That's really the only interesting question in politics right now, because let's face it: the 2012 election is going to be another blowout. Obama would have to be caught selling child porn to Al Qaeda in order to lose, and even then he still might beat Sarah Palin.
I haven't strongly liked or strongly disliked Obama during his tenure. Economically, I think he's struggled. That's probably an understatement. As far as job-creation and health care, I give him very low marks. I haven't been a big fan of his foreign policies regarding the wars, but Osama is dead, so that's a plus. Gas prices are high, national debt is skyrocketing, and everyone seems to hate universal health care. So for all the things that matter, I have to say I'm disappointed in Obama's first term.
But in terms of his character and appeal, and his status as a figurehead, I like him. I think he represents our country well, he's very classy and well-spoken, unassuming yet strong. He's shown a funny side, an emotional side, and most importantly, I think he is quite genuine. I think it's invaluable to the progression of our country to have a positive role model for African American children to look at and say "Yeah, I could be President. But that means I have to start talking and acting like a normal person, and not a thug." Which could end up being hugely important the growth of our country.
I don't want to get off a what would appear to be a racist rant, but I think one of the reasons America is getting our butts kicked by Japan and China and India and parts of Europe is that those countries don't have 15-20% of the population engaging in counter-culture thuggishness and basically resisting and resenting anything related to hard work or decency. There are millions of Americans who live by the motto "Try to get rich by either being an athlete or rapper, and if that doesn't work, collect welfare checks, walk around aimlessly during the day, yell at random people just to appear intimidating, wear silly clothes that are 5 sizes too big, and eventually do something stupid and go to jail."
Is this an over-generalization? Of course. Do people break the cycle of poverty and become successful? All the time. It's not racism to point out an obvious truth, is it? The welfare system is completely insane. The principal behind it is okay, but the execution of it is terrible. Working at International Steward over the past 18 months, I've learned something: handouts don't work. They lead to a lack of dignity, a mindset of entitlement and laziness, and they ultimately make things worse. This is true regarding foreign aid, but it's just as true in our own streets.
Anyway ... you can't blame Obama for the stupidity of millions of people, nor can you blame any president. But I do think his presence as an intelligent and powerful black man could end up being one of the most important things in American history. Black America really needs to get its act together as a whole, and just stop encouraging stupid behavior. Maybe Charles Barkley said it best ...
"I see him as a great role model 'cause we got to get more black kids educated. And you know we have this terrible thing going on in the black community about if a black kid does well in school we make fun of him. We've got to get more black kids getting their education, carrying themselves with great dignity, and self esteem."
Couldn't agree more.
Like it or not, we are going to have Obama as President for another 5 years. I was going to look at the Republican candidates for 2012, but really, what's the point? If you haven't realized by now that it's a lost cause, you're not seeing the whole picture. Huckabee dropped out, Trump is out, Daniels is out. Romney and Palin are 1 and 2 in the polls right now, and neither stand a chance. I could see Mitt putting up a semi-reasonable fight, maybe getting 200 electoral votes (McCain got 173). But he doesn't seem to have the GOP excited or unified.
Sarah being the nomination would be the saddest thing to happen to our country since slavery, and would effectively spell the end of the Republican party. When 55% of the nation and 90% of the world thinks your candidate is a completely worthless buffoon, it does not help build your case. Of all the millions of capable Americans, is Sarah "I've Never Taken a Law Class in my Life" Palin really the most capable President? Seriously, can we all just stop this silly charade and admit McCain made a mistake? Why is she still even considered a viable politician?
It's too bad, because the Presidential Election is one of the greatest things about America, and it's usually pretty exciting. But unless Obama makes a remarkable mistake, or unless Ronald Reagan rises from the grave, I don't see any way the Republicans even make this a contest.
Let's look at the map.
California (55 votes) is a clear win for the Democrats. So is New York (31). Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan all used to be considered 'swing states.' In 2008 Obama won each of them by at least 4%, including a 16% blowout in Michigan. That's 170 electoral votes right there. You need 270 to win.
Democrats always carry the east coast (Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, DC) which combine for another 65. None of those states were even remotely close. You can give Obama Illinois and Hawaii for obvious reasons, and that's another 25, bringing the total to 260.
That means he only needs to win Wisconsin OR Minnesota OR Virginia OR North Carolina OR Missouri OR Indiana to win. Considering he won all of those states in 2008, it seems safe to say he'll win at least one of them in 2012. The chances of an unknown Republican sweeping six pivotal swing states are pretty remote.
Then there are the rumors that Obama is flying up the polls in Texas, a traditionally Republican stronghold, and could be threatening to steal their 34 electoral votes and essentially erase all doubts. Don't forget about New Mexico and Nevada at 5 votes each, which Obama won by 15% and 12% last time. He also took Iowa (7 votes) and Colorado (9 votes).
All in all, the only way for Obama to lose would be for a strong, dynamic, likeable, intriguing candidate to challenge him. Someone who has loads of money, plenty of charisma, adequate political experience, above-average speaking ability, intellectual prowess, and most importantly an ability to unite the GOP. Oh, and they also must be able to obtain the minority vote, something that won't come easy against a black President who is beloved by Oprah and Snoop Dogg.
Obviously Sarah Palin isn't going to win. She would be lucky to get 100 electoral votes. Romney would fall short as well, as would Newt Gingrich. Unless the Republicans have a secret ace up their sleeve, and I really don't think they do, they might want to start the 2016 search now.