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November 9, 2010

Obama struggles; Pawlenty of hope.

This is a fascinating time, politically, for America. Everyone had predicted that last week’s mid-term results would be difficult for Obama, but few had predicted that they’d be as bad as they were. The Democrats suffered their biggest losses for 70 years (worse, even, than Clinton’s kicking in 1994), they lost the House, only just held onto the Senate and even lost Obama’s old Senate seat of Illinois (the American equivalent of Labour losing Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath or the Tories losing Witney).

Never has Mario Cuomo’s adage that “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.” seemed so sage than when talking about Barack Obama. The sweeping, inspirational, near-utopian rhetoric of the 2008 presidential campaign has been replaced by a decidedly disjointed, faltering prose. Yes, presidents have come back from worse positions than he’s in, but he badly needs for the economy to boom and unemployment to fall significantly in the next 18 months if he is to have any chance. Having, for the last two years, been sure that he would turn things around and win a second term, I’m now increasingly uncertain that he’ll win in 2012.

Much will depend on the identity of his Republican opponent. I refuse to believe, for example, that the American electorate would be idiotic enough to elect Sarah Palin as president, even if she was the Republicans’ preferred candidate. A look at Ladbrokes‘ odds suggests that, although Mitt Romney is favourite, there is no obvious or outstanding candidate. I was intrigued to read a post on BryantPedia (an excellent blog, incidentally, that I strongly recommend) that suggested we keep an eye on Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota. Having done a bit of research, this seems a reasonable call – he seems a pretty uncontroversial, if perhaps unremarkable, candidate, who’s earnt particular praise for balancing the state’s budget without increasing taxation. He’s also got blue-collar credentials – his father was a truck driver, his mother died when he was young; he’s experienced the American Dream.

Anyway, I’ve put my money where my mouth is (or, rather, I’ve put my money where BryantPedia’s mouth is) and put a tenner on him to win the 2012 Presidential race, at odds of 25/1.

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