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In 1980 Jimmy Carter defeated Ted Kennedy in a Primary contest for the Nomination of the Democratic Party for President.  Walter Mondale was also renominated.  According to Beltway-think, this Primary challenge was responsible for Carter losing the General Election to Ronald Reagan.

I think the cause and effect is a little messed up.  I believe that Kennedy challenged Carter BECAUSE he was weak, both as President, from the oil crisis, from the bad stagnant economy, but also from the Iran Hostage Crisis.

Follow me below for lead up to the 1980 Primary:

From Wikipedia:

A midsummer 1978 poll had shown Democrats preferring Kennedy over Carter by a 5-to-3 margin.

At the same time, Carter had an approval rating of 28%.  By August of 1979, Carter's approval rating had dropped to Dick Cheney country: 19%.  Kennedy was preferred 2:1 over Carter.

Then, on November 4th, 1979, Iranian students stormed the American Embassy and took hostages.

Three days later, Kennedy declared his candidacy for President.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (where empires go to die) began on December 27th.

I personally remember the "Rose Garden Strategy" that Carter campaigned with (or rather, DIDN'T campaign).  But Kennedy lost ground and headlines because of the Soviet Invasion and a poorly run campaign.  The Chappaquiddick incident didn't help him, either.

Kennedy lost badly in Iowa and other primaries and nearly pulled out of the contest when he had an upset in the New York primary with 59-41% of the vote.  While not winning enough delegates to directly win the Nomination, Kennedy had won 10 primaries to Carter's 24.

Instead of giving up, Kennedy went to the Convention and tried to free candidates from their pledges so that they could vote for him as he was considerably more popular among the delegates than his delegate count would suggest.  When his proposed rule change failed, Kennedy withdrew.  This was August 12, 1980.

The Election wasn't until November, of course.  Kennedy clearly lost the Nomination because of the Chappaquiddick baggage and the Soviet Invasion.

QUESTION

a) Was the damage inflicted upon Carter caused by Kennedy, or b) was Kennedy a symptom of Carter's already significant weakness?

I believe the answer is B, not A.  Carter wouldn't have received a challenge if he'd been a strong candidate.  Whether Kennedy ran against him or not, CARTER. WOULD. HAVE. LOST.

While some disaffected Moderates voted for John Anderson (I remember Grandpa Polecat voting for Anderson -- wasted vote), Ronald Reagan engineered a significant victory and was elected.

We don't need to get into the secret negotiations between Reagan's people and the Iranians to not release the hostages until after the election, nor the illegal offers of parts and other military materials.

SURMISE

• Had Kennedy not carried the baggage he did, he would have been President in 1980.

• Had Carter not been as unpopular as he was, Kennedy would not have run against him.

• Had Kennedy not challenged Carter, Carter would still have lost the Presidency.

CONCLUSION

• It was not the Primary Challenge that caused Carter to lose.

OBSERVATIONS FOR 2012

• A primary challenge to Obama does not mean that the Democrats will lose the Presidency in 2012.  Especially with the current cast of T-Republicans running.

• Whomever would challenge Obama from the Left (and it would HAVE to be from the Left), that person must have little or no baggage and must run on a campaign of JOBS, JOBS, and more JOBS.

• The mere presence of a viable Democratic Challenger to Obama would force him to the Left.  Here I must reference the Nixon strategy of running toward the base during the Primary and back to the Center for the General Election.  For the duration of the Primary, at least, Obama would be forced back toward the Democratic Party.

• Clinton v. Obama taught us something else:  A primary challenge can be a good thing; you rob the other party of oxygen and you much more strongly introduce your candidate to the electorate.  Clinton v. Obama didn't hurt Obama in the General Election.  The PUMA effect was only present in a few blogs by a few strident individuals.

THEREFORE

We, on the Left have very little to lose by mounting a viable challenge to Obama.  Obama could very well lose this messaging contest without a challenger, especially to the point of hurting us even farther downticket.  2010 was devastating.  We cannot allow that to happen AGAIN.

This then begs the next question of whom to recruit and how the Democratic Party would take it.  I'd recommend Boxer, Feingold, Spitzer (under the theory that a dalliance is less damaging than Chappaquidick), Gore (although he's a but more DLC than I would like), and I'd have to look around at some former Governors.

