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Debate:Could an Obama win be bad news?

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Feel free to add your own spin on the story. Please keep it civil!
Information icon.svg This debate was created by Ajkgordon.

Ignoring the minor issues of policy, experience, the economy, human rights, the environment for a moment.

What happens to the GOP if McCain loses?

Will they lurch to the right and go all fundy? Will they give up on relatively secular and reasonable candidates like McCain, see how popular Palin has been at the grass roots, and go all out for a Bible-thumpin', gun-totin', charasmatic candidate next time round? Who could, given the state of the economy and public finances that Obama is likely to inherit, win the next prez election?

And does that mean that the US is at a greater risk of a theocracy-leaning administration in four years' time if Obama wins?

Perhaps you septics should vote McCain!

Thoughts? Ajkgordon 04:29, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

The problem there is if the Rupblican keep fielding more and more extreme candidates they will eventually marginalise themselves to obscurity. You are assuming that the Republican will always, indefinitely, be a major fixture on the political scene, sometimes parties just die. - User For best results always render PNG 04:36, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Yup. If it were SP for Prez, she'd get a solid 18% or so (if that) of the vote. End of story. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:40, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Three reasons why an Obama win will be a desperately good thing: the Supreme Court, Iran, and Guantanamo.
  • Probably two, and maybe three Justices will be appointed by the next President. There has long been suspicion that some of the more liberal members of the Court are just waiting for a Democrat so they can retire, but they may not be able to wait four more years if McCain wins. The Court has become extraordinarily politicized with the introduction of Alito and Roberts, and if Roe v Wade came up today it would only have a one-vote margin. It and many similar decisions are at stake.
  • If McCain wins, it seems very likely we will go to war with Iran. That's pretty much cut-and-dry.
  • People are being held without cause in captivity by American troops. This has gone on for years, and they have not been granted court hearings and are unable to challenge their imprisonment. It is the most vile tyranny perpetuated in the past twenty years within the American demesne, and under McCain it seems unlikely it will change given his ardent support for Bush.
I know you were probably being facetious, but still: it is vital that Obama win. Thank goodness that he will.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 04:55, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Hear, hear, and hear @ Tom Moore! ħumanUser talk:Human 04:59, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

