Friday, December 14, 2007

1964, 1984... 2008?

There are certain elections that are "gimmes." When one candidate, often an incumbent, is so popular and powerful that the other party doesn't have a chance. The most recent examples are LBJ in 1964 and Reagan in 1984. LBJ inherited the mantle of a beloved martyr and Reagan successfully expunged the malaise of the 70s. They were well-nigh unbeatable.

I'd think it's best, in those elections, to play a Goldwater: to nominate an honest and principled ideologue who - because a win isn't expected - can at least paint the party in as positive a light as possible. Of course, the Democrats couldn't manage that in 1984 - instead of nominating Gary Hart*, which would have been a perfect antidote to Reagan - i.e. a young, vigorous new ideas, new new deal, face for the party vs. the antiquated Cold War Codger - the Democrats went for the candidate of the money and the machine: Walter Mondale. It's sad, really, especially if you look at the primary map (found from here)
Yellow is Mondale and Pink is Hart. Hart still would have lost to Reagan, but he would have probably stopped the hemorrhaging of 'Reagan Democrats' because he was the choice of the Mountain West, Florida and California.

But as I said in a previous post, in general the machine-money candidate will beat the populist-maverick. It's what got W the nom' in 2000. And it's what I now predict will happen with the GOP if (when) they pick Romney.

If the GOP choose Romney they'll be pulling a '84 instead of '64. Just as the Democrats should have gone with Hart, the GOP should probably go with Ron Paul (who is as close to Goldwater you can get).

Note About the Gimme

My claim that this is a 'gimme' election is because the GOP is in tatters right now, and rightfully so. The only person who could unite them is Hillary and not just because Republicans hate her more than they hate themselves. It's because she's also hated by independents and Democrats. If the Democrats choose any of the other major leaguers (Edwards, Obama, and even Biden or Dodd... I'm leaving off Richardson because the guy is a buffoon with sneaky hands) then I think the election is in the bag.

Especially if it's Obama. I'm catching a vibe on even the Republican blogs that if Obama is the candidate, then they will be playing only a half-hearted game. They'll be demoralized because Obama has the star quality that makes for a Democratic winner. But they also will have respect for him - I believe - because he'll be a giant slayer. He'll be "The One Guy Who Could Beat a Clinton." The GOP couldn't beat Bill twice and now Hillary twice... and anyone who beats Hillary may get a pass in their book.

One anecdotal (or should I say 'blog-ic-dotal) proof is from Red who linked to the same clip I posted of Barack's Hillary smackdown and said
"Give Barak Obama Credit: He is good."

I will breathe a lot easier if Obama or Edwards gets the nomination.

* Note Hart's famous 'Monkey Business' implosion was in 1987.

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