Higgins: Wait until next timeWritten by Tim Higgins | | firstname.lastname@example.org
This time of year you will often hear people like me railing against their fate in life. No, it isn’t because the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party has taken center stage (though that’s certainly reason enough); but because my beloved Cubs are 30 games out of first in their division. Their poor performance this year is no cause to lose faith however, since it is by definition a ‘belief that is not based on proof’ according to Dictionary.com. It does however, have me repeating what Cub’s fans have for over 100 years, “Wait until next year”.
It’s also one of the themes I often consider after a Republican National Convention. The first of course, is “It’s My Turn”, coming from the 1980 Diana Ross hit song and a Jill Clayburgh / Michael Douglas movie of the same name. One can believe little else as we watch yet another well-known Republican moderate and statist paraded before us as the presumptive nominee.
Take with me if you will, a trip in the wayback machine some four years ago to the Twin Cities and last Republican gathering. Oh sure there were challenges by Ron Paul, Alan Keyes, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, and this year’s nominee Mitt Romney that seemed to excite the base more; but they proved surprisingly (and dare I say suspiciously) ineffectual against a candidate whose only apparent claim to the title (other than his exemplary military record) was that he’d done his time in the Senate and ‘it was his turn’.
The lackluster run up to the convention only began to catch fire when Sarah Palin was added to the ticket as his running mate. Whether you agree with her opinions or not, no one can deny that this choice for VP incited the faithful and put fear into the heart of the opposition in ways that Senator McCain could only dream about. And when the party gathered in Minnesota, it was speeches by many of those including Palin, that seemed to draw real enthusiasm and excitement from those gathered. The Candidate himself went on to run a mostly lackluster and uninspiring campaign, more concerned about saying something offensive than taking the offensive … and lost. The party briefly grieved about the wasted opportunity, but took heart in the rising stars its convention introduced and looked forward to the next time.
Anybody else starting to feel the deja vu goosebumps running up your extremities like a Chris Matthews leg tingle?
Here we are four years later, and again a candidate who has put in his time and paid his dues is the GOP nominee. While Mitt Romney is not a bad guy, he too is a moderate statist Republican whose VP pick is drawing far more attention (and perhaps support) than the candidate himself. Once more the crop of up-and-coming speakers at the convention drew far more notice and attention than the candidate himself. Once more we seem to see, except for the appearances of the VP nominee Ryan, an unwillingness to engage and take the campaign offensive.
Now, even two months before the election, we begin to hear the whispers. They speak of the depth of the Republican bench with Rubio, Ryan, Rice, and Christie (which does have a certain John, Paul, George, and Ringo ring to it). And such is not to discount other hopefuls like Perry in Texas and Jindal in Louisiana who may also have future aspirations to higher office. They tell us that some of the party faithful at least, are not as confident in the face of the Incumbent’s glaring lack of leadership as they should be.
The first time that Barack Obama won the presidency, we were told that his message of hope and changed triumphed over that of his opponent. Few if any talked about the fact that his real victory may have been in winning a primary against a fellow Democrat whose time seemed to have come; and carrying the enthusiasm of that victory into the general election.
This year that same candidate may defy pundits who say that no president can win re-election with unemployment over 8 percent. (As a point of history – FDR won re-election for his 2nd term with the rate at 16.9 percent and his 3rd term with the rate at 14.6 percent). But if Obama wins his next and final term, perhaps the real credit for his successes should go to Republicans. Wall Street Journal economist Stephen Moore once said that the GOP, “never passes up an opportunity to pass up an opportunity”. It certainly seems that they’re intent on doing so, while repeating the past mistakes and poor performance of 2008 by running a candidate whose turn had apparently come, while gazing raptly into an uncertain future and defiantly whispering, “wait until next time”.