Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 3, 2009
POLITICS: Grow or Perish

Jay Cost has a typically enlightening column on Obama's present troubles and what he might do to fix them. H/T I thought this was a particularly useful observation: "no president in the last hundred years has won election to a second term with a smaller share of the vote than what he received for the first."

That doesn't mean Obama couldn't be the first, since he does have a margin of around 3% to risk (larger if you count electoral votes), but it's a caution: unlike Governors, Presidents rarely survive by gripping on solely to the coalition that elected them. Somehow, they need to reach out and persuade enough new people to make up for the inevitable loss of some former supporters who didn't get what they expected.

Cost's suggestion that Obama consider sacking Rahm is premature. But if the year closes out with no health care bill and no other significant legislative victories (e.g., cap-and-trade, card check, Son of Stimulus), then the rationale for retaining a brass knuckles get-things-done-and-f***-the-opposition Chief of Staff loses a lot of its force; the entire point of having Rahm around is that he can make the trains run on time and understands how to command the loyalty of all those moderate-district Democrats he helped elect, and if the trains are not running on time and the moderate-district Democrats aren't cooperating, what's the point?

Quin Hillyer is right, if overstated, that conservatives should not get complacent at Obama's bad summer; there remains time for the worm to turn again. But the season of hope is running to its inevitable end; now is the season for Obama to deliver change or face his inability to do so.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:41 PM | Politics 2009 | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

The only problem with this theory is your side has no viable candidates and are still extremely unpopular. Instead of opposing everything how about formulating a plan to do something.

Posted by: javaman at September 3, 2009 11:18 PM

The argument that the GOP should be trying to push plans with no chance of passage through a Congress wholly run by the opposing party always makes me laugh. There are plenty of plans, ideas and proposals on the Right; at present there would be no point in trying to get a governing coalition lined up behind a specific agenda because that would require the support of 20 Democratic Senators and several times that many Democratic Members of Congress, plus the President.

Also, when the choice is between doing nothing and doing something stupid that will cause permanent harm, doing nothing is a viable option.

Posted by: Crank at September 3, 2009 11:27 PM

So what your saying is complain all day no matter how trivial? But offer no solutions b/c they will never get anywhere?
Using this strategy how can the GOP put forth a viable candidate if no one will step up?

Posted by: javaman at September 3, 2009 11:35 PM

Are you suggesting that is somehow different from what the Democrats were doing in 2005? How many Democrats in 2005 were taking their cues from Obama? Or even Hillary?

I don't disagree that there is a challenge ahead in identifying the best candidate, but there is also time. The primaries don't start for 28 more months.

Posted by: Crank at September 3, 2009 11:39 PM

I should add that there is one very significant difference from the Democrats circa 2005 (or circa 2009, for that matter), which is that the GOP by and large *does* have a coherent national security policy. But the Contract With America is much more the exception than the rule for out-of-power parties.

Posted by: Crank at September 3, 2009 11:41 PM

Fear mongering is not a coherent national security policy.
As it stands right now the GOP has zero candidates that will appeal to the voters in the middle. As the last two elections have shown Americans have tired of the polarizing politics. But now the GOP has doubled down on that strategy. Preaching to the choir is just a bad strategy all it really does is create a false sense of security. As an example look where the GOP poll numbers are hovering. If everyone you speak to agrees with you are you getting the best feedback? The GOP has failed to adjust to the changing times in politics. When money is tight and people have very little confidence in the economy they want to hear solutions not rhetoric.

Posted by: javaman at September 3, 2009 11:57 PM

Let's face it: Obama doesn't want to do the things that Cost recommends. He wants to govern from the Left. He thinks that it is not only the right (i.e. correct) thing to do, but in his experience, it is the winning strategy as well.
Whether he wakes up to the fact that most of the country is not as far Left as he is before 2012 is anybody's guess.
Mine is that he won't realize it until its too late, and he's going to be stuck with Bush-like disapproval levels for most of 2011 and 2012, at which point there really won't be anything that he can do to turn things around.

Posted by: Fred at September 4, 2009 12:29 AM

why the hell do conservative pundits write about what Obama should do to get re-elected? When it gets bad enough he might actually start listening.

Posted by: Datou at September 4, 2009 6:11 AM

"As it stands right now the GOP has zero candidates that will appeal to the voters in the middle."

Java - at this point, the GOP may only need a candidate who is not going to spend a trillion dollars. Moderates will run screaming from Obama if the GOP can field a candidate that will convince them that the GOP won't turn around and spend that trillion on defense.

Posted by: MVH at September 4, 2009 7:20 AM

A trillion on defense...

Think of the toys!

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 7, 2009 1:42 PM
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