But we need to seriously think about this and not conclude that the existence of a Primary Challenger is a bad thing. A 28% approval rating is a bad thing.  A challenger, not so much.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    -Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:20:21 PM PDT

  •  Go for it and please (11+ / 0-)

    don't come back stunned because:

    A.  You won't be able to find a viable candidate, unless you think Kucinich, Nader or a Green fantasist is one;

    B.  Your bank account is reduced because of this quixotic quest; or

    C.  You manage to suck off enough votes to place a Republican in the WH.

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:23:39 PM PDT

    •  You're missing the point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geekesque, importer, RenMin

      A.  You may well be right.  Kucinich isn't viable and I didn't suggest him.  As we learned from 1980, the candidate must be viable and without significant baggage.

      Kennedy had baggage.

      B. What on God' Green Earth does my bank account have to do with it?  A campaign of "Jobs Jobs Jobs" is what we're talking about.  

      C. How does a Primary Challenge suck off votes from Obama who will go running back to the center faster than you can blink?

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:27:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you. Kennedy had significant (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat

        baggage, did til the day he died.  No Republican ever missed an opportunity to mention Chappaquiddic they've even flogged it since he died.  On the other hand, Carter was so weakened from a year of hostage crisis day whatever that he didn't have a chance.

        The country is very unhappy, not just the progessives, but the Independents and a lot of Republicans.  Obama might beat a challenger from the right, but a lot can happen in a year.  Killing Bin Laden didn't last more than a few weeks in the polls.  The Republicans have set this latest deal up so they can hammer the Democrats, just like they did about the Healthcare bill.

        The worst that could happen in a primary, in my opinion, is that we end up with Obama running.  Problem is he isn't a lot better than the Republicans for selling us out.

        Again, we are faced with the lesser of two weevils.  A fresh face with a real message could swing a lot of votes.  My guess is the economy will be in bigger trouble then than it is now, if that is possible, and someone with a clear message that the economy is a direct result of Republican action, could have a great deal of appeal.    

    •  One more thing, you read VERY fast. /nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geekesque, importer

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:28:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  no primary but I question your B. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radmul, polecat

      as my bank account is reduced thanks to the money I sent to Obama '08 and to the recession/depression we're in.

      So that makes point B a non-starter.

      C is questionable too. Granted , the President is not a Republican in the sense of the current crazed tea bagging set but he's close enough to an old style Republican that when I see "...to place a Republican in the WH" I think "hmm, that might not be such a good point either".

      But A is right on the money. There is no viable candidate. I don't think there's any member of Congress or any Governor who could pass a litmus test as a pure Progressive so a lesser known person wouldn't succeed solely on positions taken.

      That would leave only well known names like Clinton or Dean or Gore and they are not going to run.

      Given that fact, B and C are unnecessary.

      "Things are never so bad they can't get worse" - Dallasdoc

      by Shahryar on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:36:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dean is not a Progressive (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Diogenes2008, psilocynic, importer, FG, polecat

        Never has been, never was. Good grief just go look at his record as Governor On VT. A good governor yes, a Progressive Governor no. Clinton is not a Progressive.

        In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

        by jsfox on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:42:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I carefully left Dean and his scream out. (0+ / 0-)

        and you've sussed it -- who would be viable.

        Feingold was my best suggestion.

        I don't think this will fly, unfortunately, but the proem isn't having a Primary, rather having a flop for a challenger.

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        -Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 05:47:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The electorate already knows (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psilocynic, CoyoteMarti, Ray Radlein

    the candidate.  He's their president.

    A primary challenge can be a good thing; you rob the other party of oxygen and you much more strongly introduce your candidate to the electorate.

    This is a terrific waste of our energy.  You want a candidate other than Obama to root for?  Hey, you're not alone.  So pick a congressional race or a senate race and throw your all into that.

    •  Clinton v. Obama was a terrific waste of energy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, hardhatmama

      by that argument.

      The capitulator-in-chief has assured us of a Depression repeat.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:29:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have to agree with you on that point. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psilocynic, Bindle
      The electorate already knows the candidate.  He's their president.

