Do Dems Dare Dump Barry?
Democrats face an impossible political situation: smile, nod, and re-nominate Obama for a second term in 2012 or begin to maneuver Obama into walking gracefully away, in hopes, perhaps, of finding a chance to run again in the future.
The size of the Democrat Obama collapse is hard to exaggerate. The twin defeats in New York and Nevada House races were slobberknockers in the political ring. Wisconsin had a series of elections -- State Supreme Court election and several State Senate recalls -- and Democrats lost in a strongly union state where even labor hacks could not turn out votes in low-turnout elections to match enraged Wisconsin voters.
Polls show the same nightmare for Democrats led by Obama. Rasmussen tracks presidential popularity, but the crucial number is in the strongly disapprove category. These are voters highly unlikely to change their minds and strongly likely to show up on Election Day. This number has been hovering for weeks around 45%, and once it hits 50%, then whoever opposes Obama in November will win. Gallup shows that Republican voters are much more excited about voting than Democrats, which simply reinforces the Rasmussen numbers.
Rasmussen shows that there are more Republicans than Democrats in America, which is a radical change from just a few years ago, and Gallup shows voters favoring Republican approach to issues over the Democrat approach. Although the Gallup article title is "Republican, Democratic Party Images Equally Negative," this is spin; anyone familiar with the mainstream media spin article titles knows that such a take masks the real title -- i.e., "Republican Party Viewed More Favorably Than Democrats in Every Area," which is what the actual poll data shows. The generic congressional ballot, which Rasmussen has been reporting each week, shows the Republican advantage in every poll since June 2010, and the advantage is widening.
Can Democrats persuade Obama not to run for reelection? Dick Morris seems to think so, but he is surely wrong. Incumbent presidents may decide, for their own reasons, not to seek reelection. Coolidge, Truman, and Johnson are the most recent examples of that. Truman would probably have lost, but that does not appear to have influenced him much -- he had already been president since 1945. Coolidge would have won reelection, and Johnson probably would have, too.
Now consider presidents who have run again even when their prospects looked bleak and party advisers must have at least hinted on not seeking reelection. Taft in1912, Ford in 1976, Carter in 1980, and Bush in 1992 all ran and all lost. The first three faced tough challenges within their party, and Bush faced a real challenge as well. Yet no one has been able to deny the nomination to a sitting president. Two men who would eventually become president, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, tried and failed against weak incumbents within their party. The closest Democrats have to a TR or Gipper to challenge Obama is Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton, who could not win the nomination when it was wide open in 2008.
So might Barry simply step aside? Does this man seem like a self-sacrificing, "the world is more than just me" sort of fellow? Or does he rather seem like a puerile, semi-delusional, average-intelligence, grotesquely-enlarged-ego sort of creature? How would this sound to his tin ears? "Mr. President, you cannot win this time. Let Hillary Clinton run in 2012 and then 2016, and in only eight short years, you will be able to run again! -- Assuming, of course, that Hillary's vice president doesn't want the job, too."
One must suppose that, growing up, the salient words in Obama's childhood vocabulary were "me" and "now." How serious would pledges to support Obama later if he steps aside now be? That has never happened in modern American history. Political parties have nominated men who have lost the presidency when they appeared to be strong, or unifying candidates, or even sacrificial lambs -- William Jennings Bryan, Thomas Dewey, and Adlai Stevenson come to mind. No man who stepped aside like Coolidge or Truman did was ever even considered for a future nomination. Only one man who lost a presidential election in the last century has come back to win it: Richard Nixon.
So for Democrat leaders, there really is no choice. They are stuck with Obama, and even tweaking the ticket -- like replacing Biden with Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton -- will not really change anything. Worse, as Obama is seen more and more like poison, campaign funds and volunteers will evaporate; Democrats running in 2012 will scoot their standard-bearer aside, hoping for sheer survival; and the collapse of this least of presidents will become a certainty.