on the wrong horse by accepting the SecState position, and that opposing Obama would be an "act of betrayal". I disagree; I think that Hilary would jump into the race only when enough top-ranking Dems begged her to, and almost everyone on the Left would fall into line.

Almost everyone. Goodwin then makes one more observation that really underscores the Dems' problem: "[Clinton would] forfeit the black vote, which could kill her in a general election."

Oops. He's exactly right. And that's the problem that any Dem challenger to Obama (short of another black candidate) would face. Blacks would see it as yet another case of white liberals shoving them aside and grabbing the steering wheel (to borrow a metaphor). And you can bet -- again, based on his track record in the 2008 and 2010 elections -- that Obama would play that for all it's worth.

The Left has lived on racial politics for decades, well after the Right largely abandoned it (hyperventilating by the Left notwithstanding). But unless someone in the Democratic leadership can bell the cat and convince Obama -- should he be in serious trouble 12 months from now -- to step down and let a new candidate be chosen, they're pretty much stuck with him. Even if someone can wrest the nomination from him -- an iffy prospect, see Carter v. Kennedy, 1980 -- they would alienate and depress the black vote, which not only means most likely losing the Presidential election, but also means throwing a lot of Senate, House, and state elections to the 'Pubs as well.

Now, given Obama's general track record over the past two years and in particular over the past month, post-election, in which he repeatedly blames everyone but himself, what do you think are the chances of him voluntarily not seeking reelection? Yeah, that's what I thought, too. ..fritz..

UPDATE: Link added ("He's exactly right") to show continued high support (91%) for Obama among blacks as of October 2010.

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posted by Open Blogger at 09:22 AM

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