In honor of the anniversary of Barack Obama's election, this diary presents quotes from various pundits and commentators who confidently predicted Obama's defeat in the presidential race. I've listed them in chronological order, starting in late 2006 and ending just before Election Day in '08.
If anyone has any more, I'll update the diary and mention whoever finds them. Just one thing: Let's stick to commentators who gave their real name (or at least something that looks like a real name), whether they be well-known pundits or more obscure bloggers. Anonymous messages on the Internet that said stuff like "Get over it libs, Obambi will never be president" number in the thousands or more and would be way too overwhelming to include here.
Oct. 27, 2006: "[Obama] should run in '08. He will lose in '08. And the loss will put him irrevocably on a path to the presidency." For him to win in '08 would require a "miracle." -- Charles Krauthammer
Dec. 17, 2006: "Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single Democratic primary. I'll predict that right now." -- William Kristol
Dec. 22, 2006: "Obama's shot at the top will be short lived.... Hillary Inc. will grind up and spit out any Democratic challenger that gets in its way." -- Joe Scarborough
Mar. 19, 2007: "The right knows Obama is unelectable except perhaps against Attila the Hun." -- Mark Penn
Sep. 24, 2007: "Sen. Obama cannot possibly believe, and doesn't even act as if he believes, that he can be elected president of the United States next year." -- Christopher Hitchens
Dec. 24, 2007: "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win." -- title of book by Shelby Steele
Jan. 26, 2008: "The 'could we beat Obama?' conversation is purely academic. It's over. The Clintons have defeated him already, because he is leaving South Carolina as 'the black candidate.' He won't win another state." -- Michael Graham, National Review
May 7, 2008: "[Obama] has shown he cannot get the votes Democrats need to win -- blue-collar, working class people. He can get effete snobs, he can get wealthy academics, he can get the young, and he can get the black vote, but Democrats do not win with that.... He will lose big." -- Rush Limbaugh
June 3, 2008: "Obama can't possibly be elected." -- Dick Morris
Aug. 4, 2008: "The Molten Core of Barack: Why Obama Can't Win." -- Alex Castellanos
Aug. 11, 2008: "As I wrote last December, '[t]he pundits can talk until they are blue in the face about Obama's charisma and eloquence and cross-racial appeal. The fact of the matter is that Obama has no chance of being elected president in 2008.' I am more convinced of this conclusion than ever." -- Steven M. Warshawsky, The American Thinker
Aug. 15, 2008: "Most people think Sen. Obama has this election in the bag, but in reality he stands very little chance of reaching the presidency because of the simple fact that he is far too liberal for America." -- Russ Duenow, Fredericksburg.com
Aug. 31, 2008: "Mr. Obama is doomed to defeat.... Mr. McCain will win - and win big - in November." -- Jeffrey Kuhner, The Washington Times
Sep. 22, 2008: "John McCain will win the presidential election, Kellyanne Conway, one of the country's most respected Republican pollsters, tells Newsmax." -- Ronald Kessler
Oct. 9, 2008: "I have received numerous emails from Republicans and Democrats alike, asking whether I still think Obama will lose the election. Yes, I do. But what about the polls, they ask? The polls show that Obama is winning. No, they don't, as I will explain." -- Steven M. Warshawsky
Oct. 25, 2008: "[T]here are real signs pointing to a McCain victory this year, whether or not the mainstream media wants to acknowledge them." -- Steven M. Warshawsky
Oct. 28, 2008: "The Seven Reasons McCain-Palin Are a Lock to Win." -- Dan Perrin
Nov. 2, 2008: Obama will win the popular vote but lose the election -- Fred Barnes
Nov. 3, 2008: "I think John McCain will win a squeaker over Barack Obama." -- Ed Morrissey
Nov. 3, 2008: "Throw out the polls. All of them.... The fact is that no pollster truly knows what is going on this election cycle, because this election is unlike any other in the nation's recent history.... The final Electoral Vote tally will be 275-263 for McCain." -- Mark Impomeni, Politics Daily
Nov. 3, 2008: "The media could be the real mid-wife of the November 4th victory by Senator McCain and Governor Palin." -- Dan Perrin
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A few final thoughts
Dan Perrin's sheepish post-election piece was titled "Among the Most Wrong, in the Annals of Begin [sic] Wrong." An equally flummoxed Steven M. Warshawsky wrote: "I cannot understand how a man like Obama became president. It contradicts everything I know, or thought I knew, about American history, culture, and politics."
How did I find all these quotes? I searched the web and Google News for phrases such as "Obama can't possibly be elected" and "McCain will definitely win" and all the variations I could think of. By no means do I take credit for having found all the quotes on my own. Many of these were passed around the blogosphere last year. My purpose is simply to make as big a collection as I can.
Those who think that Obama's rise to the highest office was a fluke, and that these commentators (at least the early ones) couldn't have reasonably foreseen it, should remember the following:
Oct. 25, 2005: "I'll never forget the moment I first saw you in the maternity ward at the hospital, and your mother asked me to suggest a name. In retrospect, I guess it was kind of an obvious choice, but at the time I had no idea that Barack would soon become America's second most popular baby name, after Aidan." -- Al Franken, allegedly a letter written in 2015 to his grandson Barack