Thursday, December 8, 2011

Some Notes As The Presidential Campaign And World Affairs Curiously Intensify

As we approach the next presidential debate and the next European
crisis, each of which seems curiously connected to each other, here are
some brief notes:

Even as the breathless, sensational "old" stories about Newt Gingrich
now pour out like an Alpine avalanche into the various news media,
the former speaker's poll numbers appear to be rising, not falling as
conventional wisdom might have predicted they would. Is it possible
that the public tolerance of private and matrimonial gossip masquerading
as substantial "news" has reached a natural limit? Is this a warning to
the Obama organization that their purported investment in a massive
negative campaign planned against the eventual Republican nominee
(whoever it might be) may not work out as planned? I have long
maintained that in Mr. Gingrich's case particularly, his much-ballyhooed
"baggage" might be mostly ignored by voters if they were worried and
fearful enough about the economy and the security of the nation, and if
they had lost any remaining confidence in the incumbent president. Is
that where we are? Is that why the Gingrich "bubble" seems to be not only
enduring, but growing?

The Corzine scandal is going to be huge. Does any rational human being
believe that a man who reportedly was worth $400 million, and then was
elected a US. senator, and after that, was elected governor of New Jersey,
doesn't know what happened to the enormous amount of money lost and
missing from the corporation he led as C.E.O.?

Those following the European economic crisis have perhaps noted a certain
pattern, that is, the crisis over the currency and debt reaches a critical
moment at which resolution seems imminent, only to be papered over for
a few months, then weeks, and now days until the next "absolutely critical"
moment? How many of these moments does the European Union and the
euro currency have left? Some British observers are lamenting their
apparent exclusion from the decision-making now led by Germany and
France because in a fortuitous moment the British decided not to adopt the
euro, but to keep their pound sterling. The British dilemma is, of course,
that the outcome of the continental problems profoundly affects their own
prospects, especially since the Obama administration has allowed the
"special relationship" between the U.S. and Great Britain to deteriorate
and wither. Isn't is curious that many British observers, including some who
are not Tories, are now openly pining for a "new" Margaret Thatcher, just as
a number of U.S. observers, including some who are not right wingers, are
pining for a "new" Ronald Reagan? I even know one endangered incumbent
who is pining for a "new" Teddy Roosevelt. San Juan Hill, anyone?

Like a skin blister, the situation in the Middle East is approaching some
dramatic release of historic pressure. Are we months away from it, weeks,
days or even hours?

Why do media commentators keep reviving stories of new candidates
entering the presidential election, and prognosticating that there will be one
or more serious third party candidates in the November, 2012 election?
Needless to say, anything is possible, and there are always numerous
minor candidates on any November presidential ballot, but is there really
a significant candidate outside the two major parties? Mayor Bloomberg?
Ralph Nader? Ron Paul? Alec Baldwin? Madonna? Derek Jeter?
Theoretically, some one or two could be "spoilers," (and with a relatively
tiny number of votes cast for him nationally, Mr. Nader did make the
difference in 2000; and Mr. Perot, with many more votes cast for
him, made a difference in 1992), but economic conditions are probably too
troubling for voters likely to dabble this cycle. The election will be a
referendum (if not a plebiscite) on President Obama.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Barry Casselman
All rights reserved.

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