ALONE IN THE CURRENT

Observing Life Through Polarized Glasses
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 6, 2011 8:31AM

Obama Is Still in the Driver's Seat.

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Call him lucky, call him smart, call him a consummate pol but whatever noun you choose to define him with, the potential for the current White House incumbent to face an opponent with broad appeal to the opposition party has not emerged and, with only 30 days left for someone to surface, the prospects for one appear dwindles. Mitch McConnell’s much ballyhooed statement that Job No. 1 for the GOP is to relegate President Obama to a single term – and the strategy that the Republicans have employed to achieve that goal – may nearly guarantee a second shot for Obama.

Indeed, it may even be too late for any dark horse GOP candidate to appear, given the incredible work of putting a nationwide campaign together: a 50-state staff, gobs of cash, and the need for a clearly defined set of planks on which to build viable campaign.

There are important signs - not the least of which is this current  incredible national pushback at Wall St., the banksters and the richest 1% of Americans, whom the GOP leadership call “job creators,” (the folks who are enjoying the fruits of 30 years of business deregulation and unneeded tax breaks) - that a new grassroots movement may be emerging at precisely the right time. Indeed this may give definition to a movement which will appeal to conservative commoners as well as to Democrats across their own spectrum of opinions.

The current GOP lineup: a circular firing squad?

The biggest mistake the GOP national leadership made in the last three years was lining up with the Tea Party types. Yes, it got them the House back, the cost was certainly considerably higher than the return. Yet, not one of the bills initiated in the Boehner/Cantor House of Representatives has gotten anywhere other than to demonstrate the Republican Party’s willingness to fresh lower and middle class meat to the financial  wolves. Moreover, the strategy has led to an explosion of goofball personalities who seek the nomination. Like roman candles, they have each all burned brightly for a while and then fizzled when they either opened their mouths too wide or when scandalous factoids, surfaced which exposed clay feet. And the factoids themselves seem to emanate from within the GOP itself.  

It isn’t necessary to go into detail, other to note that current polling show the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney, commands just 25% of Republican voters nationwide, which could rise a bit with Christie’s final-final-final exit from any run for the presidency. And, to make matters worse, Romney’s voters are soft in their enthusiasm; which explains the now-expired love affair with Chris Christie. It isn’t exactly “anybody but Romney” but to this writer, it shows that the party is not coalescing at a time when the Republican primaries should be all but decided.  (Palin’s declaration to not run was not even worth the airtime. She was never serious about running to begin with. This writer has been saying for three years that she’s just cashing in on her notoriety. Her 15 minutes has come and gone, but Sister Sarah certainly made good use of it!)

Romney will carry the GOP banner

Christie wisely chose not to run for the presidency. Like every one of the current GOP hopefuls, he carries a lot of baggage, in addition to his weight, which he simply didn’t want to deal with. And so, Romney, with his 25%, looks to be the nominee.

The irony of Romney, of course, is his flip-flopping on a range of issues near and dear to the hearts of the tea party mob: abortion (he was “pro-choice” as a candidate for the senate. Now he’s “pro-life”); health care, the role of government ("Corporations are people, too, my friend!"). In all the key issues by which Republicans define themselves, Romney has staked out more or less liberal positions as both a candidate for the senate and as governor of Massachusetts.  He is viewed with  more than a little suspicion by the true believers on the right and by what few moderates are left in the GOP.  Mr. Romney is caught in the big squeeze because with the Republican Party, there is not such thing a staking out a centrist position.

 

The Progressives recovering their mojo?

The amorphous eruption of disgust for Wall St. and the banksters which has shown up on news shows and the front pages may be a sign of a coalescing of opinion of a much broader base of voters than anyone could have predicted just a few weeks ago.  When 20,000 New Yorkers gather to register their disgust for the corporate takeover of government and the three decade takedown of the middle class while just 1 or 2 percent of the population have enjoyed spectacular increases in net wealth, Democratic politicians will have to pay attention. Moreover, in other cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago – similar demonstrations are going on. (There is new one today in my home turf of
Portland, OR!) The whole phenomenon is on the verge of becoming a pure movement for reform. Nobel Prize laureates like economist Joe Stieglitz and Paul Krugman have publicly joined in the marches, giving this ongoing event real legitimacy. The timing couldn’t be better for Democrats as we head into the campaign season. This groundswell could morph into a real movement for tax, finance and banking reform.

Despite the role and influence of money in the politics of both parties, it remains for Democratic politicians – including the President -  to catch the wave rather than to sit out beyond the surf line, as they have been doing for the last three years.  The President’s newfound populism in his current campaign to get his jobs bill passed may also signal that the Democrats finally may be willing to fight for their traditional values. The president will certainly remind voters how GOP obstructionism has kept him from achieving more than he has. It is time for him to be more like Harry Truman than as a college professor who talks about non-existent bipartisanship.

