Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Do Republicans really want to run against this guy? (Obama "channeling" Reagan?)
Salon.com ^ | Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011 | Steve Kornacki

Posted on 01/26/2011 12:00:55 PM PST by presidio9

Let's not read too much into the long-term political significance of President Obama's speech last night, since we know that State of the Union addresses -- no matter how much pundit praise they receive and no matter how encouraging the insta-polls look -- basically never lead to a significant uptick in a president's popularity.

But I'd also agree with NBC's First Read that the contrast between Obama's address and the official Republican response from Rep. Paul Ryan was striking. Obama's message was inherently upbeat, optimistic, and future-oriented, while Ryan was left warning that our best days may be behind us and that Americans are being lulled into "lives of complacency and dependency." Plenty of commentators noticed that Obama, at least stylistically, seemed to be channeling Ronald Reagan -- which, I would say, made Ryan seem a little like Walter Mondale, who spent the 1984 campaign warning of the dangers of high deficits and nuclear proliferation. (This ad sums up perfectly the message Mondale ran against Reagan with.) The irony, of course, is that one of conservatives' favorite talking points the last two years has been that Obama lacks Reagan's sunny optimism and boundless faith in the future -- that he'd rather talk about what's wrong with America than what's right about it. But it was the GOP that came off as the party of gloomy pessimism last night.

I do wonder if Republicans are aware of how problematic this contrast may be for them in 2012, especially if Americans believe the economy is improving.

Last month, I noted how much our political culture seems to have learned from the aftermath of 1994, when Bill Clinton was written off by everyone after a devastating midterm only to bounce back and win an easy reelection in 1996. Back then, it took Clinton months to regain the respect of the media, his political opponents, and even his own party. At the start of 1995, Republicans universally believed that they'd take back the White House in 1996. But the reaction to last November's midterm was much different. Obama essentially shrugged it off, made some conciliatory gestures, and quickly racked up an impressive list of lame duck legislative triumphs. His approval rating is now higher than it's been in months. Obama didn't have to fight the "irrelevant" label that was slapped on Clinton after the '94 midterms. Everyone knew better.

It seems possible, then, that Clinton's example is also having an effect on the GOP's 2012 field. The lack of candidate activity has received plenty of attention. There are some logical explanations for this. Many prospective candidates have probably been waiting for a clear signal from Sarah Palin, plus, thanks to Fox News, it may just be more efficient for Republicans eying the White House to act as cable commentators and hosts right now, instead of traveling from town to town in Iowa and New Hampshire. But it's also worth wondering if the delay has to do with Republicans learning from '94 -- and if Obama's performance last night (and the contrast with the dour Ryan) won't reinforce a sense that the '12 nomination may end up being fool's gold, no matter how well the GOP did in 2010.

As I've written over and over, if the economy improves significantly, Obama pretty much can't lose in '12; and if doesn't improve (or if it gets worse), he probably can't win. But if it's somewhere in between? Well, then the fact that most Americans still like him, still want him to succeed, and still like hearing him speak probably comes into play. As First Read put it today: "This will ultimately be a challenge for the Republicans competing against Obama in 2012. How do you both criticize his policies and chart a new course, but also remain optimistic?

In this sense, it may be wise to split the potential GOP field into two tiers: Those who can afford to wait, and those can't. For instance, Mitt Romney has been out of elected office for four years now and will be 65 years old in 2012. Realistically, then, '12 is probably his last best shot at being president. Yes, he'd be the same age in 2016 that Ronald Reagan was in 1980, and Reagan was several years removed from his governorship back then, too. But Reagan had established himself as the leader of the rising "New Right" movement. Romney lacks that kind of hero status with the party base. He'll just be too much of a has-been if he tries to wait until '16. (In fact, he may already be too much of a has-been for '12.) So even if he's starting to think that Obama will be tougher to beat than he initially expected, it's now or never for Romney -- he can't afford to wait.

I'd say the same about Tim Pawlenty, but for a different reason: He's also now an ex-governor and he hasn't been around the track yet in a national campaign. For him, '12 could be a good opportunity to run the kind of "better than expected" primary campaign that lays the foundation for a follow-up bid down the road. (And who knows: If the field is thin, he could even end up the nominee -- and the nomination may end up being valuable. This is essentially the story of how Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination and the presidency back in 1992.)

