I haven’t commented much on the 2012 presidential race, and there’s plenty of reasons why. For one, I find the outcome to be obvious. Barring a truly monumental wildcard event of some kind, Obama will defeat Romney in 2012. That much is obvious to anyone who has been paying attention, especially to the money.
They say that a story isn’t ruined just because you know the ending. I tend to agree, but in this case… the plot is just too thick with bullshit for me to really want to wade in. Yet here I am, offering a very brief critique. And it will be brief, because simple matters require very little explanation.
Romney has his party’s nomination in the bag, and Perry has been playing his part nicely since entering the race. Romney was an unopposed front-runner with absolutely zero serious competition, and that doesn’t play well in the run-up to a nomination. For one thing, it makes people disinterested in the race, but more importantly, it puts the bullseye squarely on Romney, and makes the race easier for Obama and the Democrats.
Perry is the perfect pseudo-darkhorse candidate. He attracts criticism among liberals like flies to shit. He’s an attention magnet, and he’s just what Romney needs to remain viable. I don’t imagine Perry sees it this way, but he is running cover for Romney’s presidential run.
And not a minute too soon. Bachman has run out of juice, Palin is about as fresh as a used condom, and Ron Paul may as well not even exist, as far as the Republican party is concerned. Romney was at risk of running unopposed, a truly dangerous proposition for a guy most Republicans don’t even like. I can’t imagine the right being energized by an uncontested Romney campaign.
While I find the eventual outcome to be a foregone conclusion, the best hope Republicans have of beating Obama is for someone who has not even announced yet to run. The problem is, the odds of a late entry being able to overcome the sizeable campaign funds of the Romney campaign are so remote, I am fairly certain it won’t happen. And yet, given what we know now, it’s the only chance Republicans have.
In poll after poll, Obama beats every Republican candidate… except no candidate. Giuliani edged out Obama in the state of New York, but as far as I know, this is the closest any real person has come to being more popular than Obama. The only time Obama loses to a Republican is when Americans are asked just that: between Obama and a Republican, who would you vote for? The “generic Republican” splits with Obama, winning some, losing others.
Part of the problem is that Republicans did not groom a 2012 candidate. Romney is the heir apparent, but not enough was done by Republicans in the last 3 years to make him more palatable among conservatives. I think a real opportunity was missed by Fox News when they let Glenn Beck (also Mormon) go off the rails. If they had reined him in just a bit and kept him sane-sounding, he could have been the in for Romney.
Everyone knows that Romney is a Mormon, and it may come down to religion in the next election. I find this particularly amusing, because drumming up the support of Evangelicals is what the right has been doing religiously the last three decades. Now, that strategy might bite them in the ass. If Glenn Beck had been able to win the affection of Evangelicals (and I think he still holds a special place in many of their cold, black hearts), Beck’s Mormon faith might have been something Evangelicals could point to and say, “Those Mormons are like us.”
Now, Romney’s faith is a prime target for Obama. What people hear will be largely shaped by the propaganda machines on both sides, and make no mistake about it: you won’t be able to avoid it. Billions may be spent on the next presidential campaign, much of it coming from Super PACs that are unaffiliated with the candidates, and therefore hold no accountability in regards to the content of their message.
It’s going to get ugly, and I have no doubt both sides will succeed in making us hate the candidates more than we already do. The question is, are you going to play along and pretend you have to vote for Obama or Romney?