We are nearly 3 years out from the 2012 presidential election. Many things will change in that time. Any predictions about that election are pretty useless, but that doesn’t stop me from having fun with it. Here is my prophecy for the upcoming 3 years.
2010 – This year Democrats are in a position to lose seats wether they act on health care or not. Their neglect of the economy in favor of an unpopular health bill could lead to a Republican House, though it’s unlikely, and Dems will probably spend all summer recasting themselves as moderates. Tea Party leaders are trying to figure out whether they are a long-term formal political machine or a temporary movement. The Tea Parties have been primarily a protest outlet of the type that come and go. However, I think they will use their grassroots nature to shift into a local organizing role – assisting in get-out-the-vote efforts and helping to push the debate issues toward reduced taxing, spending and general federal dependence. Will they try a third party? Some will try, but the leading conservative voices will try to discourage it. Their claims of nonpartisanship aside, they will be a boost for Republican ideals (and candidates) in November. Meanwhile, a stagnant economy, profligate spending and the ever-present political games in Washington after two years will have tainted the glow that was once Obama’s stellar reputation.
2011 – For a president with his ambitions and promises the last thing Obama wants is for people to think he’s a lame duck, making him seem uber-partisan and ineffective – both of which work heavily against him. With such significant gains in Congress by the GOP the White House and congressional Democrats will be forced to back off and take a more moderate approach in order to pass a few popular bills. This will result in slightly better approval ratings, but it will also shine light on the Republicans in congress. The big battle in late 2011 will be whether the rising economy is a result of Obama’s policies or Republican influence. Obama will say it took a couple of years, but Republicans will say the Dems have been legislating since 2006 – just before the economy started fumbling. 2011 will end with a confused public, having a revised GOP that has shed its bad name and a Democrat party that seems to have lost its rosy illusions and failed on its promises of less poverty, less war and less corruption in Washington. Speaking of war, many will have recognized the improvements in the Iraqi nation, and Bush’s efforts will be viewed in a much different light than they were in 2008. Both parties will be on a fair footing – just in time for the presidential race.
2012 – The big players: Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich and possibly Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal. Huckabee and Palin will be active, but few people take them seriously as presidential material. Much of the election will hinge on the VPs. A likable and informed Republican Vice Presidential candidate up against Biden is going to win the GOP major points. I think Romney has potential to win it, but he gives a lot of people the heebeegeebees. Daniels has a much more comfortable feel, and a solid record. Gingrich will be counted out due to his political baggage, though he might do okay as a VP.
I have a feeling that if the GOP puts up a candidate who can articulate conservative principles and has a good record, along with a strong Vice Presidential nominee, there’s a good chance Obama will be a one-termer.
That’s about as far as I’ll go at this point.