Election 2008 Prediction: Obama wins by 5 percent; we will all be depressed

In the great tradition of pundits, I will put forth a definite prediction for the 2008 Presidential election here.  If the prediction proves true, I will publish a gloating posting in November 2008.  If the prediction proves false, I will never refer to it again :-)

The Republicans will lose the 2008 election.  People are tired of war.  Churchill was victorious in World War II and nonetheless his party was voted out of power in 1945 because, presumably, Churchill reminded the British of their sufferings against the Germans.  The Administration and the media have characterized what we are doing in Iraq as a war and the press coverage has communicated that we are losing that war.  Thus the Republicans remind Americans not only of war but of losing a war.

That leaves the Democrats.  Listening to Hillary Clinton, people feel that our problems are persistent, serious, and will require vastly higher taxes to address.  Listening to Barack Obama, people feel that our problems are temporary, slight, and can be fixed without raising taxes.  Barack Obama will win the nomination and therefore the election.

How close will the election be?  Both parties have sophisticated methods of making their candidates appeal to voters.  In the absence of spin doctors, Obama would win by a landslide, but the days of landslide victories are probably past.  Obama’s basic message, that the federal government can guarantee everything to everybody without a round of tax increases that would cripple the economy, violates basic laws of economics and common sense.  He will therefore be vulnerable to negative advertising, which will reduce his lead to 5 percentage points over whoever is unfortunate enough to win the Republican nomination.

What will be the net result of this change in government?  In December 2009 we will suffer a massive nationwide psychological depression.  People assume that all of their problems can be blamed on George W. Bush personally.  When the hated King Bush II has been back to Texas for a year and the beloved Obama has been in office for a year, people will look around for a quick status check.  They will still be stuck in horrific traffic.  They will still be paying insane prices for crummy housing in bleak, lonely communities.  Their children will be getting a terrible education at the local public school, perhaps developing to about 15 percent of their potential.  If in a hip urban area, criminals will still be smashing their car windows and taking their GPS.  They will realize that virtually none of the things that are unpleasant about their life have anything to do with the federal government, except for the war in Iraq, which a quick check of the headlines will reveal that we are still losing.

28 Comments

  1. Doug

    December 12, 2007 @ 11:33 pm

    1

    Do you think the longshot Republican candidate Ron Paul has any chance of gaining serious traction?

    He is for exiting Iraq immediately and dramatically cutting federal spending which seems to be the most important things that can actually affect the countries short term well being. Of course he is definitely not suggesting the federal government can take care of everyone’s problems which for some reason people seem to want.

    From an economic standpoint it really seems like federal spending is the only important issue people should be concerned with. Fix that and lots of other problems fix themselves along the way (no Iraq, no 3.5 trillion war cost, no Dept of Homeland Security trying to do everything then less wasteful federal bureaucracy, etc). Of course people don’t generally seem to understand economics.

    What do you think Philip?

  2. Colin Summers

    December 12, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

    2

    Oh. You used a smiley face. I’m so disappointed. It was like the English language suddenly didn’t have the words you need to express yourself, where it had yet to fail you before.

  3. Paul -V-

    December 13, 2007 @ 12:04 am

    3

    You wrote: “If the prediction proves true, I will publish a gloating posting in November 2008. If the prediction proves false, I will never refer to it again.”

    LOL. At least your honest. Thanks for the laugh. Good post.

    While I’d prefer Kucinich, and will be voting for him in the primary – I’m okay with Obama, and wouldn’t get depressed if he won.

    It will be wonderful to have a head of state who doesn’t embarrass the country every time he opens his mouth.

    I want three qualities from the next President:

    * Integrity
    * Intelligence
    * A vision for America based on justice rather than violence and fear.

    Obama meets the minimum requirements.

  4. philg

    December 13, 2007 @ 12:16 am

    4

    Doug: I haven’t looked at Ron Paul in detail, but I don’t think that any Republican has a chance.

    Colin: I am a hip IMer, jacked into the World Wide Cybernet and using emoticons.

    Paul: I was not making any statements about any candidate’s fitness for office, only about how they make people feel.

  5. Bart

    December 13, 2007 @ 12:48 am

    5

    I very much enjoyed this post. Who knows? It could be spot on. If only Romney could win and then use those business skills of his to balance our budget.

