Originally Published Here:
WED SEP 07, 2011 AT 12:51 PM PDT
The Republican Nightmare
One More Card to Play...
Imagine this scenario: the evening is winding down after a satisfying meal, a small group of Republican insiders are into the after dinner drinks, giddy with their prospects for 2012. Nearly every week brings lower approval numbers for Barack Obama. There seems to be no way out for him. America’s most discouraging economy in three generations is in a straight jacket and unlikely to improve in the fourteen months before the election.
Confident in their ability to slap away any White House policy initiatives with impunity, Republicans are quietly reviving long-buried goals like cutting government regulation to the point of meaninglessness and using the deficit crisis to gut long-hated programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Moreover their intransigence in the Health Care debate and their refusal to help Obama with the recovery were rewarded at the polls in 2010 beyond their wildest dreams. They’ve learned to manage the “Tea Party” elements of their newfound majority in the House and used that leverage to force deficit politics to the top of the national agenda even as they disingenuously complain that the President is “doing nothing” about jobs.
Even the arithmetic of the Senate for 2012 gives the Republicans a distinct advantage as they have only to defend ten seats while Democrats must protect twenty-three.
At the state level, the Republican sweep has enabled them to dismantle hard-won healthcare and retirement benefits of public employees, while destroying the power of their unions. They have successfully raised the false issue of “voter fraud” to pass laws disenfranchising several million mostly Democratic voters. They control most redistricting decisions, making it easier to protect their newly elected majorities in Congress and the state legislatures.
Finally, last year’s inexplicable “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision has given their corporate allies the power to secretly spend millions of dollars to defeat anyone who opposes their agenda in Congress.
Democrats meanwhile are in disarray. Disappointment with Obama is widespread with Independents and many Democrats. One constituency after another seems compelled to airs its grievances. And the issue of most importance to the vast majority of Americans is the Economy. And it stinks.
Obama was dealt perhaps the worst hand offered to an incoming President in American history save Lincoln. Sky-high hopes for a quick recovery have been shattered to the core. He got no help from Republicans rooting for him to fail from Day One. Insatiable twenty-four-seven cable news coverage soon began to discount the fact that Republicans were largely responsible for taking the economy down and quickly served to rehabilitate them as credible critics of Obama.
The Republicans of FDR’s day, on the other hand, had been totally discredited, failing for three-and-one-half years to stem the ravages of the Great Depression before his inauguration. Americans, seeing Roosevelt as their last hope, gave him the time and support he needed to put the country right.
As this tight-knit group of Republican power brokers begins to savor the Brandy and reach for the cigars, little thought is given to an American Economy in shambles or the desperation of its people, only to the political advantage it holds for them. They are confident that Obama will get the blame for all of it and that despite Congress having the lowest approval ratings on record, another Republican sweep is in the offing for 2012.
Still, the President has no credible opposition for the nomination and can accumulate delegates while continuing to take steps to strengthen the economy. There is a growing public awareness that the GOP is prepared to risk the entire economy to defeat Obama and seems willing to destroy the safety net for the millions of Americans to protect their wealthy friends.
The President may prove to be more formidable than his enemies expect, but if the economy fails to rebound and a Republican victory seems imminent as the Democratic National Convention convenes in August 2012, Obama still would have a final option: He could just step aside and decline to run for re-election.
In stepping down, like Harry Truman he could anticipate being far more respected by historians than by his contemporaries. Preventing a second Great Depression, saving the American auto industry, passing Health Reform, crippling Al Queda, and killing Osama bin Laden are all towering accomplishments obscured today by a fog of extreme partisanship and economic despair.
In foregoing a re-election effort, he might actually increase the chances for a more progressive Supreme Court in the future as well as increase the likelihood that health reform, his signature legislative accomplishment would be preserved.
If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the sound of terrorized after-dinner-republicans choking on their cigars as their fantasy is brought to a screeching halt. Now it would be Hillary Clinton bearing down on them in their rear view mirror. Had she been the victor in 2008, she might not have fared better than Obama. But she was not the victor. She sucked it up and accepted Obama’s entreaty to become Secretary of State. She has been loyal to him and has done a remarkable job in that position. Because her focus is foreign policy she would not be associated with the economy as would the Vice President.
Hillary Clinton stands today as far and away the most popular political figure eligible to become President of the United States. With Obama no longer the focus, the strong economy, budget surpluses, and overall competency in governing of the Clinton years would contrast favorably with the economic collapse brought on by the Bush Administration and the selfish heartlessness of the radical tea party Republicans.
Hillary Clinton 55 Mitt Romney 38
(Time Magazine Poll, October 2011)
Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 5:10 PM PT: Yes Jello, We have polling results.