The New Depression

16Jul08

Is this a depressing year for the GOP? Sure. They’re going to take a big hit in congressional elections.

Have you noticed that Barack Obama is actually running unopposed for the Presidency?

Can they still take the White House? Sure. As Dick Morris puts it, we have, on one side, the party that can’t win (Republicans) up against the candidate who is unelectable (Barack).

Not since 1996 has it been this dispiriting, this embarrassing to be on the right.

Is McCain a lousy candidate? Sure. Not only does he lack the performance skills to get his message out clearly and forcefully, the McCain campaign has yet to decide on a message to get out.

I hate to say this, but I have abandoned all hope for a McCain victory in November. The candidate is too tepid, his campaign too weak, his opponent too skilled.

But this election is not about John McCain. All fundamentals point to a Democratic victory – an unpopular Republican President, an unpopular war, a bad economy – and that’s a handicap that’s tough to overcome.

Obama can tell fifteen thousand “white lies” between now and November, and image-obsessed America will still elect him.

Hold on there D.R. Tucker (who is quoted here lamenting the state of the GOP from his Human Events column today entitled “Crippled Conservatism”)! Barack should win this year as easily as Bill Clinton did in 1996, but he barely leads in the polls, trailing an imaginary Democrat’s vote drawing potential by 10 points or so, because this election is about him!

Is Barack experienced enough? 41% are concerned that he isn’t. Is he able to lead the country on international affairs? At a time when we have long running wars to take care of in Iraq and Afghanistan, voters are more comfortable with John McCain on national security issues, 49% – 41%. On the economy, the number one issue, voters are evenly split between McCain and Barack, but voters think McCain is the better leader, 43% to 39%.

So, what should be a cakewalk is not turning out that way. Further, America has yet to learn the full story about the Obamafia – the crowd of deviants who Barack built his career around – Wright, Pfleger, Ayers, Dohrn and Rezko. In the fall, they’ll learn.

Are things as bad, then, as D.R. Tucker? Not if you’re talking about the GOP’s chances in this presidential election. If you want to talk about the GOP as a philosophical organ, there’s lots to be depressed about, and many conservatives think they need to start a conservative party in order to see their values represented, and D.R. seems to be confusing the philosophical malaise with McCain’s chances in the election.

Obama is chuckling all the way to the White House. He knows that McCain is token competition, and that this election is merely an exhibition contest.

Presidential elections have become popularity contests controlled by the influence of big money, TV commercials and fights over special interest voting blocks.

This is bad news if you want to see a conservative, or liberal, agenda being well represented by a candidate. Both parties move to the center to maximize their opportunities – that’s the simple math of a two party system in a country that has lost touch with values. Just look at how Barack is betraying all of his primary campaign commitments. Why aren’t Democrats depressed?

Only now are we beginning to see just how important Reagan was to the Republican Party. The GOP was hanging by a thread in the mid-1970s before Reagan came along and made that slim thread a strong bond.

It’s easy to be discouraged, and I suspect the cause of D.R.’s angst is the sense that the party doesn’t deserve to win. With the GOP standing for nothing and doing nothing well, the worst feelings about the party are reflected by a candidate who doesn’t represent a clear conservative brand and who has yet to get his campaign in gear despite a big head start.

McCain is even more despised by committed conservatives than Bush was sixteen years prior—which means that despite Obama’s Clintonesque radicalism, many conservatives will boycott the ballot on November 4.

This, however, is also the good news. Even with the media fawning of the past several weeks and the co-campaigning with Hillary, Barack has yet to be able to build a significant lead, even while his opponent still struggles to find his voice. While McCain’s confusion is not good news for the GOP, it is certainly bad news for the Democrats that Barack can’t capitalize on it.

For Barack Obama to win, he has to get over the hump of the fact that Americans haven’t warmed up to him much. He’s been in an electoral slump for the past four months, having lost 6 of the 9 last primaries against Hillary, with no signs of recovery in sight.

This decade will end the way it began, with the United States run by a Democrat President unable and/or unwilling to confront the challenges of a troubled world. With the American conservative movement grounded and pounded, that world could end up spinning off its axis.

Finally, there is good change, and there is bad change. Americans are fed up with, and ready for a big break from, George W. Bush. Does that mean they want to embrace an unknown candidate who doesn’t have the qualifications to be President, who goes to a church where they preach hatred toward white America and America in general, and whose closest financial partner through his entire career has just been convicted in a bribery scandal that threatens the government of Illinois?

Had the GOP base unified behind a Romney or a Thompson or a Hunter, Obama would be in for a real fight. However, against an opponent disliked by seventy-five percent of his party, Obama can take it easy.

Despite D.R.’s bad mood today, it’s not all bad news for John McCain and the GOP.



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