Not convinced. That seems pretty myopic to me. Palin is not what I had in mind. Remember who the other candidates were. And remember who is President right now.
It's not a stretch to imagine a Bush type president with extra fundy topping.
As an aside, I was listening to that prominent US particle physicist (Asian - can't remember his name) talking about CERN and how he is involved in the LHC. He was reminiscing that a bigger better LHC would have been built in Texas if the answer to a prominent Republican's question (Senator? Governor?) of "Will this experiment find God?" had been different.
Yes, I was being facetious but I worry that this is a credible risk. Ajkgordon 05:04, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
If the UK experience is anything to go by the GOP has to spend a period in the political wilderness before someone drags it back to the reasonable centre. Meanwhile the Dems, with no real opposition will self destruct and the pendulum will swing again. Silver Sloth 05:13, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Ah, GPWM, SS. Although not direct comparisons, (the Cons didn't really lurch right all that much, it just became ineffectual at being elected), it's a good one. Ajkgordon 05:17, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
  • Supreme Court Justices have lifetime tenure, and that body has been responsible for moving America forward by such leaps and bounds that it staggers me with awe at times. With such power over such a time, the entire motion of the nation is swayed as if by a bridle.
  • A war with Iran will make the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan worse. All told, this will lead to thousands of deaths and millions affected, and will help destroy the American economy even more, further harming millions. And naturally, it would only further damage America's worldwide credibility among all peoples, but even more so among the Muslim population. Such a legacy could well be the opposite of the legacy of freedom and might that America bore for forty years after the second world war.
  • People are being held in captivity. They have done no wrong. They have not been convicted of a crime. They have not even been tried for a crime. The government reluctantly acknowledges that they don't even fit in the abused and pretend category of "enemy combatants" that it invented to permit arbitrary imprisonment. They are free men, being held without cause, by American soldiers and with the full knowledge of the American people. It makes me physically ill, and if thinking that the correction of such a wrong is an utmost priority makes me short-sighted, then I accept such a label with serenity.
These are the times that try the soul of the nation. I have confidence in the people to see the right thing and reward it.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 05:20, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
I think the hard part, party-wise, is that the Dems never learned how to be a credible "oppostion party". And their stuff as the "ruling party" never got adjusted since the 70's. Still see the above points that I "yea'd" ħumanUser talk:Human 05:21, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Not myopic to those three points, Tom. I yield on those. I meant not being able to imagine anything more dangerous than Palin was being short-sighted.
I remain unsure that a significant lurch to the fundy right and being electable in four years time is off the cards. Ajkgordon 05:37, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Obama will be responsible for both stopping the war, and "fixing" the current state of economy, which is, to be fair, not G.W.B's fault alone. And, whenever Obama makes a bad or controversial decision (which, let's face it, will happen), Andy-like rednecks will stand up and shout "We told you so, black people can't be president!"
Obama's presidency will not be easy - not that it is for anyone - but I believe he's entering four years of hell. I'm quite sure he's aware of this, and if I allow myself some subjectivity, that's very brave.
And sexy! Mmm ... chocolate rain ... Etc 05:50, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
I just worry that the global economy will really tank next year and Obama will then be held responsible by the US electorate. If the current situation had happened two or three years ago then Dems would be getting in by a landslide this year. The current bailout looks like the economy has taken a knock but the govt. has done something about it. But take my word for it, it isn't over yet -not until ALL the excess debt has gone to money heaven. Redchuck.gif Генгисpillaging 05:59, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Nothing is off the cards. Palin is setting herself up for the future, by pushing on the right as hard as she can, and she will be well-situated for a run in four years. With someone like Pawlenty or Huckabee on the ticket, it will be a hard-right stance to pull the Republican base with great moderate appeal on the basis of social leftism from Huckabee and demographic appeal from Palin. I very much doubt we will see a significant demographic change in America as a whole, and there will probably not be a hard-right shift from the Republican base (which is a very diverse group of people who are convinced every term to vote against their own interests for disparate reasons).
It'll be a hard fight then, too. But it's a fight I want to make, because it's right.
You guys can be comforted when you reflect that the incumbent generally has a huge advantage when heading for re-election. Bush won in 2004, after all, to the gobsmacked disbelief of the world. The President can send his VP around for a solid year before the election, and spend the whole time consolidating his base and getting things ready, whereas the challenger is severely constrained for time. Bush had campaign offices open a full year before Kerry did. Obama will have the same advantage.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 06:04, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Sure, Palin may well be a contender in four years time. What I was objecting to was defining the right's chances in the next election based on what she would poll today, i.e. Human's quote of 18%. That's what I considered short-sighted.
I know us Brits and other furriners tend to have a bit of a jaundiced view of American politics - we often only see the stereotypes of the Bible Belt and liberal elites due largely to a cynical media and those wot shout the loudest to be heard over here. Still, US politics does seem to be incredibly partisan at the moment and the fear is that the dichotomy might deepen in time for the next election. That, with voting so close to 50:50, means that a right-fundy winning the keys to the White House looks like a distinct possibility. (Not that I would seriously argue for people to vote McCain instead of Obama because of that). Ajkgordon 06:16, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Ah, well, that just calls for some edjumacating. See, I know there's this popular idea that the Republicans are cohesive religious right. But in fact that's just the public face presented to the world by the party. They are highly organized and highly disciplined, and generally adhere to the party line as officials. But their electorate is diverse, and consists of what remains of the so-called "Reagan Coalition." This consists of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and anti-federalists. Their interests dovetailed under the recent Republican administrations as they put a very effective organization into work and made sure to put their interests first. There's a reason, after all, why being a good Republican was a litmus test at the DoJ hiring lines.