In the "can afford to wait" category, I'm tempted to place Mike Huckabee. He's been out of office for four years too, but his visibility and relevance aren't diminishing at all. He's got a national television platform and has a bond with a significant portion of the GOP base. If Huckabee were to pass on '12 and Obama were to be reelected, I think he'd emerge (reasonably) well-positioned to compete in 2016. But if he were to run next year and lose, that would probably be it for him. Maybe this has something to do with the mixed signals he's sending about a '12 campaign, even as polls suggest he could actually be the front-runner if he chooses to run?

Obama, of course, is hardly a shoo-in for 2012. But the last few weeks have offered reminders of how he could well become one as the '12 process unfolds. And that could have something to do with why Republicans seem a lot less eager to jump in to the presidential race than they were the last time a Democratic president suffered a midterm "shellacking."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: clowardpiven; huckabee; nomination; pawlenty; romney; ronaldreagan; salon

1 posted on 01/26/2011 12:00:55 PM PST by presidio9
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: presidio9

If unemployment goes down to 5% and the debt is paid no problem. But on the other hand...heh heh heh.


2 posted on 01/26/2011 12:02:43 PM PST by screaminsunshine (Surfers Rule)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

Go ahead Dummies run Obama.

The campaign ads write themselves.


3 posted on 01/26/2011 12:02:50 PM PST by Marty62 (Marty 60)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

YES, With Pleasure! This time NO MSM “Hand-Picked” RINOS(Bye Bye Rommney, HuckleBee, Christie, et al)!


4 posted on 01/26/2011 12:04:01 PM PST by US Navy Vet
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

BLEAT.... BLEAT.... BLEAT.... BLEAT....

The drum bleat of the sheep has begun.....

but the meme of unbeatable Obama is laughable


5 posted on 01/26/2011 12:04:51 PM PST by GeronL (http://www.stink-eye.net/forum/index.php)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

run?.........another two years of his destruction and he’ll simply walk away from it all..(he got his $$$$$)..Biden will crawl back in his hole counting what he stole...and then they’ll pick up the blame game and we start all over again.


6 posted on 01/26/2011 12:04:51 PM PST by Doogle ((USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
Obama, of course, is hardly a shoo-in for 2012

Not a shoo-in? After last night's speech there seems to be no need for the formality of an election. The man should be our dear leader for life and happiness and prosperity will surely follow. Or, maybe not.

7 posted on 01/26/2011 12:05:42 PM PST by centurion316
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

“Obama’s message was inherently upbeat, optimistic, and future-oriented”

Why not? Dear Leader’s agenda of driving America, the dollar and the economy into the tank is right on track-it’s all going according to plan.


8 posted on 01/26/2011 12:08:58 PM PST by Spok ("What are you going to believe; me or your own eyes?" -Groucho Marx)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

The Kenyan is going to have to produce a birth certificate. That could be a problem.


9 posted on 01/26/2011 12:12:48 PM PST by y6162
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

How do you beat a fake?

With someone real?

Or someone equally fake?

Serious questions that need to be answered.


10 posted on 01/26/2011 12:13:16 PM PST by roses of sharon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: US Navy Vet
YES, With Pleasure! This time NO MSM “Hand-Picked” RINOS(Bye Bye Rommney, HuckleBee, Christie, et al)!

I agree with you, but if you've got it in your head that Sara Palin would somehow be the one to knock off Obama, it's because you are making the mistake of bestowing your own political beliefs on the independents and the Rockafellers. Given a conservative VP candidate, the right will vote for whatever Republican candidate Fox News awards us. Candidates need money more than anything to win independents, and that includes national recognition. I'm guessing that the best we can hope for is a team like Gingrich-Rubio. And it will be Rubio, no matter who gets the Presidential nomination.

