Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Can Obama be Beaten?

The answer is yes. If.

If means that just about anything that doesn't violate the laws of physics is possible. Whether it can be done or not depends on how hard and how well people are willing to work for it.

There's a debate going on right now about the precedents for defeating an incumbent. But those precedents don't really matter. If we go by precedents, Obama shouldn't be sitting in the White House at all. The last time a Senator who hadn't been a Vice President or a Governor won an election was JFK in 1961. And despite his youthfulness JFK had spent almost a decade and a half in congress by that point. To find an earlier precedent we have to go back to the 19th century. But it doesn't matter. None of the precedents do. We are rapidly taking the exit on American history. The old precedents depended on a different society and a different nation. Obama's victory demonstrated that much, if nothing else. We may be able to recover that nation yet, but it won't be by a survey of electoral history.

In short incumbents lose for one reason. They no longer enjoy the public's confidence. But even if that happens, the incumbent is still favored to win if their opponent is not a credible candidate. In recent political history, Americans are usually dissatisfied with whoever is in the White House by the end of term one. But they're also willing to play the game of "Better the devil we know", if the other party can't bring a serious competitor to the table. And that's what often happens. Second term elections often get thrown by the other party. A political hack is trotted out by party loyalists to give him a shot at the big time while preserving their dignity. The serious ammunition is saved for the next election.

The one overriding reason in recent political history that incumbents win is because the other side doesn't even bother showing up. Defeat is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Campaigns cost money and no one is going to put down serious money on your side if they don't think you can win. Low energy campaigns plus a candidate who's out there because it seems like it's his time and no one else wanted this badly enough are a white flag being waved before the battle has even been joined.

Let's list some names here. George McGovern. Walter Mondale. Bob Dole. If we go that route, then we're toast. And deservedly so.

Now let's list two more names. George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. Strip away the party affiliation of these two incumbents who lost their second term races and what do you have in common? They were both weak candidates. Two men who had more in common with the names on that first list. They still might have made it to a second term, but they faced opponents who were strong and bold personalities. Men who registered on a national stage the way they didn't. And the rest is history.

Incumbency has its weaknesses and its strengths. Its chief strength is that unless you completely outrage and disgust 51 percent of the country as distributed across key battleground states, the voters may be disappointed in you, but they will still let you stay. That is unless your opponent beats your name recognition and familiarity factor and comes in like a breath of fresh air. And that is the chief weakness.

Voter complacency is the chief strength of the incumbent. That is why Obama's campaign opening video looked so bland. He's not out there to win, just to stay ahead of the competition. And voter dissatisfaction is the chief strength of his opponent. Not the mob with pitchforks kind, but the "We could use something better about now" type.

So back to the original question. Can Obama be beaten? Yes he can. The economy is in a bad way. The wars are unresolved. The issues that made voters want to trade in the Republican years are not only out there, they've been filled out by entirely new issues. 51 percent of the public does not hate Obama. But they would like a change. Our job is to give it to them.

It sounds simple. But it's not. Remember this can't be a close race. If it's a close race, then we can go home now. There was extensive voter fraud last time around. There will be plenty of it this time too. Unless Obama loses by Ahmadinejad numbers, he will win. If he can't win when the polls close, he'll win in the courts. And remember what the media did last time around. They'll do it this time around too. Whoever goes up against Obama has to be able to take month after month of that. To be ridiculed and demonized day in and day out. And still walk out for the next campaign rally with flag flying high and public image untouched.

How they'll do that is up to them. But they will have to do it. Not just for the faithful, but for the average man or woman on the street who just know what they read in the newspaper or see on TV. And when they see our candidate interviewed, they'll have to come away with the impression that despite whatever dirty tricks got played and leading questions got asked, that our candidate made a favorable impression on them. This isn't asking the impossible. But it is asking the very difficult. But both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were able to do it. And anyone who can't is not going to win.

You'll notice that I haven't said much about what they need to believe. We know that part. Or at least we know it well enough to avoid the debates on it. But belief isn't much good without salesmanship. I can have the best car in the world, but unless I can sell you on it, then the car is useless. The shelves of discount stores and the bottom layers of garbage dumps are filled with great products that didn't find their audience. A candidate who believes all the right things, but has no sales skills is not going to win. He may make a great columnist or write policy papers-- but unless he can sell what he's got to a skeptical audience, and make them want to invest their votes in it, then it's wasted time and energy.

