When Vice President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for president, a friend Tweeted that Joe Biden would be the one giving the keynote at the 2016 Democratic National Convention instead of some rising star as is the custom. (Think of Barack Obama at the convention in 2004.)
I Tweeted back that if a gaffe-prone septuagenarian is the best the Dems can do, the Democratic party is in serious trouble. Back came something to the effect that the prospect of a Ben Carson presidency is an equally serious problem.
On the heels of that jab came the offer of a lobster dinner bet – with my friend taking the position that the Dems would nevertheless win the White House.
I didn’t take the bet even though I think the GOP can win. (Or at least I think they darned well should.)
The key to winning the White House in 2016 lies in simply doing the best job of convincing Americans that something meaningful will be done to address a persistently weak economy, a foreign policy that is sewing chaos all over the world, growing domestic unrest, rising racial tension, a complete breakdown of immigration enforcement and a general sense held by a very large majority that things just aren’t going all that well.
Promises from the Dems of more Big Government goodies won’t do it this time. Remember Peggy Joseph of Florida? She’s the one who in 2008 exulted concerning Obama,
“I never thought this day would ever happen. I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he’s gonna help me.”
Peggy is no doubt not only still worrying about paying her mortgage, it’s probably a greater strain to her now than it was then.
People are fed up. That Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson – two complete political outsiders – are number one and two in the polls for the GOP nomination ahead of party blue bloods is instructive. It’s telling us that the American people are deeply dissatisfied with government as it has been practiced to one degree or another by both parties for the past 20 years.
This is a big enough problem for the GOP but it’s a huge problem for Hillary Clinton. She’s wanting to do something that is rarely done in American politics: win a third presidential term for the incumbent party.
Aside from history, Hillary has working against her the fact that she does not have the roaring economy that propelled George H.W. Bush into a third Reagan term in 1988. Instead, she has seven years of big-government liberalism pursued with a vengeance – only to yield polls that clearly show an electorate more unhappy than it has been in two generations.
Which says loud and clear that if the GOP can’t win this time, it will never win again.
So what does it say that I won’t cover my friend’s bet?