It is going to be a real catfight over some very basic issues.  There is no question that Big Business and great wealth have achieved a level of governmental control unheard of since before Franklin Roosevelt, and this election will decide where we want to go as a nation, in terms of how we conduct ourselves. It remains for the voter to decide for himself whether 30 years of Republican stewardship have benefitted the country or hurt it. 

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Since I see the situation much as you do you are a genius. Seriously if the GOP wanted to win they would try to find a candidate with more political appeal than Bob Dole in 1996.
Wishful thinking, Bro. Once the GOP has a candidate, one and one only, the opposition to Obama will coalesce with overwhelming strength. This administration is a shambles, the economy is terrifying. Voters everywhere are struggling with hard times. Who in their right mind will vote for Obama?
The GOP, which is to say “conservatives” serve this country best as the loyal opposition. Riding herd on the more wild ideas of the left wing is not the worst thing that can happen. But for them to think they can lead is a joke.

I hope you are right about Obama’s chances. Up until the Occupy Wall Street movement began, I would have bet the farm that Obama was toast. You are correct, though, and the left seems to be waking up to the fact that “teaching Obama a lesson” will produce no better results than the “teaching Carter a lesson” did.

Fly, with all my heart I hope you are right.
My theory about Christie is that he's got a skeleton in his closet (and it must be a pretty big closet. Sorry.) I agree, it'll be Romney and he'll get lots of money (Rove has already raised $240,000,000, mostly from the Koch Bros.) the Repubs will saturate the airwaves with nasty ads and the will try to do their usual tap dance to keep Dem voters away from the polls. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Tea Party nominated a third party candidate just because they're totally irrational and stubborn and dumb. That would clinch it -- Obama could campaign from his porch like McKinley.
Arthur, Your question is a good one. "Who in their right mind will vote for Obama?"

The answer to the question is simple. apisa, OS's class clown will vote for apisa and others who like mr. moron who believe principles run schools and morals are a genus of wild mushrooms.

But then again, as this cretin has amply demonstrated on blogs far and wide, if he has mind, it, certainly, ain't right.

Flylooper, I think Your analysis to be good one, however, I think obama has spent all the political "capital" he once had. If he comes out swinging this late in the game, with his ratings continuing to plunge, he will only reinforce the fact that he was lying all along.

franks likes liars, being one himself.

-R-
Interesting food for thought. Time will tell, however. The election is still more than a year away. It's way too early to suggest that the Republicans will not be able to coalesce around any specific candidate. This should come into focus within 6 months. It's kind of like saying that we can pick the World Series champion by the end of the end of spring training. Not going to happen. There's too many variables, not the least of which are the current prediction of a souring economy based on international pressures (thing Greece and the new debate between the U.S. and China on monetary policy) as well as the groundswell of the 99% movement that seems to be gaining traciton. The future is unpredictable. Plus, Pres. Obama could surely use a "win" whether it's his Jobs Bill or the hybrid committee charged with budget balancing.
I don't know which way to lean right now. I know I won't be supporting any of the cast of characters parading about in Republican wannabe clothes. But I'm nowhere near as supportive of Obama as I was 4 years ago. His "Audacity of Hope" has seeminly morphed into a "Paucity of Hope". As I get older, I get both more liberal and more fearful. I'm now worried about self rather than for my grown children's future.
As mentioned previously, a thought provoking post. Thanks.
Ah, and then, today I see an article with Biden making the comment that Occupy Wall St is a lot like the Tea Party. Open mouth. Insert foot, Joe. I don't think he did the Democrats any favors with that one. Occupy Wall St is going to be a boon to the Democrats only if they don't allow Biden to go around saying these ridiculous things and if they begin the attempt to address the movement's complaints. As for the Republican field: it doesn't matter who they nominate as Presidential contender because it's going to be the Republican VP nominee that gets the people to the polls for the party. Buckle your seat belt. It's going to be ugly.
The rightward death march of the GOP is going to send them over the cliff, but that is a problem for us as well. As long as the Democrats can point at the flaming lemmings, we don't get the real reform Americans want. Dems don't have to feel the need to win so much if the GOP is losing.
Obama would do well to apologize for his lack of performance so far, even if only flipping on his own recent past. Still, if he said he had phuktup, out loud, people would pause, and then come running to his side.

If the Wall Street occupation protests don't drag too may niche lefty issues in, it'll rock America. Let us pray.