  6. Tim

    December 13, 2007 @ 3:16 am

    6

    Obama argues in favor of FICA payroll tax limit increase as opposed to across-the-board income tax hike. This increase will not affect people making less that 90K a year or so (gross income). I am very surprised this point is not a common knowledge by now, must be a cabal by the media hell-bent on making iraq war the main topic of this campaign.

  7. Mark

    December 13, 2007 @ 3:38 am

    7

    Phil,

    OK, nice to see you go out on a limb!
    I myself believe Obama won’t even get the Dems nod come convention time.
    It’ll be spectacular theater watching Hillary court the minority vote and at the same time gingerly telling them why Obama would be a bad choice for president.
    I know this much, a northerner will vote for a southerner for president, but not so much vice versa. Particularly for conservatives. This could spell doom for Rudy.

    Regards,
    Mark

  8. SuperMike

    December 13, 2007 @ 5:11 am

    8

    About Ron Paul: He and all the other libertarians are doomed. A scottish historian once wrote:

    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship.

    I think he had a pretty good point. Half of Paul’s supporters are solely in it for the peace and isolationism, and the other half really like the small government talk. He hasn’t got a chance.

    I predict that the next (democrat) president will focus much of his (or her) efforts on health care. They will probably be successful in introducing some kind of “free” health care for just about everyone. This will have the effect of fundamentally changing the relationship of just about everyone to the federal government. The government won’t have the cash to go to war with anyone, (Except drug runners and medicare fraudsters) and smoking, and obesity will be the controversial issues of the 2010′s.

  9. joei

    December 13, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

    9

    As you astutely point out, much of the war, the economy (for better or worse), housing, traffic, educational woes, obesity, bulemia… have been foisted upon the much despised George Bush.

    If the Republican nominee (be it Romney or Guiliani) can exhibit a plan for a new direction, albeit a Republcian one, in the Iraq war and the economy to include healthcare, then one of those gents will prove victorious.

    I’ll check back in 2009 to see if I’m an idiot savant or just an idiot.

  10. Gregory

    December 13, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

    10

    I truly with all of my heart believe that Obama can and will win the nomination and the presidency. I think this would be a great thing for America. Every little boy and girl, no matter what race, creed or color could truly grow up and say “I will be president one day.” And it could come true. As for how well he would do, I will say this: Given the current crop of candidates I think he stands head and shoulders above the rest. He is the only one who could safely unite the country. As the son of a Black Man and a White Woman, he is in a unique position to speak to America and quiet the racial problems we face. That within itself would be worth it.

  11. Jim Howard

    December 13, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

    11

    I think your perception is serious warped because you live in the bluest part of the bluest state. BDS really does distort perception pretty seriously. You don’t seem to have a really bad case of it, but you’re surrounded by people who are in the near terminal stage of the illness.

    In particular the real facts on the ground show that the surge has worked far better than anyone expected, and that we are in fact winning the war by every objective measure.

    A big government/high taxing/big spending Democrat will have a real contest on his hands. And you’re right about Obama, he can’t promise a chicken in every pot and claim he’ll keep taxes low.

    If Hillary is nominated I think the Republicans could pull off a real landslide. She has all of Bill’s negatives and then some, and none of his advantages.

    If Obama is nominated then I expect a close race with the Republicans winning thanks to the greater maturity, common sense, and experience of their likely nominee.

  12. Darin M.

    December 13, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

    12

    “They will realize that virtually none of the things that are unpleasant about their life have anything to do with the federal government, except for the war in Iraq, which a quick check of the headlines will reveal that we are still losing.”

    Absolutely true.

  13. Jon

    December 13, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

    13

    I’ll take Obama over Clinton anytime, even though he is an empty suit. With Hillary, you get both federal health care and war. Why the war? Because her main foreign policy man in Richard Holbrooke, basically a Democratic version of Donald Rumsfeld, who would like to wrestle Caucasus away from the Russian zone of influence.

  14. patrick giagnocavo

    December 13, 2007 @ 5:42 pm

    14

    Phil, surprised that you did not mention the “O” factor, as in Oprah.

