Here’s some news that could turn the entire election upside down. Leading Democrats are urging Barack Hussein Obama to withdraw as a candidate for re-election in 2012, as Lyndon Baines Johnson did almost 50 years ago.
The campaign to get Obama to quit the race kicked into high gear on Monday, when influential Democratic leaders Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen wrote a lengthy piece for The Wall Street Journal on why Obama should withdraw. Here’s part of what they said:
“[Obama] should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president’s accomplishments.”
Who would they have run instead? Get ready for their totally predictable pitch:
“He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”
I’ll spare you the hundreds of words that follow as the two Democratic pollsters make their case “as patriots and Democrats.” Let me go directly to their conclusion:
“If President Obama is not willing to seize the moral high ground and step aside, then the two Democratic leaders in Congress, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, must urge the president not to seek re-election—for the good of the party and most of all for the good of the country. And they must present the only clear alternative—Hillary Clinton.”
The Democrats’ political idol, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, said: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” Does anyone want to bet that this is all part of a plan?
On to part two of my “you’d better hope this doesn’t happen” scenario. I have a neighbor I like to call a yellow dog Republican. He doesn’t care who the Republican nominee is; he’d vote for a yellow dog, if necessary, if the cur could beat Obama.
My friend’s greatest fear is that Donald Trump will spend $100 million of his own money on a third-party candidacy. “That is all it would take,” my friend is convinced, “to guarantee a Republican defeat.”
I’m not so sure I agree with him. I’d like to think that enough voters will see past The Donald’s enormous ego and inflated self-importance and cast their votes more wisely. But there is no question that Trump would love all the media attention and public adulation he would receive if he ran.
No question, The Donald would make the race more interesting. Will he be the spoiler who keeps Barack Obama in the White House? I don’t think so. But we’ve got almost a full year ahead of us; surely there will be other surprises: some pleasant, some unpleasant.
Lastly, let’s review what seems to be a terrible case of self-induced suicide on the part of potential Republican nominees. It began with Rick Perry’s embarrassing brain freeze, when he could remember only two of the three Federal agencies he wants to abolish. (The biggest laugh of the evening came when Ron Paul, standing next to him, leaned over and offered to list five agencies that should be done away with.) Perry’s gaffe, along with a few less-serious stumbles, led to a flash-crash in his polls.
Then there’s poor Herman Cain. When asked what his policy would be regarding Libya, for a while he looked like he didn’t even know it was a country, much less where it was. Cain is the first to admit that he’s not a foreign-policy maven, but surely he can do better than blank out. Can’t he recite rehearsed sound bites for at least a minute or two?
I will say that he seemed to get bigger, stronger and tougher when he was asked about the four women who have accused him of sexual harassment. I wonder how many people believe his denials. Do you think most people believe that where there’s smoke there must be fire? Oh, and does anyone find it curious that all four of his accusers come from Chicago? Remember what FDR said about a plan.
That brings me to the coming-from-behind, white-haired wonder who is challenging Mitt Romney at the top of the polls. A few months ago, Newt Gingrich’s candidacy had been written off for dead — not just by many observers, but by almost all of the people on his staff, who deserted him en mass.
Gingrich certainly has proven the importance of persistence, hasn’t he? He’s also proved the value of a brilliant mind and a glib tongue. When he asked one audience whom they would prefer to see debate Obama, he knew he would be the odds-on favorite. Even I would like to see that.
But poor Newt; like Desi Arnaz used to say to Lucille Ball, he’s got a whole lot of ’splainin’ to do. He can start with why Freddie Mac paid his think tank more than $1.6 million for some “consulting” work. The idea that Gingrich was paid $30,000 an hour to give a history lesson — which was his first explanation — is so ludicrous that it’s hard to believe he said it with a straight face.
Whatever you think should happen, we’ve got a long way to go. The first primaries are almost two months away; the nominating convention is more than six months hence. There are certain to be a lot more blunders, baloney and BS between now and then.
Still, if you’ve got a favorite, better increase your efforts (and your contributions) now. Whoever it is needs all the help he or she can get.
More on this next week. Until then, keep some powder dry.