11 posted on 01/26/2011 12:14:00 PM PST by presidio9 (Islam is as Islam does)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

Aframs, who have been hurt the most by Obamanomics, will still vote for him at about the same rate as they did in 2008. Not even another four disastrous years, which would be likely, would turn them from The Anointed One. However, Obama is going to get hurt bad by the loss of indys. The gigantic debt burden and the lack of jobs is going to turn many indys towards a legitimate Pubbie. Nevertheless, whoever the Pubbie is, he or she will still have to make a very good argument. But even if he wins, there’s no way he’ll have a seven million vote margin. I’m betting on a Pubbie as of now.


12 posted on 01/26/2011 12:14:24 PM PST by driftless2 (For long-term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

“Gingrich-Rubio”...HA get back on your meds.


13 posted on 01/26/2011 12:15:42 PM PST by US Navy Vet
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
especially if Americans believe the economy is improving.

key word in the whole article. If the media/administration can make the public believe the economy is getting better...as opposed to the economy actually improving.

14 posted on 01/26/2011 12:19:01 PM PST by BookmanTheJanitor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

“Obama’s message was inherently upbeat, optimistic, and future-oriented, while Ryan was left warning that our best days may be behind us and that Americans are being lulled into ‘lives of complacency and dependency.’ Plenty of commentators noticed that Obama, at least stylistically, seemed to be channeling Ronald Reagan”

Here’s the difference, though. Reagan actually made things better, and people trusted him. Obama can be as sunshiny as Strawberry Shortcake, but if people don’t think things are getting better, and if they don’t trust Obama’s policies, he’ll just look out of touch.


15 posted on 01/26/2011 12:37:41 PM PST by Tublecane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

Next he will move the border fence between senate and congress and say, Mr speaker, tear down that wall...


16 posted on 01/26/2011 12:41:24 PM PST by aces
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

[if the economy improves significantly,]

Hold that thought . . .


17 posted on 01/26/2011 12:43:17 PM PST by DaxtonBrown (HARRY: Money Mob & Influence (See my Expose on Reid on amazon.com written by me!))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

So gimme the Readers Digest version: does this asswipe columnist, writing for that MASSIVELY popular POS “Salon” think Republicans should just roll over and piss themselves in submission to Hussein?

HE might do that. We won’t.


18 posted on 01/26/2011 1:28:22 PM PST by Recovering_Democrat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
This whole charade has been an exercise in misdirection, as this screed illustrates. While obama's Reagan imitation will fade quickly enough, the regulatory onslaught against the American people will continue unabated.

By 2012 the people will be so fed up with tax increases, medical rationing, "Carbon" footstepping on their necks, that the economy will become a background variable: ie, a bad economy will help sink him, but a good economy won't save him. See Algore2000 for precedent.

That is, it will if the republicans are smart enough to point out all the evil crap going on under the surface that wasn't even mentioned last night.

19 posted on 01/26/2011 1:28:29 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

Um, yes. Bambi is a liar, he is a talker. He speaks of decent rational things, and then physically does the most leftist thing he can, all while trying to fool us into believing he is moderate. He is a dispicable human, and that’s about the nicest thing I can say about him, really.


20 posted on 01/26/2011 1:30:07 PM PST by vpintheak (Democrats: Robbing humans of their dignity 1 law at a time)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
Qualifying Rubio away from Newt doesn’t do a bit of good.

I doubt that Rubio would team with Newt if it got to the point of his making a decision.

.

21 posted on 01/26/2011 1:41:02 PM PST by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

What a bunch of crap. Reagan’s optimism was in the spirit of the American people and American exceptionalism. Obama seems to think that Americans are incapable of anything and needs nanny state Gov’t to run every aspect of their lives!


22 posted on 01/26/2011 2:51:45 PM PST by KansasGirl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

Does Salon ever take off their Rose Colored glasses and look at the turd in front of them?


23 posted on 01/26/2011 2:57:32 PM PST by Venturer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KansasGirl

Who was the one person not named in this article?
Yes. Sarah Palin, they are even afraid to speak
her name.


