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Time Is On Obama’s Side

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Have you ever seen the Rolling Stones perform live? If you have, you probably can’t forget the sight of Mick Jagger strutting and prancing around the stage with one hand waving free. In one of their many amazing songs he sings, “Ti-ii-ime is on my side, yes it is/Ti-ii-ime is on my side/You’ll come running back /You’ll come running back to me-ee-ee.”

The classics of the sixties are classics because they remain relevant, even in this new millennium, and I offer you “Time Is On My Side” as Barack Obama’s theme song for the next two years.

While it may be true that time heals all wounds in the long run, in the short run time is going to exacerbate the deep, raw divisions within the Republican Party, which are on display for all to see. Christine O’Donnell has gone on Good Morning America to criticize the RNC for refusing to fund her campaign in Delaware. George W. Bush, no less, has said openly that Sarah Palin was the reason McCain lost to Obama in 2008. And, speaking of McCain, yesterday Huffington Post brought the news that he has attacked Rand Paul on earmarks. And then there’s the train wreck that is Michael Steele.

And this is just the beginning. History tells us that any political group that is committed to maintaining the purity of their vision eventually, and often sooner rather than later, falls apart because it keeps turning out that no one is pure enough to satisfy everybody. This is why the Republican presidential primaries are going to turn very ugly very fast. “Squabbling” is too kind a word for what’s going to happen. Attacking is what they know how to do, so they’ll do it

And then there’s this: If Mitch McConnell’s wet dream is to come true, and Obama is to be a one-term president, who’s going to beat him?

Jeb Bush? His entire campaign would have to be a defense of his big brother’s presidency, and over 50% of Americans think that the economic crisis is Dubya’s fault. I can just imagine the grin that would come over Obama’s face at the thought of running against Jeb Bush.

Sarah Palin? Think for a moment about the reality of Sarah Palin’s life, and you’ll realize that she has experienced extraordinary social mobility in the last ten years. Back then she wasn’t rich and famous, and now she is. Moreover, her reality show on Alaska is a hit. She is living the American dream! Why on earth would she want the aggravation and extreme physical exertion of making a serious run at the presidency? She’d have to give up her speaking fees! She said one time, “I’ll run for president if no one else will.” And that sums up her lukewarm attitude. She’s so narcissistic that she’ll enjoy the attention that comes with being a potential candidate for president, and she’ll milk every last dime out of it that she can get, but she won’t take it any further.

Mitt Romney? He looks good on TV, but Americans are not ready to elect a Mormon. No way, no how.

I suspect that the Republican nominee will be either Newt Gingrich or Mike Huckabee. And hardly anyone is wild about either of them. The greatest advantage that they have over Obama is that they’re white, which brings me to the second reason why time is on Obama’s side.

The people in the commentariat talk about voter anger, but they give it the usual, obvious interpretation, namely that people are mad about losing their homes and being unemployed. Well, yes, they are, but those serious, real issues don’t make the Tea Partiers mad. There’s one issue that animates the Tea Partiers and many Republicans in general, and it’s the Issue That Dares Not Speak Its Name. Republicans, so many of whom are white and middle-aged, are mad because they’re losing their privileged place in society, as America becomes more and more diverse every day.

To use an image from the Bible, the Republicans have built their house on sand. They have no chance at the African-American vote when Obama is running, and they have alienated the Hispanic vote with their stand on immigration, which remains a divisive issue within the Republican Party. The big bomb has yet to blow up, but blow up it will. This is going to be the result of the Republican attack on Social Security. I cannot imagine a better way to alienate senior citizens than to threaten Social Security.

So here’s what it comes to: Whatever Republican candidate survives a vicious primary season will have to rally a badly divided party and face an electorate that his party has alienated. Does that sound like a winning campaign strategy to you?

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About jcurtis

  • Baronius

    Why is it that the Issue That Dares Not Speak Its Name won’t shut up?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    If time is on Obama’s side, the gods of fate have surely picked a piss-poor representative. You should be more concerned about uniting this nation about core values than about dividing it. Your appeal to African-American and Hispanic contingent to carry America forward plays to the sentiment of division. I doubt whether the idea of payback, however justified, is the right kind of solution for our times.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Curtis –

    I’ve said much the same several times…but the BC conservatives remain absolutely positive that we’re full of it.

    ‘sokay – time heals all wounds, and wounds all heels too….

  • http://taste4travel.blogspot.com/ Ron Hendricks

    Bravo! Democrats should be grateful for this so-called “shellacking”. It put the bozos in center ring. Get your peanuts and popcorn, sit back and enjoy the circus.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    Who, really, is more concerned about uniting this nation? Yet again, I encourage you to look at the truly multiethnic crowds that support the Dems, as compared to the almost-completely lily-white crowds that support the Republicans and the Tea Party.

    You’re very skilled with rhetoric – that’s my jealousy making itself known – but the above obvious fact makes all arguments to the contrary of none effect.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    He hadn’t done it, Glenn. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. And that’s a fact, unless you’re going to claim that his presidency was doomed.

  • jcurtis

    “What “appeal to African-American and Hispanic contingent”? Obama doesn’t have to appeal to them–the Republicans are doing, and will continue to do, a great job of driving them away.
    Can you say “short-sighted”?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Point granted, but the Republicans can’t help who they are, so no surprise there. But the Democrats… The country is as divided as ever.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    The only real division in this country is between those who are afraid of those who are different…and everyone else.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    That may be so, Glenn, but we created this monstrosity.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    Did we, now? Remember where I grew up, and what kind of people I grew up around. The divisions were always there – but the ones who are afraid of those who are different are now watching the boundaries that defined their world torn away, and they’re finding out that the small pond where their superiority went unquestioned can no longer protect their mass insecurity from being exposed to the rest of the world.

