Democrats’ best choice for 2012?

Almost four years ago a very powerful political commercial came into our homes:

It shows people asleep in bed. It is dark. The phone rings.

“It is 3:00 am, who do you want answering the emergency?”

It was a commercial comparing Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  The concept was to outline who really had the experience to handle emergencies that would pop up in the middle of the night.

Given the almost three years of watching Pres Obama, my mind keeps going back to that commercial.  He has been called the Teleprompter in Chief, the President’s Press Adviser, Jimm Carter junior,  etc.  Rarely has anyone commended him on his leadership abilities.  In fact, most Americans rate him low. During both the Obamacare and Debt ceiling issues (that dragged on forever), people in Washington DC and around the country wondered where he was, or why he never submitted a useable plan.

Where do you think our country would be right now had we elected Hillary Clinton instead?  As both Senator and Secretary of State, I think she’s handled herself well (and I’m not a Democrat).  Perhaps the Democrats would be smart to give themselves another chance at putting her into the top spot.

What do you think?

 

<a href=”http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-politics/8692054/Democrats-doubt-Barack-Obamas-reelection-chances.html”> Dems doubt Obama’s reelection chances</a>

16 thoughts on “Democrats’ best choice for 2012?

  1. A goose is a goose is a goose. They have the same plan, different tactics. She would only be better looking like the leader, and that isn’t any better.

  2. 1. Has any party successfully run a new nominee against its own presidential incumbent? My guess is no, and here again I’d guess that nominating anyone other than Obama would spell certain defeat in the general election. Obama still has a chance to win.

    2. Hillary would have been better. She’s decisive. The markets would have responded better to her degree of certainty. I’m not convinced she would have made much of a difference in other ways (Iraq, Libya, stimulus, health care, etc.).

    3. Geoff is right: Huntsman would make a fine president. But depending on one’s reasons for being Democrat, Ron Paul or Gary Johnson would be even better choices. Far better.

  3. “During both the Obamacare and Debt ceiling issues (that dragged on forever), people in Washington DC and around the country wondered where he was, or why he never submitted a useable plan.”

    How can you call it Obamacare and then say he never submitted a useable plan?

    I think Hilary would do about the same, but let’s not point to her record as Secretary of State. Those that hold that office almost always come across looking great, talking to important foreign leaders without having to really get their hands dirty.

  4. I call it Obamacare, because he turned over the decision making over to Nancy Pelosi, and still owned it in the end.

    Ron Paul and Gary Johnson would not make good Democratic presidents, because the current concept of the Democratic party is not social libertarianism, but to spend tons of money on social issues. There’s a huge difference between the two.

    While Jon Huntsman is rather liberal socially,I don’t think the far left would accept anyone like him, because he still calls himself a Republican.

    I think Hillary learned hard lessons when she lived in the White House. Remember her attempts at health care? She lost a lot of karma from that. And her husband showed her how to work with Republicans in creating smaller government and balancing budgets. Also, she was a smart senator, actually served her entire first term, etc. This is not to say I like her personally, or would vote for her, I wouldn’t. But I know many Democrats would.

    I think she would trounce Pres Obama, and would actually be a tougher challenger for a Republican challenger.

  5. Is your question about Democrats, the Democratic Party, or the far left? I answered specifically about Democrats (in fact, a particular group of Democrats), which you rejected based on the other two categories.

    “I think she would trounce Pres Obama, and would actually be a tougher challenger for a Republican challenger.”

    I just don’t see how she convinces all the Democrats to vote for her over their incumbent–a very large majority of Democrats still support him. I suppose that IF she could convince both Democrats and Moderates/Independents that “Obama’s policies and ideas and intentions were good but his implementation was poor” and that she would excel at implementation, then she has a shot. I’m just not convinced that she—or anyone—can do that. (But depending on who the GOP nominates, I pray that she can!)

  6. She won’t run against Obama in 2012, and I’m perfectly happy with my vote every time I think of the alternative.

  7. Also, the problem you run into for Democrats (Obama isn’t effect, Obama brought out the crazies that won’t compromise, etc) are the same problems HRC would run in to, just think back to the 90s.

  8. I think Hillary would have made a much better President that Obama has proven to be. She has much more experience as a Senator and he time in the Whitehouse would have been valuable. She has sharper elbows and would have shown more leadership. Thad being said, I am not sure I would have voter for her.

  9. I think all this bickering about Obama’s leadership is a bit unfair. It was unfair when everyone was doing it to Bush, and it’s unfair now.

    Obama successfully accomplished numerous landmark goals during his first term in office. Whether or not you like Obamacare, you have to admit it was a political miracle that it actually got passed. Obama knew that the first two years were the only years he would be able to do anything he wanted, because after the midterms, he would lose control of Congress. So he decided to spend all his political capital in the first two years, and then compromise in the second two.

    Now Obama is paying the price for the proactive liberal agenda of his first two years. But this is a price he knew he would have to pay, part of a broad strategy. As much as he would like to be able to raise taxes, or increase government investment, he can’t, and probably never will be able to again.

    But Obama is not an ideologue. He is a pragmatist. He allowed all the Bush tax cuts to become permanent. He continued almost all Bush era foreign policy. He got the debt ceiling raised entirely on spending cuts without any revenue increases.

    You have to give him credit for actually getting the debt ceiling raised. An ideological democrat would not have been able to work with the Tea Party to get anything accomplished. As pathetic as the compromise turned out to be, it nevertheless was something. Much better compromises were being negotiated before the Tea Party pulled Boener out of negotiations. Obama is not to blame for that. He did all he could, and went above and beyond to try and satisfy all parties in power and find a workable solution.

