17 September 2011

Obama 2012

Frustration with Obama's compromises, and with the slow pace of progress in the face of Republican obstruction, has led some to hope that Hillary Clinton will challenge him for the Democratic nomination next year. A recent poll showed that she is now the most popular political figure in the country; 34% of Americans think we would be better off with her as President.

Look, I understand the feeling. Anyone who was reading this blog in 2008 remembers that I strongly favored Clinton, and was even disaffected enough by Obama's nomination that I voted for McCain (in my defense, it was far less clear back then how dangerous Palin was, and no one could have anticipated how far off the deep end the Republicans were going to go). I still think she'd have made a better President, not only by being tougher, but ideologically -- Obama ran as a centrist more interested in "overcoming" partisan differences than in pushing a real liberal agenda for change, and no one should be surprised that he's governed that way. She might even have achieved somewhat more in office than Obama has, though the main limiting factor -- Republican obstructionism and sheer derangement -- would have been the same for either of them. (And no doubt the fringe-left nutters who constantly bash Obama would now be bashing Clinton just as much, if she'd been President for two and a half years and had to fight through all that same crap.)

But this isn't 2008. Obama is the President. A primary challenge now would be terribly dangerous. It would divide us when we most need to be united (think how the Republican primary battle is now creating a library of intra-party attacks on every contender who might be the eventual nominee -- do we need that?), leaving Obama -- or Clinton, if she somehow won -- in a weaker position for the general election.

Such a move would be touted by Republicans as a Democratic declaration of failure. How many times in modern American history has a sitting President at the end of his first term been rejected by his own party for re-nomination? How often has this happened and the replacement nominee then gone on to win the Presidency? Has that ever happened? Dumping Obama would reek of desperation.

And don't forget Obama does have a strong base of supporters. If they perceive the party as having back-stabbed their man, do you really imagine we could avoid a massive reverse-PUMA effect, maybe big enough to lose an election which, at the moment, looks like it might well be frighteningly close?

Finally, despite all the problems, Obama has achieved more than I expected. We've made a start, however imperfect, on the path to universal health-care coverage. DADT is gone. Stem-cell research has been re-funded, bringing closer the end of vast amounts of death and suffering. The recession was stopped from sliding into an outright depression, however slow recovery has been. And just think what the Supreme Court would be like now if we had another Scalia and Thomas there instead of Sotomayor and Kagan.

If you want a better Democratic President, you should work not only to re-elect Obama, but to take back the House and as many Senate seats as possible. Not only do we need to put an end to the obstructionism and damage that Republican control of the House is inflicting, but the party needs to be punished for its extremism; that's the only way it can be pushed back to the center, which is the only way we're ever going to permanently rid ourselves of the threat of totalitarian theocratic radicals taking over the whole government someday.

I hope Clinton runs in 2016. But next year is not the time. There's too much at stake. An internal fight would just weaken our own side against the Republicans.

We can't take that risk.

We can't take that risk.

We can't take that risk.


Blogger Commander Zaius said...

...was even disaffected enough by Obama's nomination that I voted for McCain...

I'll admit to my own sin of stating several times that had Hillary been nominated I would have voted for the republican nominee. What completely turned me off about Hillary was that insane story she told about flying into Bosnia with Chelsea and having to be rushed off the place because of waiting snipers.

CNN nailed the lid on the coffin by playing the video of her telling the story on one side of the screen with actual footage of her landing and being greeted by children with flowers just as soon as she stepped off the plane on the other half.

I am uncertain how much more effective than Obama she would have been given what I feel was an extremely organized effort to undermine what was nearly certain to be a Democrat presidential victory in 2008.

Proto-Tea baggers I work around were already dredging up very old allegations of Clinton misconduct from the 90's.

A primary challenge now would be terribly dangerous. It would divide us when we most need to be united...

Obama has highly disappointed me many times but a primary challenge would be utter suicide.

How often has this happened and the replacement nominee then gone on to win the Presidency? Has that ever happened?

I want one of these left-wing whining nutcases to offer up one damn example! Because I do not believe it has ever happened, and if there is one exception the rest have lead to nothing but defeat.

17 September, 2011 07:58  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

Agree! The solution is not to replace Obama, but to replace the republicans in Congress. Things would be a lot different if we had a Democratic controlled Congress. Then, if you did not like what Obama was doing, you would have a legitimate gripe.

17 September, 2011 11:32  
Blogger marykmusic said...

The poll that states that one-third of us would be happier with Clinton as President sounded immediately like a Dick Nixon-style dirty trick. Or KKKarl Rove. Divide and conquer.

17 September, 2011 15:44  
Blogger Sue said...

I was a Hillary supporter too, but I think it was because I knew it meant Bill would be back in the WH if she won!

I agree it is all about ridding Congress of the destructive teabaggers and wingnuts. Obama is just one man with limited powers, alot of people don't seem to grasp that. I don't have much confidence in the voters to vote out the obstructionists, we have an electorate who absolutely love those Reps. and think just like them. It's frightening to say the least.

17 September, 2011 16:47  
Anonymous John Myste said...

I am not a huge fan of Obama, but I am a huge supporter of Obama. My blog currently has a war going there about this. Well, a mini war. It is me against a giant.

The more I talk, the more convinced she is. If she was considering avoiding voting for Obama before, she is thoroughly convinced shunning him is the right thing to do now.

Whatever happened to group think? I will pretend to support Obama if it will make her change her mind and support him.

How can we be persuasive in this matter?

17 September, 2011 20:28  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

BB: I remember the same. Back when Clinton seemed certain to be the Democratic nominee, she was being viciously demonized on the right. It's a delusion to think that, if she were President, the derangement against her would be any less than it has been against Obama.

JC: Exactly. Many of the people who claim Obama compromises too much helped create the circumstances that force him to do so, by not voting in 2010 and letting the Republicans take the House.

MM: I'd favor Clinton running in 2012 only if (a) polling was consistently showing that she would defeat the Republican candidate but Obama would not, and (b) Obama himself decided not to run again. I don't think that situation is very likely.

Sue: It's odd that some liberals seem to expect the President to have the powers of a dictator.

Hillary as President would be like Bill without the sex scandals -- the best of both worlds.

JM: Not everyone can be convinced. People whose minds are already made up almost never can be. The value of such arguments lies not in the vain hope of bringing your opponent around, but in swaying undecided liberals who may be reading.

18 September, 2011 03:05  
Blogger Tommykey said...

I preferred Obama to Hillary Clinton, if only because it was getting to the point where since 1989, the president was either a Bush or a Clinton.

19 September, 2011 09:39  

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