Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Election 2016 Handicapping: Key GOP Credibility Issue

The 2008 presidential election went to the Democrats in a walk. After seven years of losing ground wars in Asia, the Republicans just weren't in any position to compete, so they didn't. The Democrats didn't have to compete, so they didn't either. John McCain offered to serve George W. Bush's third term. So did Barack Obama. Obama won because McCain had an "R" next to his name.

The 2012 election cycle could have been competitive. In order to make the race competitive, Republicans had to present a contrast on ObamaCare, on foreign policy, or on both. Instead, they went with the Me Too Mannequin -- the father of ObamaCare, their most hapless and un-charismatic presidential nominee since Alf Landon, whose foreign policy positions alternated between deer in the headlights confusion and "just like the last two guys, I guess, but better because hey, it's ME" -- and lost again.

In 2016, it's the Democrats who will have to own the previous eight years of insane/idiotic foreign policy, with their most likely nominee having presided over a non-trivial portion of the insanity/idiocy as Secretary of State.

If the Republicans want to compete in 2016, or at least clear the board and set themselves up for victory in 2020, their best shot is to knock off the "yes, we too are mentally retarded and morally reprobate" crap and clear the board by acknowledging how abysmally stupid and corrupt the Bush/Cheney administration was on the foreign policy front.

Oddly enough, they're getting an assist in doing so from David Corn of Mother Jones. Here's the money quote from Rand Paul circa 2009:

There's a great YouTube of Dick Cheney in 1995 defending [President] Bush No. 1 [and the decision not to invade Baghdad in the first Gulf War], and he goes on for about five minutes. He's being interviewed, I think, by the American Enterprise Institute, and he says it would be a disaster, it would be vastly expensive, it'd be civil war, we would have no exit strategy. He goes on and on for five minutes. Dick Cheney saying it would be a bad idea. And that's why the first Bush didn't go into Baghdad. Dick Cheney then goes to work for Halliburton. Makes hundreds of millions of dollars, their CEO. Next thing you know, he's back in government and it's a good idea to go into Iraq.

Most of the potential Republican candidates still seem to think, the contrary evidence of 2012 notwithstanding, that the road to the White House runs through Sheldon Adelson's checkbook (and, therefore, through Dick Cheney's rich capacity for self-serving fantasy).

They were wrong about that last time around and they're wrong about it now. Nominating a candidate who's sane and sage on foreign policy may not be enough to generate a Republican win in 2016, but nominating another whackjob or greedhead is almost certainly a recipe for Republican failure in 2016. Just sayin' ...
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: