Sunday, March 01, 2009

2012 the re-run

The Bush administration frequently appeared as an attempt to repeat every tragedy of US history as farce: 1876, Vietnam, McCarthyism and most recently the Great Depression. So its no surprise that the 2012 GOP Presidential field is shaping up to be a re-run of previous farces.

Palin, currently the front-runner is the Dan Quayle of the pack. Lets see whether she makes it to the starting gate. Quayle dropped out of the 1996 race before he was fully in it.

Last week it appeared that Bobby Jindal might well be the Bill Clinton of the 2012 race, a different type of Republican, at least insofar as being apparently competent and not visibly corrupt. Like Biden in 1988, Jindal threw away his entire campaign in a single speech. Given the opportunity to address the nation in the response to Obama's address, Jindal pitched the core Republican base and gave a Reaganesque personal account that turns out to be a total fiction.

If Jindal runs his opponents will run endless attack ads of the part of the speech where Jindal is prevaricating. If Jindal does not run it will likely be because there has been a major eruption of a volcano that makes the attack on volcano monitoring look Katrinaesque GOP myopia. If Jindal is nominated, Obama will spend the week of the Republican convention taking a quiet family holiday in his birth state of Hawaii, an island created by a highly photogenic, continuously erupting volcano.

It is hard to see how the 2012 campaigns of Romney or Huckabee can turn out any better than their efforts in 2008, they can certainly do worse. Huckabee cannot beat Sarah in the primaries if she runs. If Palin does not run it will prove that an evangelical nut-jb can't win.

Romney's principal strength in 2008 was the willingness of the LDS church to organize and fund raise for him. Always looking for mainstream respectability, the LDS church saw having a Mormon at the top of a major party Presidential ticket as a way to achieve legitimacy. From that perspective, LDS political activities were a clear failure in 2008, drawing attention to the weirder aspects of the church and in particular the racist and anti-Semitic aspects of its control-freak philosophy. After its controversial involvement in California's Prop-8, the church knows that its political involvement will be closely scrutinized. Romney will still take the LDS vote in 2012, but may well find that the church is less interested in playing a political role and fails to deliver the money and the organization that made Romney viable.

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