Cook gets two out of three right.

Which is not bad for a political prognosticator, actually. Charlie Cook is arguing in his latest column that the President must be hoping that one or more of the following things happen:

  1. Unemployment goes down;
  2. We not lose the war in Afghanistan; and/or
  3. THAT WOMAN gets the Presidential nomination.

…if the President wants to be reelected. First off: amazing what two years of institutionalized blithering incompetence will do to a man’s public perception, isn’t it? Seriously, Barack Obama should have taken four years off to go be Governor of Illinois, or something: because he’s got pretty much none of the life skills that we expect from chief executives these days. Second: let’s look at Charlie’s points, more or less out of order.

First off, let’s remove one of these conditions right off of the bat: I’d rather lose an election than have the USA lose a war, and so would most of the rest of you. On this President Obama’s primary problem is with his own antiwar supporters, who are just starting to dimly realize that not only are they not getting what they want; they are expected to enthusiastically want what the President tells them to want. In other words: as long as Afghanistan continues to look more or less sustainable, the President’s major criticisms about national security will come from the Angry Left. Annoying to him, but tolerable.

As to the economy: Charlie wrote this article back before the new job numbers came out, so he was as surprised by the job numbers as anybody else. Folks were hoping for 150K new jobs and a lowered unemployment rate to 9.5*; instead, we got only 39K new jobs and a higher unemployment rate of 9.8% (which isn’t all bad; it reflects more people hoping that they can find work). As it stands, it’s going to stay that at that rate for a long time, or at least until this administration takes job creation more seriously than it does, say, suppressing high school bake sales. Obviously, the GOP will do what it can to get the unemployment rate down, but until the Democrats are ready to see reason about the fundamental flaws in their economic model there’s an upper limit on how much we can do without control of the Senate and the White House. I’ll tell you the truth: keeping Nancy Pelosi in a leadership position tells me that the Democrats are going to continue to govern in a non-serious manner, and that’s just too bad. For the country, the unemployment rate – and the Democrats.

And that leads us to point three. Charlie’s been beating the “Sarah Palin can’t win” drum for a while, presumably because of her poor polling among independents. And he might be right, and he might be wrong. Certainly she’d lose the election today, for precisely that reason. And just as certainly, the election is not today. But what should be noted here is that if we still have our current unemployment rate in 2012 (or, God forbid, we’ve lost the war) then the President is going to go down in flames regardless of who the Republican nominee is. Particularly if the Republican nominee can campaign with a happy smile and easy demeanor, which has been notably lacking in this administration thus far. Those qualities in a politician go far in hard times.

Just ask Jimmy Carter. Or George HW Bush.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*And if it had happened… ‘Huzzah?’


  • Terrye says:

    I am not saying it is impossible for Sarah Palin to win, but her numbers with Independents have to improve. I have noticed something lately and it might be nothing more than my contrary nature, but it seems to me that Sarah Palin’s more ardent fans have become more belligerent and I am not sure that always helps her. There will be people who might not be huge fans and who will want to voice some concerns and if they are lumped together with Keith Olbermann for their trouble I think that can be off putting.

    I know the Anchoress ran a piece not long ago suggesting that Palin change some of her tactics in dealing with the media and she claimed she got nasty emails. That is not a winning strategy and it can make some people dislike Palin or resent her. She does not need that. Not everyone who criticizes her is the enemy. I am worried about her getting the nomination, but if she was running against Obama I would vote for her. But that is not going to be the case with most Independents who just do not like her. She needs to work on that.

  • Jeff Weimer says:

    I support Palin to the extent she drives the liberal and moderates to distraction. And a nice distraction it is; as long as they think she’s the presumptive frontrunner, they’ll expend all their energy there for no good purpose.

    I’m not a huge fan of her as a candidate, some for the reasons Terrye elicited above (do we really need to act like paulbots?). Mostly I’m certain that a relatively inexperienced, yet attractive candidate with a rabid fan base will have a hard time after 2008.

  • Terrye says:


    Yeah, I hear you. I know just what you mean.

  • Demosthenes says:

    At the moment, I would rather not have Sarah Palin as my presidential nominee, but I’ll be watching EVERYBODY pretty closely to see if I can support them, and I’ll give her the same level of consideration I give anyone else should she decide to run. Having said that, I have to pause to point out the candy-coated irony that if Palin DOES get elected President in 2012, it will be precisely the people who hate her the most who will have made it possible — first, because their comparisons between her and Pres. Obama have, as the president continues to prove his incompetence, both undercut his stature and elevated hers; and second, because it is their viciousness toward her which has marked her as a victim, thus keeping her in the public limelight, helping her fundraise against and attack them, and generating her now-pretty-sympathetic profile. If I thought they were capable of such organization and deceit, I’d think the Left has done it all on purpose so they would have Palin to run against.

  • Skip says:

    Well here’s the problem – we have to choose between the candidates that actually run, not the ones who make up our hypothetical matchups. So looking at who’s actually declared, or assumed to be running we have Palin, Romney, Huckabee, erm and who else?

    Despite being well-loved by the NRO crowd Romney’s a non-starter. In this era we can’t go with a big-government big-spending Republican who has the albatross of having done Obamacare first, and more poorly, in Massachusetts. Huckabee’s another big spender, never met a government program he didn’t like, so he’s out.

    Who else? Pawlenty? You know, I can’t actually picture what he looks like in my mind, or recognize his voice? That’s how little he’s made an impression on me, and I’m a bit of a political junkie.

    We’re almost in the same position we were four years ago, except it’s slightly different. Four years ago I know I was looking for someone, anyone, to represent the grassroots base. And hence we were treated to the idea of Fred Thompson, who, unfortunately, was not matched by Fred Thompson the actual candidate. As such we ended up with the worst of all possible worlds.

    Today, at least, I have a presumed candidate that I can wholeheartedly support. And she’s got my support until someone else shows up, standing for most, if not all, the same things, but who seems more ‘electable’. Now is not the time for political compromise – if the ruling elites of the party don’t want Palin as the nominee then they need to find someone else who carries the same core beliefs, and get behind them. We’ve tried it their way with the mushy moderate the last 6 elections, and that’s given us 3 terms of sharply moving to the left, and 3 terms of slowly moving to the left. I’m pretty much tired of the move to the left, we need a candidate that will actually move things the other way.

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