The problem is that most of these groups kept getting screwed, because the Republicans mostly work to keep themselves in power. The more people pay attention, the more they realize they've been very effectively lied to for years. The fiscal conservatives see the debt balloon massively under every Republican as the government drastically increases in size. The social conservatives (almost synonymous with "religious right") have seen that there is no way a constitutional amendment to ban abortion or gay marriage will ever happen and that the statutory progress is incremental. And the anti-federalists have witnessed massive Republican increases in executive and federal power. Even the highly disciplined Republicans just can't lie for so long, even though many of them fervently believe the lie, without being caught out without some results. You don't get Republicans who vote Democrat, for the most part, you just get Republicans who stay home.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 06:36, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Interesting. Thanks. But how does that mean that GOP party members at the next primaries won't vote for a right-fundy like Palin or a more electable equivalent because a relatively centrist candidate in McCain lost this time round?
And if Palin or similar gets the nomination and if Obama is unpopular because of the huge restriction on him economically, why would that candidate not win in four years time? Forget Republicans not voting Democrat - it's the stay at home and swing voters who decide elections, right?
I think you might be under-estimating the risk. But then, as I said, I'm foreign so don't understand it anything like as much as you guys. Ajkgordon 07:01, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
No, Palin or her equivalent stands a good chance. She will benefit from the dualism inherent in American politics... if you oppose a Democrat, you're almost inevitably a Republican. It ensures a base. And for the other reasons I list above, circumstances will have much in favor of such a person, especially Palin backed by a social liberal.
But much of the coalition is breaking down as people reassess where they stand, and so the base will be eroded. That erosion gave the House to the Dems; the House always reflects the situation on the ground the most closely. Actually, it probably would have gone to the Dems some time ago if not for the brilliant gerrymandering done under Reagan. And Obama will have a great advantage as incumbent, assuming he hasn't been a very poor President.
In truth, the way it goes will depend overwhelmingly on the Democrat performance, which is just as it should be. Demographic factors would seem to mostly cancel each other out, as Obama's very poor starting situation balances against the advantage of an incumbent.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 07:25, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
And, we have to keep in mind that what we see on CP is not very representative of Republicans ... or Christians, for that matter.
I see two possible outcomes:
  1. McCain/Palin win the election, possibly trash the economy and continue to blow people up for four years, then Obama or Hillary return to clean it up. (why is it always a black guy or a woman ...)
  2. Obama/Biden win the election, work their asses of to make things right and avoid killing people, and four years later, American citizens think (of course) that Obama/Biden didn't do it good enough, and McCain/Palin will be back to do whatever they want to fuck it up again.
I prefer #2 because that pisses of Andy. Also, saves lives. Etc 07:02, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
I think you might be leaving out about a dozen scenarios. Obama might be a really lousy President, after all. He's extremely intelligent, politically savvy, frighteningly ambitious, and has been almost absurdly lucky. But he's swung hard to the middle and hasn't taken much of a leadership role thus far administratively. He's a league better than McCain, but so is my left shoe.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 07:25, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
That's true of course. Who knows, even the war might actually be a good idea? I'm not sarcastic (for once), we have to consider the possibility that we are completely wrong.
But, I take comfort in the fact that even if Obama doesn't have prominent "leader skills" or whatever, I don't think it matters very much - because the President doesn't have ultimate power anyway; a lot of people have to agree with him before he can actually make a decision that matters. As long as he is smart enough to choose good people to cooperate with, and good goals to reach for, we're as safe as we can get. The fact that he obviously isn't that power-hungry is a good thing, even if he is weak in other aspects. Etc 07:38, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Assuming you mean the war in Afghanistan, I believe that it was initially justified, but not the nation-building that has followed. There is no justification for the war in Iraq. Success should have little to do with justification... we could also go kick Liechtenstein's ass, but our success wouldn't make it a good idea or a just one.
I must also disagree about the President's power. It is actually quite sweeping and broad on many matters. Most dramatically, as Commander-in-Chief there is ample precedent to allow him to start a war at will and commit all the armed forces to it. He needs permission to continue the war after a brief period of time, but that's a very different thing. Further, the President authors the budget, another enormous power. It must be approved, but it gives him an immensity of favors and a huge lever into Congress. He's a very powerful man. Not in certain things (economic, for instance, ironically enough) but in a lot.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 08:39, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
"The fact that he obviously isn't that power-hungry"? That's one of the funniest things I've read on here for ages. Ajkgordon 07:43, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Yes I know, I'm very funny. Perhaps I instead should have said "The fact that he isn't that obviously power-hungry" (important difference!). Compared to McCain, that is. I'm referring mostly to the fact that he (Obama) wants to end the war - by terminating the actual war, not by terminating the opponents. Technically, it's retreating, and that's a good thing, sometimes.
Also, if it isn't too obvious already, I learned all I know about American politics from CP and from this, so my opinion doesn't really count. I'm just speculating. Etc 08:19, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Hah. I learned everything I know about American politics from here, CP and The Daily Show. I win! Ajkgordon 08:34, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Damnit! I was so close to winning this time! Etc 08:47, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

