Feast of St. Stephen, King of Hungary*
The rumor that Obama may not run in 2012 which was floated yesterday is not entirely crazy. His numbers are dropping like a stone and Gallup yesterday cited the fact that even among the poor—his supposed greatest strength—disappointment in him is such that there will be big stay-at-home numbers. If there is no improvement in the economy before 2012 I would imagine he would not run. Chances of a landslide which would produce a Republican congress…maybe heavy majorities in both Houses according to the latest calculations of analyst Michael Barone…and the struggles that would ensue would make for Obama the prospect of running a futile one. I think the most significant reason is the dispirited and embittered state of what Robert Gibbs calls “the Professional Left.”
Don’t look for the announcement to be made before the last minute…prior to the 2012 primaries, however…with his final decision pending until the last minute. But as of now I think he’d be smart not to run again. He can always get his publicitors to say that he’d rather be right and not be reelected.
To me the statement on the New York city mosque is the tip-off. Obama is many things but not dumb. To make a gratuitous statement supporting…purportedly…the right of Muslims to freedom of worship and apply it however tenuously to the New York mosque…tells me that this is the real Obama talking—the lefty ideologue who sees himself as a global leader rather than an American president. No president in his right mind thinking of reelection would take the position that Muslims who blew up the Trade Center and killed 3,000 should be defended, even with the arched language he used.
So my guess is this: If the economy stays stagnant and the polls continue to look hopeless, this guy ain’t running.
Which of course would mean that Hillary will. She would not have a chance in this climate. She’d have to defend the Obama administration which she served as secretary of state while at the same time trying to distance herself from it.
In the long run of history, she made a grievous mistake. She should have stayed in the Senate, serving as an occasional critic and bided her time. She would go down like a ton of bricks in 2012.
At the same time, I don’t doubt that Palin will hold the cards she’s playing up to her chin but in the last analysis will not run for president but will spend her time earning big bucks and charging up the Tea Party people and the GOP grass roots. If she makes that decision it would not be crazy either—but astute.
People don’t realize how young she is. She’s only 46 and will be 48 in 2012. She can play this presidential game for 20 years. Right now she’s making a ton of money speaking to private organizations and businesses and getting all the advantages of presidential candidacy at the same time. This way she can continue to grow and mature in public life without (a) sacrificing huge earnings, (b) be criticized for being too ambitious and a flash in the pan, jabs she endured in 2008 and (c) undergoing the grueling experience of two blood and guts campaigns… first one for the nomination, then one for the general.
However…it’s my guess she would have first pick for the vice presidential nomination again—with virtually anyone: Romney—you name them. She’d add immeasurably because she is the Big Mama Grizzly (a brilliant appellation she gave women candidates) and would get major credit for not pushing herself too hard.
With election of a Republican president virtually as sure as it ever gets, she could serve as vice president and be ready at 56 to run for president. That would give her time to get her family raised. Acceptance of a veep nod again would give her boundless good will among other factions in the party and allow her to get the seasoning she needs.
Rumors of a possible Fr. Michael Pfleger candidacy for mayor…absurd the more you think of it…floated around at a Catholic church picnic I attended yesterday. People said the rumor started with a story in an underground newspaper. It’s the craziest thing I ever heard of because Pfleger’s top agenda item is to use the priesthood and Saint Sabina’s to get on TV…and without the roman collar and church as a platform he’d just be another storefront wild man.
And, too, Pfleger has real political power in this city by staying where he is. He is a member of the College of Cardinals of The Squid because his congregation…filled with singing, swaying, Jesus jumping, eye-popping, finger-snapping black zealots—with a few guilt-ridden whites trying unsuccessfully to sing, sway, Jesus Jump, pop their eyes and snap their fingers all at the same time—constitute real power in the black community and a gusher of motivated votes. Why would he give that up to be just another candidate? And would he dare run against Daley who is his friend? Logic and cool dispassion would say no.
Yet you must remember that Father Pfleger is a 14 carat nut…and to a real nut the idea of running for Mayor—and becoming Mayor—is tantalizing. For one thing he could posture himself as a white Jean Bertrand Aristide, a priest who was sacked by his Order when he became president of Haiti.
I’m not even sure this namby pamby, parsing, temporizing, shilly-shallying archdiocese would muster the guts to unhorse him even if he ran. You must remember it took an order from the Pope to get people like Fr. Drinan to quit.
My conclusion is the rumor is just that—baseless. But in my heart I hope God’s Angry Man runs. It’ll show him just how many friends he doesn’t have.
*: St. Stephen, King of Hungary [975-1038]. The son of Geza, duke of the Magyars (people who settled in Hungary in the 9th century and became nominal Catholics) was Stephen who married the sister of Henry II. With laudable maneuvering, Stephen succeeded to the kingship. Once crowned, he succeeded in making Catholicism a national religion, residual vestiges of which have lasted until the present day. He acted like a Pope: encouraged a strict moral life, forbade Catholics to marry pagans, rooted out superstitions left over from pagan days. At the same time he treated the poor and unfortunate with great compassion and kindness, sometimes distributing alms in disguise to chasten himself from popularity…which one time very nearly got him killed. After his death his relics were venerated in churches and he became—and is regarded as such today—as the most prominent of Hungary’s many Catholic kings. Indeed, he is certifiably regarded as being identified and indemnified with Hungary for all time.