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The talk may grow louder, but any challenge would be suicidal in its own right.
Expect the talk of a primary challenge to Obama only to get louder. Pundits salivate at the prospect of an unusual twist, turning the foregone conclusion of Obama’s nomination into a story. The problem is: A challenge won’t happen.
Special elections are always overlooked before, and then over-analyzed after. However, even with those caveats, three recent ones were big — and bad — news for Democrats.
Democrats had every right to expect winning at least two of the three — two Congressional races and the West Virginia gubernatorial — and possibly winning them all. Instead they lost two and came dangerously close to losing all three.
In NV-2 looked competitive on paper — they had a good candidate and a good track record of late in the state. In NY-09, they had a 3-1 party enrollment advantage. But in the end, they lost the first 36% to 58% and they lost the second 46% to 54%.
Only in Democrat-dominated West Virginia did they win, but just barely. The Republican fell less than 8,000 votes short of winning and held the Democrat to less than 50% of the vote.
The reason these races are of such interest is because the biggest name in them, wasn’t on the ballot. And such results, in places Democrats should have done better this year, only raise questions about next year when Obama’s name will be on the ballot. Or if it might not be.
It didn’t take these races to start the talk that Obama could be “primaried.” A late August CNN/ORC International poll (released 8/29) started the rumor ripple by reporting that 27% of Democrats had responded the party should nominate someone other than Obama.
Even a liberal press can’t resist a story, especially one where none existed before. Suddenly having a contested nomination on the Democratic side is irresistible fodder.
The problem around such speculation is that there is virtually no chance it happens. To understand why, look back at the last time a serious primary challenge to an incumbent president occurred.
In 1980, Kennedy challenged Carter. Carter won the nomination, but lost in a landslide to Reagan. In many Democratic circles, the damage had already been done to Carter and as a result, damage was done to Kennedy as well.
That challenge illustrates many lessons.
First, primary challengers to incumbent presidents don’t win. That’s why primary challenges rarely happen. Not only didn’t Kennedy win in 1980, McCarthy didn’t in 1968, and Roosevelt didn’t in 1912. Admittedly, Reagan came close against Ford in 1976, but even Reagan didn’t disprove the rule.
The reason is that the two major parties have too much invested in an incumbent president. Incumbents rarely lose — only Bush, Carter, Ford, Hoover, and Taft in the last century. To have such an advantage in a run for the nation’s highest office is hard to concede.
And the last people to concede it and renounce their party’s president are the party faithful who vote in the primaries. However, such is not the case with the electorate at large. So those incumbents who are challenged seriously, often don’t win in November — Taft in 1912, Ford in 1976, and Carter in 1980.
Inevitably the blame for such defeats is often given to the primary challenger. They are seen as having weakened the incumbent — providing lines of attack to the other party, diverting scarce party contributions, and splitting the party when it needed unity more than ever.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online