Elections (still) matter

posted at 10:40 am on June 24, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Over at The Daily Caller, Liz Mair has an editorial on why Republicans shouldn’t be taking too much for granted when it comes to the 2012 elections. Her initial premise is that many observers are taking for granted an assumption which I myself have espoused on numerous occasions – that Barack Obama’s biggest enemy next November is not his GOP opponent, but the economy. If it continues to flounder, Obama is almost certainly destined to be a one term wonder, but if things improve significantly he could cruise through to a second term. It’s the same situation which effectively doomed John McCain in 2008, since he was viewed as “more of the same” from the party last holding the White House. So why worry about who wins the nomination at all?

But what if McCain had faced a different opponent, one less associated with the dual concepts of “hope” and “change,” one less capable of raising money, one lacking a platform like MyBarackObama that gave Obama an online and offline boost? The election likely would have been closer. What if Republicans had nominated a candidate other than McCain, arguably at the time the Republican with the strongest appeal to Independent and Democratic voters? Obama would have had an even greater edge.

The reality is, in politics, myriad factors affect the outcome of races, and the identity of the candidates matters.

She then goes on to lay out some of the positives and negative attributes of some of the “largely set” field of GOP candidates. A brief and incomplete summary of these points:

Mitt Romney
Plus – Lots of money which will be needed against Obama, with the proven ability to raise more from traditional, big ticket GOP donors.
Minus – Skepticism over his ideological commitment, religion, or both. A perception of being “plastic, robotic or inauthentic.”

Tim Pawlenty
Plus – Proven record on health care and spending. Likeable. Viewed as, “responsible, trustworthy, relatable.”
Minus – Uncharismatic, boring. Shy about throwing punches.

Jon Huntsman
Plus – Executive branch experience, business record, well financed, Obama team is “queasy” about running against him.
Minus – Worked for Obama. Moderate profile. Potential failure to excite the base, get out the vote.

Rick Perry
Plus – Texas record on job creation, reduced spending and taxes. Executive branch experience.
Minus – Similarities to GWB. Portrayed as ideological, “dim bulb” southerner. Questions on fundraising ability.

I’ll leave it to you to read the full explanation for each. One notable missing component from Liz’s list for me, though, was the brevity of it. There are only four names and one of them isn’t even officially running. They also represent a rather monochrome pack of generic Republican “old white guys.” This seems to assume that people like Bachmann and Cain have already been left like road kill on the side of the campaign trail. (Not that I’m saying either of them is a shoe-in at this point.)

If you’d like to bat around the issue with Ms. Mair, she will be a guest at the 4 o’clock (eastern) hour on The Not Ed Morrissey Show later today and will take your questions.

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RINO, Global Warming, and Obamneycare are enough to turn off the base.

Roy Rogers on June 24, 2011 at 10:49 AM


… Obama is almost certainly destined to be a one term wonder …

Yeah, as in “I wonder how this idiot got elected?”

Tony737 on June 24, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Bachmann and TPaw may surprise. I think Bachmann may deliver a beating of a lifetime to a lot of frontrunner candidates

antisocial on June 24, 2011 at 10:53 AM

My two cents on this.
I really feel that all of the GOP candidates have started WAY to early. As it is right now there is no one from the Dem party who has announced they are running. (Obama never stopped). By this time next year we are all going to be burnt out on them. It’s the same people saying the same thing over and over. 17 months of the same thing. Nothing new. Same argument, same solution, same speeches.
The one who will win is the one who waits until this time next year and comes on the scene and is viewed as “fresh” with “fresh ideas” and “better solutions”. This person has the advantage of sitting back and watching the other candidates rip each other to pieces, make mistakes, and flip flop on issues. Not only that, but people will not have grown tired of listening to the same speeches over and over.
America loves anything “new”. Especially a “new candidate”, and if you’re not convinced, just look who is in the WH now.

milwife88 on June 24, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Not only that, but people will not have grown tired of listening to the same speeches over and over.

fixed

milwife88 on June 24, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Let ‘er rip!

Bishop on June 24, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Obama is almost certainly destined to be a one term wonder, but if things improve significantly he could cruise through to a second term.

A non-issue. The economy is irretrievable at this point by this man and his ideology. For the economy to improve, Obama would have to become another person — or pretend to be another person to a sufficient degree to effect enough minor changes to fool people. This is highly unlikely. The die is cast.

