James Forsyth

Obama 2.0

Obama 2.0
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The piece in the New York Times magazine this weekend on the Obama presidency illustrates how far he has fallen. A large chunk of it is devoted to whether or not he can win re-election, something that most of his supporters used to take for granted. 

Significantly, the Obama White House itself is admitting that things could have been done better:

“While proud of his record, Obama has already begun thinking about what went wrong — and what he needs to do to change course for the next two years. He has spent what one aide called “a lot of time talking about Obama 2.0” with his new interim chief of staff, Pete Rouse, and his deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina.”

I still tend to think that Obama will survive simply because there isn’t a stand out Republican candidate. Peter Baker reports that Obama aides sign up to this bit of conventional wisdom:

“They are more optimistic about 2012 than they are about 2010, believing the Tea Party will re-elect Barack Obama by pulling the Republican nominee to the right. They doubt Sarah Palin will run and figure Mitt Romney cannot get the Republican nomination because he enacted his own health care program in Massachusetts. If they had to guess today, some in the White House say that Obama will find himself running against Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor.”

Huckabee, though, should not be underestimated. He’s the best retail politician I’ve ever seen. Indeed, I remember a couple of journalists from Arkansas telling me in New Hampshire in 2008 that having watched both Huckabee and Bill Clinton for many years, they were convinced that Huckabee was the more natural politician.