Be careful what you wish for, eh?
Ed Morrissey ponders the ultimate: what if Obama chose not to run for reelection? What’s at stake beyond the Oval Office next November:
But the decision may end up being out of his hands if the political environment doesn’t improve. Obama’s numbers are plummeting in places Democrats can hardly afford to lose. In Pennsylvania, where Obama will top a ticket that also includes Bob Casey’s bid for a second Senate term, he’s either at 43% approval (Quinnipiac) or at 35% (Muhlenberg). Wisconsin turned Republican last year and a series of elections this year confirmed it, and Herb Kohl’s seat in the Senate is up for grabs. Obama can be expected to drag down the ticket in Virginia (James Webb’s seat is open), Florida (Bill Nelson), Ohio (Sherrod Brown), Maryland (Ben Cardin), and Michigan (Debbie Stabenow). Obama is underwater in New York and New Jersey already, two normally staunch Democratic states, both with Senate races on the line as well. If Obama runs at the top of those tickets, he might eke out victories in the two states, but his presence on the ticket will depress Democratic turnout and might endanger Kirsten Gillibrand and Robert Menendez; Democrats would almost certainly have to spend a ton of money to bolster them that they’d normally spend elsewhere.
Democrats will be looking at a massacre in the Senate, and that’s not even including already-endangered seats in Nebraska, Missouri, Montana, and New Mexico, which just elected its first Republican woman governor last year. Democrats could wind up losing enough seats to give Republicans a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate if Obama chases away the white working-class vote that he’s been alienating for the past two years on ObamaCare and now his disastrous economic performance. If unemployment starts rising and growth remains low in the next few months, Democrats may insist on Obama finding a graceful exit before the primaries.
Who could save the Democrats after being sacrificed herself? Hilary, of course. Scary stuff, y’all, but other bloggers have mentioned it before. Smitty of The Other McCain predicted Obama’s early exit in the wake of Operation Fast and Furious, bringing in the scariest prospect of all: Joe Biden. Biden would finish the term and struggle to keep the mantle under the delusion that folks would vote him in office on his own. Kevin Dujan of Hillbuzz has argued for years that Obama won’t run for another term, bowing out for myriad reasons.
Would he leave? Morrissey makes the excellent historical parallel with LBJ, another storied ego, who did bow out. My money is on no. I don’t think Obama would willingly step aside from the chance to campaign–that’s what he does best. Especially when he can do so on the taxpayer dime as he did last week. Expect a long and bloody campaign.
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