1. Sabato and Abramowitz , two of our most astute and fair-and-balanced political scientists, are now certain that our president will serve only one term. Either he will be defeated for reelection (by anyone but Palin) or he will bow to the inevitable and decide soon to not seek reelection.
2. I wonder. Back in 2008-09, when so many on both sides were saying that Obama’s (and the Democrats’) big victory signaled a new birth of PROGRESSIVE REFORM, I said that he’s going to be little more than a blip in our political history. It still remains the case that the ideology of Progressive Reform died as a sustainable, governing public philosophy with the failure of the Great Society. This month’s election was just confirmed for me what I thought was an obvious fact.
3. Now it’s true that blips can do big stuff. And so we’re stuck with the really terrible Health Care Reform in the short term. Pistol Pete and others remind us how hard it will be to rid ourselves of that. But already it’s not change that most of the country believes in, and I strongly doubt that it’s going to get more popular as we feel its effects.
4. But for now I also doubt that the repudiation of our President’s ideology will generate a sustainable, governing alternative public philosophy either.
5. It’s probably the case that 40% of the country are for the president as public philosopher, 40% against (that’s the percentage that’s pro-Tea Party), and 20% genuinely conflicted and readily swingable. Among those who say the president doesn’t deserve reelection, after all, are those who say he hasn’t been liberal or progressive enough.
6. The country remains evenly divided insofar as our citizens think politically. The two-party vote for Congress this time (as I did predict) was about the same as 2008, but in reverse. 2008, for reasons we’ve discussed, pushed pretty much as far in one direction as is possible. This time, for reasons JWC and others have discussed, pushed about as far as possible in the other.
7. Given turnout differences beginning with the African Americans in 2012, it’s about inconceivable that our president would lose by anything close to a landslide next time. He could win if he were perceived as more competent—and he might get lucky (economically, for example) or he might just get more competent. Finally, the confidence of Larry and Alan depends on their conviction that our president is too inflexible to adjust to conditions of divided government. I am, to repeat what I’ve said before, not as sure. It’s true that one-trick Barack will be one-term Barack, but he may turn out to be trickier than he’s seemed so far.
8. No Republican should believe the election of 2012 is over. Don’t misunderestimate this guy (here Pistol and I agree). And be about the business of getting your own really good guy.
9. Finally Americans remain pretty even divided or conflicted on “public philosophy,” and we remain a center to center-right country.