    Emboldened by Oprah’s public support of Obama over Hillary, other media outlets will start asking Hillary far tougher questions than before – she will be seen as someone willing to take any position if it will increase her chance of winning.

    Thus will end the Clinton dynasty; Hillary will not run for re-election as NY Senator in 2012 and will end up rich but out of power after hitting the speech making circuit just like Bill Clinton has done.

  15. philg

    December 13, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

    15

    Tim: I did not realize that Obama wanted to pay for everything with a “FICA payroll tax limit increase”. I guess it makes sense. If we are going to fuel inflation with near-zero interest rates we will want to tax people making $300k/year (since $300k is not enough to buy a studio apartment in a lot of cities and will soon probably not be sufficient to pay for a three-week vacation to Europe). I’ve heard a few of Obama’s speeches and he never seems to note that, by the way, you need a growing economy to generate jobs so that people can pay taxes to support all of these new government programs. Nor does he point out that in a free market an American with an education greatly inferior to that of a Chinese, Korean, or Mexican worker shouldn’t expect to earn as much as a Chinese, Korean, or Mexican worker.

    Mike: Love the “voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury” quote. Thank you.

    Jim: I didn’t say that we were losing the Iraq war, if it even makes sense to call what we are doing over there a war anyway (more like a very expensive attempt to operate a police force amongst a group of angry and badly educated people). I said that reading the newspaper gives everyone the impression that we are losing. We lost 7000 helicopters in Vietnam, about 50 so far in Iraq. Yet you will never see a comparison to Vietnam in news reports on the latest helicopter crash in Iraq, nor, for that matter, will you see a comparison of the number of deaths and other mishaps in Iraq compared to what happens in training were the troops all back in the U.S. (being in Iraq is more dangerous, of course, but statistically not as dramatically more dangerous as you’d think).

  16. verc

    December 13, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

    16

    Ron Paul is the only Republican who can defeat Hillary or Barack.

    Democrats and independents love him and his stances on the issues.

    He would destroy Hillary and defeat Barack by a lesser margin, but win nonetheless.

  17. Mel

    December 14, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

    17

    I think you are right that the Republicans aren’t going to win ’08. After that point, I disagree with you. Huckabee will be the Republican candidate and stands no chance against Hillary; she has such a huge lead no one can beat her. It will be Hillary and possibly Obama as VP in ’08. Then in ’09 the stock market will stabilize, the financial crisis will ease up, Americans will continue buying “stuff” they don’t really need, things they can’t afford and life will be great again.

  18. eric

    December 14, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

    18

    Verc,

    While I have some sympathy for the libertarian approach – I would love to see a balanced budget and truly smaller government – I think Paul’s views WRT abortion and stem cell research make him a hard cell, and that’s if you can get over the negative connotation that “liberatarian” has in many people’s eyes.

    But I think it’s academic, because I see no chance of him getting out of the convention with the nomination. He will remind people too much of Ross Perot, in the “he’s a little crazy” sense.

    Jim,

    To say we are winning in Iraq means defining progress towards an endpoint. The only two I see are either reconciliation amongst Sunni, Shia, and Kurds, or a partition of the country into autonomous regions. I have seen no progress towards either of these. Not to mention the fact that violence has gone down partly because the groups have consolidated their control over their areas.

    To decry democrats as tax/spend is fairly laughable. Do you honestly think that we’re in better shape now (9.1 trillion debt, deficit either $210B or $600B depending on whether you count SS loans or not, $250B in interest) than at the end of Clinton’s terms (5 trillion debt, no meaningful deficit, $200B in interest)

  19. Stu

    December 14, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

    19

    It really doesn’t matter who wins. Until we can find an alternative fuel source we’ll just be stuck in the same game with different players. We’re doomed because we are controlled by a corporate mentality that places the dollar far above human life and human rights. Don’t you love calling customer support and talking to someone in India who you can barely understand and reads from a list of scripted responses.

    I’m still flabbergasted that on 9/11 half of the news reports were speculating how the terrorist attacks would affect Wall Street.

    Life sucks…pass me another beer.

  20. Alex Campbell

    December 14, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

    20

    “I think Paul’s views WRT abortion and stem cell research make him a hard cell”

    Either that was a brilliant typo or a marginal pun. His stance on abortion will be a serious challenge to the cross-party appeal that everyone seems to think he has.