Go back to Doug Hoffman and NY-23 back in 2009. Then look at the 2010 election again. And imagine that you had a product. How many of these people would you hire to sell it to strangers? And if you wouldn't, then what makes you think they can win an election. It's a cynical way to look at politics, but those are the rules of the game. And they can't be set aside, just because they reward all the wrong things. There's no innate contradiction between presentability in person and on television, people skills, a good speaking voice... and a passion for the Constitution and an understanding of the reforms this country needs. And anyone who wants to accomplish those things by running for public office will need to learn those skills. And they are skills that can be learned.

In 2008, Obama sold the country on himself. He's got less of an uphill battle now because the sale has been made. Plenty of people want to ask for a refund, but not a strong majority yet, and what they're being offered is a trade-in. Give back your Obama, for a Romney, a Pawlenty, a Herman Cain or Sarah Palin. Now are they going to want to make that trade-in? That's where the salesmanship comes in. It doesn't all come down to the public impression that the candidate makes. But that's the core that any campaign has to work with. The public's impression of the candidate defines their reaction. That impression can be shaped, spun, marketed and telemarketed-- but there has to be a core there to work with.

It's not about the haircut, the set of the jaw or even the delivery. Plenty of candidates work with what they have. Bush fumbled lines over and over again, and no matter how often he was ridiculed for it, it came off as a mark of sincerity and authenticity. An awkward sincerity that cut directly against the slick deceptive speechifying of the Clinton years and Gore's awkward verbosity that the public was sick of. The ability to do that. To turn your flaws into assets that actually adds value to your message is what makes all the difference in the world. It's not about finding a clone of presidents past, but a man who can dominate a stage and get his message across on his own terms.

And the message is at the heart of it. The candidate is the message bearer. If he bears it well enough, then he may get a chance to be its message-implementer. The essential parameters of the message are very simple. It is the same message in every election. "The country is going the wrong way. We are in big trouble and I want to step in and put us on the right track." That framework isn't hard to put over now. But it's not enough.

Few people are really happy with the way things are now. That includes liberals and most of O's own grassroots. It won't mean that they will go out and vote Republican. All that may do is limit turnout. And it doesn't mean that much of the country which is unhappy with Obama will do so either. The car salesman can point out that your car is in bad shape, leaking fuel and costs more to run than buying a new car would. But does saying that put you in a new car? It doesn't. Pointing out the problem is only halfway to a solution. The solution's positives have to offer hope for a better future and its negatives have to be ones that people can live with. That's easy sell for Democrats who can just promise more goodies, harder for Republicans who have to talk about reforms.

We won't be dealing with a single demographic or people who agree with us. They're the easy ones. The ones who don't agree or don't know what they believe or just want some assurance that everything will be alright is where the hard work goes. We are dealing with multiple demographics even within the Republican party. And then the independent voters who distrust both parties. Working class Democrats who don't like a lot of what Obama has done, but want to protect union power and maintain entitlements. Growing numbers of minorities who are told that Republicans want to destroy them. We won't win all of them over, but we need to be competitive, without compromising on the core issues. It is doable. Whether we will do it is another matter.

If we bring together the candidate and the message, back it with real organization and hard work, than we can win. If we don't, then we won't. That's the big 'If'. And it's not the only 'If' either.

The Republican establishment has its own thoughts on the candidate and the message. And that's like to be Romney with the slogan, "Change for the Better". A safe and inoffensive candidacy that may alienate some of the base, but is meant to bring over wavering voters. The safe alternative. Who knows it may even work. I wouldn't count it out.

And what's more, some liberals may decide that they can get more done with a Republican congress that is no longer obstructionist and a Republican president who is willing to show how open-minded he is, than with a hated Democratic president and an obstructionist Republican congress. For all the venom, plenty of liberal activists are thinking that they got more done under Bush than in they did in 2011. And they might be ready to trade four more years of this, for Romney in 2012 and a Democratic congress in 2014. Don't count that out either.

Those would be victories over Obama, but in the long run they would look a lot like defeats. The Republican revival wasn't just about winning the short game, but the long game. That doesn't mean losing the short game. It means winning it in a way that meets long term goals. Republicans have played to win the short game, compromising on everything just to come out as the safe moderate alternative. Now we'll need someone who can do both.

That's what everything hinges on. A candidate who is as good with patriots as he is with the public. Who can navigate both worlds, bringing authentic conservative ideology to the table and project real popular appeal at the same time. Who combines faith with the skill to win. I would love to be able to point at the possible candidates and say that I found the man or woman who can do it. But no, I haven't. And that's the challenge. We have the product. Now we need someone who can sell the country on it. That is what it will take to beat Obama.


Lemon said...

If elections are honest, then yes he can be beaten in a fair election.
If they are not, then he will win again.
As long as Chicago style voting booths and counting and cemetery voters are not in this, then he would not win.

Anonymous said...

Obama can be beaten, with the right candidate. I'm voting Palin. Thus far, no one better. And she'll fight.