The campaign will be entirely personal — built and driven around slander, lie and attack. Obama, the media and the Left will define and drive the election in this way. The alternative media is not prevalent or influential enough to alter this reality.

Republicans need to ask themselves only a few questions: which candidate is the most effective and fearless at facing brutal assault and knowing how to deflect and respond. That is, which candidate is a fighter. This doesn’t mean aggressive or belligerent — it means smart, capable, savvy about the Left and tenacious (even “ruthless” in his/her own way). Secondly, which candidate will be most able define conservative values and their economic and personal importance to individual Americans within the violent universe of these attacks.

rrpjr on June 24, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Has Jazz Shaw taken over HA? He’s on a roll.

faraway on June 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM


Texas currently boasts an unemployment rate of 8 percent, more than a percentage point lower than the national rate.

Does that include all the illegal aliens?

Tony737 on June 24, 2011 at 11:02 AM

arguably at the time the Republican with the strongest appeal to Independent and Democratic voters?

These are people who lack ideaology. They vote based upon what their current situation is like (ie: the economy stupid), it would make no difference the particular republican candidate ran.

I also am taken haw she only mention 3 declared candidates, and one maybe. As a liberal progressive socialist, she will not even consider the rest of this fine field, rather she attempts to discredit by omission.

paulsur on June 24, 2011 at 11:03 AM

If it continues to flounder, Obama is almost certainly destined to be a one term wonder, but if things improve significantly he could cruise through to a second term.

So, don’t be shocked if things suddenly “improve” just in time for Obama to be re-elected.

I mean, would it surprise anyone that the Democratic National Socialist Party wouldn’t be able to ‘fudge’ the numbers to make it looks like we’re having a miraculous recovery to help out their hammer and sickle standard bearer?

Chip on June 24, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Palin has no negatives and would crush this field and PBHO too.

*slowly backs into bunker*

Bishop on June 24, 2011 at 11:06 AM

which candidate is the most effective and fearless at facing brutal assault and knowing how to deflect and respond. That is, which candidate is a fighter.

rrpjr on June 24, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Every GOP candidate will be viewed primarily through this prism.

Being a fighter is Job#1

faraway on June 24, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Palin has no negatives and would crush this field and PBHO too.

*slowly backs into bunker*

Bishop on June 24, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Thelma and Louise are stroking each other on another thread.

Roy Rogers on June 24, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Obama is almost certainly destined to be a one term wonder, but if things improve significantly he could cruise through to a second term.

A non-issue. The economy is irretrievable at this point by this man and his ideology. For the economy to improve, Obama would have to become another person — or pretend to be another person to a sufficient degree to effect enough minor changes to fool people. This is highly unlikely. The die is cast.

rrpjr on June 24, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Unless there is a major course change, the country’s decline is inevitable with Obama at the helm.

Why anyone would want this is way above my comprehension, and whether this is being done out of incompetence or malfeasance is almost academic at this point.

The thing people will have to consider is that with the Obama administration having a conflict of interest on reporting it’s own performance, don’t be surprised if they try to play with the numbers to make it look like Obama’s brand of Socialism is actually working.

Chip on June 24, 2011 at 11:17 AM

What, pray tell, is the value of this person’s commentary?

Amjean on June 24, 2011 at 11:19 AM

As it is right now there is no one from the Dem party who has announced they are running. (Obama never stopped)….
milwife88 on June 24, 2011 at 10:56 AM

I know your main point was that America would love something new and shiny, but who on earth would try to run against Obama on his own ticket? Clinton was unopposed for his second term in 1996. I would never underestimate the power of the Chicago machine that will be behind Obama’s reelection bid. Whatever they’ve got on the Clintons is keeping Hillary in her place (never thought I’d see that day).

Palin has no negatives and would crush this field and PBHO too.

*slowly backs into bunker*

Bishop on June 24, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Oh, now you’ve done it. >:-/

theotherone on June 24, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Bishop on June 24, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Heh. You do so love your grenades, Bishop.

KingGold on June 24, 2011 at 11:21 AM

What if Republicans had nominated a candidate other than McCain, arguably at the time the Republican with the strongest appeal to Independent and Democratic voters? Obama would have had an even greater edge.

That’s simply a BS premise that I won’t stipulate to begin with.

If the Republicans had nominated an actual Conservative instead of a squish that Republican voters were largely unenthused and unhappy with, the turnout would’ve been significantly stronger in the face of a leftist opponent who everyone with 2 brain cells to rub together *knew* was going to be a disaster (yes, we did – go back and read it if you don’t believe it – there’s not really a lot of “unexpected” surprises going on at the moment).

