Looking into the Cloudy Ball

Tax day is a day when all Americans are reminded about the importance of politics and think about the importance of the political future so they can adjust their budgets accordingly. Most of the time in politics we have a reasonably good idea of what’s going on: what the issues are going to be, who the favorites in the next election are, who are the main blocs, etc. Of course, there are always surprises and upsets.

But right now, there are no favorites. It’s a time when the voters hate everyone and everything in politics. People want something different but have no clue what that something is. Who their disgust will fall heaviest one is almost impossible to guess. Anyone looking into a crystal ball will only see clouds.

Obama got his healthcare plan, but no one likes it and his political capital is spent (which is a slight problem with a Supreme Court nomination looming). He has been a disappointment to his followers, especially in foreign affairs, such that they can only make the feeblest of defenses of his presidency.

The problem is that in this two party system, Obama’s failure depends on the success of the Republicans. As Donald pointed out, the GOP may be poised to win big in November. But predicting the Republican’s success if difficult b/c of the wrench of the Tea Party. No one really knows who they are or what they want. Sure, we know they’re against big government and “socialism” but do they care about social issues too? Are they moving the GOP in a libertarian direction? Are they really big and influential or are they just loud?

This confusion can be seen in some recent NYT articles. On the one hand, the NYT claimed that the Tea Party got much of its support from the unemployed. Now having done some actually research, they find that the Tea Party may be wealthy & educated.

Who knows? But until you get a finger on the Tea Party, you can’t get a finger on the GOP, which makes it real hard to determine if the GOP is in a position to take advantage of Obama’s bumbling in 2010 and 2012. All of this will make the Republican primaries something to watch, as there are a lot of possibilities for candidates and directions for the party to go and with them the country.

13 Responses to Looking into the Cloudy Ball

  • I think the GOP can count on solid tea party support in the Fall. In many states the dead line to get on the ballot is approaching or passed, and, in any case, there has been little movement by tea party members to run third party candidates. The big problem for the GOP will be if they win a huge victory in November with crucial tea party assistance, which I expect, and then proceed with business as usual. In that case I do anticipate a tea party third party in 2012.

    The post by Morning’s Minion, which you linked to, thanking God that John McCain is not president was a hoot! A weak defense indeed of the South Side Messiah!

  • Don:

    I hadn’t talked about the Tea Party as a potential third party, but I think you’re right. The Tea Party is largely built on the emotional resistance to Obama and I think the Tea Party will do its best to defeat Obama and Democrats. I would imagine they’ll stick with the GOP until at least Obama’s defeat and then perhaps start a separate party if they’re unsatisfied with the results.

    However, which candidate the Tea party will back in the Presidential primaries is anyone’s guess. Palin? Someone like Scott Brown? Will they go ideology or the best chance at winning?

  • “However, which candidate the Tea party will back in the Presidential primaries is anyone’s guess. Palin? Someone like Scott Brown? Will they go ideology or the best chance at winning?”

    At this point I am beginning to think that Palin is looking at 2016. Brown I think isn’t looking at the Presidency at all, but is completely concentrated on Massachusetts where the political revolution he initiated is gathering momentum. I think that 2012 may well be the year of someone who is little known now, at least by the general public. From the GOP standpoint it is essential that the standard bearer be someone who can cause great enthusiasm among the tea partiers.

  • From the GOP standpoint it is essential that the standard bearer be someone who can cause great enthusiasm among the tea partiers.

    Seems unlikely with Romney and Huckabee as the frontrunners. But a lot can change in two or three years.

  • The articel seems to presume that, absent the ominous “Tea Party threat,” the Republican Party would naturally sweep to victory in November, then immediately set about setting things right. Wrong! If the recent history of the American body politic says anything, it says that the parties are both more intersted in having and expanding power, rather than necessarily using power for good.

    Without the Tea Party threat, the repubs are nothing but a shade or so removed from the Dems on the critical life issues; the country club repubs most definitely want pro-lifers to go away.
    In my adult days, only once has the repub party used a majority to try to limit government expenditures and reduce the interfering influence of government in the daily lives of citizens; and ultimately, they abandoned the effort.
    Neither party can lay claim to a corner on “social justice” issues. At least not if one takes the position that forced taxpayer largesse in the social programs MUST be able to boast of resounding success in return for the now truly collossal expenditure of funds involved.