The Munz said...

We have a long road ahead of us. The Media has gone from being a watch dog of the government to it's lapdog. That is the biggest problem IMO.
There are a lot of people who remain ignorant and undecided until the last minute. Then they vote based upon what they see the day that they vote (or there abouts)

You can take a great candidate like Bachmann, but the media will trash her worse than palin. Why? Because they fear her. I don;t exactly follow the polls either because of the way that they are slanted.

Gut one thing is to be sure. We MUST have a candidate that not only can energize the public but is REAl this time around.

Americans got sucked into 4 years of a man they knew nothing about. They were foolish enough to vote against Bush, when he wasn't even running again.

The GOP needs to get on track or they can once again, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Stevo said...

Can Obama be beaten? There's a MEMRI video making the rounds where an imam describes that a husband can beat his wife including with a rod, so long as he doesn;t hit her in the face. So can Obama be beaten? Just don't hit him in the face, I guess.

mindRider said...

Glenn Beck for president! He shall regrettably have the time to run since his show is taken of the air by Fox. Sarah Palin might have a lot of energy and spunk but no knowledge of foreign affairs. Being a bloody foreigner I should stay out of this discussion.

lgstarr said...

The ways things are moving, and the direction they are moving in, means that there will be some more political and economic "earthquakes" which will probably really change the lay of the land...and I think that's going to be our saving grace as painful as it may turn out to be.

HermitLion said...

Well said, Sultan.

If there won't be a candidate that can bring a lot of energy to the table; someone that can excite a vast majority of the public to pick him personally - then Hussein stays by default.

And so far I don't see the Republicans being able to come up with someone that they agree on, let alone outside factions.

elixelx said...

This is an election for a "third party" candidate; one who will an impeccable Conservative Republican; who will be acceptable to the Republican Party although h from outside Washington; whose life and whose mind will bear any scrutiny; who can take on and beat Obama in debate...
Ah, you say, that, except for the last point is SARAH PALIN (I think she can, but you people are afraid of THIS and only this, that she would be humiliated in a debate with Barry!)
NO, say I. Sarah Palin is in the mix, but as Veep...
I hereby announce that the MAN, the farmer/philosopher who will shake up both parties, make mincemeat of Barry, finally restore some semblance of honour and dignity to Washington, and be the next President of the United States--if only he were willing--is.....spread the word, Sultan...
Hanson/Palin 2012

Anonymous said...

Lets face the dirty ugly world. The Oprah endorsements obviously shoots anyone up to popularity. The charisma and ability to read from teleprompters helps. This puppet of nazi billionare has it all covered. Most are blinded anyway. Only a massive,massive dose of coffee is needed for blocks of happily ignorant sheep to get their heads out of their *****. And many doses of courage to the contender. We might have to wait another 4 years of damage if there is even an uncorrupted American system that still exists. The Barry/Michelle/Oprah trio must be outrun. VICTOR sounds much better if only.......

Kevin said...

Colonel Representative Allan West has the gravitas and smarts to win. He could split the black vote, bringing down Obama's total by a few percentage points.

Trump is also good. He has balls, integrity, and money.

prsmith said...

There's only one way to ensure that the socialist attack on our country stops (or at least slows down) - ensure that Obummer DOES NOT RUN in '12. He is ineligible to be the POTUS and is a usurper. Visit this page for more info and pass it on to everybody you know:

Keli Ata said...

Call me crazy I don't care and I know it's impossible but I wish Bibi could run for US prez.

His personality would be ideal for US. He could run circles around Obama.

Wishful thinking I know...

seraz said...

Glenn Beck for president? Maybe not, he is just too funny...

Allan West is great - check his videos on YT. Very straightforward, simple language, lots of common sense, anti-moslem, very pro Israel.

You should see him
a)watch?v=9MZx38i6iYs - confronting CAIR
b)watch?v=QsJJqIztPHc - talk about Islamic threat
c)watch?v=tMp60uHAnfA - support of Israel

I don't know about Bibi as president of US, but I think Allan West would be a great PM for Israel.

Anonymous said...

I feel strongly that Herman Cain should be the Republican choice and he should bring along Allen West. What a one/two punch that would be to kill racism from the outset and at the same time bring in two strong men who have already openly denounced Obama and would run him ragged in a debate.

Cain is so down to earth that the public will like him yet a very wise man and a man of genuine faith. West is a man who won't back down for anyone including the corrupt MSM. The black community would have to make some choices between Obummer and some real men of character and substance.

They would get my vote easily!

Anonymous said...

One minor quibble - McGovern was a serious candidate. Not that he had any chance of actually winning in 1972 (Nixon never even mentioned his name) but he and his supporters took over the Democratic Party and from there it has marched way over to the Left.

silentnomore9 said...