      At this point I can't imagine supporting (i.e. donating to) Obama in 2012 - by now everyone can fill in the blanks on the gigantic list of reasons. But the idea that the public needs to be introduced to Obama is a joke. We pretty much know who he is and how he operates - that's either good enough for you or not.

      The primary in 2008 was good for our side (in that it let Obama get his "brand" out there) in general, and it certainly helped the President trounce McCain in the general. But all of the benefits that it had persist, and a primary this go-round would not have the same benefits.

      I also don't think it would move Obama to the left. The bottom line is that this President doesn't want to deal with progressives on any level beyond GOTV and fundraising, and he's in a position to get what he wants.

      I agree that it's not particularly courageous to solve a problem on the backs of people who are poor, or people who are powerless, or don't have lobbyists, or don't have clout.

      by teknofyl on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:46:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I donated for you in the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat

        name of teknofyl.

        This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

        by psilocynic on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:50:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ummm... OK? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          psilocynic, Bindle

          I guess... good for you? Not sure quite what to say about that mildly bizarre action.

          Feel free to make up as many random names to use for your donations as you need to make yourself feel better. When I donate, I usually use my own (real) name - but whatever floats your boat, psilocynic.

          I have to say, I do find your "I'll donate on your behalf" action kind of funny in light of your sig:

          This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

          Oh meta-humor!

          I agree that it's not particularly courageous to solve a problem on the backs of people who are poor, or people who are powerless, or don't have lobbyists, or don't have clout.

          by teknofyl on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:58:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  If there were a credible primary challenger out (8+ / 0-)

    there, sure.

    But the only figures of sufficient stature are his Secretary of State and her husband, with the latter not qualified to run.

    We're stuck with the lemon we bought, for another 18 months.

    There's still some hope we can take the House back.  

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:26:21 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately you may be right about that. (4+ / 0-)

      But in the next 3 hostage crises (I count 2 or 3, depending), we could lose a lot more than we've already lost.

      Especially if Obama doesn't veto.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:30:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suspect he'll be in retrenchment mode--trying (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, DEMonrat ankle biter

        to protect as much of his legislative legacy (ACA, CFPB, green energy) from subsequent repeal in 2013 and beyond.

        This is a salvage operatoin.  The barbarians are at the gates, and they've picked the lock.

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:34:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And put us into default? How is it that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psilocynic

        people like you actually think you've got anything figured out?

        I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

        by doc2 on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:41:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They want a BOSS or bully for president. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neil, doc2, Vita Brevis, importer, polecat

          Bush was the worst thing for this country in so many ways. Some of which aren't even manifest yet. But this concept of the bully president is the worst of them all.

          This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

          by psilocynic on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:03:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just curious... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CoyoteMarti, polecat

            But how would you characterize Theodore Roosevelt, FDR or Truman?  I sure wouldn't call them bullies, but they fought and fought hard for what was right.  Fighting for the "little guy" is the opposite of the bully.

            •  Teddy was a cowboy republican. (0+ / 0-)

              FDR was a racist and truman committed the worst atrocity this world has seen yet. Do you make heroes out of everyone? These people are human and as such, extremely prone to fucking up. All of them. And to compound matters, they're politicians.

              This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

              by psilocynic on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 04:22:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't make heroes out of anyone (0+ / 0-)

                Let alone a politician.  I was curious how much a person president or politician can fight for the people without be considered a bully.  The three I mentioned, I thought fought pretty hard for what was right and the man I voted for hasn't shown nearly that much. As if wanting him to fight more constitutes wanting a BOSS or bully, as you put it.  You went down a totally different path.
                Jesus, I thought I was cynical.

                •  How we view them is based on an arbitrary (0+ / 0-)

                  process of selection and deletion. What gets remember isn't as much a product of there actions as it is a product of how we choose to remember them. If the economy turns around in the next year and Obama wins a second term, history will remember him favorably as well.

                  This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

                  by psilocynic on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 06:02:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Roger Ailes is courting Chris Christie of all (0+ / 0-)

            people.  I can't even imagine him running for president, jabbing his finger in peoples' chests and telling them to shut up.

            But there you have it.  

          •  How about someone other than (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            polecat, schumann, RenMin

            a punching bag?

            If Obama were a boxer, every time he got in the ring with the GOP, you could sell ads on the bottom of his shoes.

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:56:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  All that's credible in the Party is (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geekesque, radmul, polecat, RenMin

      The Clintons and Obama.

      Weep now, and forever find you're fleeced.

      More and Better Democrats

      by SJerseyIndy on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:54:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok, look at any random Dem Governor or (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat

        Senator (b/c that's where all the Presidents come from). Say, O'Malley or Whitehouse. They may be fine ideologically and could make decent Presidents. But they have no stature to compete with any sitting President with approval rating in the 40s or above. And they don't want to forfeit their future in Dem politics.

  •  tempted to agree BUT there is no viable option (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SallyCat, polecat, Geekesque, FG, RenMin

    to primary Obama so we are stuck with him

    I'm sure in 2012 I will end up happily voting for Obama not due to obama but because the repubs do another crazy thing in their long list of crazy things for me to scream "Oh, hell no to a repub."

    At the moment though Im only committed to voting D downticket and writing in Micky Mouse for potus

    repubs will save Obama's @ss with the base eventually and I'll get in line.....just not yet

    •  How do you get people to GOTV for just downticket? (4+ / 0-)

      That's what happened in 2010 because Obama didn't campaign on anything.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:31:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  good question but what optimism I have left (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zamrzla, polecat

        is based on repubs so showing their @sses in the house that people will be motivated to at least kick the repubs out of majority power in the house

        for POTUS, it sucks but Obama just has to wait for repubs to make even bigger asses of themselves to scare us all in line in voting for Obama

        2008, I voted with pleasure and cried tears of joy when Obama won.  2012 not feeling it nowe but I know I in the end (and it sucks) that I will be voting Obama as my "HELL NO! to repubs" vote

        •  They own the media. (2+ / 0-)

          Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
          I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
          -Spike Milligan

          by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:36:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yeah,funny thing was looking=expat possibilities (0+ / 0-)

            this morning

            even set up folders on my lap top with tons of stuff on a few places

            :-P

            Ah well, nice dream but as I mentioned though I'm not feeling it at the moment and totally sympathize with all others not feeling it at the moment.....the repubs like clockwork will do yet another super crazy think in their long list of crazy to make us all rush like lemmings to the polls to pull the level for Obama 2012

            Its sad that my 2008 vote was a happy 1 and 2012 will be a hell no to repubs vote

  •  Here are some people (8+ / 0-)

    I suggested in another diary just like yours: Suge Knight, Bill Cosby, Will Smith, Whoopie Goldberg and Mandela. But check his birth certificate first.

    "This country was founded on compromise. I couldn't go through the front door at this country's founding" - President Barack Obama

    by AAMOM on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:28:06 PM PDT

    •  +4 for snark. /nt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, citizenx, bronte17

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:31:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Comedy list... other than Mandela who just (0+ / 0-)

      can't meet the qualifications.

      But, on a serious note... you have Colin Powell. Condi Rice. eesh...

      On the better side of the aisle... Ayanna Pressley. Or Kamala Harris. Donna Edwards or Karen Bass. Bass sits on the Foreign Affairs and Budget committees.

      Up and coming list.


      The true way is along a rope that is not spanned high in the air, but only just above the ground. It seems intended more to cause stumbling than to be walked upon. --Franz Kafka

      by bronte17 on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:53:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You got an extra Kennedy hanging around (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neil, Clem Yeobright, polecat

    in your pocket somewhere that we don't know about?

  •  If there is a viable challenge to Obama (7+ / 0-)

    from the left I will work my butt off for them. By viable I mean no Kucinich, no Nader...get someone left of center that will govern that way.

    Without a primary challenge I think Obama will move even further to the right ( is that possible?) in his 2nd term.

    Will I vote for him in 2012? Don't know yet.

    . I might register GOP for the primaries and vote for totally batshit for their side in the general.

    Born again Cynic since 2008 when the patent medicine man came to town.

    by SallyCat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:29:50 PM PDT

  •  So a challenger from the left (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diogenes2008, virginwoolf, polecat, doroma

    moves Obama to the left. Why? He knows and you should know he cannot win the general from there.

