I’ve become more and more convinced as time goes on that President Obama is going to have a historic victory in 2012, and this past week hasn’t discouraged that opinion. I’ve always had a pretty high opinion of President Obama as a politician, and his greatest political strength has always been something unique – drawing terrible, insincere opponents.

The first I heard about then-state Senator Barack Obama was in 2003, right after he had announced his run for Senate. He had a funny name, not many people knew who he was, but he had energy and he was squeaky clean. Beyond that, everyone who was associated with his campaign or absorbed it through the media was stricken by how sincere and earnest he seemed to be. This stood in stark contrast to the typical Illinois Republican, who tended to run on anything but their personal warmth.

This distinction came to a head as his Republican opposition, Jack Ryan, was forced to reconcile his family-values campaign with particularly damaging divorce records. Compared to the young, warm family of Barack Obama, there was no competition to be had. Following Ryan’s withdrawal from the race, historic lunatic and carpetbagger Alan Keyes entered the race, and Obama’s success was ensured.

I see a similar chain of events unfolding in the 2012 race. While Mitt Romney hasn’t faced a scandal like that of Jack Ryan, it has become clear that he is simply unacceptable to the average Republican voter. Whether it is simply a happy coincidence or the result of the Obama campaign’s strict targeting of Mitt Romney during the primary fight, it cannot be ignored that Obama’s opponent grows more and more likely to be the much less electable Rick Santorum. Just like in 2004, it appears possible that the candidate of the pro-business faction will have to step aside in favor of a nationally-maligned culture warrior, and that is simply an election the Republicans cannot win.

Granted, there are some differences. Barack Obama is no longer a fresh face, having served as President. The national implications of the race are also different, as there is now a foreign-policy component to the race (though I find it unlikely that particular focus will benefit Rick Santorum). And, as with all Presidential elections, the economy will play a serious role whether or not Rick Santorum has a real plan to fight unemployment.

All the same, the similarities are a bit eerie.

 

2 Responses to The Importance of Being Earnest

  1. Peaches says:

    As Toby said, “We don’t tempt fate.” Otherwise, I agree with you on every point. A day doesn’t go by I don’t regret that so much of President Obama’s first term has been burdened with the mess of the previous 8 years. I’m much more optimistic about his second term.

  2. JMPrince says:

    Fine indeed. I tell the story of Jack & [moviestar] Jeri Ryan to any of the Repug. folks who ask how Obama got started in national politics. But for the idiocy and yes, utter senseless depravity of Jack Ryan, then suddenly exposed? Obama might still be a back bench Congressman. That’s the part that chance can play in politics. You never know. That fine upright anti-immigrant sheriff (Babeu) might have an angry Mexican BF. We could go on. But it might be mentioned that since it’s been about a dozen years, and even more since his more active years, Jim Varney was Earnest :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Varney
    JMP