Who Will Be Eugene McCarthy In 2012?

Younger (under 55) readers may not recall the pivotal role Eugene McCarthy played in the 1968 Democratic Presidential primary and the history which followed.  After Robert Kennedy declined to be the anti-VietNam war candidate, McCarthy took on the role and challenged LBJ in the New Hampshire primary.  McCarthy’s candidacy was dismissed by the “experts” and the press as quixotic.

But after LBJ won New Hampshire by less than 10%, he appeared on TV to announce that he would not seek re-election.  Robert Kennedy then announced he would seek the Democratic nomination.  Kennedy was assassinated a few months later after defeating McCarthy in the California primary. Humphrey, LBJ’s Vice President, was nominated at a bitterly contentious convention in Chicago while rioters fought police outside. Nixon went on to win the election and was re-elected before resigning over Watergate.

I believe that Obama will face a “McCarthy” in 2012.  The only question is, who will play the role of McCarthy?

Obama has completely squandered whatever political capital and power he may have had following the 2008 election, 40 years after the Chicago riots.  His first, and biggest, mistake was to even attempt to reach out to Republicans.  They were tactically astute to take a “no, no, and hell no” approach.

Between Presidential powers and Democratic Congressional majorities, the correct approach would have been to use that power to hurt the Republicans.  LBJ knew how to use Presidential power to get what he wanted, but Obama naively appeals to intellect.

Politics is about power, not intellect and rationality.  Those two are the tactics of the powerless, because in every society “might makes right.” Winners write history; losers are condemned by it. (I am not suggesting “what should be” but only noting “what is.”)

Now that the Republicans have control of the House, they are making demands which Obama is kow towing to.  The tax cut extension that he is agreeing to is breeding rebellion among the Democrats. Obama should have gone “all in” and let the Republicans defeat an extension of unemployment benefits. That would have added at least three million voters to the Democrats in 2012.

Just as the Republicans have purged moderates in their party, so too has the election purged moderate Democrats.  The “Blue Dog” (moderate) Democrat in the House from my district was defeated by someone I presume is a Tea Party Republican who apparently wants to return to having Senators appointed by the State Legislatures (the original procedure specified in the Constitution).  (I didn’t vote either of them and wanted to see the Democrat lose because he supported the financial bailout.)

Consequently, the remaining Democrats are now much more “pure” than before 2008. With both parties dominated by purists, the outlook for gridlock is very high.  I have no problem with two years of gridlock because it furthers my own political views; the more government does not work, the more folks will be willing to consider…other options.

By 2012, I believe there will be a liberal Democrat who will play McCarthy and challenge Obama.  I was too young to vote in1968, when I naively believed that government might possibly be able to do some good.  I’m eager for a chance to tell Obama: “”no, no, and hell no.”

And if a Nixon wins in 2012, that’s fine by me. Because he was the best thing that happened to the Democrats; just look at what happened after that.




13 responses to “Who Will Be Eugene McCarthy In 2012?

  1. If I were you I would be more focused with what a non politically experienced business guy will do to the Fl regulatory agencies that he is zoning in on downsizing (which I am all for of course).

    As to your assessment of Obama’s position I think we disagree. His primary liability is just as obvious as it was that Jeff Bowden couldn’t do his job. Obama is not politically experienced enough to be President, it simply does not work for rookies which he definitely was. He didn’t bring the relationships of years with him so he couldn’t build consensus even if he had tried. (in fact he had some very strange relationships) The fact that he closed his doors to the GOP and forced them into hard line opposition positions, instead of making deals has cost him dearly. He wasted the opportunity to make a change through the sin of arrogance (see Moses)

    Real politics does not exist in a purist state so intellectual arguments have little effect in the world of compromise. Focusing so much on healthcare because he thought it was the right thing to do while alienating GOP and voters, instead of focusing on private sector job creation may go down in as one of the biggest follies in American History.

