15 months away from the 2012 presidential elections in the U.S., a lot can—and will—happen. Texas Governor Rick Perry’s entry into the race for the Republican candidacy was described by Republican political consultant Mike Murphy as “a tornado from Texas.” It’ll probably end the candidacy of Michele Bachmann, whose “idiotic mischaracterizations”—see the articles below—mean Obama won’t have the luck to have her as his opponent.
The electorate which chose Barack Obama three years ago has all the characteristics, positive and negative—in hard-core political terms, that is: can you win the election, Yes or No?—of the Democratic Party. When voter turnout is up, Democrats do better; when turnout turns down, Republicans do. Now Obama’s facing voter turnoff. His apparent disengagement, his failure to communicate to anyone a sense of identification with those who lost their jobs and/or their homes, his perpetration of wars most Americans oppose, and his seeming weakness vis-à-vis the Tea Party, are turning off his electorate. Turnoff means turnout turns down.
That’s the ideal recipe for a Republican party victory. Except that, save for Mitt Romney, all the Republican candidates are off the chart conservative. Obama would beat them all. But can you imagine Romney / Perry as the Republican ticket? Frightening though it is to think of Perry as a heartbeat away from the Presidency, he’d lock in the right wing and send Republican turnout skyrocketing.
TIME Online, Swampland
Posted by Joe Klein on Saturday, 13 August 2011
While Michele Bachmann seemed to get the better of poor Tim Pawlenty in last night’s Republican debate, I suspect her moment in the sun is about to wane. If you wish to be President, you just can’t get away with the gratuitous hooey she was slinging (which, indeed, is a well-established Bachmann pattern). No, Pawlenty did not implement a cap-and-trade program in Minnesota. He merely favored one (it was, after all, a Republican idea back when the party was relatively sane).
Far more damaging, though, was her idiotic mischaracterization of the Standard & Poor’s downgrade. Greg Sargent has the full story [shown below]. This may not impede her path through the cornfields, but sooner or later it will catch up with her–you simply can’t get away with such blatant nonsense in a presidential campaign. Your opponents are too vigilant. The scrutiny is too great. Say g’night, Michele.
The Plum Line, by Greg Sargent
"Standard and Poors Punctures Michele Bachmann’s Blissful Fantasy"
Wow, what colossally bad timing. Here’s Michele Bachmann at the debate last night, insisting that the Standard and Poors downgrade proved that she was right to oppose raising the debt ceiling:
“I think we just heard from Standard & Poor’s. When they dropped — when they dropped our credit rating, what they said is, we don’t have an ability to repay our debt. That’s what the final word was from them.
“I was proved right in my position: We should not have raised the debt ceiling. And instead, we should have cut government spending, which was not done. And then we needed to get — get our spending priorities in order.”
Unfortunately for Bachmann, Standard and Poors has now clarified that it’s actually people like her, who oppose raising the debt ceiling and aren’t mindful of the consequences of default, that were a primary reason for the downgrade:
A Standard & Poor’s director said for the first time Thursday that one reason the United States lost its triple-A credit rating was that several lawmakers expressed skepticism about the serious consequences of a credit default — a position put forth by some Republicans.
Without specifically mentioning Republicans, S&P senior director Joydeep Mukherji said the stability and effectiveness of American political institutions were undermined by the fact that “people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” Mukherji said.
“That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”
Let’s try to wrap our heads around this. Bachmann’s opposition to raising the debt ceiling is one of the most important planks in her presidential platform. She has touted it in two ads, presenting it as a sign of her courage. She repeated it again last night at the debate, asserting that opposing the hike is “the right thing to do,” and even cited Standard and Poors’s downgrade as proof of her superior grasp of our fiscal dilemma.
Less than 24 hours later, the news emerges that S & P has confirmed that it was precisely this opposition to raising the debt ceiling, and the cavalier attitude towards default exhibited by the likes of Bachmann, that led to our downgrade.
The question of what led S & P to downgrade our credit rating is a matter of verifiable fact. And S & P has now confirmed that one of the central rationales of her candidacy is a key reason for their downgrade. What will she say when confronted with this fact? How will she explain it away? Will anyone even ask her to try to explain it?
In a rational universe, this would be devastating to her candidacy. Of course, the world of GOP primary politics is anything but a rational universe.