Thursday, April 21, 2011

Remember 2008?

By Carl 

After eight years of Bush, you may recall, there were Democrats chomping at the bit to get a Democrat in the White House. There were three main candidates -- John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama -- and all three had fervent, passionate partisans. We battled and threw muck and eventually the field winnowed down to one, and the passion the rest of us had went to supporting Barack Obama.

Anybody but Bush('s successor). We had seen the terrible toll he had taken on the nation, and realized that we had to step in and clean up after the children.

Obama, like Bill Clinton before him only writ larger, has tried his best and perhaps has done the best job that anyone could have done given the circumstances. History will have to determine that (and hopefully history will have a way to measure a Hillary presidency and an Edwards presidency, too).

Even the fiercest progressive have to acknowledge the man was dealt a shitty hand. We can argue about how well he played the hand, and even the degree of crapitude he had versus what assets he held as his hole card, but he certainly didn't walk into the same comparatively rosy scenario that Bush did in 2001 or Clinton did in 1993.

Obama will inspire some of the passion he did in 2008, and no doubt many of the progressives who find deep flaws in his administration (like me: I'm still pissed about Gitmo and the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed) will rally around him. Indeed, he's already started to mend those fences. 

The Republicans, however... 

Only those possible contenders who regularly appear on television — or have made bids before — are well known enough to elicit significant views from their fellow Republicans. And of that group, only one, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, is viewed favorably by more than half of the Republican electorate.

The poll would seem to reflect the late start to the Republican primary season, with many of the major likely candidates seeking to hoard their money and avoid making any missteps that they might have to live with later, when voters go to polls or caucus rooms.

While it may not be unusual for voters' attention to be focused elsewhere at this stage of a campaign, the survey at the very least provides a reality check for a race that has received frenetic coverage at times on cable news and the Internet even though nearly 60 percent of Republicans cannot point to a single candidate about whom they are enthusiastic, according to the Times/CBS poll. 

In case anyone still has doubts about Obama's chances in 2012.

Indeed, John McCain may have picked precisely the wrong election to run in. He could easily have kept his "heir apparent" crown into this election cycle, and probably picked up the nomination with far less difficulty from the likes of Huckabee and Romney (who either would have been the defeated candidate in 2008 or exhausted their personal resources trying), and Sarah Palin (and, by extension, Michele Bachmann) would have been kept off the radar completely. In my opinion, McCain would have been the only viable contender to unseat Obama, à la Reagan in 1980.

This is frankly an astounding poll, when you think about it: Anger at Obama should be at an all-time high, what with the agenda he managed to pass (or shove down the throats of Teabaggers), and as we saw in 2008, that usually means at least one candidate gets the coalescence of that backlash.

Here, we see....nothing.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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