    And it scares the hell out of them.

    I told my sons that I don’t want them to be like a big, strong oak standing strong against the storm. I told them I want them to be like the grass that is able to adapt to any weather; for after a hurricane or even a tornado tears down the strongest oak, the grass is still there.

    Adapt, or be blown down by the winds of change. Evolve, or perish. Consider this with the world views of the conservative and the liberal.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    So how do you account for this state of affairs, Glenn? A vestige from the days of slavery?

  • xiaoyou

    So how do you account for this state of affairs, Glenn? A vestige from the days of slavery?

  • jcurtis

    This state of affairs results from the end of the Cold War. For all the tension and anxiety that the Cold War produced, it also united Americans because we had a common enemy. Nowadays Al Qaeda is scary enough, but it has no recognizable leader and is based in no country. So it’s hard to hate except in an abstract way.
    So we hate each other.

  • Baronius

    This article mostly focuses on people who ran in 2008. It should be interesting to see what Pence, Pawlenty, Thune, Barbour, and who knows who else can do.

    I do agree that things will get better for President Obama as the next two years roll by. The surest sign of that is that the press isn’t saying anything like it. They’re unfailingly six months behind every story. They’re just getting to the idea that health care reform might hurt the President. The day you see a headline about the presidency in crisis, you’ll know that he’s rebuilt his base and refocused.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I’m not so certain, JC, that’s a full answer. The idea of common enemy is good as far as it goes but … First thing that comes to minds, Americans were never ethnically bound like the European nations; the entire nation was set up on individualistic principles, not by any ethnic or blood bond.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    xiaoyou –

    As I said, the divisions were always there – but it’s sorta like rape and child abuse statistics. When we were young we didn’t hear quite so much about these crimes because the victims were so much more likely to keep silent. Now, however, people are less afraid of speaking up against such crimes…and so more is reported.

    So it goes with racism and race-baiting. The conservatives seem to think that when the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, that racism was somehow no longer a factor to be considered in courts, in school, in politics, or in business. We liberals know better.

    As I said, there is only one real division, that being between those who are afraid of anyone who’s very different…and those who are not afraid of such differences. Witness the multicultural makeup of Democratic rallies, and the nearly-monochromatic makeup of the Republican rallies (and their continued tolerance of race-baiting by their most popular pundits). Whatever rhetoric conservatives might use, they cannot erase the actions that we can all see.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    But Glenn, that is a very interesting question to pursue, can’t you see? What do you trace those divisions to?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    there is only one real division, that being between those who are afraid of anyone who’s very different…and those who are not afraid of such differences.

    This is not so much a political division, but a division of psychology of the masses which has leaked over to the political arena. One party has changed to the point where its rank-and-file accepts anyone regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation…and the other has changed to the point where its rank-and-file members are really not comfortable with those who are too different from themselves.

    If you really want to identify a beginning point, I’d point to the passage of the Civil Rights Act, LBJ’s subsequent acknowledgement that the Dems had lost the South for a generation…and the implementation of Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’. It was then that the rank-and-file of one party started down the path to acceptance of all…and the rank-and-file of the other party began accepting only those like themselves.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Let’s say you’re right, Glenn, but in that case, you’d have to argue that those sentiments have been part and parcel of the American psyche, and that the Civil Rights passage only triggered what all along was tacit. So again, do we go back to the slavery era which instilled such attitudes on the part of the whites? Do Europeans, for example, share the same history or are Americans unique in that respect?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    Come one, friend – you know very well that it’s not an American thing, but a HUMAN thing. The fear of what is different is found in every country, every society, every culture…just as there have always been those who aren’t just unafraid of the different, but are even attracted to the different.

    The difference here is that this dichotomy is playing itself out on a grand political scale. Sure, there have been many parties that reject those who are different…but for the life of me I can’t think of a single political party where the majority of the very rank-and-file of that party truly welcomed those of all races/faiths/orientations. The Republicans say they do and many of them really mean it…but their political rallies show the real lack of proof in the pudding, as it were.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    No, I don’t know, Glenn. I thought you were addressing the American situation in particular. And if not, I think you should try to articulate your notion as best you can.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    Read again what I said, and take note of the added brackets:

    The difference [in America] is that this dichotomy is playing itself out on a grand political scale. Sure, there have been many parties that reject those who are different…but for the life of me I can’t think of a single political party [before the modern Democratic party] where the majority of the very rank-and-file of that party truly welcomed those of all races/faiths/orientations. The Republicans say they do and many of them really mean it…but their political rallies show the real lack of proof in the pudding, as it were.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    You’re still not getting to the bottom of it. I was hoping you were going to try trace the difference you’re talking about to some root causes but you speak of different manifestations. That’s not as interesting as the former question.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    The problem here is I really do believe I’ve answered the question…but it’s not the answer that you expect. Just because an answer isn’t the one you expect doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong answer, especially considering the dearth of other explanations offered by anyone else.

    If you think that the root cause stems from anything other than the fear that many people have of those who are different from themselves, I’d like to hear it.

  • Baronius

    Victor Davis Hanson makes an interesting observation in his latest column. He points out that the President may not have to “triangulate” in order to move toward the center. He has the liberals to complain that he isn’t doing enough, and the conservatives who are likely to block his agenda in the House. By not being able to advance any leftward causes, he’ll appear more centrist.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    It was your notion, Glenn, not mine. If you’re satisfied with the idea that fear of the difference is sufficient explanation for you, so be it.

  • Arch Conservative

    By not being able to advance any leftward causes, he’ll appear more centrist.

    Maybe, to those who don’t really pay all that much attention int he first place. To the soundbite crowd.

    But if Obama continues to try to advance his degenerate leftist agenda but is met by GOP opposition, he will appear pathetic and weak to those who are watching.