Are Some Top Republicans Conceding Obama's Second Term?

Any list of potential 2012 Republican Presidential candidates can be broken down into the die-hard wingnuts & wingnut-wannabes (Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Mark Sanford, Mitt Romney) and the relatively ("relatively" being, well, a relative term) moderate Republicans (Charlie Crist, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty).

The wingnuts are going full-wingnut, especially since the tea parties.  But a funny thing happened to the relative moderates on the list.  Maybe it's the right-wing purification the GOP has lately undergone, but it looks like the relative moderates are conceding that President Obama will win a second term, and are instead focused on preparing for 2016.  (Perhaps, seeing the Republican Party's unabated hard drift further to the right in the wake of Election Day '08, the relative moderates have also given up on someone who is not a wingnut winning the GOP Presidential nomination in 2012, which also effectively cedes a second term to President Obama.)  Just look at the events of the last week.

Charlie Crist, who had voiced emphatic support for President Obama's economic stimulus bill, opted to run for Senate out of Florida in 2010 rather than re-election to the Governor's office.  In addition to allowing Crist to eject himself from the budget ditch into which he has driven Florida's state economy, this allows Crist to build his national portfolio.  And, oh, by the way, should Crist win the Senate seat, his term would expire in 2016.

Jon Huntsman Jr., who governed conservative Utah but voiced support for not-so-right-wing-friendly policies like same-sex civil unions, has seen his name included more frequently in these discussions of potential Republican Presidental candidates.  Just a few days ago, though, he went from potential Obama opponent to Obama employee effectively as he accepted President Obama's nomination to serve as Ambassador to China.  After establishing his domestic executive resume as Governor of Utah, Huntsman can now shore up his international affairs bona fides in one of the most critically important roles in our nation's diplomatic corps.  As it's unlikely that Huntsman would serve in the Obama Administration for a short period of time and then turn around and run against him in 2012, it seems more likely that he is setting himself up for 2016, seeing President Obama as "too popular to fail" in 2012.

Tim Pawlenty was given an opportunity to earn some post-partisan cred by serving as a moderating force against Norm Coleman's endless appeals in MN-Sen.  Pawlenty could have shown some spine regarding the seating of Senator-elect Al Franken, perhaps urging Coleman to concede should he lose his appeal before the state Supreme Court so that Minnesota could again enjoy its full Senate delegation.  Rather, Pawlenty provided only wishy-washy answers in order to stay in the far-right-wing's good graces, possibly seeking the political table scraps of again being mentioned as a possible running mate in 2012, thereby surrendering membership in this club.

With Obama-Biden ostensibly set to be the Democratic ticket in 2012, and with Vice President Biden turning 74 in 2016 (making a Biden Presidential candidacy in 2016 less than guaranteed), there is no clear Democratic favorite in 2016.  By taking steps that both work with the Obama Administration and likely take themselves out of the 2012 sweepstakes (in which the GOP will likely go further right than any time in recent memory), Crist and Huntsman as setting themselves up to be the post-partisan successor to President Obama in 2016.  Such moves effectively concede that Crist and Huntsman expect President Obama to win a second term and Republicans' further-rightward pull to fail in 2012.

Tags: 2012, 2016, Barack Obama, Charlie Crist, Jon Huntsman Jr., presidential election, Republicans, Tim Pawlenty, wingnuts (all tags)

Comments

7 Comments

Interesting take.....

I have preposed as well, that a number of the WSJ/CountryClub/Old Money Republicans are now realizing that the footsoldiers have taken over the party.

They were never meant to do that, just show up and vote against their economic self interest cause we know Gay Marriage, Abortion, Guns, the Bible, yada--yada---yada...

But, now, the footsoldiers want their own generals.

So, If I was a Huntsman, rather then try to win a primary dominated by the far right base, and have to move so far to the right I get creamed in the general...Let Palin be the Hidenburg that goes down in flames in 2012.

THEN, you can probably make a strong argument for shifting demographics, winning the millenial vote...

AND, you are running against a non-incumbent in 2016.

It's smart tactics, and the other wild card I have suggested is, you MIGHT see somone like General Petreaus angle to be Palin's VP, stay away from the culture wars, but boast your profile as the foriegn policy candidate.

THEN, you are in a much better position to fight for the 2016 candidacy with the likes of Huntsman.

by WashStateBlue 2009-05-18 10:10AM | 0 recs
1992

Some would argue that Dems conceded the second Bush1 term and Clinton was elected.

by bakho 2009-05-18 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: 1992

Yea, that's what came to my mind too with this post title. I don't think the danger is from their political ranks, but from someone outside politics, probably business, that comes into the Republican primary w/o that party baggage.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-05-18 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: 1992
In 1992 Clinton ran as a centrist Democrat. Given the demographics of the time, it was likely the only successful strategy available. Does anyone really believe that a far right gopper can really win in 2012?
In a worst case senerio I see a public somewhat disappointed with Obama in 2012, but I also see him defaulting to a second term against the GOP's wingnut of choice in 2012.
The public just isn't going to buy hard core "red" in 2012.
by herbal tee 2009-05-18 01:13PM | 0 recs
Your Best Work Yet

This is your best analysis yet, Senate Guru.

I'm nitpicking here, but avoid the double spaces after each sentence because the Internets mess up the formatting on a line return.

by Zeitgeist9000 2009-05-18 11:11AM | 0 recs
Republicans Conceding Obama's Second Term?

Barring some scandal or disaster, Obama is guaranteed to be reelected in 2012.  

Even my Republican grandmother thinks he is doing a good job, and she even said he would be reelected.

Also, its such a pain in the ass to post here with the 50 character max on the subject lines...

by agpc 2009-05-18 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans Conceding Obama's Second Term?

It's all about the economy. If there is double digit unemployment, I don't think he'll have much of a chance.

by tpeichel 2009-05-18 06:20PM | 0 recs

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