I like the Mitt deal. It's pretty funny watching the ya-hoo base trying to find an out. I wrote a ditty that's not worth making a post of, so I'll give you the first 2 verses w/ apology to Ella Fitzgerald.

No one to vote for
We’re all alone
No candidate to follow
That speaks with our tone
Ain’t Mitt behavin’
We’re savin’ our vote for...who?

Every time they pop up
In a new poll
We beat ‘em down
Just like whack-a-mole
Ain’t Mitt behavin’
Savin’ our vote for...who?
You may be right, Bob, but I think you underestimate the Right's hatred and the serious capital that will be unleashed once the primary dust settles.

And even if your prediction is correct, Obama's survival into a second term is hardly news worth cheering.
Several of the GOP leading candidates cannot have my vote, and I have been a chronic GOP voter for twenty years now. So in my personal view BHO's chances aren't too bad. Then again as a republican 'elite' I do not respresent the rank and file, but it just doesn't take too many hostile votes to serioously disrupt voting balances when they have been as close as they are in recent history.
President Obama's second term will be nothing like his first. He is smart, he thinks on his feet. He is decent and he will become more forceful.
@ Paul O'Rourke

Dood! You missed you vocation!

@ all the others
I am so bitterly disappointed in BO that it's hard to describe. Yet, I know that if he makes it to a 2nd term - Cynthia points out, above - there'll be some changes made. Goodbye Geithner, for sure.

It's sad to say, but BO was a total innocent in setting up his presidency. Hiring Summers and Geithner and leaving people like Reich, Volcker and Krugman alone was a huge mistake. I firmly believe BO has his heart in the right place but he was a babe in the woods when it came to being POTUS.

I expected so much more from him, but this conviction that he could work with both sides was totally wrongheaded and it should have been noted early on. It wasn't.

So what about 2012? Given the choice between any of the current GOP front runners, it's an easy one. Furthermore, and what no one is paying attention to, is that there will be SCOTUS vacancies in the next 4 years or so. Do I want another Roberts or Thomas? No effing way.

It's an easy vote in 2012 for me.
Cynthia & Fly:

What evidence can you provide for your faith in this politician? If you're implying he's been too weak to do what's necessary or just, why should we return him to the office? It appears he's chosen and calculated his way to this point, and I have no reason to expect he won't continue to do so in a second term.

In other words, hoping he's someone different isn't the same as his having earned our trust, respect, and votes. We should support those who do, not those we imagine may. That's called realism.