    Presidents are not magicians. They actually have very little tangible power over the economy and the political environment. These are broad, global and political forces beyond any one person’s control. What defines a good president is the ability to navigate within the storm. How bad the storm actually is, is not in the president’s control. All politicians pretend they have Messianic powers over the economic and political weather. But this is just a myth, and we should be smart enough to know this.

    The American people give Obama low marks because they are upset about all sorts of factors out of Obama’s control. Would Palin have done better? Would joblessness be down to 6% if we had elected Romney instead of Obama? Of course not.

    Presidents have their hands tied in so many ways. Why did Bush and Obama support the bailout? Because 80% of all the top economists strongly supported it. And when you have a crisis on your hands, you can’t afford to be an ideolouge. Bachmann, Romney, Palin, all of these people would have supported the bailout if they had been in Bush’s position. That was the ONLY choice for someone responsible to try to navigate a great ship through a terrible storm. During the storm, the captain throws out all his ideologies, and just tries to do anything he can save the ship, and that means listening to experts, if 80% of them strongly support a certain course of action.

    Obama is highly intelligent. He’s liberal, but willing to compromise. He’s got a diplomatic character, which endears him to me, since I personally value that so highly. What he says makes more sense to me, than what I hear coming from Romney, Palin, and Bachmann. So I trust him more.

    But that’s all I can do. I’m not omniscient enough to truly judge how effective Obama is. If anyone has ever asked me if I “approve” of the job a president is doing, I always answer “yes.” I’m sure he’s doing his best. He’s smart, I elected him. I’ll trust him to do is job without thinking I know better.

  10. Nate, you will definitely not like this article:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903918104576502093021646166.html?mod=WSJ_article_MoreIn_Opinion

    As for myself, I see Obama as a standard American liberal. John Edwards would have been worse, Hilary Clinton slightly better. McCain would have been worse because we would have invaded Syria and Iran by now if he had been elected. Mitt Romney would have been slightly better on the economy, but he favors cap and trade and would have also probably invaded Syria and Iran by now. None of these options really provides a choice that involves real hope and change, ie a truly smaller government, a humble foreign policy and respect for civil liberties. So, it is difficult for me to get excited about disliking individual personalities. Obama is bad, but he is just as bad as the alternatives. It is the mindset that accepts big government and foreign wars that we need to fight against, and Obama is just one small player in that fight.

  11. You were right about the article, Geoff, but I think you are also right about Obama and his alternatives. In the end, the differences between them are not that great, and none of them can truly provide real dramatic change as advertised. That is all smoke and mirrors.

    I wouldn’t mind trying out your Ron Paul for a change, but only if he was a king, and could actually do what he says should be done. Because if he were a mere president, he would have no chance of accomplishing a thing with his unbending idealism in a nation of diverse ideals.

  12. Nate: a good amount of what Ron Paul would hope to achieve he could do through simple veto—and do we really think the two parties would be able to agree enough to override him? I don’t.

    Also, he wants to pull US troops from around the world, bring them home, and save a gazillion dollars in return. Ain’t nothin’ Congress could do to stop that.

    Thirdly, he keeps talking about legalizing/decriminalizing drugs. Again, the president has a lot of say in how we fight (or don’t fight) the War on Drugs, including (I think) simply not prosecuting some offenses.

    In short, I think Paul could do a lot of what he proposes, just so long as he doesn’t make Congress so mad that they impeach him!

  13. “I think all this bickering about Obama’s leadership is a bit unfair. It was unfair when everyone was doing it to Bush, and it’s unfair now.”

    Amen.

  14. BrianJ and Nate, to follow up on this briefly. I spend a huge amount of time, up to 3-4 hours a day, listening to podcasts. So I have listened to literally hundreds of Ron Paul speeches and read his book. I am not one of those wild-eyed Ron Paul crazies that you see. I am a pretty conservative businessman type guy. But the point is this: what we are doing today, going back and forth between Dems and Repubs who are basically the same, is not working. We can keep on doing this (the definition of insanity) or we can try something new.

    Ron Paul says very clearly what he could and could not do as president. He would immediately end the wars and bring our troops home and close unnecessary bases overseas. I say amen. He would repeal the Patriot Act. I say amen. He would close Guantanamo. I say amen. He would veto spending bills. I say amen. He would work to decrease the power of the federal government and allow states to pass their own laws on drugs, on health care, on “sanctuary cities,” etc. A big amen.

    But it is true he also has limited power. He says repeatedly: “a president is not a dictator.” So he would be limited in the changes he could make. But I do think we would get some real change with an RP presidency.

  15. I admire Ron Paul, and I’m sure his ideas are great. But I don’t understand the appeal of supporting lost causes. His power exists solely as an obstructionist, the veto power, as BrianJ mentioned.

    To dismantle and rebuild the US tax structure would require an unprecedented amount of political capital, which you can build up either through a military coup, or through patient, clever, corrupt, and brilliantly devised political alliances. There is no other way.

    Ron Paul is too decent and pure a man to do either, so he’ll never be able to implement his grand and beautiful ideas. He is a good man, a bad politician.

    And he is also too rational to engage the irrational passions of the American people. He’s too honest. People don’t vote based on rational argument, they vote based on irrational emotion. So he doesn’t have a chance.

    Romney is your best choice for smaller government if that’s what you want.

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