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.