Testing the Primary Waters

Poor Hillary, writes Michael Goodman:

She’d come so close in the primaries that State was the only job that didn’t seem like a demotion. Besides, signing on to his team wasn’t viewed as giving up anything in 2012 because there was no hope of challenging him. And 2016 was too far off to game.

But the demigod turns out to have clay feet, and Clinton is now stuck to him. He’s fallen and she can’t get up.


And the question that gets asked regularly now is, “Will Obama get primaried?” But I think that’s the wrong question. Typically, any President who disillusions his base, ends up with a primary challenger. George H.W. Bush over “read my lips,” Lyndon Johnson over Vietnam, Gerald Ford for detente, and Jimmy Carter for practically everything. And then that President goes on to lose the general election*, because the primary challenger was too weak to defeat him, but strong enough to wound him.

That is, a President who can’t master his own party cannot continue to master the country.

So the question we should ask is: If Obama gets primaried, who will be his challenger? Someone from the center, a moderate? Unlikely. Challengers typically come from the disillusioned base (Eugene McCarthy, Ronald Reagan, Teddy Kennedy) or the wacky extreme (Pat Buchanan). So the idea of Hillary rising from Obama’s ashes to take him on seems pretty silly.

The challenger must be someone from the Super Lefty Left. To defeat the master, the challenger must be able to release Obama’s grip on the African American vote — and no such person exists. Put simply: Obama will almost certainly be the Democratic nominee in 2012.


But is there someone strong enough to inflict that mortal wound? A person also deluded enough (or simply upset enough) to make a run at the master? Not yet, there isn’t, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be.

Stay tuned.

*Except for Johnson, who dropped out after winning New Hampshire by seven points. However, he could read the writing on the wall.


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