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American Exceptionalism?

From Joe Klein, writing in Time magazine:

This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism. […] There are those who say, cynically, if this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012, so be it. I disagree. One of them could get elected. You never know.

Or Steve Kornacki, writing in Salon:

For respectable Republicans, the embarrassment potential may be at an all-time high. The party is a year away from picking its next presidential candidate and never in the modern era has it faced a vacuum like this.

The party’s base — which nominated several utterly unelectable candidates in several high-stakes Senate races last year — is in revolt, thirsting for purity and likely to accede to a Romney or Pawlenty nomination only with reluctance. Before then, it figures to be tempted by an atypically large collection of red meat-spouting long shots: Michele Bachman, Newt Gingrich, John Bolton, Rick Santorum, maybe even Sarah Palin or (why not?) Herman Cain — personally and politically polarizing extremists who validate a damaging stereotype of the Obama-era GOP.

UPDATE: At this point before the 2008 presidential election, at least 17 Democrats and Republicans had officially set up their exploratory committees or declared they were running for the presidency. Obama famously declared he was running on February 10, 2007, in the same city where Lincoln had done the same thing. But things are getting off to a slow start this year. Only three Republicans have formed exploratory committees — Cain, Pawlenty, and Roemer — and nobody has actually declared they are running. NBC even had to postpone their first presidential debate, which was scheduled for May 2, until September 14.



  1. Patricia wrote:

    Interesting observation and begs the question: if these guys are as awful as they seem (and I think they are!) how is it that the Repubs got back into majority status in the House? And if we answer that question, the next one is: how will the Demos fare this time?

    I wish I had a crystal ball! Oh! Wait! Maybe that ISN’T a good idea!

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink
  2. TJ wrote:

    About the Update… GOOD!!! The 2008 election was WAY too long and drawn out. There is no reason whatsoever it needed to start nearly 2 years before election day.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    TJ, you can say that again!

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  4. Bard wrote:

    The real question to me is how much longer will Republicans keep falling for the bullshit. It seems like more and more people are willing to call out Newt’s flip flop and the Republican Party Position of “Just Say NO” to Obama. At some point shouldn’t these revolting Tea Partiers wonder why nothing is getting done? Or are they just going to keep blaming everything on the Dems and Obama?

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink
  5. Hey Patricia, we used to have a crystal ball: it was this site

    But the wonderful person who ran it seems to have gone on hiatus, possibly permanently. Frankly, I’m still crushed about it. His site was good, and regularly nailed the predictions.

    The other good site was Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, but it got eaten by the New York Times and its paywall. 🙁

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    I partly owe the success of my site to Andy, the guy who ran Electoral Vote. I haven’t talked to him to see if he really is shutting down or not. It is interesting that it was being run from Holland.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
  7. ebdoug wrote:

    I met a lot of neat people through Electoral vote. He was unable to keep the ones off who fling detritus. So we became a group outside the Web Site. Sad. You seem to have enough things to block out those people.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    His site was enormously more popular than mine is. When you have a site that is that popular, it is a full time job just dealing with that kind of crap.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  9. Sammy wrote:

    Keep in mind, at this point in ’08, there was no incumbent to run against. Not that I disagree with anything in the post, btw.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink
  10. Patricia wrote:

    TD: I followed both sites and wondered where they went. Thanks for the updates, guys!

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  11. Trip Ericson wrote:

    The NY Times “paywall” is more of a “pay request” than anything else. It’s easy enough to defeat.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Permalink
  12. Trip Ericson: It is, for now. I doubt it will be that easy to avoid later.

    And seriously, I miss Electoral Vote far more than I miss FiveThirtyEight. But I do miss them both, badly. (IK: Can you talk Andy into maybe updating Electoral Vote at least once a week? It really is an amazingly good site.)

    Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 3:13 am | Permalink
  13. drew wrote:

    Although there was a lot of interesting commentary on the issues on electoral-vote, I think his primary focus was always on the polls and statistics around the races. This far out polls are pretty meaningless. In his last few updates, he did seem to indicate that he intended to pick it up again for the 2012 election cycle. I hope he does.

    Regarding Patricia’s question about the Republican gains in the House: in my opinion, the House races were low profile enough that they often turned into more of a generic approval ballot. It wasn’t a matter of “Do I prefer candidate X or Y” as much as “Do I approve what Obama and Nancy Pelosi are doing?” For the Senate, and to a lesser extent Governors, the races were much higher profile, to the extent that the people actually mattered. In those races, we saw a number of races that could have been easy pickups for the R’s turn into very close, hard fought races. They lost many more than they should have, and many of the rest of them were won by much closer margins than the generic ballot would have indicated.

    Also, there actually is one Republican who has officially registered to run:
    I don’t see him getting much traction, though…

    Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink
  14. Ed wrote:

    Bard, you’re right. The right suffers from “bringing a knife to a gunfight” syndrome, and they don’t get it about the FOOD CHAIN either. Geez!


    Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink