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Jul. 28 2010 - 12:05 am | 793 views | 0 recommendations | 13 comments

What just might happen if Obama loses in 2012

Newt Gingrich

Image of Newt Gingrich via Wikipedia

Less than four months from now, the mid-term elections will determine if the Democrats lose control of the Senate and their ability to set the national agenda. The November balloting will also lay the foundation for President Obama’s next two years in office – and his re-election campaign. Any number of scenarios  could undermine Obama in 2012. If (God forbid) a 9/11-style attack hits the United States that summer, or, say, the economy goes into a deep tailspin, then Obama will become the first one-term president since George H.W. Bush. In Obama’s wake, the Republican Piranha who’ve been circling the White House since 2008 (Palin, Romney, et al.) will feast on the Democrats’ political carcass. Here are three scenarios:

** President Whitman: After narrowly beating Jerry Brown for the California governorship in 2010, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman gets drafted for the 2012 presidential campaign and reluctantly accepts – then steamrolls her way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Whitman’s appeal – the first woman Republican to head the ticket; her success in Silicon Valley; her (anti-Palinesque) ability to speak coherently about the economy, foreign affairs, and her vision for America – makes her the surprising choice for independents and conservative liberals who helped springboard Obama in 2008. Whitman’s running mate, Newt Gingrich, secures her standing among Conservatives, especially in the South, and – like Joe Biden in 2008 with Obama – he reassures a potentially jittery public that his ticket has the necessary experience.

** War in Iran: The Republicans’  ascension marks the return of chickenhawk diplomacy. Instead of the Obama administration’s reasoned approach to Iran, the new administration relies on all-or-nothing antagonism, leading to the third Gulf War in two decades. What ensues are thousands of new military deaths, a dangerously destabilized Middle East, and an oil crisis that shocks Western economies for years. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. tries to shepherd in a friendlier government, but now all three countries – connected geographically, religiously and historically – become the world’s leading front for insurgency against the United States.

** Hillary Re-Emerges: Free from her role in Team Obama, Hillary Clinton writes her second memoir and takes a teaching position at Columbia University. In both her class and new book, she talks of the irony that her groundbreaking 2008 campaign paved the way for U.S. voters to accept . . . a Meg Whitman presidency. Mulling a run in 2016, Clinton starts a bipartisan think-tank, which launches her into a new phase of political respectability. Eventually, she and Bill get their own CNN talk-show, which becomes the highest-rated political talk show on cable.

As for Obama, he walks away with his head held high, his historic presidency less than his supporters wanted but more than his detractors thought possible. For the most part, America survived and thrived under Obama’s watch, but it still wasn’t enough to keep him in high office.

Hmmm. Prognostication is easier said than done. Other scenarios would put Obama in the White House through 2016, when Hillary, Meg and others would challenge for the open seat that all politicians seem to crave, even if (hello Jeb Bush) they can’t bring themselves to admit it.


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  1. collapse expand

    I don’t want my party (Dems) to lose the Senate. However, I can’t think of one damn reason we deserve to keep it.

    To their credit, a number of Obama cultists have repented now that they truly see who and what they wished for and got–a leader neither dynamic or gifted, and barely moderate at his most liberal. The hold-outs astonish me. To them I give my not at all sincere or heartfelt thanks for everything.

    • collapse expand

      I am a proud member of the Obama “hold-outs” as you like to call them. Have you been asleep for two years? Obama has faced an economic challenge that no new President has faced since FDR. He has a Republican minority in Congress that has offered nothing and done everything to obstruct him at every turn. In spite of all this, he has kept the economy from completely falling apart, passed a health care bill that, while not perfect, is a good start, passed financial reform, etc., etc. Where has he disappointed you? What did you want? I am sure you will mention war and Afghanistan is certainly an ugly situation. I do think we will be out of Iraq (for the most part)sometime in 2011. And yes, you should thank me and all others who voted for and continue to support Obama. This is a zero-sum game. The alternative was McCain and Palin. Get a clue.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Oh, yeah–I forgot that Obama was the only primary candidate. Zero-sum. Yeah.

