This is Truly the Age of Mediocrity

For most of my voting life, the choices of presidential candidates have not been particularly inspiring. But has it ever been as bad as this? We have a President who claims to be a Democrat but whose policies are those of a fairly conservative Republican. It doesn’t look like there will be any primary challenger to drag Obama to the left, so it looks like the presidential race in 2012 is shaping up to be a battle between a conservative Republican and a far right wing lunatic. Even James Carville, who for a time tried to be supportive of Obama, agrees with me. He’s saying Obama can’t be distinguished from the Republicans who ran in 2008.

In 1992, Bill Clinton famously proclaimed himself to be an Eisenhower Republican. By that measure, I’d say President Obama is a pre-2008 John McCain Republican.

But this much is sure: The policies of the eventual Republican nominee, that is, anybody left running for it by the time of the vote, will be right in line with those of Sarah Palin. It’s pretty remarkable that the next election is going to boil down to a competition between the 2008 Republican presidential candidate and his vice presidential nominee.

It’s not that Obama is a socialist born somewhere other than Hawaii, or that he possesses a Kenyan anti-colonial mentality — but that some Republican needs to stand up and say, with some legitimacy, that Obama is taking all of the GOP’s ideas.

Well, Obama did say back during the 2008 primaries that the Republican party was the “party of ideas for the last 10-15 years.” Remember this?

Too bad so few people took him seriously. It’s almost as if Obama had been specifically chosen to destroy the Democratic Party and push the Republicans even further right. A number of potential Republican candidates have dropped out–Trump, Huckabee, Barbour, and Daniels are gone, thank goodness. So whom will we see competing in the 2012 Republican primaries? From what I can tell, those Republican debates are going to look and sound like bizzaro world.

Right now, the putative “front-runner” is dull-as-dishwater Mitt Romney. This weekend, Romney finally took the plunge and left New Hampshire to visit Iowa. Apparently it hasn’t gone well so far. He’s getting less than inspiring headlines like Mitt Romney: Underwhelming in Iowa and Mitt Romney finally shows up in Iowa. From the LA Times:

Fairfax, Iowa— Mitt Romney made a belated 2012 campaign debut in Iowa on Friday, dipping a brown-loafered toe into the state that casts the first votes in the presidential contest.

Romney, who will formally enter the Republican race next week, has largely shunned Iowa since falling short here in the 2008 caucuses. He spent much of the day bobbing and weaving around questions about his commitment to Iowa.

“My guess is you’ll have plenty of opportunity to see me. I care about Iowa,” he told a midday audience in Des Moines, after refusing to say whether he’d compete in a nonbinding straw vote this summer or go all-out in the caucuses next winter.

Mitt is pathetic, like most current and former Massachusetts Governors. I don’t think he’ll ever be President. But just look at the other possibilities!

Tim Pawlenty is trying to make himself a bit more exciting by going negative and insulting other candidates.

Following up on the cattiest tweet in the Presidential campaign so far (“sorry to interrupt the European pub crawl, but what was your Medicare plan?”), Pawlenty visited CNN’s American Morning to elaborate on his campaign issues and react to his current poll numbers. He appeared happy that, despite the fact that “half the nation’s Republicans don’t know who I am,” he was still a viable candidate in the running, as early polls are “name ID more than anything.” If the polls were reliable, he joked, “Rudy Giuliani and Howard Dean would be presidents.”

With that in mind, asked if Palin’s weekend bus tour was worrisome to him, he seemed militantly unfazed: “This country isn’t going to be about rallies or you know bus tours or anything else,” Pawlenty said. “This is going to be about a country that is sinking in debt and deficit. We want to have a leader who has actually tackled those issues and doesn’t just talk about it.” He also noted that, while the current “exploratory” phases of other campaigns that may pop up are necessary, “soon we have to have a debate on the issues.”

Regarding the current resident of the the White House, Pawlenty had this to say:

“Any doofus can go to Washington and maintain the status quo and that’s what we’ve got in the White House and in Congress in terms of their attitude about their willingness to tackle these issues,” Pawlenty said. “If we’re not going to have leaders who are going to say that and do it and tell the American people, look them in the eye … then we’re all wasting our time.”

I’m not sure that calling a sitting President a “doofus” is the best strategy for beginning a campaign, and I really dread the “debate on the issues.” The only issues this year’s Republicans seem to be interested in are about sticking it to the poor, the elderly, and women.

Pawlenty’s fellow Minnesotan Michelle Bachmann appears to be running also. {shudder} Get this, she “feels a calling” to run for President.

Bachmann, during the taping of a program for Iowa Public Television, said she “had this calling and tugging on [her] heart that this is the right thing to do.”

Bachmann’s statement comes on the heels of announcement Thursday night that she will be holding a June event to make her presidential intentions clear. The Minnesota Republican has been openly weighing a bid for the GOP nomination for months and been traveling to and staffing up in early-primary states.

“We already have hired staff in South Carolina, in New Hampshire, in Iowa,” Bachmann told reporters on a telephone news conference Thursday night. “We have people on the ground. We’re doing every aspect that we need to be doing in this effort because our main goal is make sure we can turn the country around.”

