Bob Franken: Prep post Obama

  • By Bob Franken
  • Saturday, November 8, 2014 5:21pm
  • Opinion

The reporters at his news conference desperately tried to get President Barack Obama to come up with a one-word sound bite election analysis to match his “shellacking” description the last time he got, uh, shellacked, back in the 2010 midterms. But POTUS wasn’t playing. The best crumb he was willing to toss them was “The Republicans had a good night.” Then he promised that he and the GOP forces who control all of Capitol Hill would seek out compromises. Mitch McConnell had uttered the same platitudes a short time before.

Don’t hold your breath. The final quarter of the Obama presidency will involve the same go-nowhere warfare as the first three quarters. That’s because we instantly jump into the 2016 battle to see who replaces Barack Obama.

So much time, so many scenarios. For the Democrats:

Story line No. 1: Hillary runs.

Story line No. 2: Hillary doesn’t run. Chaos ensues.

Actually, if Hillary does announce that she will accept her party’s nomination, there will be quite a scramble to determine the No. 2 guy. I say “guy” because misogynists vote too, and there are a lot of them. She wouldn’t want to rub their noses in it with an all-female ticket. Pity.

Now on to the Republicans, where the free-for-all is already well under way. There are so many plausible story lines. To mention just a few:

Rand Paul is the nominee. After all, his Libertarian facade appeals to the younger voters who are turned off by government intrusion and by our institutions in general. His downside is that some of his views are pretty out there. Not as far as his father’s, mind you, but Rand is definitely a chip off the old Ron block.

Ted Cruz wins the cheap-shot battle against the other hard-right wingnuts and tries to turn the GOP presidential race into the new Crusade. The obvious advantage for him is that he appeals to his party’s religiously intolerant base. His obvious disadvantage is that he appeals to his party’s religiously intolerant base. That would scare the bejeezus out of anyone not hankering for a return to the Dark Ages.

Or, Republicans might go in the absolute opposite direction and choose the sensible candidate, say, Jeb Bush. The upside is obvious: Jeb is not a wack job. The downside is that he sure can be boring; another bummer is that we’d have a Bush-Clinton race. Been there, done that.

By the way, I’m not bothering with Chris Christie, since he’s too nasty. To wear the crown, you have to first win the “Mr. (or Ms.) Congeniality” prize. That isn’t in the cards for Christie. We will need to keep our eyes on some other governors, those who did well in this election, like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker or John Kasich of Ohio.

Whoever runs for the GOP’s nomination, you can bet that he’ll choose a female running mate. And this time, it’ll be one of the many women in the party who have a brain. Condoleezza Rice comes to mind, but if Jeb Bush is the nominee, he doesn’t need any more George W. Bush baggage than he’d already have to carry.

This is all a tad premature. In both parties, someone suddenly may arise from nowhere as a new, unstoppable force, just like Barack Obama. Furthermore, the world isn’t going to stand still. There will be new traumas and scandals … lots of them, which will serve to put one of the other candidates into a favorable or unfavorable light.

Not only that, but for the next two-plus years, it’ll be the Obama administration that will be dealing with them. To paraphrase Mark Twain: The death of Obama’s presidency is somewhat exaggerated. But short of the all-consuming crises, he won’t be center stage now in the political drama, which usually will be slapstick comedy. He insisted he wasn’t “mopey.” He should be.

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.

More in Opinion

File
Opinion: Here’s what I expect of lawmakers in a post-Roe America

I urge lawmakers to codify abortion rights at the state and federal levels.

File
Opinion: Confusion over ranked choice voting persists

Voter confusion over ballot procedures will continue

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Voices of the Peninsula: A vote for Walker/Drygas is a vote for Alaskans

It’s easy to forget some of the many lost lawsuits, devastating budget cuts and general incompetence that defines Mike Dunleavy’s term as governor

This photo shows a return envelop for 2022 special primary. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Voices of the Peninsula: Learn how to access your ballot

The recent special primary election was the first time the state conducted an all mail-in ballot election

The Storyknife Writers Retreat in the summer of 2021 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Storyknife: Invest in women writers, read the rewards

Storyknife is committed to providing opportunities to a diversity of writers

Residents line the Sterling Highway in front of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office to oppose Pebble Mine on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: No more delays — finalize protections for Bristol Bay

How many times do we have to say NO to a bad project that would harm Alaskans?

Peter Asmus (Photo provided)
Why Alaska is leading the nation on energy innovation

Alaska is a unique vantage point upon which to review the world’s current energy conundrum

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: On Alaska’s gasline, you can’t schedule opportunity

Alaska has the largest source of stranded conventional gas (no drilling required) in North America

Charlie Pierce stands in his home on Thursday, March 11, 2022, in Sterling, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: When politics get dirty

So, let me step out front and dispel the already debunked false narratives …

Most Read