Will Scandal Drive Obama Off the 2012 Ticket?
(See also: Solving the Democrats' Obama Problem)
President Obama will not run in 2012. That prediction seems reasonable in light of the following:
- His presidency is in shambles, shriveling up before our eyes.
- His political poll numbers continue to weaken.
- Unemployment remains stubbornly high for a period of time not seen since the Great Depression.
- The economy is listless, consumer sentiment is in the sewer, foreclosures are ratcheting up, and the next financial crisis appears near.
- No economic variable has improved; some continue to worsen.
- The nation risks sovereign bankruptcy as a result of Obama's out-of-control spending.
- Obama is out of ideas and obviously well beyond his depth.
Every time Obama speaks, he shows himself as more out of touch with the country, its people, and their needs. He is an obvious embarrassment to many. He has alienated independents and even some liberals. He now appears to have adopted a strategy to appeal to the most radical in his party.
Either he is trying to avoid a shut-out in the coming election by locking up some small number of votes or he is delusional. Seasoned Democrats are dumbfounded by his performance, seeming to believe the delusional possibility. Radicals have already rejected him and threaten to run a candidate in the primaries.
Despite everything above, Obama intends to run in 2012. None of this fazes the Narcissist-In-Chief. He needs the spotlight like most of us need oxygen. The "messiah," or the self-proclaimed "One," does not see these problems. If he does, they are mere details, trivialities, nothing that cannot be silver-tongued away.
The reality is that Obama is spent. His false magic is no longer. He has become a cartoon figure to many Americans and more foreigners. Familiarity has produced contempt. He is a fraud, a man who never was anything other than a carefully scripted and wonderfully executed marketing campaign.
The product, however, doesn't work. Marketing made the first sale, but success is repeated only if the product performs. Snake oil is never purchased a second time. Instead of the brilliant problem-solving uniter much of the nation believed they were buying, they got an incompetent, small, and not likeable mountebank.
Mr. Obama lives in his own world, surrounded by sycophants. They undoubtedly know his run is over and that he no longer fools most of the people. Yet they are afraid to tell him. We are witnessing a modern-day political tragedy, not unlike the one that occurred with Richard Nixon.
Obama sees none of this. It probably has never entered his mind that he is a failure or will not run. His supporters, namely the Democrat Party and the mainstream media, will intervene. Their survival and credibility demands it. There will come a "meeting with Nixon" moment. If that fails, and it is very likely, Obama will be destroyed by one or both of these two groups.
Interests of the Democratic Party
The political environment is horrible for Democrats. Obama's policies, ineptitude, and unpopularity are responsible for much of this. Many elected Democrats are afraid for their political careers. Obama is increasingly seen as an albatross in the coming election.
Previously unthinkable election "upsets" have occurred -- the loss of the "Kennedy Seat" in Massachusetts was the first. The 2010 election was a rout. Subsequent special elections affirmed that the trend continues. Jonah Goldberg commented on the most recent result: the seat that once belonged to Geraldine Ferraro, Chuck Schumer, and Anthony Weiner went to Republican Bob Turner -- the first time it has gone Republican since 1923.
The idea of Obama resigning for the good of the party has been raised. Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune said:
Obama might do his party a big favor. In hard times, voters have a powerful urge to punish incumbents. He could slake this thirst by stepping aside and taking the blame. Then someone less reviled could replace him at the top of the ticket.
About a year ago I predicted political cannibalism:
The next two years will be hard on Obama. As much as he is hated by freedom-lovers in the country, it is likely that he will be hated more by his remaining Democrats. The Party is in tatters. It is in danger of disappearing as a political entity as a result of following this false prophet. This Pied Piper, instead of getting the American people to follow, led Democrat politicians to their political death. The survivors will not forget, nor will they continue to march to the tune of this false savior.
We are about to witness politics at its ugliest. It will be Republicans against Democrats of course. But that will be less intriguing than the Democrats against Obama. Political survival trumps loyalty. If Obama is as ineffectual as I believe he will be, he will be devoured by angry Democrats anxious to avenge the political deaths of their comrades.
We have reached this point. Democrats have the motive to get rid of Obama, but do they have the means?
The Solyndra Affair
Solyndra, the "green energy" failure, is an example of how Obama could be leveraged out of office. Chicago-style politics suggests that there may be other "Solyndras" in the closet.
Reuters described Solyndra as follows:
The bankruptcy of solar-panel maker Solyndra neatly encapsulates the economic, political and intellectual bankruptcy of Barack Obama's Big Idea. It was the president's intention back in 2009 to begin centrally reorganizing the U.S. economy around the supposed climate-change crisis.