    Next Obama's number are not anywhere near Carter's. He is still solid amongst Dems including liberal Dems. He is still holding in the mid forties with all voters on poll averages. Where he has bounced around for over a year.

    And finally who are going to find that would be foolish enough to do it. But hey if you can find the person go for it

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:32:51 PM PDT

    •  Check back when unemployment starts tickling (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, radmul, polecat

      the underside of 10.0% again.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:43:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  These people just want a lefty Dem candidate (0+ / 0-)

      so they can bask in his leftiness for a few months leading up to his destruction in the general. For some reason this has some kind of appeal to many.

      I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

      by doc2 on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:43:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Worst political analysis I have seen regarding (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CoyoteMarti, wbgonne, polecat

      the current landscape. Moving Obama to the left would have actually improved his chances of reelection. No one is talking about him running as a Socialist, just that he govern to a degree left that reflects what his campaign was based on in 2008. If you don't realize that he is not only losing numbers from the left and independents, then you don't know how to read polls.

      I agree that there won't be a primary nor should there be but only because we are too far along in the cycle.

      "I will be happy to see the Republicans test whether or not I'm itching for a fight on a whole range of issues," President Obama - Liar

      by jec on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:05:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        like me you are entitled to your opinion. And based on my observation and mine alone, I speak for no one else, the President in the White House is exactly or damn close to what I expected when I voted for him.

        In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

        by jsfox on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:25:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then kudos to you for having such low expectations (0+ / 0-)

          I doubt that many that voted for the man are in the same camp given he promised such lofty changes.

          "I will be happy to see the Republicans test whether or not I'm itching for a fight on a whole range of issues," President Obama - Liar

          by jec on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 08:00:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Even a credible Candidate won't do us any good at (4+ / 0-)

    this point. It's too late to consider a primary challenge and really, what's the point anyway. The policies that the American public will be voting for/against have already been made. The attempt to move Obama to the left should have started long ago.

    "I will be happy to see the Republicans test whether or not I'm itching for a fight on a whole range of issues," President Obama - Liar

    by jec on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:34:59 PM PDT

  •  nice analysis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat

    agree re: carter/kennedy

    would love to see a left primary challenge but it appears highly unlikely even now

    maybe if the congressional black caucus abandons obama it could happen

    otherwise, i still don't see it despite how low obama has sunk

    i hope i'm wrong

    please be advised that nothing in this comment should be construed as an endorsement of a third-party or third-party candidate

    by wbgonne on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:36:16 PM PDT

  •  that would guarentee a GOP president (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginwoolf

    No sittimg president who had a viable primary challenge has ever won re-election. Carter lost, Ford lost, Truman was going to be primaried and he dropped out in 52, same with Johnson  in 68,democrats lost.
    Obama is the guy who will be out candidate. Clinton/Obama was not the same,it was an open primary.

    •  But (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat

      Eisenhower was going to win in 1952, regardless

      If Nixon hadn't sabotaged the peace talks, Humphrey would have won in 1968

      I think pretty much any Republican would agree that having Ford lose in 1976 after being challenged by Reagan in the primary and having Reagan win in 1980 and 1984 worked out pretty well for them

      Carter was probably going to lose anyways in 1980

      "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

      by jfern on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:16:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat

      I found an election where the incumbent President attempted to get their party's nomination, didn't get it, and their party won anyways.

      In 1856, Pierce lost the nomination to Buchanan

      There might be others.

      "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

      by jfern on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:26:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat

      Some Presidents had significant competition to get renominated, and got reelected anyways

      1940 had the sitting VP Garner run against FDR
      1964 Wallace had a strong showing against Jonhson

      Additionally in 1864 and 1948, the incumbent's party had a schism where a member of their party ran as a significant 3rd party candidate and they got reelected anyways.

      "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

      by jfern on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:32:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  IMO this is sort of silly. Reagan won 489 (0+ / 0-)

    EV's, and 44 states; it was an utter landslide. To blame any one thing for that (the hostage crisis, oil prices, inflation,etc), let alone an unsuccessful primary challenge, is just not logical. I think you are spending way too much time laying out a very obvious case.

    I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

    by doc2 on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:40:17 PM PDT

  •  Hey, I think I've been pretty consistent (0+ / 0-)

    in saying "bring it on"...

    You won't get a candidate, but by all means, have at it.  I'll just leave it at a Kruschevian "We will bury you".

    The rest is just navel gazing... I've never particularly cared about the Carter/Reagan/Kennedy discussions because I think they're irrelevant -- it's August.... Times a-wasting to even declare and get on ballots, much less build a campaign apparatus.  The idea that a few hundred bloggers can substitute is pure folly.

    We have primaries for a reason and everyone is more than welcome to avail themselves of the option -- but I just think it's silly to expect that those of us who support the incumbent are:

    1) Not going to be annoyed by this "movement without a candidate" -- get a candidate already!... and,

    2) not run to win in the primary.

    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

    by zonk on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 02:42:09 PM PDT

  •  Obama will not face a primary challenger (0+ / 0-)

    I think it is time to move on from this craziness. The good people you mentioned have shown no indication they are willing to commit political suicide.

    That said if you have decided not to vote for Obama, it is your vote and your right, you can channel your efforts to electing progressives of your choice to congress.

    •  You need to chill out. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm just doing some critical analysis on what it would take.

      You decided that even the discussion is not worth having.  Your browser has a 'back' button...

      You do have a point re: no interest has been shown publicly, and the list so far is meager, but the discussion costs nothing and I'm not proposing we don't vote (big-D) Democratic next fall.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 06:15:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What we need isn't a primary, but rather a... (8+ / 0-)

  •  I dread another five years of Pres Obama. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hardhatmama

    Assuming he is re-elected of course, which he may not be. I think there may yet be someone out there testing the waters, quietly, beyond the radar of the media and our own short sighted point of view.

    Maybe even an independent. My feeling is that the country is so disgusted with both R's and D's, it would consider an outsider. I've given up on Pres Obama. The only way I would vote for Pres Obama now would be if Michele Bachmann won the R nomination, otherwise, I will vote my conscience which means no vote for Pres Obama.

  •  Carter was weak, and Obama is not. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginwoolf

    Just like you said, Kennedy challenged Carter precisely because Carter was so weak, and like you said, his challenge had the tentative support of the base.

    Obama is still the most popular politician among Democrats. Heck, he's the most popular politician in the country. There's no more popular figure waiting in the wings with a strong progressive critique, and I suggest this is at least partly because Obama is doing a good job of managing the circumstances he inherited.

    This whole thing is like a mashup of Don Quixote and Waiting for Godot.

  •  We have no choice, as to the candidate, (0+ / 0-)

    so I hope no one wastes energy hoping or fearing the primary season...

    But I think we are way too complacent about 2012.  True, they don't have a suitable candidate.  But as we have seen of late,  

    as long as they control the national conversation,  they don't need candidates,  or truth,  or even hope for a better America.  And they do control this conversation.  

    So we're trying to pivot to jobs.  

    When their folks talk about job-creators,  no one asks them why these tax cut recipient billionaires have not created jobs already.  Well,  maybe one or two on msnbc will ask the obvious question,  but they needn't fear,  they don't actually have to answer.  They only have to talk.

    Are they paying Pat Buchanan or Michael Steele?  If so they should at least make them answer...

    It may require a change that hasn't come before.

    by RedBlueNoMore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:02:47 PM PDT

  •  Carter is too liberal to get the Democratic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tote, polecat

    nomination today

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:08:32 PM PDT

  •  Here's another thing for those who oppose a primar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat

    to think about...

    In 1976, Reagan almost defeated Ford in the primary. Now let's assume that he did cost Ford the election in 1976. How many Republicans would say that 4 more years of Ford would be better than 8 years of Reagan as President? Reagan was thought to be too conservative to be elected President, and he won 49 states in 1984. In other words, we'd be stupid to not run someone against Obama.

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:13:03 PM PDT

    •  Fine, if you say you don't want Obama in 2012, (0+ / 0-)

      there are places to put your money. The Repubs failed on the birth certificate, but now they want to bring him down on Operation Fast and Furious. And of course they always want to link him back to terrorists. I could go on, but you can visit any RW site yourself and find a scheme to hang your hat on.

      Not biting? Not liking the idea of pushing this president into a fire-pit while the Tea Partiers and the compliant MSM toss in gasoline and kindling? Unless you're willing to go there, you are not going to try to primary this president.

      I know I'm not willing to go there. This primary talk is harming no one but the Democrats. Let's stop, and talk about how we win back the House and support Nancy Pelosi in her program to repeal/rewrite the bad legislation that has been shoved down the country's throat since November 2010. I know of no better way forward.

  •  Unless Huntsman wins the primary.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat

    Obama will win the election.   While the primary may go to the radical tea party dominated candidates, the public rejects their hostage taking  as do conservative pundits such Brooks, Krautheimer, Parker and others.

    Every one, other than Huntsman was for going off the default cliff.   It will come back to haunt them.

  •  See, this is your problem right here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aisling, polecat
    We, on the Left have very little to lose by mounting a viable challenge to Obama.

    Whatever group of people this "we" on "the Left" you're talking about is can't mount a viable challenge to President Obama.

    Know why?

    Because no state's election commission will put "the Left" on a ballot.

    You need a person to run.

    This person would need to already have national prominence, would need to raise an inordinate amount of funds, and would need some big-name endorsers.

    For any person with the political skill to reach national prominence, that same political skill tells them that mounting a primary campaign against the sitting President starting in July of the year before the election is an extremely stupid thing to do.

    Fundraising would be next to impossible for the candidate, given that the administration would immediately shut the door on the few potential big donors or bundlers who would take the candidate's call in the first place.

    And the big-name endorsers would be... well, nobody. You would need even more nationally prominent people to ignore the political instincts that brought them to national prominence and endorse an insurgent candidate with little to no chance of winning.

    It would be a better use of your time to actually consider things that exist in the realm of possibility.

    Can't support President Obama? There are progressives who could use your help.

    Sherrod Brown might be ahead in the polls, but he isn't a lock in Ohio given that state's swinginess. If you can't donate or volunteer for President Obama, donate and volunteer for Sherrod Brown.

    Donate and volunteer for the Wisconsin recalls, or the No on SB5 campaign in Ohio, or the Snyder and Republican recalls in Michigan.

    Despite your anger at President Obama, there's no shortage of progressive campaigns that need all the time, money, and energy they can get their hands on; why not take some time to work on those?

  •  Why not an Independent from the left? (0+ / 0-)

    Forget the primaries ... just have Feingold or Sanders campaign. That'll rattle some nerves. Personally I'm changing to Republican so I can vote in their primary in Florida for hopefully the least-vomit (Huntsman?)

  •  If I were Pres. Obama I'd pull an LBJ and let the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, doroma

    GOP have you, and the country.  Too bad you don't have a Ted Kennedy, because I would truly enjoy reading this blog on Nov 3, 2012.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 03:55:59 PM PDT

    •  OT: I've enjoyed reading your posts throughout (0+ / 0-)

      this crises and even prior to that.
      Care to speculate on the next two budgets and what kind of October Surprise the t-pubs will pull?

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 06:30:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe we supported the wrong Democrat in '08 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, Jeremimi

    After Obama giving in to Tea Party blackmail during this debt ceiling debate I'm starting to have buyers remorse and wish Hillary was the nominee in 2008.

    •  Same cabinet. Different negotiating style. (0+ / 0-)

      all I can say is they'd be trying to Impeach her for something right about now.

      I have felt that way, but remember she told us at yKos that lobbyists were people, too.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 06:33:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Both? I agree that viable primary is only (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat

    possible if the sitting President is weak. If Obama had 28% approval rating, there would be plenty of primary candidates.

  •  one string on the bow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat

    Did anyone else notice that the #1 reason given for NOT primarying Obama is "we don't have a viable candidate"?

    Let's not find ourselves in this position again, shall we? We need more than one string for the Democratic bow. We should always have a Plan B. We should always have more than one "viable candidate".

    Otherwise we end up with .............. this.

    Less "WAAAAH!", more progress.

    by IndyGlenn on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 06:38:37 PM PDT

    •  Bingo! Your conclusion is apt, and just in time. (0+ / 0-)

      we're about to scroll off the front page.

      But that IS the real problem.

      The second serious conclusion is that it's too late.

      The third is that I'm Don Quixote. :)

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 06:49:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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