Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Let's play fair

According to today's Boston Globe, national Democratic party officials are leaning heavily on Massachusetts lawmakers to delay the date of the Bay State's 2012 presidential primary election.

The story makes it clear that the motive behind the move is to front-load the national primary process with more conservative states - thereby making the selection of a more conservative GOP nominee more likely - so as to draw a sharper contrast to President Obama and increase Obama's chances of re-election.

This is the most ridiculous ploy we've heard in a long time, and we are relieved to hear that, according to the article, Bay State political leaders - particularly Secretary of State Galvin - don't seem interested in the idea.

National Democrats, it seems, are scared about President Obama's prospects for another term in office. Even the Obama campaign's launch video alludes to it.

As well they should be.

Sitting presidents generally benefit from political inertia. It falls upon their challengers to make a clear and convincing case for removing the incumbent from office.

However, in 2012, President Obama has two difficult challenges ahead of him on this front.

First (and as we have alluded to in the past in this blog), we believe it is going to be difficult for President Obama to inspire the nation the same way he did when he swept into office in 2008. His popularity was so immense then that he was frequently compared to a rock star; some took it so far as to make biblical references. For Obama, the good news is that he raised the bar in presidential politics such that there are greater-than-usual expectations on his 2012 opponents to move and inspire the nation themselves. But, the bad news is that these same expectations are on Obama himself. To win, he will have to convince people he was not just a one-hit-wonder.

Which brings us to our second point. When times are tough and achievements are scarce, the political inertia which usually benefits incumbents can become political quicksand. There is nothing a political challenger likes more than to be able to blame their incumbent rival for all the world's problems. Incumbents can weather the storm by making the challenge seem petty or unfair. But if the challenge is credible, the incumbent is in danger of losing his office.

Together, these challenges pose real trouble for Obama's 2012 campaign. The 2008 election was all about the audacious promise of hope and change. This one is about an audacious request for people to still believe in that unfulfilled promise four years later. Wars have not ended; they have expanded. The economy remains a quagmire. Foreign policy is a shambles. And, all of these things provide fodder to Republican candidates seeking to make the case that people are not "better off than they were four years ago," even if Democrats contend the President is a victim of inherited problems, political disagreement or long-term issues which take more than four years to solve.

1 comment:

  1. Silly move by Dems. Could have had the same impact by arguing it would get Mass. out of shadow of Super Tuesday.


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