Political junkies on the left and the right require their daily fix. No sooner do they awake each morning than they turn on their computers, iPads, and smart phones and inject their favorite political narcotic directly into their brain through their eyeballs. When their brains have absorbed all they can tolerate, they go about their daily routines, returning to their source throughout the day and evening for just enough dope to maintain their high. Immediately before and after elections, however, they are prone to overdose on the bad along with the good. Beware, political junkies, there’s a lot of bad stuff out there!
There are two particularly bad strains of mind-altering political analysis that suppliers are providing their addicts these days. On the left, originating mostly in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, it’s all about the 2010 elections; on the right, principally coming out of Washington, D.C., it’s about 2012.
The progressive left, which thought it had reached the Promised Land when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, continues to get high on columns and blogs that tell them the 2010 mid-term elections haven’t ejected them from paradise. The promise of the progressive agenda is alive and well; they just have to adjust their strategy and tactics.
They’re not happy with their messiah, Barack Obama; he’s let them down. They’re not abandoning him, not yet anyway, but they’re looking for ways to better influence elected Democratic officials and office holders to do more, not less, of what’s on the progressive to-do list.
Even the godfather of the progressive underworld, George Soros, speaking at a closed-door meeting of the Democracy Alliance said, “We have just lost an election, we need to draw a line . . . and if this president can’t do what we need, its time to start looking somewhere else.” He wasn’t talking, necessarily, about a challenger to Obama in the 2012 primaries, but of other ways of influencing the critical here and now.
Nancy Pelosi is still in denial after the elections and celebrating progressive accomplishments. She believes it was high unemployment that caused Democrats’ losses, not the progressive agenda, and she’s staying in the new Congress as the House minority leader to finish what she started with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Before the election, President Obama forecasted that if Republicans took one or both houses of Congress, there would be hand-to-hand combat. Pelosi is preparing for that hand-to-hand combat, and the addicts that depend on the same progressive juice she depends on are egging her on.
For the right, still high on the Republican victories in hundreds of state elections across the country, the political narcotic du jour now is speculation over which Republican candidate can win the 2012 presidential election. Republicans are salivating at the prospect of making Barack Obama a one-term president and recapturing the White House, and they want to make sure they pick a winner.
Most of the speculation revolves around whether Sarah Palin will or won’t run, and if she runs, could she win? Increasingly, Republican political gurus believe she might win the nomination in 2012, but if she did, she would almost certainly lose the election to Obama. It’s not that the issues Karl Rove, Charles Krauthammer, and others raise about the obstacles that stand between Palin and the White house aren’t true. It’s the excessive focus on who can win the general election, at this early point, as opposed to what the Republican nominee should win that’s the tainted drug. Overdosing on it could lead Republicans to do what Democrats did — nominate a winner who turns out to be a loser for the party.
All the prospective Republican candidates out there call themselves conservatives, but not all conservatives are the same. The 12 most likely Republican candidates spotlighted in Bret Baier’s “12 in 2012” series on Fox News have their differences. Each, if elected, would govern differently and pursue different agendas. Some are politics-as-usual politicians, others aren’t.
Republicans won’t reach a consensus on which of their candidates is best for their party and for the country for several months. First they have to see who is running and who isn’t. Then, they’ll see how the candidates perform under the pressure of competition and media scrutiny. It’s far too early to determine who can or can’t defeat Barack Obama.
Republican gurus like Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan believe, next time around, Americans will be looking for a less charismatic, more boring candidate that exudes competence — the anti-Obama, if you will. Most of the likely Republican candidates meet that standard. Others believe Republicans must put forward someone with charisma that surpasses Obama’s. Sarah Palin’s supporters believe she qualifies on that score.
Republicans may well know who they like and don’t like at this point, but when it comes to deciding who they ultimately will vote for in the primaries and in the general election, much depends on who’s running and how they perform.
I don’t expect political junkies to go cold turkey and break their addictions any time soon, but I’d suggest they may want to chill out, at least over the holidays, with a little digital marijuana — football, a movie, or online Christmas shopping. Otherwise, they might end up in rehab before the election campaign is in full swing.
Ed Ross is the President and Chief Executive Officer of EWRoss International LLC, a company that provides global consulting services to clients in the international defense marketplace. He publishes commentary at EWRoss.com.