Lemieux, Stoller, Obama, and me

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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17 Responses

  1. Mike Schilling says:

    Lemiux, Stoller,

    Yakety yak, Don;t talk back.Report

  2. Koz says:

    Saw the Stoller thing. Libs are just now figuring out the hurtbag BHO has put the Demo’s into. Elias, to his credit, figured it out earlier than most.

    Contrary to most Demo’s, the idea the Obama won’t be leading the Demo ticket in 15 months is not ridiculous. Not probable, but still not ridiculous.

    Contra Stoller, if it does happen, it’s much more likely to be Johnson-like scenario, wherein Obama basically gets tired and quits. A Kennedy-type insurgency like what Stoller is describing, is improbable to the point of irrelevance.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Koz says:

      It would be interesting to hear you and Elias debate how Obama put the Demo’s into the hurtbag, what he should have done differently to avoid it, whether doing those things would actually have prevented that, and what he should do now – from his own and his party’s perspective.Report

      • Koz in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Yeah, I actually feel a decent-sized spleen venting coming on.

        For now, especially in the context of lib intramural arguing, let’s just note this: there’s a number of things where Obama could have done this instead of that to take the starch out of the Republicans. I don’t see that there’s anything with any currency for some significant faction of the Left that would have helped the economy in any significant way at all.

        And the anti-Obama Left hasn’t even tried to argue the point. It’s all been political maneuvering for them.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Koz says:

      BHO still enjoys 85% approval from blacks. A challenge would split the party for decades if not forever, and the Dems are dead nationally without the black vote.

      [BHO approval among whites: 33%. Hispanics, 48.]


      If BHO were to quit [impossible, IMO], the resulting lack of black enthusiasm would also be disastrous.Report

      • Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        I don’t think it’s impossible at all. In fact, I’d even venture that it’s the most likely scenario for the Demo’s to keep the White House. If BHO quits instead of being forced out, there will be less black enthusiasm for the Demo ticket, but there’d be no real reason for a black backlash against the Demo’s.

        There’s two things about BHO that libs (and the rest of us for that matter) should bear in mind.

        1. He’s smarter than the typical lib.
        2. He cares less about policy than the typical lib.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to Koz says:

          1. Undoubtedly.
          2. That really, really depends upon who you’d identify as the typical lib (though you’re probably right; but only marginally so).

          Basically, he’s a typical lib.

          He’s not going to quit. His chances of reelection right now are a shade below 50-50. The chances that a Dem would be elected if he quit (by which I assume you mean announce he is not seeking reelection, despite the fact that he has announced his is) would be a shade below 1-in-4.Report

          • I actually am way less prone to blame Obama and Obama alone for his current circumstances than you might think. However, I just can’t imagine that, running against Romney, he’d be only a “shade below 50-50.” Against Perry, sure. But Romney I’d give a solid 60% chance of winning, were the match-up to occur. The White House seems pretty scared of Romney, fwiw.Report

            • Michael Drew in reply to Elias Isquith says:

              48-52 vs. 40-60. Is it even worth hashing that out? These are completely made-up numbers. And Romney is currently neither the nominee nor the frontrunner. So what’s your point?Report

              • Oof. Did I step on your toes in the process of writing that rather anodyne comment, Michael? It wasn’t my intention.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Elias Isquith says:

                Sorry. I’d love to hear more about what you say in your first sentence here, but that doesn’t seem to match your primary motivation in your writings of late, so I’ll leave that decision to you.

                On the prediction front, I guess I do think it is pretty darn niggling to quibble with a “shade under 50-50” prediction on the strength of “it must be a solid 40-60” this far out, and based on an assumption that simply isn’t the one I explicitly was making the prediction on. So it kind of seems like you were quibbling, and talking down Obama’s current chances, all factors dealt an, just for pure heck of it TBH, Elias.Report

              • Oh I understand what happened here better, then.

                I didn’t mean to quibble. I thought those 8 points mattered, but I was kind of conflating a general election result with a chance of winning figure, which isn’t really coherent. So my bad.

                As to my first point: I think it would’ve been worth trying to get a bigger stimulus and I think it was a mistake to pivot rhetorically and slightly policy-wise to austerity when the White House did. But I don’t pretend to know that he could’ve gotten a bigger stimulus and I doubt the shift to austerity was even close to as important as the brute fact of a bad economy. So while I could imagine Obama being more where he was say 6 months ago than he is now (45-51 range), I also don’t envision that had they followed my playbook they’d be sitting pretty right now.Report

            • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Elias Isquith says:

              I agree with Isquith here. Romney IS “generic Republican,” which polls higher than actual Republicans.

              The old political saw is “You can’t beat something with nothing,” but in Romney, the GOP can sure give it try.

              And Brother Gov. Mitt really isn’t scary. If he could seduce [somnambulify] Massachusetts, the only McGovern state, the rest of the country should be cake, because the Current Occupant stinks on ice.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                No argument from me that Romney is their most electable realistically nominatable option. But that’s no guarantee he’ll be nominated. The GOP’s current chances in the presidential general have to be discounted by some percentage to reflect the fact that there is a long path from here to the time when Romney accepts the nomination, and it’s a path that can easily be strayed from.Report

  3. Koz says:

    “2. That really, really depends upon who you’d identify as the typical lib (though you’re probably right; but only marginally so).”

    Eg, the commenters here. “If unions could organize the knowledge economy, we could reverse the income inequality and create stability for the middle class, punish the CEOs and the banksters, and create a sustainable environment, blah, blah, blah…” Typical libs really care about this sort of thing. Obama doesn’t. If there were some magic button to create a successful left-wing economy he’d push it. But there isn’t. And at the end of the day the Prez is content to watch ESPN and play golf even if the libs aren’t.

    As for the President’s chances of reelection, I think you’re swimming in a river in Eqypt. I don’t think he’s got a better than one in ten chance to beat Romney. Perry is a little more complicated, say 35%. It’s not just a matter of how bad things are, it’s more that the Prez has nothing to say about them, and no legit prospects that anything’s gonna change.

    The downside for the GOP is that for now, they’ve failed to make a positive case for themselves. Something that I’d recommend they do ASAP. Not even because of the Presidential election (I’m more or less taking that as a given) but to set up a path of governance for the Romney Administration or whatever’s in place in Jan 2013.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Koz says:

      You could be right on the forecasting, Koz. That’s kind of in the nature of forecasting, though. InTrade’s currently running at 50.6, for whatever that’s worth.

      It sort of sounds like you’re referring to the activist liberal base the way you’re now describing what you mean by the “typical liberal,” and if that is the case, then I would say you are clearly correct.Report

  4. sonmi451 says:

    Don’t really understand the point of the Stoller argument. So he’s saying the activist base and the Dem donors should just pretend to withold the money from Obama and support the candidacy of Tom Harkin or whoever? But not with the purpose of actually getting Harkin or whoever to defeat Obama in the primary, just to scare Obama and the rest of the Dem establishment into being more progressive. He then outlines all these “plans” in his article, therefore letting Obama and the Dem establishment in on the secret. So ……. ummm, what’s the point? If Obama already know that it is an empty threat, why would he do anything to appease these guys anyway? Or is this some 50000-dimensional chess I’m too stupid to understand?Report