24 posted on 01/26/2011 3:02:34 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
if the economy improves significantly, Obama pretty much can't lose in '12;

We now know we are headed into a double dip. And on unemployment they are not counting the longterm unemployed. And precisely how is the economy supposed to "improve", while defending giving many American jobs to illegal aliens, or outsourcing to Mexico and Canada and China, as the US Dollar collapses due to his Cloward-Piven system-destroying extremist budget Deficits?

And all he has did last night is preach for still more spending (fka "investing")...

And it may be only a percentage of the electorate which is concerned with our sovereignty and the espousal of American exceptionalism and liberty...but it is a very substantial percentage that is not going to forget this:

How swweeeeeet. Communist love-fest.

25 posted on 01/26/2011 3:25:50 PM PST by Paul Ross (Ronald Reagan-1987:"We are always willing to be trade partners but never trade patsies.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TLI; US Navy Vet
Qualifying Rubio away from Newt doesn’t do a bit of good.

You too need to go back and look at what people actually say before attacking them based on your own petty assumptions. I "guessed" that "the best we could hope for" was Gingrich/Rubio, based on economics and the fact that a large percentage of Republican primary voters weren't hard-core conservatives. Personally, I don't disagree with Palin about anything, as far as I know. She is unelectable because the entire country now knows exactly who she is, and only 40% would vote for her. As for other, lesser known candidates, the nature of the Primary system eliminates most of them. The system is obviously broken, but deep blue states like NY, California and all of New England still count for more than all the others put together.

Ask me again when another Reagan comes along, but I pay pretty close attention to the political scene, and I haven't seen one yet.

I thought Fred Thompson had a chance to be that candidate the last time (when Hillary still looked unbeatable on the left), but lack of money and lack of organization killed him. At the moment, I haven't got a horse, but Newt is the least objectionable of a bad lot. And, no, he doesn't agree with Nancy Pelosi on anything (including the environment), and yes, the idea that he's willing to do a photo op with her or Bill Clinton does appeal to moronic moderates.

26 posted on 01/26/2011 10:19:16 PM PST by presidio9 (Islam is as Islam does)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: tet68
Who was the one person not named in this article? Yes. Sarah Palin, they are even afraid to speak her name.

No, just following the Comrades' formula from Message Central. No problemo, just follow the script in your own inimitable style, Comrade.

Many prospective candidates have probably been waiting for a clear signal from Sarah Palin,......

Yup, that was the extent of it. A 'graf each for Mittens, Gomer, and Pawlenty; but barely a line for the woman who's going to kick all the 'Rats' asses and turn Nancy Pelosi into a wall display. (But I hear Michelle has dibs, since Pelousy went all-out to beat Michelle last year.)

27 posted on 01/26/2011 10:24:47 PM PST by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: presidio9
But I'd also agree with NBC's First Read that the contrast between Obama's address and the official Republican response from Rep. Paul Ryan was striking. Obama's message was inherently upbeat, optimistic, and future-oriented, while Ryan was left warning that our best days may be behind us and that Americans are being lulled into "lives of complacency and dependency."

So?

Have you met JEREMIAH?

Of Biblical fame?

28 posted on 01/27/2011 4:30:22 AM PST by Elsie ( Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: vpintheak
 
He is a dispicable human, and that’s about the nicest thing I can say about him, really.



 
You are DESPICABLE!

29 posted on 01/27/2011 4:33:33 AM PST by Elsie ( Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

That er, ... substance O’Sputnik is channeling has nothing to do with Reagan.

He’s a fraud, from head to toe.

We really need to stop idolizing the communist worm on our side, it makes no sense. Stop pandering to the guy.

Oppose him at every turn, and stop attacking our own.

And for gosh sake, stop being so bipartisan.

We won.


30 posted on 01/27/2011 4:37:36 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (McCarthy was Right.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presidio9

You have to chuckle when extreme partisans are totally blind to the facts. They are not able to see the negatives of their candidate and merely act as though they don’t exist.

The truth here is that this guy knows the SOTU address was a total bust, so he shrugs it off.

The democrats are very frustrated right now because the GOP potentials are not jumping into the race quickly. They need to start the attack with actual contenders.

Good idea to let Obama have a few more months to cool his heels.


31 posted on 01/27/2011 4:40:10 AM PST by dforest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson