Could it actually happen?

Today’s big news is that Romney lost three caucuses last night.  Anyone remember who won them in ’08? Of course not. No delegates were even in play last night; in a few months it won’t matter a bit.

Our elections – as they often are – could be decided by events over which neither the President, nor any candidate has control (most of which even the United States can’t control); we can only mitigate them. So who the Republicans ultimately nominate and who wins the November election may depend on:

  • the state of the ‘Arab spring’ by July
  • the state of the European economy this summer, and thus
  • the state of the US economy
  • Afghanistan and, yes, Iraq where conflicts are still largely religious and more violence is inevitable
  • the price of oil

Any or all of these things will factor in our elections (as will the conservative success in spinning them as Obama failures). In normal times, even with these  problems, I think Romney would still be the likely candidate. (And I still think Obama would win the election.)

But what if times aren’t normal? What if one of those things explode? What if that happens before the Republican convention . . . if that happens, bombast could take the day. Fear could triumph.

Much as we allowed ourselves, in our fear, to be lied into Iraq discarding both the truth and history, could the GOP do the same and reject Romney?

If that did happen, frightened delegates could be seduced by a radical voice articulating their fears.  We all know who that would mean.

14 responses to “Could it actually happen?

  1. Good points – let’s just hope folks rally around Obama if panic should arise at some point. And the GOP field is what you get when superrich monomaniacs have their way in politics. A bunch of unelectables.

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  2. Nobody has to spin it to make any negative consequences of the “Arab Spring” Obama’s fault. He failed to either back the at least quasi pro-Western governments that were overthrown or to credibly back the insurgents and therefor earn enough of their trust to help ensure that anti-Western, Islamist forces weren’t placed in power.

    Nor, since he’s the C-in-C and has been certainly overtly overruling the military experts, does anybody have to spin it to make any new failures in Afghanistan and Iraq his fault.

    As for lies leading to us Iraq – Saying that lies led us there is the only lie. We had evidence to support the WMD and terrorist links that were as credible as those we had about 9/11. Look what happened when we ignored those…

    Actually, we had better evidence for Saddam’s WMD program since it was proven he had the program and had used the results of it on both the Iranians and the Kurds. He just moved it to Syria but failed to admit to that.

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    • jonolan, sometimmes we find some common ground. Not this time.

      First, the Arab Spring is a movement as signifigant as the Rennaisance. You overstate our power to effect such a thing. We can have some impact but only a small one. We supported dictators for generations and it’s just not going to work anymore. The anger about Iraq (they call it ‘the American War’) has made it more difficult. That said, if we wanted to ‘let go’, of course we could have our way with military power. But that would be World War with horrific outcomes for all parties and, as far as I’m concerned, the end of the ‘American experiment.’

      Plus, the Arab Spring is ethnically, religiously and natioally something that’s been percolating for decades among a billion (mostly) Muslims. It has its own power and although we can delay it, we can’t stop it. The entire process of throwing off dictators may take a decade or even more. We fought ten years after we threw off our monarchs.

      Iraq? Sorry, the only way you can deny the ‘lie’ is by beleiving every bit of propaganda that took us there. Abundant evidence disproved it in real time. There were outcries all over the world. Did you know a million people demonstrated in one day in western Europe before the war began? There was pretty much NO presss coverage because no matter what you may beleive, the media in America was aboard. It was all ‘go USA!’. It was a disgrace.

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  3. The “Arab Spring” movement, before be mislabeled by the LSM and co-opted by the Islamists was a call for jobs, not “democracy.” If you really want to boil it down, it was about sexual opportunities since it’s dangerous to engage in extra- or premarital sex in those countries and too few young men could afford to court – They do that! I’ll give them that – or marry.

    Obama could have picked a side. We could have quelled the movement for now or we could have actually backed it. Instead Obama chose to waffle and do nothing which still led to our strongmen – let’s be honest about it – being ousted and no lessening in the hostilities of the insurgents towards us.

    As for Iraq – All one has to do is read the unclassified portions of the reports, including the minority report of the witch hunt that took place: http://blog.jonolan.net/politics/president-bush-lied/ (ignore my editorial and go to the sources)

    Alternatively, you could listen to me since I had boots – my own – on the ground in region at the time of Gulf I and was involved in the region throughout the early half of Gulf II.

    The data was wrong and Bush showed cowardice born of “never again on my watch” based on Administrations’ previous failures to believe reports about Al-Qaeda’s plans for 9/11 but they didn’t lie.

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    • jonolan – I never said the Arab Spring was about democracy – at least not as the West understands it. Even they don’t know what they’ll end up with; for many countries (that is, the ones that are able to hold together as actual countries) it’ll probably be a hybrid of free elections and strong authoritarian leadership. Plus some theocracy.

      Bush may have beleived what he acted upon. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a lie carefully fed to him. Either way, care was not taken and as you well know, we burst in there full of ignorance and so confident in the rightness of our mission, so sure we’d be embraced, that we didn’t even bother to pllan for what happened after Shock and Awe. As careless as it gets. So whatever our President beleived, he blew it. Big time. And Brenner made it all worse. To this day, there is less electricity in Baghdad than there was before the war. And we let the Shia move in from the first elections – and let Malaki stay, a guy who was already in bed with Tehran. Again, Bush et al blew it. Go ahead and blame Obama if you want. If he failed, he failed ot clean up the colassal mess they made. But nevver forget they were the ones who made it.
      .
      When we started banging the war drums in ’02 , I started to read and kept reading: “Ghost Wars (as a set up)’ and contemporaneous books like “Barbarians at the Gate”, “Imperial Life in the Emerald City”, Bob Woodward’s 4-volumne history, “Circle in the Sand”, and so many others. Endless stories in The Economist, Foreign Policy Magazine and dozens of others . . . the information was everywhere. That is, the informatio that ended up being correct.

      Obama has made mistakes – the biggest being trying to emulatae the Iraq ‘surge’ in Aghanistan. I’m glad his Administratio figured that out quickly and changed course. No one wins in Afghanistan.

      Syria? Iran? ‘Taking sides’ acheives absolutely nothing – especially when there are many, many sides. What we ARE doing with Iran is very powerful, the sanctions and the move on thler banks are having a devastating effect.

      I give Obama high marks for foreign policy overall. I like a realist. I like a pragmatist and by any measure, he is that.

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    • I’ll go read your links now.

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    • I read your post and as I see it, your commentary is just a denial of the committee’s conclusios. I guess I could write a denial of your commentary, and you could . . . we need to do better than this.

      Plenty of Democrats supported Iraq. And though the big media outlets – TV and print – by and large became critical after the Civil war there broke out, at the time they were hugely supportive. Dick Cheney, remember, claimed that reporting in the NY Times reinforced his casee for war and said there were WMD. Reporting by Judith Miller that is, who got her info from Scotter Libby, who was Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. Reporting that turned out to be utterly false.

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  4. Scary …..
    Ain’t it?

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  5. Moe, something bothers me deeply about the American election cycle in general, and it is not just how sudden events can throw a wrench in the whole system.

    It is the lack of any real platform or policies. There is only talk of how well the aspirants have dealt with the past, and not enough of what initiatives they will take to meet the challenges of the present.

    That people focus on and remember the past is important – it builds perspective, and it is important to be able to gauge which contender has the best leadership record. But I worry that the past is all that is focused on: the presidential aspirants (including the incumbant) very rarely mention what policies they will champion or what initiatives they will take in the future to face future challenges. Instead, they focus on their past records and spend the rest of their time and energy attacking the incumbant and mythologizing about how it is they whom are best in line with “American values”.

    American presidential elections seem so phony – so much rhetoric, so much braggadocio, so little substance.

    Even if one of the powder kegs that you have enumerated were to blow and alter the playing field, so to speak, neither Obama nor the Republican candidates would likely detail exactly what plans they have to navigate America through those problems. More likely than not, Obama, as the sitting President, will try to navigate as he thinks best and the Republicans would simply attack every step he makes instead of proposing a plan to address the situation better.

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    • [American presidential elections seem so phony – so much rhetoric, so much braggadocio, so little substance.]

      Not just ‘seem’ D.I.D. More like they ‘are’. I think you read the situtaito correctly. They really aren’t even elections anymore – it’s just survival of the fittest or richest. It plays out almost entirley on TV where pundits and news people both concentrate on the race itself and the blunder of the day. They mostly all speak in ‘bumper sticker’, except perhpas for Ron Paull, which is why I think he’s popular with young people – I dont think they embrace his policy position except perhaps re foreign entanglements, but they find candor reffreshing. But ultimately it’s all bread and circuses, entertainment for the masses, which those who hold power or aspire to hold power have narrow interests and they are quite similar in both parties.

      It’s an old axiom in American politics that telling the truth is how NOT to get elected.

      Plus our election ‘cycle’ is pretty much permanent now. During the conventions, look for the pundits to be speculating about 2016.

      You mention that it’s good to look back and put things in context, but here that’s only done re each candidate’s history. Americans are woefully ignorant of actual history – it’s part of the tragedy that I think is ending the American experiment – and a great one it was. But our leaders have cheapened and damanged it so deeply that I don’t see how we turn it around.

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  6. Good points to think about Moe … and it’s interesting how others like to demonstrate your point.

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  7. Moe … thanks for continually demonstrating why I like this place!

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