December 29, 2011

Avoiding the nightmare scenario

I just posted about Mitt Romney's defense of the indefensible.  I was thinking there'd be nothing worse than Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee.  Of course that's wrong on a number of levels.  Ron Paul would be worse, because he'd be eaten alive by the press in the general election.  But there's an even worse scenario.  Regardless of the name of the eventual GOP nominee, Robert Reich outlines the real worst-case, nightmare scenario.  It's worse than four more years of president Obama.

My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President...

Moreover, the economy won’t be in superb shape in the months leading up to Election Day. Indeed, if the European debt crisis grows worse and if China’s economy continues to slow, there’s a better than even chance we’ll be back in a recession. Clinton would help deflect attention from the bad economy and put it on foreign policy, where she and Obama have shined.
Awful.  The president could get a boost in his approval ratings in late summer, and he'll need them.  I'm not sure the president has shined in foreign policy.  He blew Iran and Egypt and is ignoring Syria and developments in Russia and China that demand attention.  Israel has been hung out to dryNevertheless, Reich is right about the perception of Obama on foreign policy.  The perception in many quarters that he got bin Laden.  He followed it up with an intel score and the U.S. has been able to get numerous Al Qaida operatives since then.  And of course he waded into Libya half-way and somehow the Libyans managed to overthrow Gadhaffi. Perception is reality.

The nightmare scenario is not the boost and the potential to retake the presidency.  The nightmare scenario is the implication of that win.

Reich continues;
The deal would also make Clinton the obvious Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 — offering the Democrats a shot at twelve (or more) years in the White House, something the Republicans had with Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush but which the Democrats haven’t had since FDR. Twelve years gives the party in power a chance to reshape the Supreme Court as well as put an indelible stamp on America.
An indelible stamp.  That is really, really problematic.  While he's not my first, second or third choice, Mitt Romney looks a lot less bad in that light.  Yesterday I was listening to some talk radio on CSPAN or XM satellite radio, I don't recall which.  People were calling in and saying they could not vote for Newt under any circumstances.  The same for Ron Paul.  In the face of another four years of Obama or twelve years of Obama-Clinton, conservatives can't afford not to fully support whomever the eventual GOP nominee is.

The other observation I have is that Obama's approval ratings have to tank so badly that the Clinton addition to the ticket won't help, otherwise, the approval rating needs to remain just below break even level so that Obama is disinclined to swap the VP nominee on the ticket.  I'm not afraid of Hillary Clinton.  What I'm afraid of is a re-spirited media and a re-invigorated liberal base, combined.  They are still beatable, but perception is reality and the perception will be Democratic momentum.  Why make the contest any more difficult for ourselves than we need to make it?
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