Mystic Marty Speaks

I hate myself for writing this when I promised not to, but I want to record what seems to be happening in the American presidential race for myself if for nothing else. As I thought would happen, the pre-primary race has become a sort of demolition derby. Ms Bachmann, with no route to 2016, absolutely has to tear down Mr Perry with allegations of crony capitalism, health scares about cancer injections for little girls, and whatever else comes to hand. She started to do so last Monday night. Perry is vulnerable because he looks, talks and walks like a cowboy but is actually a sort of centre-statist in Texas terms with fairly big vulnerabilities in terms of immigration and education. People forget that Texas is a country in itself, and swaggering and right wing as it may seem, it contains large blocs of liberal and hispanic voters, and people who think that gummint should work for them, as well as huge numbers of federal employees. One cannot win that state as a domestic candidate without being a little bit LBJ somewhere. I mean that last point 'politically', as it were; I don't mean that Perry should aspire to be a war criminal who steals elections, rips millions off the feds and has people murdered, though the way things are going, he might well win several states if he touted such a manifesto.

No one's told the Tea Party what real Texan government is though, and Bachmann has a need to. The Teepees are generally not Southern and they tend to fall for the Bonanza schtick--once, but God help you when they're scorned.

Bachmann, in turn, is a mad tax lawyer with no human sympathy who'll be taken apart herself for tax-farming orphans and her attachment to some loony heretical belief or other after serving the establishment, but she'll give as good as she gets because she's smart and disciplined.

Mr Romney, who can't go through to 2016, has to adjust his strategy of being above the fray so much, that he'll reinforce his reputation as a trimmer. He won't win over the big money and serious operators in the GOP, and he'll get into the same trouble Tim Pawlenty (who endorsed him yesterday) got into when he was in the race. Romney can't be counted out but may be severely wounded soon. The most consistent and popular candidate--Ron Paul--won't get anywhere near the nomination and if he does some method will be found to remove him, possibly involving some of his own demented supporters. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum can't win, and Jon Huntsman is clearly running for 2016, which is good for him since 2012 isn't his year. Herman Cain is entertainment, except when he isn't.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama is morphing into 'give 'em hell Barry Truman' and has realised that he ought to be a one-term president but economic populism, a tax drive against elites and corporations, and a Japanese-style infrastructure programme (accompanied by a republican split) could give him a close-to-comfortable pathway through the electoral college and into a second term. Just the suggestion that he may win, allied to the catnip of foreign policy success, a tax-and-spend programme, and the heated emotions of the Republican race, is going to drive the ordinary Americans in the Tea Party who are already very angry round the bend.

I think that 'Barry' is well aware that the country could collapse around him but is much savvier than Jimmy Carter ever was and much more determined, in a Chicago kind of a way, just to survive. I may be wrong in that; there are persistent stories of Michelle wanting him out of the race, but I can't see any Hillary candidacy being different. The main thing to remember is that likely but still contingent events--another economic collapse, more environmental trouble, trouble in the middle east--could as easily strengthen the presidency as weaken it. Carter beat Kennedy in part because of the Iranian hostage crisis, people should remember, not despite it.

Which leaves a candidate of superb political instincts when in the fray, but nothing much else, who read out a great populist speech of the sort that would split the Republicans down the middle the other day, with a space.

That politician could easily raise hundreds of millions online, run a third party or party-within-a-party effort, and would be much more formidable than anyone would give credit for, even if she does have a tendency to do stupid things that get other people shot. If either she or Ron Paul are disrespected much more by the GOP establishment, I'd say a third-party republican split was on the cards, if an insurgent takeover from stage right failed (which it probably would).

And for sundry reasons (cf passim) I am not mentioning her name.


Anonymous said…
And so the love affair continues.

You did not need to mention her name.

Anonymous said…
The thing about Herman Cain is that his pizza is surprisingly good for franchise fair (I live in the suburbs you take what you can get). He also won the straw poll in my state, further convincing me that the sun rots your brain.

Martin Meenagh said…
I've never eaten Herman's pizza but he adds to the gaiety of nations. For some reason he reminds me of Count Arthur Strong, for whom I have a lot of affection--look him up on youtube.

As for Florida, well... thanks, Andrew Jackson!

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