Analysis and a Prediction


Jay B Gaskill

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Analysis and a Prediction

By Jay B Gaskill

“Six months ago, it still seemed as if Republican primary voters might be choosing a sacrificial lamb to run against Barack Obama. Now it looks as if they might be choosing the next president.”

Ross Douthat in yesterday’s New York Times

As I wrote a friend, after reviewing Obama’s poll numbers back on June 30th – they are much worse now than then – if today were October 30, 2012, Mr. Obama’s staff would be actively looking for other work.

In a bleak economy, the GOP test for a winning a nominee is simple one:  (a) not the incumbent (b) no burning negatives. A candidate’s religious affiliation – including a traditional LDS formation) will not be a burning negative.  Even with lukewarm conservative support, Governor Romney will win (recalling that in 1967 many liberals would have supported his father without any Mormon qualms), unless the US economy is in a strong economic recovery. During a weak or problematic recovery (think of high inflation and tepid growth, for example), the POTUS  race becomes closer, and the campaign energy of the challenger becomes more important – this confers a possible advantage to Governor Perry, unless Mitt Romney is able to sharpen his campaign.

The candidates I might prefer are not running (Rudy Giuliani or Harry Truman) because one is dead and the other is playing dead.

Scale matters.  Boutique candidates, and those promising figures on the political horizon who have not yet successfully navigated large scale organizational life or who arrive on stage with a script but no understanding of  direction, production and distribution are still minor players in the real world, however talented and appealing we may think they are.  As an aspiring politician, Mr. Obama wrote his own script, then as a junior senator from Illinois, he scripted an idealistic presidential campaign, then as president he tried to script the entire national narrative – recovery, renewal, a bright new day.  But somewhere between script, performance and production, things went deeply awry.  Scale matters. Executive experience and practical judgment deeply matter.

Governors Romney and Perry meet the minimum qualifications for sufficient chief executive experience. But any relatively new member of congress from either chamber (this includes Congresswoman Bachmann) simply have not acquired the chops provided that he or she otherwise has not managed some complex project of the appropriately massive scale.

Running campaigns, as such, do not count as executive experience on the level required by the presidency.  Mr. Obama abandoned the fashioning of his “stimulus” bill and the attempted national health care overhaul to partisan hacks because he lacked the experience and judgment to do otherwise.

Inspirational rhetoric cannot operate as an adequate substitute for the acquisition of the thousands of real world contacts, trust relationships, and the demonstrated competence in managing the push and pull of institutional politics that is acquired by, say, governing a large state, a municipality, an international event or an extended military engagement. The baseline executive requirements for POTUS were outlined, explained and defended in an article MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR POTUS.  Here’s a key excerpt –



The presidency requires a certain minimum level of real world experience, to wit:

  • A full term as an active, effective, involved Vice President, AND/OR
  • Long term legislative service in a major leadership position, such a House Speaker or Chair of Ways and Means, coupled with meaningful executive service in another position, AND/OR
  • A Governorship or comparable executive position, ideally more than one term, of a major state or city (see below), AND/OR.
  • Comparable business executive experience coupled with significant government service, such as a military leader, or in one or both of the two first tier Cabinet positions Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State.

Here is that link:


The executive experience of Congresswoman Bachman is and of Senator Obama was imaginary.  Whatever their other merits or demerits, Senator Obama should not have been considered for the presidency and Congresswomen Bachmann is equally unready for the country’s highest and most critical executive position.

Having been swept in on a tide of hope, Mr. Obama may well be swept out on a tide of disappointment.  The American electorate in 2012 will be impatient.  They will consider two linchpin questions:  Has the Obama presidency demonstrated sufficient success that another four years is warranted?  Is the proposed replacement up to the job of making things better?  The trends tell us to expect a “no” answer to the first question.  Whether the GOP can regain the presidency depends on the answer to the second.


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