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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cockeye Cauci

Ok, they weren't really all that cockeye, I just couldn't resist using that title. I'd say they were actually pretty predictable to anyone who was paying attention. Congrats to Huckabee and Obama. But don't get cocky kid: Iowa hasn't been a great predictor in recent years. (Hat tip to Instapundit - my favorite political blog.)

I had actually forgotten my three year-old 2008 prediction until someone posted a comment to it the other day. Rather than hiding the evidence of my prediction as I jokingly threatened to, I'm going to refine things a little.

I think I was (sadly) pretty much right about the fate of the Democratic Party between 2004 and now. What I didn't predict was that the Republicans would be in about the same state after the 2006 mid-terms. Both parties have gone out of their way to earn their congressional approval ratings.

I still think that when all is said and done Hillary will be the Democratic nominee. What I'm no longer certain about is her ability to win the general election.

The main reason is that she is likely to be far too polarizing. Her base will love her, but so will her opponents, who will line up overnight for the chance to vote against her. Between the 45% who will love her and the 45% who will hate her, that leaves only 10% of the electorate for the candidates to fight over. Her best chance to break out of that scenario is for a moderate or far-right candidate to split the opposition. That may be difficult, though, because it seems unlikely that her opponents would not consolidate against her.

The other reason I'm uncertain about her general election appeal is general distrust of political dynasties. Not much has been made of that so far, but I think it could turn into a genuine issue. If Hillary is elected for two terms, then by 2016 the White House will have been held by two immediate families for 28 years. That's over 10% of our country's history...consecutively.

Food for thought: Although obviously less bloody, that's only 2 years less than the Wars of the Roses.

Regardless of my political persuasion, I find myself being intensely uncomfortable with that prospect. Dynasties are not healthy for democracies and republics, and I would very much prefer for my country to not be gently lulled into that trap. I would feel the same way about Jeb Bush running, and when you consider that a whole new generation of Clintons and Bushes could be old enough to run in 2016, the prospect becomes even more disturbing.

I'm completely willing to concede that I may be in the vast minority on that issue, though. I hope that voters will have enough historical perspective and respect for the dangers of hereditary monarchies to at least look askance at simply alternating between two dynasties. Even if they ultimately decide that it's a non-issue for them personally, they should at least consider the implications.

The Dynasty Factor might not be a major issue for very many people, but when you start thinking in terms of only 10-20% of the electorate really being in play, even minor issues become major.



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