I’m really uncomfortable with people who think their gods are talking to them. I’m even more uncomfortable with the idea of someone who hears voices running the country. This woman is truly frightening, and her “first man” would be a guy who tries to “cure” homosexuals, including, perhaps, himself.

Also showing signs of jumping in the race is Sarah Palin. She is embarking on a “high-profile bus tour” on Sunday, beginning in Washington, DC.

The tour has an obvious — and presumably intentional — resemblance to a campaign jaunt. But many people on both sides of the political divide remain skeptical that she will run, or that she has a viable path to the Republican presidential nomination if she does so.

Ugh! Why can’t Quiterella (h/t Dakinikat) just go away somewhere and never be heard from again? In 2008, we had a woman candidate who was truly qualified–brilliant, knowledgeable, a policy wonk. She put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, and now one of these two horribly stupid and unqualified women might finally crash through? We’ve really gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Finally, have you heard that Rick Perry is now thinking about throwing his hat into the ring? According to The Daily Beast, Republicans really want him to run because he’s such a macho man.

One of the photographs that Texas Gov. Rick Perry keeps on his BlackBerry is a portrait of Aurora P. (“Rory”) Perry, the family’s black Labrador Retriever, who last year acquired a key role in local Perry legend. The governor and the dog were out for an early morning jog when a coyote suddenly appeared, growling at Rory. Perry, who carries a Ruger .380 handgun in his belt when he jogs, pulled the weapon and shot the coyote dead. When some Austin locals protested that Perry’s reaction was excessive, and dangerous, he shrugged it off. “Don’t attack my dog,” he said, “or you might get shot.”

Never mind that Perry is rumored to be gay. The Republicans don’t seem to mind that–as long as you stay in the closet.

What a sorry bunch of losers! Could it get any worse? Well, the LA Times suggests we might still hear from Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. I am not looking forward to 2012. What about you?


UPDATE:

Grayslady pointed out that I neglected to mention Ron Paul, probably because I don’t think he has any chance of getting the nomination. I left out Rudy Giuliani, too. Some people think he may run. As far as I’m concerned those two are just as nutty as the rest of the Republican field. We’re stuck with horrible and less horrible. I may not bother going to the polls.

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31 Comments on “This is Truly the Age of Mediocrity”

  1. grayslady says:

    You forgot Ron Paul on the Republican side. At least he’s anti-war. The whole Repub slate represents a bunch of mysoginist, religious fanatics.
    Bill Moyers said recently that, in his opinion, no one wants to run against Obama because black voters will be furious and it will irretrievably split the Dem party.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Ooops. Did they allow him into the debates in 2008? I’ll check.

    • Black voters – will they show up? Detroit has a very bad record in terms of people showing up.

      It is amazing how the house Republicans are defusing the regulaters. Delay and defunding. I just got Grechen Morgensterns book “Reckles Endagerment” She is identifying the corruption with Fannie Mae and naming names. A lot of them are Democrats.

      That said it doesn’t take much extention of imagination to speculate the corruption going on today. And we do not have a Atty General that wants to prosecute outright fraud.

      I think the Democrats are reticent about proposing things as they get cut off at the knee’ by Obama.

      I think Bill Clinton is right, the Democrats have to step up with their plans or the Republicans will have room for their garbage sound bytes

      • Beata says:

        I think many university students who came to the polls by the bus load and lined up for blocks to vote for Obama in 2008 will stay home. They seem less than fired up and ready to go “Win the Future” in 2012.

        What about Huntsman? Has he decided not to run?

      • I’d consider voting Huntsman but he’s going to have probably an impossibly uphill road to climb in the primaries, so I wouldn’t blame him for not running.

      • Pilgrim says:

        I’d be inclined to vote for Huntsman. Hope he prevails.

    • Sima says:

      Shudder. I support his raw milk bill, but nothing else about him.

      Shudder.

  2. joanelle says:

    But BB, the Mediocre are always at their best! :?

    Excellent Post. When does Hillary announce?

  3. Seriously says:

    Um, well, at least Perry and Willard debating animal rights might be entertaining.

    • Branjor says:

      From the article:

      Bachmann told reporters she was hiring staff in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — all early states — and would make an announcement regarding her candidacy in her birthplace of Waterloo next month.

      There’s a meaning in that somewhere.

  4. Dario says:

    I’m glad BB that you and I see the same picture. I’m done with the Democrats. I don’t know why so many in the left were happy with the recent NY election. Yawn.

  5. Bob Morris says:

    Yet I’m sure multitudes of supposedly liberal and progressive blogs will say we have no choice but to hold our nose and vote for Obama, as they line up for the PAC money and insider press privileges. Meanwhile protesters in the Middle East are risking their lives to fight for freedom for oppression, something which makes these progressive poodles appear especially craven by contrast.

    But It’s not about parties, it’s about corporate control, especially control by those financial interests who have a stranglehold on D.C. They don’t care about ideology, only their continuing control. You’re right, voting for the Lesser of Two Evils is a sucker’s game (or, as Nader so wonderfully put it, The Evils of two Lessers.