I was tripping through RedState and stumbled upon an interesting comment.
My liberal friends have been existing on the narrative that Bush is the New Nixon — from the time he first ran for president. That got me thinking, that if it’s true, then we have to endure another Carter BEFORE our New Reagan… As much as I HATE having a New Carter, we may have to endure one before the country realizes we need a New Reagan.
I hadn’t spent much time considering the Bush=Nixon meme, but it opens up some interesting doors. The current incarnation of the Democratic Party aligns itself with the far left wing – just as it did in 1976. It’s facing off against a Republican Party that has been battered by an unpopular war and scandals and a slowing economy. In 1976, a huge number of Democrats crowded the ballot to compete for the nomination. Carter, who was relatively unknown at the time, emerged from the pack.
Another interesting coincidence is the importance of the primary calendar. In 1976, the system was new, and people didn’t quite know how to operate under the different system. In 2008, the primary calendar is the big difference, and it has caused as much confusion. Everyone is making assumptions about how the lineup will impact the parties’ final choices, but nobody knows for sure.
It is entirely possible that we could see exactly the same outcome. A relative newcomer (Barack) defeats the establishment candidate (Hillary) and goes on to the general election. If the GOP can’t address its issues, and capitalize on the open seat and the anti-incumbent mood, the inexperienced and very liberal Obama could walk to the Presidency.
I suspect that an Obama Administration (which would believe it owes its presidency to the far left) would be almost as horrific as Carter.
The dynamics of the election certainly bear some resemblance to 1976. However, as I said yesterday, I think the GOP has some opportunities it didn’t have in ’76. While the war is just as unpopular, there are overarching security concerns that we didn’t have then. The Cold War, while raging, didn’t impact us the same way the 9-11 attacks did. The Soviet Union didn’t kill 3,000 people in New York. Whether you believe Al Qaeda was in Iraq in 2002 or not, they certainly are today. Not many people are us up to bailing out as they were in Vietnam (where we had almost no vested interests).
It will be interesting to see how 2008 plays out. Under normal circumstances, I’d almost lay odds on Hillary not getting the nod. The fact is the Democrats rarely nominate the person you expect. In December of 2003, Howard Dean was a forgone conclusion and John Kerry was a nobody. In 1992, nobody was betting on the guy from Arkansas. In 1976, nobody expected Carter.
I’m not sure that holds true this year. There are some good contenders in the form of Obama and Edwards, but Hillary is too polished to make the kind of rookie mistakes that cost Dean. She’s also wired into the establishment and in Democrat nominating processes, you can’t underestimate the power of the super delegates. The super delegate system was establish to prevent another Jimmy Carter from winning the nomination. When 40 percent of your delegates ARE the establishment, you only need 10 percent of the popular vote to win the nomination.
Hillary should be able to swing that.
If it does end up being another 1976, and we have to wait until 2012 for our Reagan, I’m not sure who that would be. The commenter at RedState suggested it was Brownback, but I’m not sure I agree. As a proud member of the Libertarian wing of the Party, I have to admit two things. First, I see Brownback as a so-con first and foremost. Second, because that is the impression he has left, I have taken little time to explore his libertarian cred. While I may not be typical of the libertarian wing, I like to think I have a pretty good bead on things. I suspect there are a lot of my little “l” brothers and sisters who are automatically distrustful of Brownback simply because of the so-con popularity.
Who then? I’m not honestly sure, but you can bet I’ll be looking for my candidate in the event the days of malaise return.