The 2012 campaign

Got an email from my sister Jan the other day. She’s a Navy veteran who knew McCain, along with other notables. She’s also quite astute about politics, and follows it more closely than I do. I asked her if it’s cool to pass the email along, and she said yes, so here goes…

After seeing the visuals of yesterday’s (Thursday’s) White House meeting, I came to a conclusion: The Republicans need McCain to lose. Not in a landslide, just narrowly; but they really want and need him to lose.

Why? Well, first of all, because they don’t like him, or Palin. And they don’t think he represents their interests or true conservatism. And they know he is unpredictable and uncontrollable. And old and aging fast in the stress of campaigning, which does not bode well for life in the oval office. So if he dies, there would be Palin, which does not bear thinking about for them: she would set the case for leadership by women and neocons both back a generation and make the GOP the laughing stock of the world.

But the best reason to want McCain to lose is because they know that whoever wins this election will have four years of no-win:

  • even if the bailout works, the economy will be a mess and hard times will hit everyone (but economic advisors and pundits)
  • recovery of Katrina is still stagnant and the real extent of the Texas coast’s devastation is just coming to light; the new President will have to do the recovery right this time, which will cost billions
  • at the best in Iraq all four years will be an expensive extraction quagmire
  • our military will be struggling with recovering from this war’s damage for at least 4 years, if not the next decade
  • Afghanistan is going to be a very hard war and Pakistan is on the brink of radicalism
  • Iran will be very eager to test the next president;
  • Kim will die and North Korea is a great, and dangerous, unknown that will cost us manpower and money to either keep isolated or help restorePutin will take the opportunity of our distractions to expand Russia’s power and influence and control
  • Labor’s time is up in the UK
  • Chavez will challenge the new president for supremacy in Latin America;
  • Global warming will become more and more visible and action more urgent and because of the delays of the last 8 years, action will be more expensive
  • Social security and medicare will be taxed beyond capabilities because bulk of the baby boomers who will become eligible
  • taxes will have to go up, for some folks anyway
  • because there will be no funds for the new President’s promises or programs, education, health care and infrastructure will not be addressed as aggressively as they should and the people will feel betrayed

So whoever is elected this time will, at best and with superb leadership, management and luck, avoid a real disaster and might just be able to start us on the road to recovery. But it will be a time of fingers in the dike, not developing a real flood control system, not visibly anyway.

So in 2012 an opposition candidate will be able to ride in on the white horse of told-you-so and have a good chance of winning.

And right now there are at least two generations of Republicans in congress, governors mansions and the private sector, just salivating at the thought of 2012. And very willing, almost eager, maybe even praying, for McCain to give them that chance.

I think she might be right. On the phone she just told me to notice that Rove is quieting down. Check the trend chart here.



  1. MiGrant’s avatar

    She may be right about hard times ahead, but I don’t think that necessarily translates to an unpopular presidency. After all, Roosevelt was re-elected twice during the Great Depression.

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Good point. FWIW, my father only voted for a Democrat once: Roosevelt, second term.

  3. Sundarlal Chuddha’s avatar

    There’s also the Hillary Factor

  4. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    I said it first (maybe):

    MiGrant: yeah, but that’s because people didn’t yet know that he turned an ordinary depression into the Great Depression.

  5. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    I was with her until the global warming thing. There is no good evidence that man has caused global warming, and even less evidence that we can do anything about it.

  6. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    And while I’m spamming your comments, there’s this one from 7/08:

  7. Andrew Leyden’s avatar

    Interesting. I think if what she predicted came to pass, Obama would have to fight off Hillary in the primaries.

  8. Julian Bond’s avatar

    You know how Palin was picked? They went round all the possibilities looking for someone who didn’t mind losing. And she was the last one on the list.

  9. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Russ, I’m somewhat with you on global warming.

    North America’s face from the nose* upward has only been revealed by retreating ice in the last dozen or two thousand years. Humans have been in a position to contribute to that only in the last two hundred years or less.

    On the other hand, we’ve done our damn best, and it’s hard to believe we’ve had zero effect.

    As for what we can do to stop or reverse global warming, it only makes sense to stop contributing to it, as best we can. We should also have faith, regardless, that sometime in the next few dozen thousand years the trend will reverse, the Great Glacier will return, and your grave and mine will be plowed into Dixie.

    *Lake Michigan

  10. Doc Searls’s avatar


    I’ve been one of the last people to call Palin stupid. Or the McCain people, either. But they threw a Hail Mary with this one, and so far it’s no touchdown.

    Still, one has to question McCain’s judgement in picking her, and hers for accepting the invite. What she should have said was “Thanks, but I’m not ready. I’ve only been on the job in Alaska for a couple years and I’m in no position to take over as president of the whole country. I have zero experience at the national and international levels, and that’s going to show under hard media scrutiny. Call me in four years and let’s see where we’re at then.”

    Too bad Janet Napolitano isn’t a Republican. Shes smart, funny and has a pile of Good Sense. if McCain had picked her instead, they’d have kicked ass. Come to think of it, there must have been some Republican out there that could have done the job for McCain. Romney must be looking awful good by now.

  11. Jack Hughes’s avatar

    Can somebody fill me in why Labour time in office coming to an end will be a problem for the next president of the USA. Seems pretty much irrelevant who is in power in the UK…

  12. David Taht’s avatar

    I think Jan is dead on (and best regards to her) in her analysis.

    I would have liked it if McCain hadn’t shown up at the last debate and the other presidential candidates did.

    There should be some great comedy tonight…

  13. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    Doc, my problem is that it is extremely expensive to “stop contributing to it, as best we can.” Global warming WILL have negative effects on some people (maybe not those of us who live in the retreating paths of the glaciers), and if we really (REALLY) care about global warming, we should save our money in preparation to help those who will suffer.

    If we want to help, we should HELP, and not just make nicey-nice among environmentalists whose faith that reducing CO2 will reduce warming is unshakable by any facts. If you read some of the skeptics, they say “yes, there is warming, yes CO2 increases warming, but NO, all the catastrophe scenarios require a feedback which has never been seen in the past.”

  14. Chip’s avatar


    All of this assumes that there will be a Republican Party

    See David Brooks

    “House Republicans led the way and will get most of the blame. It has been interesting to watch them on their single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party. Not long ago, they led an anti-immigration crusade that drove away Hispanic support. Then, too, they listened to the loudest and angriest voices in their party, oblivious to the complicated anxieties that lurk in most American minds.

    Now they have once again confused talk radio with reality”

  15. Cousin Paul’s avatar

    good analysis but overlooks the Supreme Court — but then the Republicans only hide behind and use the “family values” issues anyway to divert attention and change the subject (see what Palin will do in the debate–prediction here) so Jan’s analysis may still be valid.

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