Although The New York Times' Matt Bai
injected momentum into what's been deemed a "fake"
news meme, many other political pundits aren't buying that the
president will face a primary challenger in 2012. Their reasoning?
Obama's poll numbers among his liberal base aren't that bad
, and the challenger would have to pry away a "significant chunk"
of Obama's African-American support. There's no name brand entity
who has thus far posed a threat. Those who grumbling now only want Obama to move leftward, and will fall in line
come election time. And the President still has the resources, fund raising prowess, and organization to tamp down any potential
challenger before he/she enters. In other words, the "murmurs"
surrounding a potential challenge to Obama within his own party are pure speculation, argue these analysts:
- The Scenario Is 'Very Hard To Imagine' notes Ben Smith
at Politico. First, serious candidates like Howard Dean and Russ Feingold aren't
going to jump into the race. Also: "it's very hard to imagine a primary
from the left that has almost no support from the African-American
voters who are the heart of the anti-war, pro-government left wing of
the Democratic Party. And with his numbers at 90% among
African-Americans--and over 80% among liberal Democrats--there's just no
space for that challenge."
- The 'Juicy' Times Headline is 'Pretty Thinly' Sourced CBS political reporter Brian Montopoli
echos the refrain that it's "pretty unlikely" Obama will face a
challenger. Although it seems like the president is in political peril
right now, he actually might have been in more trouble if he catered
"aggressively" to his political base. He notes that Mike Bloomberg's
centrist movement as an alternative to the dueling parties: "Mr. Obama's
positioning as someone willing to compromise, as displayed most
recently in the tax cut deal, makes him less vulnerable to a challenge
grounded in that "middle way" philosophy in a general election." Plus,
Montopoli notes, the "massive institutional advantage" of the White
House will help the president come primary time.
- Obama is 'Safer Than You Think' Salon's News Editor Steve Kornacki
outlines four reasons why a primary challenge won't happen: 1) Even
though the "opinion shapers" on the left have voiced displeasure with
the president, those opinions have not substantially affected his
popularity among Democrats. 2) Although Afghanistan poses a challenge
for liberals, there's no great "ideological divide" threatening to tear
apart the party; "Democratic voters still view Obama as a guy who is on
their side." 3) There's no "big name" like Teddy Kennedy (in Jimmy
Carter's case) to worry about launching a presidential bid. Feingold,
Dean, and Kucinich don't pose a challenge. 4) "This is the season for
primary challenge chatter." Pundits always love talking about primary
challenges at this point in a presidency.
- More 'Empty Threats' Coming From the Left The Weekly Standard's Jay Cost
writes that although liberals are "grinding their teeth right now" they
will be there "full tilt" for the president because they will
immediately "detest" the Republican nominee. "And if hatred of the GOP
will not be enough, watch Team Obama exploit the memory of the 2000
presidential election," writes Cost, referring to a belief among some
liberals Ralph Nader's campaign helped sink Al Gore's bid for president.
Cost's prediction: Just like during the health care debate, the left
will "gripe about how Obama has been a massive disappointment, then
dutifully fall into line behind him....If he wins, they'll weep with
Matt Bai's article also garnered a fair amount of shorter quips:
- Alex Pareene: "You know you're reading a really great piece of professional
political analysis when the thesis is refuted in the first sentence of
the second paragraph. 'The idea seems to have little momentum for now,'
Bai explains, but then for some reason he continued writing instead of
shutting down his MacBook Air and going outside for a nice walk or
- David Weigel: The primary challenge murmurs "are coming from liberals who want to
pressure Obama into cutting fewer deals with Republicans, and in many
case they are coming from liberals who really, really want Obama out of
the White House. But they are not actually a response to political
- Wonkette's Jack Steuf: "There really is nobody from the left that would run against this
man, unless Obama turned into something approximating Joe Lieberman on a
severe sigh bender."
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