        Obama’s healthcare “reform” is so abominably weak that it won’t survive the first round of corporate dodges. Only a strong bill has any chance of working, and Obama sold out reform, without missing a beat, to the insurance giants and to those obstructionists you cite. He almost fucked the thing up entirely. I’m not in the habit of praising people who flush unprecedented opportunities down the commode, but maybe I simply have higher standards than you do.

        Yes, I was going to mention his morally disgraceful extension of the Bush/Cheney Middle East push-our-might policy, which is, after all, one of THE moral abominations in our country’s history of messing with others. His behavior in regard to DADT is equally disgraceful, and such concessions to right-wing machoism have the right wing rather rightfully perceiving him as something of a lap dog. Again, maybe my standards are higher than yours.

        I also vividly remember (back when MSNBC was running BO’s campaign) being put down by Obamites as a crude, cousin-cuddling redneck for not liking the guy, the presumption being that I can’t handle a neo-progressive maverick like BO, especially someone of his not-whiteness. Now that he’s revealed himself to be, at best, barely a blip on the moderate screen, where are the humble retractions? I’m not even asking for “You were right.” More like, “I promise not to play the class card the next time some lightweight newbie comes along and puts me in an evangelical way.” That would suffice.

        I have a host of minor quibbles, including his inability, in unscripted appearances, to form a sentence without a minimum of seventeen “Uh…”’s, or his droning delivery, which makes me long for Gore’s on-camera persona. However, lack of charisma is a cosmetic fault.

        By no process of anything remotely resembling logic can anyone argue that, because the alternative was unthinkable, Obama is therefore an inspired leader. That’s a defense so weak as to be nonexistent. But Obama’s fans, I’ve observed, feel that no defense is necessary.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Oh, by the way, I voted for Obama. Any implication did I did otherwise is not appreciated, but maybe it simply didn’t occur to you that being critical of BO doesn’t equal supporting a senile jerk and his 80-I.Q. sidekick.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Oh where to begin. First, although no implication was intended by me, using terms like “Obama cultists” and “holdouts” along with a douchebaggery “thanks” at the end of your first post certainly would have allowed for such an implication. Instead it appears that you are a disaffected PUMA. Fair enough. Your response is part troll and part GOP talking points. I could respond point by point but it would be a waste of my time. Please try and join the real world. Perfection is enemy of the good. It is too bad that you are disappointed in Obama. My guess is you can continue your disappointment for the next 6 years. One more thing, it IS a zero sum game moron. Do you think Hillary would have done anything different. The Clintons have always been moderates and likely would have cut more deals than Obama, especially with regard to foreign policy. Have you forgotten that Hillary is the freaking SOS? Oh perhaps you wanted Dennis K. in the Oval Office. Again, get a clue. I have wasted enough time on you.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    I think that the only thing we know for sure about the 2010 elections is that the Republican power to obstruct will increase; other than that, your interesting scenarios are just interesting scenarios. Don’t get me wrong, war-gaming this stuff out is fun, and can even teach one something. Will this increased obstructionism hurt Obama, as the R’s hope it does; or will it help him, as it seemed to help Clinton? I can’t think of any way of answering that question, valuable as that answer would be.

    A few things that we can safely say for sure:

    1) If the R’s gain control of the Senate, no further D legislation will be possible, and the Admin’s previous legislative sucesses will come under attack. Bills that no D president could accept would come flying at the White House, forcing Obama to wear out his veto pen. (With a 51-49 supermajority, the Senate R’s could easily overcome a filibuster, and perhaps even a veto, in a way that Dems couldn’t with a 59-41 minority. [sarcasm font])

    2) A Republican House means Darrel Issa will have subpena powers. ‘Nuff said.

