Joe linked to a Mark Tapscott article in the DC Examiner predicting that Obama will be a one termer because of his free spending ways, writing that, “Growing public awareness of the deeply porkified content of the stimulus package is the chief driver behind the plunge in a mere two weeks from modestly strong initial approval to only a third of those surveyed continuing to support passage.”
Reading this reminded me of an article Peggy Noonan wrote for Forbes in 1994 arguing that Bill Clinton was destined to lose in 1996. The title of her piece? “They voted for change. He gives them pork.”
In other words, conservatives shouldn’t get ahead of themselves.
UPDATE: In comments, Mark Tapscott writes:
If you actually read the column, you will see that it says Obama is “headed” for a one-term presidency if he doesn’t change course on pork and earmark related issues, not that it has become a certainty that he will be a one-termer. I remember the Noonan column, too, which is one reason why I didn’t make a definitive assertion about a supposedly unavoidable result. But thanks for the link, just the same.
Fair enough. Tapscott hedged a bit more than I suggested when I wrote that he was “predicting” a single term for Obama. But even so, I do think this kind of talk is premature, and the Clinton experience is a worthwhile cautionary lesson for conservatives. From early in the primary season, the right saw Clinton as a transparent phony, and assumed that the rest of America would see right through him. His early stumbles in office confirmed the view that he was utterly out of his depth. After being trounced in 1994, he looked like a lame duck president. But conservatives also underestimated his political skills and his ability to connect with Americans. The same is true with Obama. Many conservatives dismissed him as a fad candidate who would get mowed over by the formidable Clinton machine. Time and again throughout the campaign, when it seemed like he was on the ropes, he lived to fight another round and ended up winning the election comfortably. One thing that I observed about Obama during the campaign is that he’s a very fast learner who rarely makes the same mistakes twice. He’s demonstrated a willingness to throw people under the bus and abandon policies that cause him political grief. As I’ve written, I think the events over the past few weeks have cut him down to size and shown him to be mortal. But he’s also quite politically savvy, and is already preparing his excuses just in case things don’t quite work out as planned.