Voting for someone you hope will be different, but who has shown you the opposite is called fantasy, or idealism, or loyalism. Whatever it's called, it's not self-respect, nor does it fulfill our civic and constitutional duties.
“Call him a consummate pol but whatever noun you choose to define him with, the potential for the current White House incumbent to face an opponent with broad appeal to the opposition party has not emerged and, with only 30 days left for someone to surface, the prospects for one appear dwindles.”
Seriously, either don’t understand that Barrack Obama is currently losing to a “generic” Republican, and the name, gender, or planet of origin, doesn’t matter. You fail to understand that Obama and his hordes of drones have a “shut off key” in their brains that blocks memory. They seem to forget the waste, fraud and abuse of power in the very first months of this Administration when Obama chased the Republican Leadership out of the room when they came forward to offer their suggestions for a bi-partisan approach/solution in the Stimulus Bill.
I think the words from Obama’ lips were, “elections have consequences, and I won!” Now he is out on the campaign trail continuing to blast Republicans for still being the party of “no”. What exactly did the Republicans ever stop Obama from doing in his first two years in office when he had super majorities in both the House and Senate. Don’t you think that is something to consider when you go into the voting booth in 2012? Being inept and way over his head in the job, he defaulted to Pelosi and Reid who, with the help of friendly lobbyists, wrote the Recovery Act of 2009 that has proven to be essentially a slush fund for the democrat party. Over half the money was channeled to bankrupt States who played on the side of municipal unions and screwed the taxpayers of their States.
The mid-term election of 2010 was a powerful statement by voters and ended the democrat super majority in the Senate, cost them control of the House in a historical turn over of power, as well as hundreds of State legislators and governorships in a number of important States. That was the “poll” that should be analyzed, not the CBS, CNN or MSNBC polls.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------“Mitch McConnell’s much ballyhooed statement that Job No. 1 for the GOP is to relegate President Obama to a single term – and the strategy that the Republicans have employed to achieve that goal – may nearly guarantee a second shot for Obama.”
Tell me…do you think that the liberal media repeating McConnell’s statement that his No One job was to defeat Obama is supposed to aid Obama? What the heck would you expect the Republican Leader of the Senate to say? Reid was calling Bush all sorts of vile names while he was in office, declared the Iraq war lost while our warriors were still in harms way, and certainly was not praying that Bush win a second term, or that a Republican would replace him in 2008. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Indeed, it may even be too late for any dark horse GOP candidate to appear, given the incredible work of putting a nationwide campaign together: a 50-state staff, gobs of cash, and the need for a clearly defined set of planks on which to build viable campaign. “
In my view, no matter who the Republican candidate might be after the Convention, as long as he shows up alive and well on election day, he/she will beat Obama. There is a clear choice to be made by the people, a choice that cannot be over-turned whether Obama spends a billion dollars or ten billion dollars on his campaign….the message is the choice. Does the country want to swing it’s society to the big intrusive government of the radical left of Barack H. Obama, or back to the center/center right that represents most of the people.
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“There are important signs - not the least of which is this current incredible national pushback at Wall St., the banksters and the richest 1% of Americans, whom the GOP leadership call “job creators,” (the folks who are enjoying the fruits of 30 years of business deregulation and unneeded tax breaks) - that a new grassroots movement may be emerging at precisely the right time. Indeed this may give definition to a movement which will appeal to conservative commoners as well as to Democrats across their own spectrum of opinions.”
Truthfully, do you really think “Occupy Wall Street” is a spontaneous, generic movement? What I do find incredible, is their belief, and they truly believe this, that they represent 99% of America! I don’t think 99% of Americans hate their country, their capitalist economic system, or their lives in the best country on Gods green earth.
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“The biggest mistake the GOP national leadership made in the last three years was lining up with the Tea Party types. Yes, it got them the House back, the cost was certainly considerably higher than the return.”
Excuse me, but could you “splain” in the words of Rickey Ricardo, how the “cost (of Tea Party support) was considerably higher than the return?” The Republican party was DOA prior to the explosion of people across the country against the socialist, big government legislation being forced down the throat of Americans.
Remember this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=sKooYzRkSI4
Look at the “tens of thousands of people, not bussed or being payed, as we are seeing in the “Occupy” mobs, but Americans fed up with the radical left swing of their government. And, by the way, in all of the hundreds of Tea Party events that have been held, there has not been a single arrest. The mob on Wall Street that flash “peace signs’ has already seen over 700 arrests, and when night-fall approaches you don’t want to go near the park. Agitators are pushing the police, hoping to incite a reaction that can be video taped and put on MSNBC for Mr. Ed, or racist Lawrence O’Donnell, the self proclaimed socialist, to send out to the world.
the thing about Roman Candles is pretty brilliant. yeah, exactly what Ive been thinking.
Im no big fan of obama, but he might mess it all up less than the alternatives.
Cain vs. un-Able, is how the race is going to end up. Romney and Perry are just RINOs that won't make the cut.

The current Zogby poll has Herman Cain up on Romney by 20 points. Cain also beats Obama 46% to 44%. Obama is going down. The GOP will not do another McCain no matter how bad the liberal media trys to push a RINO that Obama can beat.
It looks like Beavis and Butthead on the campaign train and Obama isn't much better. He is blundering almost as much as the Republicans. It often seems as if the highest profile candidates are trying too lose and the Mass Media continues to tell us that these Bozo's are the only ones we can choose from. We need to reform the system so that we have a chance to listen to candidates that are actually trying to do a good job and represent the people.

As long as the public allows the Mass Media to veto sincere candidates by ignoring them and keep presenting one Bozo after another to us we'll never have a sincere democracy.
Looks like you're picking up political analysis where I left off. Great post!
I agree with your analysis, but have reservations.

I have thought from the beginning of 2007 that O was a two term president, but there are no crumbs to bargain with to pass Jobs Bill. I doubt 20 protests from Occupy has heft. Its the voter in the booth that will decide if Obama is a leader.

I keep having misplaced HOPE for O. I think he is far to "above the frey" in his rhetoric and he incites pathetic, but drilling Repro phrases like "job killer" .

If 1% has 99% of the pie then O represents a crumb. What kind of legislation can he pass or promote up til 2012? I worry that he will lose. It seems a reasonable doubt that he will win.
@ mango

A couple of thoughts:

Your feelings are no unlike my own. When the chips are down in November, those of us who voted for Obama, from "regular" Democrats to all the folks who were inspired to get to the polls to vote for him in 2008, will face the cruel fact that to NOT go to the polls will spell disaster for any notion of change.

Second, if the GOP selection of a nominee goes as expected, you will see a stark choice which itself *could* motivate Democrats to vote. The pundits all like to talk about how motivated the conservatives are, but the same can be said of the liberals, when the eventual GOP candidate emerges. It may be that we will go to plug a dike, rather than to build one.