Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:47 AM
McCain lost because any republican would have lost in '08 with the economy in the shape it was in after two republican terms. That's just the nature of American politics.
Obama, under normal circumstances, would never have beaten Hillary Clinton out for the nomination OR have won against the moderate McCain. He had the right message (change) during a time when people wanted change more than ever because the status quo was so bad. Obama was in just the right place at just the right time, as happens often with the Presidency. You run a moderate republican against Obama in 2000 or 2004 and Obama loses in a landslide.
But now he's in and the GOP has taken a HARD turn to the right fringe and in a system where moderates and independents essentially decide elections, that won't fly. Obama may have had a very liberal voting record; he may actually be very liberal personally - but he hasn't governed that way and that's what matters most when running against a Rick Santorum type republican who scares most moderates to death.
Has Obama governed as a conservative? Of course not. The people who say that are mostly liberals who are angry they voted for him expecting FDR and instead got Bill Clinton. Truth is Obama could have been MUCH more liberal than he has been and any common sense conservative knows this. He hasn't gone after guns, he didn't put any extreme new regulations on the banking industry (just some slight new regulations), punted on public option/single payer health care for a system that is a mirror of both RomneyCare AND the GOP plan from the early 90's. And he's actually been very hawkish on terrorism, hasn't closed Gitmo, continued many Bush policies on terror, and has basically adopted Seal Team 6 as his own personal assault force when he needs poo done right.
Truth is Obama hasn't been nearly as liberal as most conservatives say he's been. He also hasn't been as conservative as most liberals claim he's been. He's been a moderate democratic POTUS. That has disappointed some of his supporters but also has resulted in the right wingers being forced to make poo up to fire up the base. He's a muslim, he's a socialist, he wasn't born in the U.S., he takes orders from George Soros, etc.
Problem for the GOP is that the only ones who actually believe those things are the ones who were almost certainly going to vote against Obama anyway. Moderates and independents, who decide elections in this country, look at hard facts and the facts show Obama to be a moderate democrat who finally managed to get Bin Laden, has lowered taxes on the working class, the economy is improving, and has had to work with a GOP-controlled House that is determined to ensure he becomes a one-term POTUS.
And then when Rick Santorum comes out of nowhere as a potential nominee for the GOP they see an ultra-right-wing religious nut who wants to make drastic cuts to everything from medicare, social security, and food stamps to the department of education in the name of "small government" but then turns around and says he wants government to enforce his own right-wing religious views on every - whether they believe them or not.
And with Mitt Romney they see a guy who seemingly has no real political convictions and has been pandering to the far-right for 4 years now and yet still can't convince them he's really on their side. He promotes the fact that he's got business experience and yet as the economy improves he continues to attack Obama's economic policies and proposes a return to the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. And then turns around and says he doesn't give a poo about poor people because they have wellfare taking care of them - and then says he wants to cut that wellfare drastically.
So yeah, Obama is a lock for re-election for a lot of reasons. Especially if Santorum is the nominee. That map is going to turn blue in a lot of unexpected places on election night in that scenario. Maybe Romney makes a half-hearted run at victory if he wins out, but the larger issue is the GOP platform itself has gone so far to the right in recent years they have scared away a lot of independents who decide elections. These folks may not be thrilled with the democrats - or Obama - but when put up against Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney the choice has to seem pretty clear.