Lots of joyful crowing about the weakness of the Republican candidates for President is fun, but nobody is talking about the real 2012 battles - for control of the House and Senate. Let’s assume that until shown otherwise, Obama will get re-elected. If the Republicans take over the Senate and retain the House, he will be a lame duck on Inauguration Day 2013.
They Republicans understand that. So they are taking steps that, while not totally below the radar, are not getting the attention they should:
• Neo-Jim Crow laws: attacking voter “fraud” to cull out from the ranks of voters the poor and elderly, the migrant workers, the homeless unemployed, etc.
• Attacking the teachers: by cutting wages; disempowering unions that have traditionally supported Democrats; targeting budget cuts at the classrooms; forcing teaching to tests that are biased toward the Atlantic view of history; stifling alternative viewpoints and cultural perspectives and creativity; emphasizing flat earth faith over scientific skepticism; eliminating programs that stimulate creativity like art and music.
• Re-districting that gerrymanders out the voice of progressives by drowning them in a sea of Republican voters.
• Targeting Medicaid and Medicare cuts at the poorest segments, so that at the margin there will be fewer of them around to vote in 2012.
So we need to stop chortling about how poor the field of Republican challengers to Obama is, and focus on winning the state and local elections that will determine whether he will be able to succeed when he is re-elected in 2012.