Even after getting the loan, Solyndra spent $187,000 on lobbying efforts, according to Bloomberg, including trying to get the White House to push government agencies to install its panels on the rooftops of federal buildings and extend "buy American" rules that favor U.S. companies. Instead of revenue-seeking, Solyndra was "rent-seeking," which means trying to make money by manipulating government.
Andrew C. McCarthy described Solyndra as criminal fraud:
The Solyndra debacle is not just Obama-style crony socialism as usual. It is a criminal fraud. That is the theory that would be guiding any competent prosecutor's office in the investigation of a scheme that cost victims - in this case, American taxpayers - a fortune.
The magnitude of the Solyndra loss needs investigation. The mood of the country demands it. Taxpayers are furious about Washington wasting their money and indebting their children. This company represents one half-billion wasted, under questionable circumstances. How many other similar "deals" might be heading for the same fate?
Political chicanery of this magnitude and in these times will not be ignored. The FBI jumped in early. According to Politico other investigations are underway:
There are at least four investigations running on the legal, political and financial ties between the Obama administration and the California solar company that filed for bankruptcy protection last month.
It is likely that Solyndra contains enough incriminating information for Congress to force Obama from office (see Zerohedge, especially the slide show). Potentially there are other Solyndras out there.
Congressional investigations are typically held for little more than Washington tourists. When a president is suspected of extreme stupidity or a crime, it is conventional for his party to do everything possible to thwart the investigation. Bill Clinton was an example of that.
Democrats would like to rid themselves of Albatross Obama. Under normal circumstances it might not be possible without risking the alienation of key constituencies. A criminal investigation, however, provides the opportunity for modern-day regicide.
The Solyndra investigation(s) will be different, because congressional Democrats view their situation as worse if they protect the man than if he is dumped. So Solyndra or a counterpart will be a bipartisan investigative effort. Democrats might have incentives to be even more aggressive in pursuit of the truth than Republicans. None of this will be driven by the pursuit of justice or the Rule of Law. It will be driven by political self-interest.
Appearing tough in the investigation would serve to distance Democrats from their titular head. If there is a smoking gun, Democrats will pursue it. If they see an opportunity to take out the king, they may go for it. If there is a "smoking gun," this will end more like a Richard Nixon than a Bill Clinton.
Barack Obama won the Democrat nomination because the mainstream media adopted him and went out of their way to ensure that he, rather than Hillary Clinton, won. As expressed by the Rex Murphy:
American journalism will have to look back at the period starting with Barrack Obama's rise, his assumption of the presidency and his conduct in it to the present, and ask itself how it came to cast aside so many of its vital functions. In the main, the establishment American media abandoned its critical faculties during the Obama campaign and it hasn't reclaimed them since.
As a result, the press gave the great American republic an untried, unknown, and, it is becoming more and more frighteningly clear, incompetent figure as president. Under Obama, America's foreign policies are a mixture of confusion and costly impotence. They are increasingly bypassed or derided; the great approach to the Muslim world, symbolized by the Cairo speech, is in tatters. America's debt and deficits are a weight on the entire global economy. And the office of presidency is less and less a symbol of strength.
To the degree the press neglected its function as watchdog and turned cupbearer to a styrofoam demigod, it is a partner in the flaws and failures of what is turning out to be one of the most miserable performances in the modern history of the American presidency.
A tipping point appears to have been reached in the last month or so. The myth of Obama has ended. There is now open talk from the media that Obama cannot win in 2012.
Just as Democrats don't want a pariah at the top of the ticket, many in the media do not want to continue plugging what is obviously a failed candidate. The protective shield that existed is being dismantled. The press is more interested in saving what credibility they have left, rather than justifying an increasingly indefensible and broken presidency.
Investigative reporting, so obviously missing when Obama was The Next Coming, is likely to be cranked up. The media will fully cover any official investigations. Furthermore, entrepreneurs within their ranks and within the internet community are likely to focus on filling in the blanks in Obama's missing past.
The attraction of being the next Woodward or Bernstein is strong. Now that it is acceptable to attack, if not destroy, the fallen hero, look for lots of new information to come out. The chance to "change history" is an overpowering incentive for cub and seasoned reporters.
This is a very dangerous time for the president. Two of his two biggest supporters have incentives to remove him from office.
Any investigations are likely to be real. That does not mean that President Obama is not getting a fair shake. His problem is that justice, for all the wrong reasons, will be getting a fair shake. That is usually fatal for politicians under investigation.
Loyalty in politics starts and stops with personal self-interest. The old saying, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog," still holds. Obama has few friends, even in his own party. Fortunately he has a dog. I hope it likes him, because most of the country no longer does.
How does it end? My guess is that investigations go forward and are used to leverage Obama out of office. He will "choose" not to run for reelection. He understands Chicago-style politics, even when he is on the wrong end.
His psyche is such that he must be loved, if not worshiped, and that will never be again, at least not in this country.