  • although not a memember of the so called tea party..people are rightly concerned that if the spending contiunes the chances of having a debt that requires a one trillion dollar interest per year will occur. the problem as i view is that we need a congress that will pass a bill demanding a balance budget each year and get rid of those bills that do not create jobs or add to an already explosive deficit and to develop a foreign policy with teeth and not just words and one that quits trying to tell people how to live. we fought one king for that right and it appears we have another trying to tell us the sme thing.

  • Kevin:

    The articel seems to presume that, absent the ominous “Tea Party threat,” the Republican Party would naturally sweep to victory in November, then immediately set about setting things right.

    Wrong on both counts though I don’t think that’s obvious from this post. I think the Republicans did a fine job of messing things up long before “Tea Party” was thought up and so would have complications going into November (i.e. the residual effects of the Bush presidency). Nor do I think the republicans would set things right, though i hope especially on issues of SCOTUS nominations and abortion funding they would be able to provide some corrections.

    My point in discussing the Tea Party was that, especially in considering 2012, they provide a variable. We don’t know what kind of effect they will have and so it is hard to predict how elections will turn out.

    afl:

    develop a foreign policy with teeth and not just words and one that quits trying to tell people how to live.

    Beware that the foreign policies with teeth (such as Bush’s) are often the ones that are based on the premise that the United States has a moral responsibility to spread democracy & its principles i.e. tell people how to live.

  • MD,
    Okay, if you say that was your point, I must believe you. But if the democrats remain in control of the house in December of this year, the political game is up. No amount of right thinking in 2012 will serve any good purpose if the leak in the dike is not stopped now.
    Those of you who think that politics, carried out with the Constitution in the fundamentally fractured state it is in now, can answer the mail are probably fooling yourselves.
    What was it Gandolf said? “The board is set, the pieces are moving, the final battle for Middle Earth has begun.”
    God help us all!

  • I don’t think any of the presumed GOP candidates (Huck, Palin, Romney) will win the nomination. I think it will be someone who catches fire–like a Paul Ryan or a conservative governor.

  • The fact that they’re more educated and wealthier may just be a reflection of the fact that they tend to be white, male, and old.

    The NY Times pool reveals some other interesting facts. Most Tea Partiers favor at least civil unions for gay couples, most favor legal abortions, and most don’t go to church regularly. Most like Palin but don’t think she would make a good president!

    My money was on Romney before this whole Tea Party thing. Huckabee and Romney have fiscally liberal records which voters may not forgive. Palin is talking up Romney though so Tea Partiers may forgive his past. The liberal elite find Romney to be the least objectionable.

    Gingrich’s negatives are too high. He’d be unelectable in the general election.

    Ron Paul is polling well but he can’t win the GOP nomination.

    A lot of excitement around Marco Rubio but he’s not even Senator yet and he’s only 38. Maybe 2016.

  • Romney is a political chameleon and I doubt if he will get the nomination in 2012. Paul is going no place slowly. Gingrich is only formidable as a talk show guest. The Huckster should stick with his show on Fox. I think Palin, as I stated earlier, is waiting for 2016. Rubio is a man to watch closely, but his year is not 2012. The New York Times poll of tea partiers is as worthless as most of what appears in that poor excuse for a fish wrapper.

  • Intrade has Romney in first followed closely by Palin. In third is John Thune. Others fall way behind. Oh how far Jindal has fallen…

    Intrade also gives the Democrats slightly better odds of retaining control of the House.

    Bad news in New York. Neither Guiliani nor Pataki will challenge Gillibrand.

  • As a twenty-something male I find the whole situation depressing. When you have Romney and Palin ahead in the poles for the Republicans and I guess, um…, Obama for the Dems, you really have to fool yourself to see anything bright in the future. The way I look at it we just have to hope that our pilot was the one who was sitting at the bar before departure who only had three whiskeys instead of five. I really am sorry for it but this nation has become the fruit of a more and more Godless society. Even though we have statistics that comfort us in being a Christian nation, the label “Christianity” is about as broad as Conservatism or Liberalism. Fact of the matter is that unless there is some major miraculous turn around in the faith of the people of this nation and their education in that faith, we will be sentenced to suffer the consequences of such a society. However, conversation such as in this com box and in the greater political arena is still necessary. I may not have much faith in the future of this country but I do realize that you have to go down swinging.

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