(part 4 and 5--previous parts posted yesterday)
4. We should look for new furor against the “system” in direct proportion to the praise heaped on it in 2008 for being redeemed. The polls, if unfavorable, will be described as innately biased. The uncivil Rush Limbaugh, talk radio generally, Fox News, and tea-party bloggers, we will be lectured, are subversive, peddle hate, foment violence, and should be silenced. Whereas David Brooks, David Frum, Peggy Noonan, and Christopher Buckley were recommended reading in 2008, given their balanced and fair-minded critiques of George W. Bush and their appreciation of Barack Obama, in 2012 we will learn that they are right-wing attack dogs for losing their enthusiasm for the first-class mind and temperament of Barack Obama. Whereas a Pat Buchanan on MSNBC railing against Bush’s war and McCain’s neocon advisers was a reminder of how the libertarian Right has positive affinities with the liberal Left, in 2012 such a paleocon “racist” must be kept off the airwaves. Voter-registration laws and voter-ID requirements, remember, are designed to exclude the oppressed and must be relaxed. Advertising has warped American politics. Super PACs are Romney conspiracies. If big Wall Street money went for Obama in 2008 and thereby won investment banking and the stock market exemption from charges of greed and corruption, in 2012 investors may swing to Romney and thereby incite calls to rein in “big money” and furious op-eds about the toxic mix of politics and cash. If Romney outraises Obama, we will hear again the calls for public campaign financing, which were ignored when a cash-flush Obama renounced public financing in 2008. In 2008, academics, foundation people, the Hollywood crowd, journalists, and liberal politicians confessed that they had fallen in love again with an America that had proved it was not hopeless after all; in 2012, America may prove unsalvageable, with thousands vowing to move to Canada.
5. Suddenly around October the world will become absolutely unsafe. In these dangerous times, Americans must forget their differences, come together, and embrace a bipartisan unity — given that it may be necessary, after all, to hit the Iranian nuclear facilities, since we’ll have learned that the bomb may be a reality by, say, mid-November. Just as we have been reminded that Barack Obama has saved us by his brave decisions to use double agents in Yemen, computer viruses in Iran, Seal Team Six in Pakistan, and philosophically guided Predator assassination hits, so too a strike against Iran may suddenly be of vital national-security interest, though keenly lamented by a Nobel laureate nose-deep in Thomas Aquinas. Cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline delighted greens; the war on the war on women pleased feminists; gays are now on board after Barack Obama decided he really did favor gay marriage; Latinos got nearly a million illegal aliens exempted from immigration law. And yet all those partisan gifts have not yet resulted in a 50 percent approval rating or a lead over Mitt Romney. Something more dramatic is needed, given that there are only so many Obama heroics that can be cobbled together and leaked from classified sources.
We do not know who is going to win the 2012 election, only that it will be closer than the 2008 one — and if Obama keeps it up at his present rate he may destroy the Democratic party for a generation. There is no longer an incumbent George Bush to blame. Romney is a feistier candidate than was John McCain. Fundraising is no longer lopsided. The novelty of the first African-American president has become passé. And “hope and change” has been replaced by a concrete record of three and a half years. Given those realities, if his being an unknown quantity was a reason to vote for Barack Obama in 2008, his being all too familiar will be cause for rejecting him in 2012.