This “Obama would’ve won bigger against a strong conservative candidate” meme is simply BS.

Midas on June 24, 2011 at 11:22 AM

milwife88 on June 24, 2011 at 10:56 AM

They have to start early to raise the millions (billion?) that one now needs for a presidential campaign.

Unfortunate, because you’re right, people get so sick of politics by the time we get to the election season.

Wethal on June 24, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Has Jazz Shaw taken over HA? He’s on a roll.

faraway on June 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM

I thought Jazz was a ‘she’. lol

Midas on June 24, 2011 at 11:23 AM

@milwife88

While I agree with your sentiments, a candidate could not wait until this time next year, because of the need to win delegates in the primaries. This time next year, we will be heading into the convention, and the front runners will be those who have won the most primaries/delegates.

And the $$ issue is a problem as well. Because the average voter does not get involved, and special interests do, “he who has the cash becomes King”.

YTZGal on June 24, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Midas on June 24, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Fred Thompson… damn.

Roy Rogers on June 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Mitt Romney
Plus – Lots of money which will be needed against Obama, with the proven ability to raise more from traditional, big ticket GOP donors.
Minus – Skepticism over his ideological commitment, religion, or both. A perception of being “plastic, robotic or inauthentic.”

One big Romney “minus” that Liz Mair left out: health care. Obama’s stubborn insistence on forcing socialized medicine down our throats while cutting Medicare galvanized the Republicans in 2010, who promised to repeal ObamaCare. While other Republican Presidential candidates can campaign on simple repeal, Romney will have a tough time explaining why he signed something similar to ObamaCare into law in Massachusetts.

Steve Z on June 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM

I’m reminded of the line from ‘Ghost and the Darkness’ where Samuel says he doesn’t like any of his wives.

I don’t like any of these candidates.

trigon on June 24, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Rick Perry
Plus – Texas record on job creation, reduced spending and taxes. Executive branch experience.
Minus – Similarities to GWB. Portrayed as ideological, “dim bulb” southerner. Questions on fundraising ability.

… and let’s make sure we use a big rubber stamp to label as “JERKWAD BIGOT” anyone who uses this “dim bulb southerner” kind of thing, m’kay?

Liz Mair isn’t using that to describe Perry, because there’s no Perry-specific evidence or reason to do so – she’s simply using that to describe everyone from the South.

Midas on June 24, 2011 at 11:30 AM

While other Republican Presidential candidates can campaign on simple repeal, Romney will have a tough time explaining why he signed something similar to ObamaCare into law in Massachusetts.

Steve Z on June 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM

He’ll have ZERO case to make on ObamaCare – Romney as a candidate simply takes SEVERAL solid anti-Obama issues completely off the table and makes them non-issues against Obama, because there’s no difference between Romney and Obama on the bullet points that relate to those issues (socialized healthcare, cap and trade, man-made global warming, ethanol subsidies, general nanny-state-itis, etc).

Many of the things that are the reason Obama’s getting stung in the polls right now are completely mitigated and disappear as arguing points if Romney’s the candidate.

Midas on June 24, 2011 at 11:33 AM

If it (economy) continues to flounder, Obama is almost certainly destined to be a one term wonder, but if things improve significantly he could cruise through to a second term.

(6/23/2011) Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Small Business Committee on Wednesday that the Obama administration believes taxes on small business must increase so the administration does not have to “shrink the overall size of government programs.”

With that kind of thinking, how are they going to turn things around?

Sir Napsalot on June 24, 2011 at 11:37 AM

With that kind of thinking, how are they going to turn things around?

Sir Napsalot on June 24, 2011 at 11:37 AM

AstroTurfing and Baghdad Bob press conferences.

Roy Rogers on June 24, 2011 at 11:39 AM

The thing people will have to consider is that with the Obama administration having a conflict of interest on reporting it’s own performance, don’t be surprised if they try to play with the numbers to make it look like Obama’s brand of Socialism is actually working.

Chip on June 24, 2011 at 11:17 AM

We shouldn’t be surprised… because they’ve already been playing with the numbers: “jobs created or saved”, unemployment figures, growth numbers, “GM/Chrysler fully repaying their debt early”, the list goes on and on with the lies they’ve been telling with the numbers…

Midas on June 24, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Liz Mair isn’t using that to describe Perry, because there’s no Perry-specific evidence or reason to do so – she’s simply using that to describe everyone from the South.