    The only real question re 2010 is, how much will the power of thr R’s to obstruct increase? Riddle me that.

  3. collapse expand

    The writer seems sincere and there are certainly scenarios where Obama is vulnerable. That said, Whitman has about as much chance of running for and becoming President as my dog. For one, Whitman did not even vote for something like the last 25 years. Not a dealbreaker but certainly a sign of someone who had little or no interest in the political process. Her history at Ebay is not super clean and she is a political neophyte. Two years as Governor of CA is not nearly enough to vault her past Romney, Thune or the others, and that is assuming she wins against Brown. On top of all that, Presidential campaigns are going to begin to ramp up in early to mid-2011, just when she is starting as governor, again if she actually wins. Again, I understand what the writer is getting at but I think he underestimates the daunting task of running for President. Even Palin will likely not run given the scrutiny and work involved in a two run for President. Aside from another catastrophe, Obama will be tough to defeat. Even now, his favorability ratings remain in the mid-40s. Not bad considering the turmoil the country had been through the last 2 years.

    • collapse expand

      “Two years as Governor of CA is not nearly enough to vault her past Romney”

      Vault past Romney?! Romney couldn’t get elected in this country if Jesus Christ himself came down and anointed him. Romney’s a Mormon, and as far as the Baptist Wahabbis down south are concerned, he might as well be a Zoroastrian, or a former member of Heaven’s Gate.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Whoa there! Just thought of the first GOP “front runner” I could think of. Quite frankly I am currently struggling to think of any GOP “stars” that are legitimate nominees. With that said, do not underestimate what GOP voters will accept in an effort to try and unseat Obama. Some might just accept Romney if they see it as their best chance to win.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          “With that said, do not underestimate what GOP voters will accept in an effort to try and unseat Obama.”

          True enough, but don’t underestimate the loathing most Protestants have for Mormonism. They might all play together nice in public, but I’ve personally heard the conversations that take place when the Mormons leave the room. And it ain’t pretty.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
  4. collapse expand

    Obama: joined Bush to bail the banks that they may continue their depredations upon the rest of us; expanded Afghanistan–immolating American thugs and Afghan patriots to be re-elected and show himself all manned-up for the Repubs; continues Iraq; continues Gitmo; fails to prosecute the war criminals of the previous administration, making his own even more complicit in their crimes; dithers about foreclosures; expands Bagram, where Afghans and others may be tortured to death by the CIA without any oversight; expands drone attacks whereby American heroes annihilate the wedding parties of innocent (“terrorist”) Afghans by flipping a switch at Nelson AFB; makes sure meaningful health care reform will NOT occur; bails the companies who then coolly outsource more jobs; takes direction from BP; and makes certain real banking reform will not get Citibank’s panties in a twist. In short, Obama joins the powerful in making sure this crisis reduces plain American to the peonage the powerful want. No more unions, no more living wages–just the workers in their place, happy to be wage slaves.

    If you voted for Obama, you really weren’t listening. He is and always has been a right-wing tool.

    Besides, Obama’s gonna need two knee operations; he’s wrecking them by dropping on them before anything sniffing of wealth.

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    Filmmaker Michael Moore may hate former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who may distrust Mohammed Fadlallah (the former spiritual head of Hezbollah) but all three can agree on one thing: They liked meeting journalist Jonathan Curiel. That’s me. I don’t fawn over people I interview, but I give them room to talk before formulating an opinion (or two). Beyond my journalism (a long reporting stint for the San Francisco Chronicle, plus freelancing for the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Columbia Journalism Review, and others), I’ve taught as a Fulbright Scholar at Punjab University in Lahore, Pakistan; and conducted research at England’s Oxford University, as a Reuters Foundation Fellow. I’m also the author of “Al’ America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots.” If journalists are what they cover, then I’m an omnivore – someone as interested in Picasso and Seinfeld as I am in Washington politics and foreign affairs.

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