Friday, July 16, 2010

Looking Ahead: Obama, 2012 & The Biggest Republican Weakness (Updated)

Charles Krauthammer issues a warning to the right on Obama. Karl Rove admits to the greatest failing of the Bush Administration - failing to respond to the lies of the left. And then there is the question of what this means for Republicans in 2012.

A cautionary note is sounded by Charles Krauthammer in his article this week - don't take Obama for granted. According to Krauthammer, Obama has sacrificed Congressional Democrats in order to transform America into his vision of a socialist utopia. But, as Krauthammer notes, his low point today does not translate into weakness two years from now. This from Mr. Krauthammer:

In the political marketplace, there's now a run on Obama shares. The left is disappointed with the president. Independents are abandoning him in droves. And the right is already dancing on his political grave, salivating about November when, his own press secretary admitted Sunday, Democrats might lose the House.

I have a warning for Republicans: Don't underestimate Barack Obama.

Consider what he has already achieved. Obamacare alone makes his presidency historic. It has irrevocably changed one-sixth of the economy, put the country inexorably on the road to national health care and, as acknowledged by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus but few others, begun one of the most massive wealth redistributions in U.S. history.

Second, there is major financial reform, which passed Congress on Thursday. Economists argue whether it will prevent meltdowns and bailouts as promised. But there is no argument that it will give the government unprecedented power in the financial marketplace. Its 2,300 pages will create at least 243 new regulations that will affect not only, as many assume, the big banks but just about everyone, including, as noted in one summary (the Wall Street Journal), "storefront check cashiers, city governments, small manufacturers, home buyers and credit bureaus."

Third is the near $1 trillion stimulus, the largest spending bill in U.S. history. And that's not even counting nationalizing the student loan program, regulating carbon emissions by Environmental Protection Agency fiat, and still-fitful attempts to pass cap-and-trade through Congress.

But Obama's most far-reaching accomplishment is his structural alteration of the U.S. budget. The stimulus, the vast expansion of domestic spending, the creation of ruinous deficits as far as the eye can see are not easily reversed.

These are not mere temporary countercyclical measures. They are structural deficits because, as everyone from Obama on down admits, the real money is in entitlements, most specifically Medicare and Medicaid. But Obamacare freezes these out as a source of debt reduction. Obamacare's $500 billion in Medicare cuts and $600 billion in tax increases are siphoned away for a new entitlement -- and no longer available for deficit reduction.

The result? There just isn't enough to cut elsewhere to prevent national insolvency. That will require massive tax increases -- most likely a European-style value-added tax. Just as President Ronald Reagan cut taxes to starve the federal government and prevent massive growth in spending, Obama's wild spending -- and quarantining health-care costs from providing possible relief -- will necessitate huge tax increases.

. . . The critics don't understand the big picture. Obama's transformational agenda is a play in two acts.

Act One is over. The stimulus, Obamacare, financial reform have exhausted his first-term mandate. It will bear no more heavy lifting. And the Democrats will pay the price for ideological overreaching by losing one or both houses, whether de facto or de jure. . . .

The next burst of ideological energy -- massive regulation of the energy economy, federalizing higher education and "comprehensive" immigration reform (i.e., amnesty) -- will require a second mandate, meaning reelection in 2012.

That's why there's so much tension between Obama and congressional Democrats. For Obama, 2010 matters little. If Democrats lose control of one or both houses, Obama will probably have an easier time in 2012, just as Bill Clinton used Newt Gingrich and the Republicans as the foil for his 1996 reelection campaign. . . .

The real prize is 2012. Obama sees far, farther than even his own partisans. Republicans underestimate him at their peril.
In the WSJ, Karl Rove admitted that his single greatest mistake was his failure to anticipate the effect of the left's relentless, baseless attacks on Bush and his veracity - all repeated ad infinitum by a left wing MSM dedicated to the end of the Bush presidency. This admission is not exactly earth shattering. Indeed, for years now, I have been screaming that the failure to communicate and respond to these endless attacks was the greatest failing of the Bush Administration - and Republicans generally in all situations. I am convinced that McCain lost the election because of his failure to aggressively attack Obama in the debates and the failure of the entire Republican Party as a whole to respond to the left's outrageous charge that the right was responsible for our financial nightmare. For example, this from September, 2008:
For every ten Democrats I have heard baldly blame the Republicans for the subprime crisis, and for every Democrat I have heard speak against McCain's presence in the negotiations, I have heard maybe one Republican speak to the contrary. Some of the worst was last night, listening to CNN, listening to Paul Begala heap scorn on Republicans for the subprime crisis while the token Republican on the panel remained silent in the face of complete falsehoods. Further, I just listened to Harry Reid and Chris Dodd - two people up to their eyes in direct responsiblity for this subprime crisis - hold a news conference giving their CYF (Cover Your Fannie) story on all of this, including with blame for McCain, with no corresponding attempt by Republicans to respond in kind.

