Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Those early primaries

The way things are shaping up we'll know who the two main candidates for president are by the middle of February. While favorites have often been clear at that point, they have definitely not been certain. What does this mean?

First it will mean that the debates of Democratic and Republican hopefuls is over. That's really good news. They were entertaining at first, but when a hair spray loving fly is the biggest news in one of these sessions, it's gone too far. It also presumably means that debates between the nominees can be avoided until the candidates are officially nominated by their conventions. Second, it should mean that the candidates will not, as they say, jump from the frying pan into the fire. They will have the time, if they are so inclined, to more fully develop coherent policy positions and then have the time to try to rally their party around these policies, which get renamed platforms at the conventions. Third, however, and this is the real point of this comment, it will give a potential third party candidate the time to assess the situation and if it looks right, the chance for a meaningful challenge. Sounds implausible but this is new ground.

Mid February until election day in early November is almost ten months. So much can happen in that amount of time. Could one of the main candidates have a meltdown of some sort and put their party in disarray at their convention. Could polls clearly show that a candidate is simply out of it and drawing limited support. Could the economy slowly but surely slide into recession, with the effects growing month by month, leaving Republican candidates with little choice but to defend their party's policies. That scenerio could be like Jimmy Carter in 1980, when month after month, even week after week, he and his band of incompetents(remember Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell) would regularly announce imminent success in negotiations or contemplated actions to free the hostages in Iran. Carter's credibility eroded steadily such that as a sitting president he lost to the actor Ronald Reagan. Could the Republican candidate follow this kind of downward spiral of communications to a hopeless situation. Maybe so.

Michael Bloomberg has the resources to take advantage of the right situation. He has a political record that is solidly independent and by most accounts successful, without any taint of corruption or overt pandering to special interests. He has a business record of accomplishment that is way beyond any candidate, including Romney, and for the most part it appears that in making his fortune he could have been operating under Google's mantra of "first do no evil". As for his "liberal" or more correctly libertarian views on social issues, if his main opponent is Clinton or Obama this red state negative is neutralized. This conjecture may be far fetched, but if not it could make for the most interesting presidential race since Kennedy/Nixon.

The likely result would be Bloomberg as the Bull Moose in 1912, with the Republican candidate playing Ross Perot's 1992 role. In other words, Democrats win unless their candidate totally collapses, but in any event a Bloomberg candidacy would likely break the mold on discussions of many important issues.


Anonymous kf said...

I could see that happening if Fred Law and Order gets the GOP nod. A dodgy lightweight with no trace of a record during his time in the Senate, he could become irrelevent in a three way campaign, except as a protest vote for the so-called "Christian" right, those resentful xenophobes that Bush has pandered to for eight years. Bring it on.

1:50 PM  

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