Carter-Reagan Redux?

Barack Obama’s presidency is quickly descending into Jimmy Carter territory. That means he is not only out-of-the-mainstream and out-of-touch, he is now being seen as an incompetent president. And once that happens, the vultures begin to circle.

Recent evidence that this is happening:

• Democrat Congressional candidates are begging the White House not to campaign for them this fall; these candidates do not want to be photographed with Obama! Who would have predicted that 18 months ago?

• The President’s performance on the New York City Ground Zero Mosque has roiled his weakening political situation;

• Rahm Emanuel spent three days this week on the phone begging Democrats not to split – as Harry Reid did – from the President over this Mosque issue;

• New polls show an increase in the number of Americans who believe Obama is a Muslim; and these polls were conducted before his ham-handed handling of the Mosque controversy.

• A new story has been published revealing that the President still has not joined a DC area Christian church. He says it “would be too disruptive for the church” if he joined. What hogwash!

• Add in the recent Michelle Obama Spain trip and the President being left alone on his 49th birthday and you have to wonder exactly what is going on inside the Obama White House and the Obama Family, too.

All of this makes political professionals scratch their heads. The smooth-running 2008 campaign operation has not translated to a well-run White House. Take the Mosque: Friday night at a Ramadan dinner in the White House, the President reads from his ever-present TelePrompter and clearly referred to the controversial downtown NYC Mosque, despite his next-day denials.

For that speech to make it up to the TelePrompter it had to go through a series of White House offices–ranging from speech-writing to the political office and probably the National Security Council as well–before getting to the Senior Staff for their review. So what Obama said that night was indeed the policy of the White House. This was not some off-the-cuff gaffe.

Clearly by the next morning the White House was besieged with calls of protest from stupefied Democrats running for office this year begging the President to back off. And thus Mr. Obama did try to retract his Friday night statement–thus now showing a lack of command for the issue.

He is indeed incompetent. He fumbles each issue–and reacts to criticism with lightning speed by often reversing himself.

If we use the Jimmy Carter analogy, then let us follow it all the way. By 1980 Democrats were split over re-electing Carter. And the GOP had an establishment candidate in George H.W. Bush versus the outsider, Ronald Reagan. Reagan trounced Bush and then trounced Carter.

So, is something similar shaping up for 2012?

Or will the GOP this time – like they did in 1996 and 2008–opt for a mediocre, boring, un-daring, timid candidate who will be easy meat even for Obama?

That is the question.

Rocky Road Ahead

Do you want to know why the American electorate is simultaneously furious, disconsolate, pessimistic and at times beyond hope?

Because our government(s)–federal, state and local-are on the wrong side of numerous issues and against the majority of Americans! Look at these six hot-button issues:

• Amnesty for illegals coupled with no border security and no punishment for American employers who hire illegals. No issue has undercut Americans’ belief in their Federal Government more. Thus the Arizona law–and the huge national support for it. Yet one un-elected judge stops the law–for now.

• The Obama Health Care Bill. We had our first direct voter test in a Missouri statewide referendum last Tuesday. A whopping 71% rejected the federal mandate that each of us must have/buy health insurance. Plus, national polls show that over 62% want this bill repealed. Yet it is the law of the land.

• Excessive government spending and endless bail-outs. A clear majority of the American people want these to stop. But Obama, Congress and many states persist in even more spending. And now the House has voted another $26 Billion for public teachers unions. They took that money from Defense, another area of enormous spending (and one in which since 9/11 the Military, Industrial and Intelligence Complex milks patriotism to justify endless expenditures).

• Extending the tax cuts. 70% of Americas want these kept in place, knowing that to raise taxes in this economy is certain to cause an even more severe economic slow-down. Yet Obama, Pelosi and Reid persist in blasting the “Bush tax cuts” as the reason for our present economic plight and promising to let them expire. Crazy.

• The Gay Marriage ruling by one federal judge last week–again–shows the disconnect between the people and the un-elected elites. A clear majority of Californians voted against gay marriage. But one gay judge over-rules them. For now.

• The Mosque in New York City near Ground Zero is another case: Mayor Bloomberg and some Super Lefties want to defy the overwhelming view of citizens and place this mosque smack dab next to Ground Zero–and public will be damned! No wonder Bloomberg’s popularity has gone under 50%. Let’s hope it goes even lower. His arrogance knows no bounds.

It is crazy that in America the majority of Americans are ignored–repeatedly–and arrogantly by the very people they elect!

