Ed Driscoll

'Be Cheerful; 2012 Will Not Be a Rerun of 2008'

Jim Geraghty writes that he’s “manic-depressive about the GOP’s chances in 2012:”

Jonah addresses the conventional wisdom that Obama is likely to win reelection in 2012.

I’m manic-depressive about the GOP’s chances in 2012. One day I can come up with some really strong arguments for why Obama looks more like toast than Elvis Patterson; the next day it feels like the wind is at his back and he just has to avoid disasters.

Since much of my audience yearns for optimism, and shudders when they don’t hear it from conservative commentators, some quick reasons to bet against Obama again:

Click over to Jim’s post for those reasons. And then there’s the one-off nature of how Obama was elected and his governing style since. “Part of the problem here is that Obama’s administration is, in several ways, ‘unprecedented,'” Ace notes. “And if something’s unprecedented, then past precedents fail to serve as reliable guides:”

Has anyone governed as unabashedly left as Obama? No; it’s unprecedented.

Has the US ever posted a staggering trillion and half yearly deficit? No, not even close. It’s unprecedented.

Has the US ever voted for a half-black man as President, partly not out of genuine support but just out of racial good-will, and thus, having not truly voted for Obama based on his capabilities or policies, might have a particularly high level of buyer’s remorse? No, that’s obviously never happened before; it’s unprecedented.

Has any candidate ever promised a supernatural agenda which included, literally, causing the waters of the earth to fall before him? No, no one’s ever done that, at least not since Babylon circa 1500 BC.

Has the US suffered a three year deep recession bordering on a depression since the thirties? No, it’s unprecedented.

Has the government of the US ever acted as a hostile occupying force and imposed a massively unpopular law on the nation despite the strong majority hostility to it? No, it’s unprecedented.

If current models and current conventional wisdom is based upon a series of default assumptions which are actually now untrue, then the old models and old conventional wisdom fails to give us any guide.

The rules haven’t applied to Obama all his life. Fortunately, going forward, the general rules of predicting future events also don’t apply to him.

And then there’s the fiscal box canyon that Democrats are in. At Commentary, John Steele Gordon writes “Dems are in a bind in Tea-Party America” — they either constantly rejigger the numbers on the deficit, and risk being called out as looking unserious. Or they risk ruining America’s AAA bond rating (yeah, that’ll play just swell with middle America — as Gordon writes, “The 30-second TV attack ads almost write themselves”). Or they tax the middle class, something that appeals to the Democrat’s base, but again not the majority of the people who actually will pay the taxes.*

But for the left, there’s a silver lining, as Gordon notes:

One thing, however, seems clear. If the President’s speech last Wednesday is any indication, 2012 is going to be one ugly campaign.

And that’s the one thing that’s proven to work — and thus isn’t unprecedented.

Well, so much for being cheerful…

* “Obama wants to raise taxes. So does Mondale. Obama won’t tell you. Mondale just did.”