The Republicans are pristine in comparison to Democrats as regards the subprime crisis that has brought our economy to the brink of depression. . . . For Republicans to cede the narrative on this is the height of incompetence. Unless and until they become absolutely vociferous in getting out their message, the left will ever increase their stanglehold on America, much to America's detriment.
And much to America's detriment it has been indeed. Just yesterday, supposedly in order to insure that another meltdown never happens again, the left passed a 2,000 plus page nightmare regulation of our financial industry. The fault for the subprime meltdown lies with the left. The fault for the passage of this financial monstrosity that addresses everything but the actual cause of our financial meltdown lies squarely with Republican leadership for their near total inability to communicate.

Having watched the current crop of Congressional Republicans for years now, I am under no illusion that, come 2012, they will be able to effectively communicate. The backlash we see against Obama's policies and vast overreach today has come from the bottom up, with the Tea Parties and social networking. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Congressional Republicans. That does not bode well for the right come 2012.

That said, as I look out at the field of potential candidates who could possibly communicate effectively - those with the necessary intelligence and aggressiveness to actually call the left on their falsehoods and change the national paradigm - the only one I see today who foots that bill is Newt Gingrich.

Update: Bookworm Room has written a post on these topics, commenting on the issues raised by Krauthammer, a post by Jonah Goldberg, and a comment from a fiery young ideologue on the above topics. As is everything Ms. BWR writes, it is thought provoking on the issue of Republican chances and options looking forward to 2012.

In her post, BWR makes the point that any consideration of Gingrich must take into account his having suffered 20 years of MSM demonization. That said, how much trust lies in the MSM now days? The MSM gave us Obama, and it would seem from the polls today, much of America realizes they have been had - and know where that responsiblity lies. Could this be an example of Goldberg's thesis - that the rules have changed and the MSM hatred of Gingrich is a plus? I don't think that is beyond the realm of possiblity.. At any rate, I think Gingrich quite capable of running against Obama and a corrupt MSM, pointing out the follies and biases of both.

Whomever Republicans run, they must not adhere to the McCain line of treating Obama with the utmost respect. If you recall the "debates," the low point of Obama's performance came when he was getting directly challenged. For example, he was extremely uncomfortable - indeed, near petulant - when having to explain his way around his "bitter clingers" statement and challenges to his honesty. We need a highly aggressive debater who is going to use the word "bullshit" - or one of its synonyms - every time its appropriate and challenge Obama, for Obama is nothing if not petty and clearly he does not like to be challenged. That is one of the reasons I think Gingrich would be the perfect candidate to go against Obama. Every sentence would be a knife. And we need Obama fileted in 2012.

Here is hoping he does decide to run.


Klinger said...

I don't know much about Newt as I'm new to this whole political study scene - but wasn't he very much in bed with Democrats back when he was in office? It seems like he's just sat under the radar to clear his name from the limelight and is now coming back out with the "new and improved" version of himself.

...any chance you could do a /info on Mr. Gingrich?

GW said...

Gingrich has on occasion reached accross the aisle to the left, but "in bed" with the Democrats - no, not ever. He is an intellectual heavyweight who led the Republican Revolution in 1994 and who got most of the "Contract With America" - his idea to begin with - put into legislation. He eventually failed in a showdown with Bill Clinton, but it was one in which the entire MSM was arrayed against him.

I will do a piece on Gingrich in the near future. I note over at Hot Air that they are highly critical of Gingrich. I do not understand why. Gingrich is not the most likable person, but he is by far the most articulate and intelligent of all the potential Republican candidates I see as possibles for the 2012 race.

Klinger said...

I think I learned about Gingrich from over at Hot Air. I've not visited their site in awhile... thanks for the response!

OBloodyHell said...

> That does not bode well for the right come 2012.

It does if we switch out the vast majority of the ersatz conservative "Democans" in GOP seats.

suek said...

I'd go for Sarah with Newt right along side. I don't think Newt would be a good candidate - but I'm not sure I can tell you why. I'd definitely want him on the team, though. He is, as you say, and intellectual heavyweight. I'm a bit concerned though that he's almost too clever by half. I'm not sure I totally trust him. I like Sarah because she's straightforward, open and honest.

Of course, given we're dealing with Democrats, that might be a good reason to nominate Newt...!

Paul_In_Houston said...

What bothers me most is the Republican leadership(?) dumping on the Tea Partiers and right-wing blogs.

42 years ago, George Wallace had this to say about the two parties...
"There's not a dime's worth of difference between them!"

I have to ask this of the GOP leadership...
G*D D*MN IT!!! Are you absolutely determined to prove him right?!!!"

OBloodyHell said...

Steele's Got To Go.

...And now I be kalt one dum rasizt hick.