All of these examples show why the American voter is so ornery this year. And why November 2, 2010 will be a seminal day with many, many incumbents being voted out of office.

However, one election does not a problem fix. No, we need the same spirit to be in effect in 2012 to go after the other Senators who are up for re-election and to defeat an out-of-touch, too-far-left, and inept President Barack Obama, too.

And then these newly elected office-holders need to remember the anger they heard on the campaign trail and translate that into what will be very unpopular among the political class inside the DC Beltway and among their sycophants in the dying, so-called Mainstream Media. The screaming about the “draconian” cuts and changes will be deafening. But these newly-elected people either carry out the changes mandated by the electorate–or else they, too, will get the heave-ho in the next election.

It has taken decades of corruption and incompetence and political cowardice and the refusal to simply say one word–No–to get us into a state of near national bankruptcy.

It will take us more than one election to fix it.

It will be a rocky road.

But America will one day return as the economic leader of the world.

Fear a GOP 2012 Dud

The national economy–again–stalls. No new jobs are created. The immigration issue–again–becomes red hot. And the health care bill–still–is unpopular. Well, we can assume that 2012 will be a watershed election year with an at least a semi-unpopular and thus vulnerable incumbent, Barack Obama, who can possibly be defeated. This is a far cry from November 2008 when he was proclaimed the New Messiah.

But–and it is a big “but”–“you can’t beat somebody with nobody.” The Republican Party has a penchant for nominating “nobodies” for President lately. Let us remind ourselves of some recent disasters:

• In 2008 the GOP nominated John McCain, perhaps the most disastrous nominee possible. He refused to attack Obama; he wouldn’t even allow McCain surrogate speakers to use Obama’s middle name–Hussein!

• McCain is/was/always will be pro-amnesty-for-illegals–so he and Obama had the same position and thus there never was a debate in the 2008 election about immigration;

• Back in 1996, when Bill Clinton was vulnerable after the 1994 Republican Revolution, the GOP nominated Bob Dole, a great man, a great American and a great US Senator–but a total disaster as a national presidential candidate; (Perot drawing 9% of the vote away from the GOP didn’t help, either);

• Even in 2000, the GOP selected G.W. Bush who barely – maybe defeated the biggest dud stiff bore political candidate ever: Al Gore. Yes, on pure candidate skills, Bush was better that Gore. But he still wasn’t exactly scintillating.

What exactly makes someone a great political candidate?
Here are my Five Tools that make a great political candidate:

1) Fire in the belly. This overriding hunger borders on the obsessive. Virtually all successful political candidates, no matter how well they disguise it, would "walk over their mothers" to win, as Nixon White House aide Charles Colson once put it.

2) Self-discipline. The ability to rein in one's own worst instincts, habits and weaknesses. Both President Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich ruined their legacies through a lack of personal self-discipline. The speaker couldn't keep his mouth shut; the president couldn't keep his fly shut.

3) Authoritative presence. Especially in the television era, candidates must project an air of gravitas and weight. Dan Quayle's "deer in the headlights" look undercut anything he said or did.

4) Raising money. All successful candidates find a way to raise enough money to win. Some, like JFK, merely ask their fathers to pay. Others spend years developing a network of donors; others cultivate special interests. However they do it, winning candidates always come up with "the mother's milk of politics."

5) Communicating a positive vision. Derided by President George H.W. Bush as "that vision thing," it is this singular ability that elevated presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Franklin Roosevelt into the political Hall of Fame. The skill to speak in a way that inspires voters is invaluable–and very rare. (No wonder so many campaigns today resort to "negative campaigning"; their candidates are incapable of painting with voice and words a believable picture of a better future.)

When a candidate has all five of these–and especially Numbers 3 and 5–then you really have a potential star.

All the so-far mentioned 2012 GOP candidates–Romney, Palin, Huckabee, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Daniels and Barbour–have some good points. But none of them are sincere or talented at Numbers 3 and 5.

Our fear must be that through the 2012 primaries and caucuses, the winnowing process will bring the GOP back to its boring, staid old self–and thus turn off the Tea Party fervor which is the hottest political movement in decades.

What we should be looking for in our 2012 candidate is a conservative who can sell conservatism–and also attract middle-of-the-road independents–all the while being pleasantly on the attack against the liberals, using humor and a light touch to harness the underlying fear and anxiety we are all feeling about our country’s future.

A tall order indeed.

The 2012 candidate who can do this has not yet surfaced. Let us hope he soon will.