Since WWII, the only two Presidents who lost re-election bids were Bush I and Jimmy Carter. (LBJ withdrew from the 1968 race because his role in the unpopular Vietnam War doomed his chances.) Carter was turned out primarily because of his utter fecklessness over the Iran Hostage crisis, although his mishandling of the second oil crisis and the ‘economic stagflation’ that resulted may also have done him in. In any event, his was a uniquely poor Presidency.

Bush I was penalized by Ross Perot’s entry into the race. The 1992 results were Clinton 43%, Bush 38%, Perot 19%. The majority of Perot’s votes would have gone to Bush, so absent Perot, Bush I would have been re-elected around 52-48%.

President Obama is not in as difficult a re-election situation as either Carter or Bush I. President Obama gives off an air of personal intelligence and competence, unlike Carter, who struck many as just plain incompetent. Most of the disagreement with Obama is policy-based, not personal-based. If the economy is heading in the right direction by Springtime ’12, and unemployment is down below 9%, monthly job creation is reliably and consistently around 150-200k/mo, gasoline pricing has stabilized at not higher than around $3.25/gal, then, yes, 50% of the voting electorate plus one vote will probably vote for Obama again and put him back in the White House.

Note: This is said with the full understanding that the US economy has a natural resiliency and tends to ‘right’ itself after a period of time, regardless of the Presidential policies that dabble at its edges. Obama’s socialist-spending-interventionist policies may (or may not) have delayed the recovery, but nonetheless, he will accrue the political benefits of a naturally-strengthening economy, like any sitting President would, from any Party. Can’t hold that against him.

I submit that 2012 should therefore be viewed as a “sacrificial” Presidential year for the Republican candidate, as the odds favor Obama’s re-election. Romney would be a good candidate in that he would present Republicans in a good light, bring credibility and seriousness to the Party’s image, and ‘get him out of the way’ as far as letting him have his chance. It’s his ‘turn.’

His MA health care situation can be easily explained away with, “It’s not working as I envisioned it would; I’m glad we can all see that now. Obviously, it would be a huge mistake to expand this to all 50 states.”

That takes care of it: “Not working as I envisioned.Seemed like a good idea, tried it, but in practice, these things can’t work BECAUSE OF OVERREACHING LIBERAL INTERFERENCE AND BUREAUCRATIC INEFFICIENCY, so let’s not make the bigger mistake now that we have all seen the proof. It would be tough to argue with the obvious implication that if you’ve seen it fail on a perfectly-parallel, perfectly-analogous smaller scale, it would be idiotic to make it 50 times bigger. Romney would get credit from the electorate for his honesty and he’d score debating points by implying that the failure was due in large part to the inherent inefficiency of Liberal implementation.

Since 2012’s Republican candidate is a likely loser anyway, it would be foolish to rush a potential 2016 winner like Pence or Jindal too soon. Pence may run for Governor in 2012, which would give him a very strong resume by 2016. He has all the right Conservative credentials; he has the look, the demeanor, the voice, the smile, etc. Jindal, too, has all the right qualifications, and of course, the added bonus of the right demographic.

There is a reasonably good chance that the Senate will go Republican in 2012, which will limit the amount of runaway liberalism that Obama can impose on the country.

Regardless of whether it’s Romney or someone else, the Republicans need to nominate a real conservative, to solidify the Party’s message. RINO Republicans are never good choices. Giuliani and Dole were total busts, as was McCain (whose nickname “Maverick” was simply code-speak for “definite RINO tendencies.” He was also an incredibly weak campaigner and had a very weak resume in many other areas).

A wise, realistic Republican near-term strategy would be as follows:

Have the 2011-2012 Republican House formulate good, clear, understandable, media-savvy policy proposals that can get good, understandable, accurate media coverage and present those to the Democratic Senate and public with a sharp, clear message of why those proposals are to the country’s benefit, and why Democratic opposition to them is bad for the country. Clear, clear, clear, media-savvy, media-savvy, media-savvy.

Nominate a viable 2012 Republican Presidential candidate whose personal credibility and personal aura strengthens and enhances the Republican Party’s image. If he wins (probably unlikely), great. If he loses, (more likely), he’ll have lost ‘good,’ leaving the Republican Party better off from a public image and issue-awareness standpoint than before. That will pave the way for 2016 when it will be an open race and a fresh, extremely attractive candidate like a Pence or a Jindal will be ready.

To reiterate, the probable Republican takeover of the Senate in 2012—along with the still-Republican House—will keep the liberal damage that Obama can inflict on the country to a minimum and will likely pull Obama meaningfully to the center. Therefore, the country as a whole still benefits in the 2012-2016 time-frame, before a Republican wins the White House in 2016.

Comments

  • Brian H

    “If the economy is heading in the right direction by Springtime ‘12, and unemployment is down below 9%, monthly job creation is reliably and consistently around 150-200k/mo, gasoline pricing has stabilized at not higher than around $3.25/gal”

    Whats the old saying about wishing in one hand?….Never mind.

  • David Kaiser, Editor

    Flogging a dead horse

    • Gary Russell

      Love it!

    • Brian H

      Classic!!!!!!!

    • http://www.sotr.us Cordeiro

      That horse has a better shot at sitting in the Oval than does Ron Paul.

  • JE

    Good overall thoughts, but
    “If the economy is heading in the right direction by Springtime ‘12, and unemployment is down below 9%, monthly job creation is reliably and consistently around 150-200k/mo, gasoline pricing has stabilized at not higher than around $3.25/gal”
    Not to pick nits, but Obama said “If we pass the stimulus, unemployment will not go over 8%”.
    Hows that “if” stuff working out? Maybe if he treads out his magical flying unicorn for VP it will make all those other things happen too.
    First problem, real unemployment is somewhere in the 15-20+% range once you look at U6 numbers instead of the U3 numbers that the gov keeps releasing which are becoming more meaningless all the time.
    Second, Egypt is basically Iran 1970’s over again. Yeah, there are no hostages…yet…but that is a big millstone to hang around Obama’s neck when Egypt becomes a ‘democracy’ with sharia law, basically lighting the fuse for the middle east powder keg.
    Obama still has a decent shot at re-election but it is way too early to be making sacrificial lamb choices.

  • Brian H

    Question to all…..

    What are Morning Line odds of Biden being on the VP ticket in 2012? His latest foot in mouth on Egypt may have cost him his job.

    • Whodat

      Biden is about the only thing that makes Obomb look good! The more dumb things Biden says, the smarter Obomb looks by comparison. I think he stays on the ticket.

      Anyway, Hillary is looking older, fatter, grumpier and more immersed in the wars and foreign policies of her master. She ain’t the gal she used to be…

      • Rochelle

        I think Biden is job security for Obama, and life security. Any would-be-assassin is stopped for the simple reason that if it is successful we get Biden. That in itself is enough to ensure the President’s safety! lol

    • JE

      Biden was chosen for a specific reason, he gave Obama foreign affairs cred. It was a very different world then. The moment he sees someone else that would give him a better shot at re-election, joe gets thrown under the bus…if there is room there for any more obama supporters.

  • Brian H

    Obama defeated a very weak candidate in McCain by less than 10 million votes in an atmosphere that was giddy over itself in “making history” with a relatively unknown candidate who was successfully able to use his blank slate to be the liberal, moderate, unifier, etc. etc. in a campaign year following 8 long years of Bush, war, terrorism, etc.

    To quote Living Colour…
    “I’m every person you need to be
    I’m the cult of personality
    Look into my eyes, what do you see?
    Cult of personality
    I know your anger, I know your dreams
    I’ve been everything you want to be
    I’m the cult of personality”

    This election Obama has few of the advantages he so brilliantly used in 2008. He has proven to not be a moderate but in fact extremely liberal, if not downright “socialist”(a term that has stuck with him despite the efforts to shake it). The economy may strengthen some before 2012 but the unemployment numbers that is his ball and chain will not. There is a true public awakening to the over spending in Washington and Obama is, and will be, the face of that spending. There is a true grass roots movement that has surfaced since 2008 that is proving to be a political force, something he did not face in 2008. Some “Independents” that have fled Obama will likely return but hardly enough to make up for his losses. Popular Republican governors have control over key swing states that will serve the GOP very very well in 2012. White voters that patted themselves on the back for making history will not feel the same eagerness (guilt) to break the political color barrier. Obama is quite thin skinned and the perception of being in over his head has yet to fade, despite the dribble has been trying to sell.

    Does Obama maintain the home court advantage? Sure, as any incumbent President does. But, to suggest that any opposition will be the sacrificial lamb at the alter of Obama is a bit of stretch. He is very vulnerable and beatable in 2012 if the GOP nominates a serious minded candidate.

    • Brian H

      PS…..

      Lessons can be learned from history but like the spinning wheel on a roulette table each spin is 100% independent of the last or previous spins. I view Presidential elections much the same.

      Maybe I’m just wishing……………

  • Whodat

    “I submit that 2012 should therefore be viewed as a “sacrificial” Presidential year for the Republican candidate, as the odds favor Obama’s re-election”

    I still hate it when somebody has drugs and they don’t share. You got some good stuff that really takes you off the pained plain of reality and I would like a toke! Let’s put on some Dead and really get into it…

    On the other hand, I have infinantly more confidence in the Americans with common sense than you do. With all my heart, I believe that average people will rush out to end the reign of this socialist, inept, mistake of 08. I do not need a sacrificial candidate, although Romney would be a great selection for that role. I believe we can get behind anyone who happens to win the nomination and use them to oust this pathetic pretender. At this point, I believe that is certain.

  • Gary Russell

    WRONG.

    For two reasons:

    1. If you recall, in 1992 the major Dem candidates all chose not to run for similar reasons that you are giving: Bush I looked unbeatable at the time.

    Folks like Cuomo decided that they’d let a minor candidate (like maybe that young kid from Arkansas) waste a run in 1992, and then they’d be in position to win it all in 1996.

    How’d that work out for Cuomo, again?

    2. I refuse to believe that the Republican party can only muster ONE great candidate once every eight years, and therefore must save him for the “right” election. If we are indeed that bad off, then we don’t deserve to win ANY election. What kind of losing mentality is that?????

  • Troy La Mana

    Well in that case, sign me up for Romney. Better to get rid of the old now then have it clog up the sink for 2016.

  • http://www.politicalderby.com/ Jason Wright, Editor

    Well put. And similar to what I’ve been saying for some time. Obama is still the odds-on favorite to win in 2012. The GOP will fight like crazy for the chance to run against him, and they should, because you never know. But if I were Pence, Thune, Christie, etc., I’d pass on 2012 and run in 2016 when the GOP will be favored.

    • Brian H

      “But if I were Pence, Thune, Christie, etc., I’d pass on 2012 and run in 2016 when the GOP will be favored.”

      Jason. I disagree…..a bit.

      Entering the process and getting your feet wet is often the catalyst to a later successful run, is it not? Even if one does not win the nomination he/she can position themselves nicely for a run in the next election.

      I do agree, however, that if a candidate wins the nomination but loses in the General to Obama he/she will likely have taken their last shot at the Presidency. The best scenario for a candidate may be to come in a close second in the nomination process in 2012…..almost like a stalker coming around the 3/4 pole setting themselves up nicely for a home stretch run in 2016.