    Of course the byproduct of all that is that the American people do not feel represented by the President, Speaker of the House or President of the Senate. Almost everyone is unhappy with our legislative situation and 2012 will indeed be interesting.

    In hindsight if you ask FN she will confirm that I called Sarah Palin’s name early and with some degree of anticipation. I was wrong about her in national office but there was no empirical evidence of how uninformed she really was. I don’t think the GOP will let her run (successfully) for President in 2012, she is just as unqualified to be President as Obama is. They are both rock stars not presidents. (Besides she would lose a lot of earning potential)I think the GOP will select a younger but experienced candidate from an emerging pool of newcomers that have a track record with both business and political consensus building. Now as for a McCarthyesque intervention, one can only hope:) The democrats have nearly managed to destroy their party in the last 2 years and I am not sure they understand or care.

    Americans have historically gone crazy with the vote in long wars and down economies which we have all around us.

    The mantra is simple downsize government and grow private sector jobs. Whoever manages to do that will have political success. It’s called economic development:)

    Now I will get back to the important board of FSU football, which is rising from the ashes of dysfunctional leadership and has now emerged as the States premier football power. Careful analysis of how that happened could benefit the GOP::))

    • > Fl regulatory agencies

      I am not in a regulatory program. Besides, I’ve already retired. If I leave early, I’d be interested in just how much of that federal money I can latch onto. As you say, relationships count and mine go back 27 years.

      > They are both rock stars

      No way will Obama ever pass muster with me as a rock star. He is bor-rrring! Sarah is easy on the eyes and has some pizzaz!

  2. Oh my. We rarely have an insight into your political views in any depth. I would say, there will be no McCarthy in 2012. My guess is that if anybody can or will challenge Obama it will be…Hillary Clinton. But I would say that the predictions of Obama’s political death are premature, a la Mark Twain. A lot can happen in two years.
    The reality is that here in America we like rock stars, and the Republicans don’t have any. They will be decimated from within. It will be interesting. Thanks for the mention, pt. In a left-handed way, you acknowledged I was right. The Republicans who still speak to me (lol) have said there is no way they are stupid enough to nominate her for the Presidency. What they count on her for is to inflame people with emotional, superstitious fears and half truths. Tell me how that is good for the country.

    • > We rarely have an insight into your political views in any depth.
      Huh? I thought I’d done that quite a few times. Unless the key qualifier is “in depth.” And I like to think I’ve done that to some extent. But fact is, most folks don’t want “in depth”…just a few intellectuals like Obama. 😉
      Most folks want the catchy sound bite, like “death panels.” And, as a man of the people 😉 I must give the people what they want… even if it is the Kool-Aid!

  3. Regardless of how you spin it, Sarah Palin is still an idiot.

    • Now FN, isn’t “idiot” up there with “retard”?

      Interesting how Sarah gets all excited about the pejorative use of “retard” while defending Dr. Laura’s use of the N” word.

      I think Sarah may be a retard! 😉 (Being PC has never been a value of mine; and if I sound PC sometimes, it is only because I believe it, not because it is PC.)

  4. Well it’s kind of a good news bad news deal. The good news is she is not President. The bad news is Obama is.

    I think David Petraeus would be a viable candidate for President in 2012, but I suspect if he decides to run it will be in 2016. He would get a whole lotta votes. And is perhaps the best prepared candidate for middle east affairs.

    I don’t think, given the history of their relationship, that Billary will run against the guy who gave her her current job.

    And FN you are right about America loving Rock Stars, thats why Sarah is making millions. It is the American way, but never b4 have we elected one less qualified than Obama………….never.

  5. > never b4 have we elected one less qualified than Obama……

    PT, the Constitution specifies the qualifications to be President. And the qualifications you allude to are nowhere there. Because other than the Constitution’s qualifications, the only qualifications are to convince enough folks to vote for you in enough states to get to the magic number in the electoral college. Any other “qualifications” are irrelevant.