    “But I think it’s academic, because I see no chance of him getting out of the convention with the nomination. He will remind people too much of Ross Perot, in the “he’s a little crazy” sense.”

    He does come across as a little crazy, perhaps because he is so ardently in favour of abolishing the federal government.

    “To decry democrats as tax/spend is fairly laughable. Do you honestly think that we’re in better shape now (9.1 trillion debt, deficit either $210B or $600B depending on whether you count SS loans or not, $250B in interest) than at the end of Clinton’s terms (5 trillion debt, no meaningful deficit, $200B in interest)”

    Indeed. How many Democratic social programs could the USA have paid for with the amount that Bush and his cronies have spent on their Iraq misadventure?

  21. JB

    December 15, 2007 @ 12:07 am

    21

    Obama will definitely win the nomination once Edwards’ supporters finally give up on him and move over to Obama. But Obama is hiding something, and I think the Hillary campaign knows it and is afraid it will backfire to use it; Hillary recently made a point of noting that with her there are no “surprises.” You can bet the Republicans know what it is, and are praying he will win the nomination.

  22. Michael S

    December 16, 2007 @ 2:10 pm

    22

    Edwards wins Iowa and your bet is off.

    What I like about your really depressing post is that it demonstrates that the era of good feeling that Obama is so high on is going to turn out to be a mirage. We need a fighter.

  23. Paul S.

    December 17, 2007 @ 11:29 am

    23

    Obama hired the one and same PR firm as Deval Patrick, Together we can. I think we may well be on our way to electing our second black president (Clinton being the self proclaimed first). Unfortunately Barack will probably turn out to be another Jimmy Carter. Maybe it won’t be such a bad thing. Four years of dismal hopelessness, similar to ’76 thru ’80, will remind us that things really aren’t that bad now, making these the good old days…………

  24. Daniel Taylor

    December 20, 2007 @ 7:39 am

    24

    I can’t see the Democrats winning with Hillary. Too many people just simply do not like her. If the extreme left thinks they have a lock on hatred with Bush, try to put Hillary in office. You will see the right come unglued during the election.

    Plus she has a temper, a legendary temper. Any opponent who can bait her into losing it on the national stage, even a little bit, will sink her. Americans just don’t like that in a president.

    Yet, I can’t see Obama taking the nomination even though I think he would be more of a challenge. It will be interesting to see.

    Honestly, if Giuliani wins the Republican nomination my bets are on him against Hillary or Obama.

  25. Phil

    December 20, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

    25

    Please. I love Kucinich, but he’s not going to win the nomination. If Obama loses to Hillary because of votes going to Kucinich, we’ll all lose. Sorry, the primary is the most important election. The Republicans will lose the final race, but let’s not make protest votes in the Democratic primary. Just say no to Hillary!

  26. Ajay

    December 30, 2007 @ 4:54 am

    26

    Let me make some obvious statements. Ron Paul and Kucinich have no chance of winning their parties’ nominations, let alone becoming president. Barack Obama has no chance of being elected president because he’s black just as Romney has no chance of being elected president because he’s a mormon. The difference is that the democrats are dumb enough to possibly nominate Obama anyway while the republicans will never nominate Romney. Hillary and Giuliani are jokes that will not be nominated. The most electable and likely candidates are Edwards and McCain, who’re both doing well in the most recent polls. The democrats do have an advantage going into this election but that’s not so important as a bad candidate, like Dukakis or Mondale in the past, will still sink them fast.

  27. Luni Joi

    January 8, 2008 @ 11:14 pm

    27

    In the beginning, I didn’t like Hillary; but I always like Bill Clinton.
    I hope Hillary wins. But I know she won’t.

  28. Jiban

    January 12, 2008 @ 2:14 am

    28

    Phil

    I so much want to see Obama to win, he exudes youth, better spirit, entusiasm and a clear change path…He is not a astute politician and he is much nearer to people…

    But, the machinary and experience to ‘act weird, but timingly’ is something which voters would buy in – like in NH. May be the cunningness and skillful manipulation of the campaign will work in Hillary’s favour !

    - We remain to watch and see…

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