We need to remember the blood of those who sacrificed their lives so that we could be a people who James Madison said would "govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." We need the courage to repent of trying to run this nation without God's covering and turn back to honoring God's commandments: Thou Shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy might, Thou Shalt not Steal, Thou Shalt not commit adultery, Thou Shalt not covet... anything that is thy neighbor's.

The way to stop socialists from stealing from our neighbors and redistributing the filthy lucre to their cronies is to repent and ask God for his help, for his protection and for his strength to endure. It doesn't matter who we elect if God turns us over to his enemies in order to chasten his errant people. So, you need to decide this day whom you will serve. If God be for us, who shall be against us? If God be against us, we are in for a long period of slavery to his enemies.

Arctic Patriot said...

The "safe alternative" has been failing the Dead Elephant party for years.

You can't beat a marxist by offering up a candidate that is just slightly less so.

Obama in '12.

I hate it, but I see no way out of it if we continue current course and velocity.


Gary said...

I cannot believe people above who are putting faith in Allen West, because of his pro Israel and anti Moslem rhetoric. West is hungry for power, and he already has proven he is willing to do what it takes to win, and upping the anti Muslom stance made him realise he can't win which is why he back tracked and said he was talking about "extremists". You can rest assured he will sell out for the sake of power.

A candidate who is hungry for power is not a good candidate for conservatives. He will compromise.

I agree with Knish, we do not as yet have a good candidate. Palin will be a sure route to defeat. Maybe Trump, at least he can't be bought, but then again, he doesn't have much to offer that is different.

We need a miracle. But that is not impossible.

seraz said...

First of all, I am not pushing for Allen West. I just recently stumbled upon his videos on YT, and I like what he says, that's all. I don't know why you call him "hungry for power".
He talks in simple language with a lot of common sense - something I just don't see anymore in any career politician.

You dismiss his pro Israel position as something bad. I consider position towards Israel to be a litmus test for persons goodness, honesty, and ability to find truth. IMHO, he passed this test.

"Moslem rhetoric". Again, this is not rhetoric, this is plain truth. There is no way you can win a war before you correctly identify you enemy. There is no you can win wars in Iraq or Afghanistan by fighting enemy solders while supporting enemy ideology. At least West correctly (in my opinion) points to one of two mortal enemies of USA.

Now, he is not just about Israel and Islam. Here is also about USA:
watch?v=adh8GOl7AJU - on 2nd Amendment
watch?v=Nmn0mFV7xFs - on illegal immigration

Again, I am not saying all of this to promote Allan West. I also like Palin, for example.

Gary said...

Seraz, you misunderstood what I said. I didn't say that pro Israel was a bad thing.

I said that someone hungry for power, will do what it takes to win. Allen West has already backtracked on some of his anti Moslem rhetoric when facing criticism as he knows it will affect his chances of winning or even running for office.
it's easy to make pro Israel and anti Moslem noises when you the opposition, but quite another if you are running for office and need finance and backing.

You are talking of what you imagine a candidate should be and Americans should ideally want. Knish was talking about what is already there and their chances of winning, which he correctly predicts as not good. I myself have been thinking the same.

The question is this, is being pro Israel and anti Moslem a sure fire way for a candidate to win? The answer is no. Even Palin has back tracked on some of her pro Israel rhetoric, and West is hungrier than her for power.

We need someone who is not hungry for power and who doesn't require financing. Only such a candidate can win if he comes in on the pro Israel and anti Moslem rhetoric. Neither Palin, nor West can win without major financial backing.

Donald Trump may be able to, but he has business interests in Moslem countries, which he surely will not want to lose. To my knowledge he supports the two state solution where Israel is concerned. For that matter so does Palin. How does Palin differ from Obama then? She makes pro Israel noises, but it's just a farce, when confronted, she always backtracks, and she has said she supports the two state solution.

Looked at from this point of view, at least Obama is honest in his hatred of Israel then.

Bushwack said...

Allen West is the Anti-Obama. HE alone can save us from a disaster of 4 more Obama years. NOBODY in the field has the respect, the fortitude and the TRUST of West. NOBODY. If we don't have West on the ballot in 2012, we can go ahead and kiss our ass goodbye. It's over America nice knowing ya.

Anonymous said...

Allen West...there is no other good choice

bobfox321 said...

Carefully study Allen West the Congressman from Florida. He could easily be The People's Choice for President in 2012.

He has Integrity, Honesty, Character, Intelligence on all the issues, he has so much as compared to all the others.

Just watch his speech at the CPAC convention.

Here is a growing website to draft him for President in 2012

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