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Monday, November 14, 2011

Presidential Predictions, One Year Out

Making predictions about elections is a fool's errand, but I'm just fool enough to do it anyway. And there is very little downside to doing so because no one expects you to be right and whatever you predict is forgotten almost as fast as it hits the page. So you can brag to people who don't care if you turn out to be correct and no one will remember if you are wrong. So here goes:

The mid-term elections of 2010 were only the opening battles in the political war for the future of the teetering republic. The people who wanted to reject Obama-care and what they see as socialism (or the direct path toward it) won pretty handily in those elections. But for them, it is only the beginning. And for those who favor ever larger and more intrusive government, it may have just been a temporary setback on the way to what they see as a more "fair" society.

From my perspective, the coming election is probably the last chance freedom loving people have before the point of no return is reached. Unless there is a repudiation of Obama and his followers next November, Obama-care will remain, the debt crisis (an actual crisis, not to be confused with alleged global warming and other manufactured bugaboos) will lead to the destruction of the currency and most other issues will shrink to insignificance. By my reckoning, the tipping point will have been reached.

Many may think that assessment is over the top. Clearly, I do not. So where do we stand with just a tad less than a year before we get to the fateful election of 2012?

The Republican party, by default the last chance to stop the descent, is currently in shambles. Deservedly so. They have been partners with the Democrats in the decline. Differing only on details and scope, but never on the philosophy that government exists to fix societal problems, they share the blame. (There are a few exceptions, such as Ron Paul, Gary Johnson and a handful of newly elected Tea Party favorites.)

So far, none of the current crop of Presidential candidates on the Republican side have inspired a majority of those who will ultimately choose the candidate to rally behind them. In my opinion, if they nominate Mitt Romney or his ilk, even if he is ultimately elected, the Republican Party is finished. And if so, I say good riddance. That opinion will not endear me to Republicans but most of them aren't in love with people like me anyway, so, oh well.

So here are the choices. Since Obama is not getting a primary challenge, it's him against one of the following: Romney, Gingrich or Paul.

Santorum and Huntsman never were a factor. Gary Johnson, a legitimate candidate, was never allowed by the media to be considered so he never was a factor either. Michele Bachmann's star was burnt out in only a few short weeks, and only shone at all because she wasn't Romney. Rick Perry led the opinion polls for the briefest of moments and also because he wasn't Romney. His popularity has been on a slide that coincides almost exactly with the amount that is known about him. The more people know, the less they want him to be President.

Which leaves Herman Cain. He has already started to fade, and despite what the talking heads and political know-it-alls say, it's not because of the allegations that he made some ladies uncomfortable. It's because of the "Rick Perry syndrome", the more people see of him the more they know Cain is not ready for the biggest job in the world.

Cain continuously displays a lack of knowledge about important topics and has already used up his allotment of forgivable gaffes and backtracks. His 9-9-9 plan is a non-starter among Democrats and Republicans in legislative reality and was only useful as a debate tactic. His use of it to answer any question, no matter how unrelated, has worn itself out.

For Cain, the questions will only get tougher as the process advances and his lack of depth on the issues will only become more apparent. Only dreamers think he wouldn't be thrashed by Obama in debates and in the general election. Even the hapless Republicans aren't suicidal enough to nominate him. And that was before he all but announced yesterday that he is actually running for VP or even a cabinet position.

Therefore I make the following prediction, something only a fool like me would do with a year left before the big choice is made. Romney will not be the nominee. He has an excellent chance to win in New Hampshire early, but that will be the high water mark of his candidacy. Most Republicans don't want him as the nominee, he is too much like Obama.

That means it's between Gingrich and Paul. And it's not the worst choice for Republicans to have. It will be a clear choice between being comfortable with a change of captains for the foundering ship of state (from Obama to Gingrich in the hope that we can get free from the reef which will surely sink us otherwise) or the choice to take the uncomfortable but necessary option of returning to a constitutional course that leads to a completely different way of governing ourselves than the current generation has ever known. And make no mistake, the Paul choice is uncomfortable for most people.

It's usually human nature to take the comfortable option. But it's my hope that, as a nation, we still have the ability to step out of our comfort zone and do what we must do to regain our liberty. Whatever people choose, now is not the time for comfort, so if they pick Gingrich, I hope it's not for that reason.

So even as I make these predictions, I don't know what the American people will choose to do, either with the Gingrich/Paul choice or the Obama/Republican candidate choice. But I do know that we have reached decision time, not just on candidates, but on the whole governing philosophy we will move forward with. And no matter what we choose, things will never be the same as they are now.

In that regard, Obama was finally right about something when he talked about change coming. One year from now things are going to change, in the election of our lives.

by Grant Davies,
Regular Columnist, THL
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