Yep, would def. ask about that, Mr. Not Ed Morrisey. I would give Ms. Mair the benefit of the doubt and assume that’s not her assessment. Certainly nothing I have seen would give any such indication.
No doubt “another George Bush” would be Obama’s biggest ploy against Perry. I never bought into the GWB is dumb meme, but certainly see nothing here to even attempt to throw that label on Perry.

humdinger on June 24, 2011 at 11:47 AM

One-term President

Obama’s team is terrified of the data they are getting back from the internals. Absolutely panicked. Literally panicked. There was a meeting among the president’s re-election team recently, Plough’s group, and the internal polling data was the main topic, and everybody was apparently expressing concern over the numbers. The president was not at this meeting, but was soon after briefed on it. There were no real answers given on how to improve the numbers, and that set the president off. He tore into staff. This has been happening with greater and greater frequency lately. The president kept repeating, “Why isn’t it working?” I am not certain what he was referring to with that question, but he was said to have repeated the question a number of times during the briefing. Whatever “it” might be, the indication is clear. President Obama is panicked over the now very real possibility he will be a one-term president.

Roy Rogers on June 24, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Even if the Obami play with the numbers, are people really going to believe it? Don’t most people judge the situation by how they feel and what is going on with their own family, friends, etc.?

For instance, even while things were getting a little better there for a while, it wasn’t “trickling down” to the majority of folks. So the common belief was that things weren’t really getting better. For those that thought they were and started to buy things again and spend money again, now they are stung and scared witless.

For that reason, I think it will take the general population even longer to believe in any recovery if it ever does happen. I remember reading somewhere before the last Presidential election that unless an economy is improving by the summer before a general election, improvement after that doesn’t really help (people don’t believe it) the incumbent. I see no way that there will be marked improvement by summer 2012. Even Bernanke is predicting unemployment around 8.9% at the end of the year. I think it will be worse than that.

The candidate does matter and maybe that is why Perry, McCotter, and others are waiting until August to really jump in. Right now, we are kind of being fed the message it is fait accompli that Mitt will be the nominee. But time changes all things and we’ll have to be surprised, I hope.

Greyledge Gal on June 24, 2011 at 12:00 PM

(Not that I’m saying either of them is a shoe-in at this point.)

http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/shoe-in.html

BuckeyeSam on June 24, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Nonsense. The economy cannot improve before the election because little Bammie will not let it improve. He wants America broken so he can fundamentally transform it.

Aks yourself, is someone on unemployment insurance more likely to vote for little Bammie?
Is someone on welfare more likely to vote for little Bammie?
Is someone on food stamps more likely to vote for little Bammie?
Is a government employee more likely to vote for little Bammie?

slickwillie2001 on June 24, 2011 at 12:36 PM

slickwillie2001 on June 24, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Yes, this is the other side of it.

Just ask yourself: How does individual success or national prosperity serve the Left? These are the last things in the world the Left wants.

rrpjr on June 24, 2011 at 12:41 PM

The thing people will have to consider is that with the Obama administration having a conflict of interest on reporting it’s own performance, don’t be surprised if they try to play with the numbers to make it look like Obama’s brand of Socialism is actually working.

Chip on June 24, 2011 at 11:17 AM

We shouldn’t be surprised… because they’ve already been playing with the numbers: “jobs created or saved”, unemployment figures, growth numbers, “GM/Chrysler fully repaying their debt early”, the list goes on and on with the lies they’ve been telling with the numbers…

Midas on June 24, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Exactly, I think it is fair to say that we will entirely amazed as to what lengths the National Socialist Democrats & the National Socialist Media will go to keep them in power.

Chip on June 24, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Rick Perry CAN OUT RAISE MITT. He is the governor of Texas, where a lot of new jobs are at. AKA HE KNOWS BILLIONAIRES AND MILLIONAIRES PERSONALLY.

BroncosRock on June 24, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Huntsman: Obama team is “queasy” about running against him.

Oh puleeze, if you believe that BS, then you’ll buy anything. Yeah, they are really, really afraid of running against a squishy moderate that nobody has even heard of who is about as exciting as saltine crackers, who probably agrees with 90% of their agenda, and who, in his announcement speech pledged to run an “honorable campaign” (where have we heard that before?). Seeing that comment alone eliminated any shred of credibility from the rest of the article.

AZfederalist on June 24, 2011 at 9:01 PM