    And THAT is why I do not believe in universal suffrage. But it is pointless to discuss how I would prune the electorate because that idea will go nowhere….

  6. “the Constitution specifies the qualifications to be President. And the qualifications you allude to are nowhere there”

    I’m not saying he’s illegal in any way, just not qualified. The country got what so many wanted because it felt good (for different reasons) and its now come back to bite them in the ass. He may make a good ambassador after he leaves the Whitehouse but he has shown on a daily basis a startling lack of leadership. Take last week for example, does a real leader give up the podium to a predecessor and walk off the national stage to go to a party? He’s just over his head and doesn’t have a leadership team in place to help him out. It also seems he still insists on being a “mav-rick”. Which adds all kinds of irony to it all. Can’t wait to see Jib Jabs latest New Years song for 2010. As I think about it Obama reminds me of a very talented athlete who never really has to work hard to be the best on the field until he makes it to the pros, then, because he has never had to work hard to be the best he fails, because he doesn’t know how to work hard.

  7. > country got what so many wanted because it felt good (for different reasons) and its now come back to bite them in the ass.

    And that may be the story of U.S. (and probably all other “democratic” country’s’) politics. Voters elect folks based on what “feels (and sounds) good”, it bites them in the ass, so there is a “reaction”, then that bites them in the ass and so we go from one pendulum swing to the other.

    After the financial meltdown there was an outcry to “regulate” Wall Street when deregulation was the mantra for years…until deregulation was believed (whether true or not) to be a major contributor. I got no problem with deregulation…just dfon’t bail anyone out for any reason. Abolish the FDA; if you get sick or die from bad food or medicine, then you or your heirs can sue.

    Similarly, no need to worry about air safety, car safety, etc. Toss out the TSA and let the airlines decide what safety measure to take, or not take. And if a plane gets blown up, sue, sue, sue. The private sector can handle it ALL. No need for the state to oversee lawyers, doctors, etc. The courts are the answer to all problems…
    That is 100% consistent with anarchist principles.

    I’d have no problem if the Legislature abolished the Growth Management Act. Comp Plans are BS and should be shredded. In that form, they’d have some value. Presently, Comp Plans are worthless.

  8. “I’d have no problem if the Legislature abolished the Growth Management Act. Comp Plans are BS and should be shredded. In that form, they’d have some value. Presently, Comp Plans are worthless.”

    I tend to agree with that. I have ranted b4 that the real culprit is population growth, until we regulate the number of folks we will never be able to truly regulate development. When I was a kid, the population of Florida was under 3 million and we could run naked around the glorious beaches in Destin and Fort Walton. What has happened there is absolutely sickening. I was never involved in residential development but I did help attract workforce (people) to raise the prevailing wage. I focused on high tech, the rest take care of them selves. Service economy will grow just find without assistance from economic development. As a matter of fact I began to discourage call center proliferation whenever I could get away with it.

    The thing I miss the most in retirement is working with CEO’s, I found most of them to be intriguing and mostly quite intelligent. The thing I miss the least is working with politicians and bureaucrats. My lest favorite state agency is Education, I dreaded having to ask for real information from anyone in the Turlington Building, it was like a monkey on a flag pole, lot of action but nothing really got done.

    I am in favor of privatizing public education. Probably won’t see it in my lifetime.

  9. > I have ranted b4 that the real culprit is population growth,

    Of course it is..that’s why it is called “growth” management. Nebraska will not have that problem….

    > discourage call center proliferation
    > whenever I could get away with it.

    That’s right; let those call centers go tot he Philippines! 😉

    > I am in favor of privatizing public education

    What? You agree with me that public schools need to be wiped out?????
    Keep going…. I’ll turn you into an anarchist yet! 😉

    You see that Scott has said he wants to reduce the state-mandated portion of the school property tax reduced by 19%?

  10. 19%? wtf? why not 21.5%? Was he born on the 19th or something?

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