Sunday, February 19, 2012


I've been posting at Brooman Tribune for the past few months, but I've been hesitant to post over there this week, in part because BooMan is entertaining the possibility that President Obama will win a victory in November of nearly LBJ-in-'64 proportions: 38 states, or perhaps merely 35, and a popular vote total approaching 60% of the vote.

Um, has any Democrat other than LBJ won as much as 54% of the vote since FDR died? Not as I recollect. Yes, the Democrats are facing a party full of internal strife and unrealistic desires for ideological purity and for a widespread American endorsement of that purity. But please remember: the economy still stinks, Obanma's approval ratings are under 50% in most polls and just 50% in others ... and even with all the ways Republicans have embarrassed themselves in recent months, there are still polls like this:

President Barack Obama trails three of the four Republican candidates in head-to-head match-ups if the election were held today, according to a new Iowa Poll.

The Republican with the biggest lead: Ron Paul, who would defeat Obama by 7 percentage points, 49 percent to 42 percent. Rick Santorum, winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses, leads Obama 48 percent to 44 percent. Mitt Romney, edged in the caucuses by Santorum, leads Obama 46 percent to 44 percent.

The president defeats only Newt Gingrich, 51 percent to 37 percent....

In the [2008] general election, [Obama] defeated Republican nominee John McCain in Iowa by nearly 10 percentage points....

Paul has never had the slightest chance of being the GOP nominee, and I think he'd be absurdly easy to beat -- much of America doesn't know the first thing about his newsletters, or about how his sunny-sounding libertarianism would in fact lay waste to cherished programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance (even more so than the programs of his GOP opponents). The attack ads would write themselves -- and Paul wouldn't even deny what he intended to do to the safety net.

But Santorum and Romney? If they're both leading in Iowa, then why should we assume either one would lose to Obama in the general election?

Look, I know: there's plenty of attack-ad fodder in Romney's Thurston Howell III affect and Santorum's apocalyptic Christianism. There's going to be more shooting in the GOP circular firing squad. I guess I understand why some people are imagining that this year could be like 1964, 1972, or 1984 -- years in which an incumbent who seemed vulnerable on New Year's Day scored a blowout win eleven months later.

But as I told BooMan in comments, at the very least, there are seventeen states the Republicans will absolutely win even under the worst possible conditions: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Alaska. No Democrat can possibly win 35 states.

The reason is obvious: Our political culture still accepts Republican myths about Democratic fiscal irresponsibility and sound Republican economic stewardship. It still talks about government social programs as
parasitic if not cancerous, and it links those programs exclusively with Democrats even though Republicans have chosen not to curtail them, or have even initiated them (Medicare Part D).

So there are two possible results in November: Obama loses, and Obama wins a close one. A blowout is utterly impossible.


Ten Bears said...

Agree on all points but one: speaking as a "Westerner" who has spent better than half a decade in the Pacific Northwest, in Cascadia I wouldn't be so sure about Montana. The Militas give her a bad rap, but are outliers where the greater population of the state is in the intermountain west and tend to be a bit more progressive.

The same might be said for the adjacent Northern Idaho and Western Wyoming. The Militas are outliers to the greater population, a vocal minority (sound familiar?). And as with here in Oregon, don't count on the rural eastside(s) to toe the reichwing mark. We're better informed than given credit, and hit perhaps the hardest of this "downturn".

: smintheus :: said...

Steve, you should have included South Carolina and Arkansas on your list, and probably Arizona and Georgia as well.