August 14, 2009

Is Obama '12 the new Clinton '96?

Hatched by Dafydd

According to John Hinderaker at Power Line, some Democrats are already comparing the reelection attempt by Barack H. Obama in 2012 to the successful reelection of Bill Clinton in 1996. I say the analogy is not just flawed but ludicrously so.

Those Democrats who see Clinton '96 as the prophetic analogy for Obama '12 miss a huge distinction: Clinton did not win reelection; rather, the Republicans threw away their chance to defeat him by nominating the Most Boring Candidate Since the Mesozoic -- Senate Majority Leader Blob Dole.

I believe Clinton was eminently defeatable that year, had Republicans simply nominated someone more dynamic, even exciting; the only excitement in the entire Dole campaign was when he inadvertently dove into the mosh pit at some campaign event.

A more fiscally conservative and dynamic GOP nominee might have kept H. Ross Perot out of the '96 race, or at least held his numbers down to the traditional 1% - 1.5% of a normal third-party candidate (Perot took 8.7% in the actual election). Then the Republican would have only had to take a tiny bit more of the vote in some key states to dethrone the unprincipled one.

(Note that Clinton beat Dole by 8.5%, more than Obama beat McCain by; yet Clinton managed only 49.9% of the vote against a weak spread. That is the mark of an electorate dissatisfied with the field.)

But the race in 2012 will likely include several very exciting GOP candidates, including possibly Mitt Romney (in what will assuredly be an "it's the economy, stupid!" election), Eric Cantor, Bobby Jindal, and possibly Sarah Palin (though I consider that unlikely), any one of whom is far better a candidate than was Dole (yes, even Palin). Depending on how much voters blame the man sitting in la Casa Blanca for the idiocy of the Democratic Congress, Obama might well be sitting on a lower job approval in 2012 than Clinton had in 1996; Clinton was above 50% in the polls for many months prior to the November election.

I think it's a bad analogy all around; a better analogy might be Jimmy Carter, except that the 1980 race had its own distorting factor involving the Republican nominee, this time in the opposite direction: It's impossible to say whether Carter would have been reelected if George H.W. Bush had eked out a primary victory to become the nominee instead of Ronald Reagan.

The presidential election of 2008 was absolutely unique, and it may turn out that the presidential reelection attempt of 2012 is similarly sui generis. But certainly it's not plausibly modeled by the reelection campaign of Clinton in 1996; that's just Democratic wishful thinking.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 14, 2009, at the time of 2:57 AM

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The following hissed in response by: BlueNight

Us Republicans "picked" McCain mostly because the conservative base was divided amongst several other candidates, while the Moderates saw him as their only option.

Strategically, would it be better for us to pick one conservative and three moderates for the primaries?

Deals could be made, offers brokered, so that Strong Conservative Candidate is the only such in the race. I'm thinking Palin/Romney...

The above hissed in response by: BlueNight [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2009 7:31 AM

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

It is wishful thinking because thinking about what Obama will do for the Democrats in '10 is closest to what Clinton did for them in '94. It's just too painful for them to think of '10 now, so they think about '12, a race which is still, like their "mandate" somewhere out in a fantasy land. Now all the GOP has to do is to find a way- some good candidates and campaign strategy-- to capitalize on the implosion on the other side.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2009 8:15 AM

The following hissed in response by: mary ann

As for Obama's next term possibility, I don't think it looks as good as it did right after he was elected. I don't know how many democrats are turning out at the health care debates angered by Obama's gov't intervention plans but I would bet it's a huge number. The democrats may not have understood the socialism of cap & trade- the healthcare angles hit them right in the face. Once we get healthcare squared away with capitalism intact, then we must work the same on cap & trade and reveal it for what it is. When you call Obama a socialist, too many people have no clue. When you tell them it means every family will have Big Brother living with them, they will awaken. By 2012 Obama will have pissed almost everyone off; and his God awful TV infomercials will make them laugh at his arrogance.
I love lizards-glad to have found you!

The above hissed in response by: mary ann [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 16, 2009 1:12 PM

The following hissed in response by: mary ann

I need to correct an error in my previous post- I referred to democrats as those needing to see Obama for what he is. I forgot all the republicans, like my own dear sister, who ditched the GOP because they were so angry at Bush- they are equally responsible for endangering the future of the USA in electing such a socialist as Obama.

The above hissed in response by: mary ann [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 16, 2009 1:25 PM

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