I was thinking along similar lines to this yesterday. My thoughts were more along the lines of Karl Rove and Mark Hanna (President William McKinley's Rove). In sweeping generalities, Republican's would go on to control the U.S. for thirty-plus years. Their policies eventually led to the Great Depression. In another generality, this led to Democratic control for about sixty years. 1994 changed everything. This time though, it only took fourteen years for the Republicans to wreck everything. There is a great long-term opportunity here. I'm just not sure if the Democrats can keep from screwing it up. Not so much this year, but several years down the line. My true, yet unrealistic, hope is that the inverse proportions about how true. If so, we'd be in for one-hundred twenty-ish years of Democratic power. I would also like to add that I believe, as was written above, that there is a small chance that the Republicans could fracture and marginalize themselves by going just completely ultra-mega-stupid-whacky-far-right. --Edgerunner76Save me Jebus! 08:31, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

Undent) Wading in with my political science hat--failed VP nominees are seldom seen from again. Failed VP nominees that are the laughing stock of the nation? NEVER heard from again. Think back. Lieberman tried, failed badly. Ditto with Edwards. Kemp? Ferraro? Anyone even remember who McGovern's eventual VP nominee was? (Many of us know Eagleton, if only because he dropped out.)

Even if you're not worried about Palin per se, but someone like her...4 years is a long time in American politics. And, honestly--the country as a whole does not like or want someone who's a flaming social conservative. At the very least, they have to be able to package themselves differently--see Bush as a "compassionate conservative". The lesson from the McCain loss will be something more like "don't select the most wooden, temperamental candidate" rather than "don't select the moderate."

And if the Republicans are dumb enough to pick a Brownback/Santorum type? All the better. By being so explicitly anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-gay, they'll go down in flames. The younger generation is more tolerant of homosexuality than anyone. Roe is still broadly popular. That was the GWB trick--send out the signals that you're against these without actually saying so. Most social conservatives are no longer willing to accept that (they're PISSED at Bush), so the GOP will either need someone who can win social conservatives, and thus lose the election, or someone like Bush, who will be ignored by them.

As for the idea of 100 years of a Democratic majority--I won't say that would be an unalloyed good thing. The Democrats of 100 years ago were vastly different from those of now, and I don't expect them to stay the same for another 100 years. That's not how American politics works. Researcher 08:36, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

Interesting. Thanks. Ajkgordon 08:50, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Exactly. I mean, the Republican started out as anti-slavery activism, who can argue with that? Nobody cared about, for example, gay rights, at the time. But things change. 50 years from now, the Democrats may also have been replaced by a bunch of old-fashioned corrupt bigots who ... oh wait. Nevermind. Etc 08:56, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

Convenient button button[edit]

So, we all seem to be assuming that Obama has it in the bag. It's looking good and I'm reasonably confident but I remember all to well the UK general election of 1992 when we were saying all the same things about Thatcherism. Silver Sloth 08:44, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

Hence the "if" at the beginning, SS. Ajkgordon 08:48, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
  • I think Obama has it in the bag. I say that if only for the fact that things are just so bad for Republicans in general. Here are some other thoughts:
    • Palin ends up on Fox News. I think her political career is over.
    • McCain is shunned by Republicans after the loss. He and Lieberman become a two-person independent party.
    • The Republican's become extremely reactionary (even moreso) and nominate a Santorum or such. They lose big in 2012. --Edgerunner76Save me Jebus! 08:54, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Less than a month left, and McCain is five points down in the popular according to RCP and more than a hundred electoral votes down by both RCP and 538, the latter of which has Obama at a 90% chance of winning (absurdly high). Considering local margins in swing states and the math, McCain is an incredibly bad position that has just been getting worse. We'll probably see a reverse of the trend within the week, since Obama is nearing the partisan threshold - and especially given McCain's new confirmed strategy of literally 100% attack ads - but the Dems do appear to have it in the bag. For once, the conventional wisdom is right: it will take an immense "game-changer" to give this to McCain. His losing trend has been accelerated by Palin and then by his fumbling during the initial days of the economic crisis.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 08:55, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
All exactly right, Tom. However, for any Americans in the audience, please remember to go vote ANYWAY. (Particularly if you're from one of them thar purple states, or California.) Researcher 09:11, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Don't forget Palin's Troopergate problem. Something tells me whether or not there's any finding of power abuse, it'll hurt her anyway. Unfortunately for McCain, I don't think he'll last to 2012 before he completely retires from government, but that's just my hunch. NorsemanWassail! 09:33, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Republicans NEVER abuse power. They always treat power with the love and respect it deserves as they use it to crush their enemies and heap riches on their allies. --Gulik 16:22, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
McCain endorsed spending 800 billion on Iraq, 760 billion on Homeland security, and tax cuts for the rich that doubled our national deficit in the Bush II Era by 3.8 trillion. Just during this campaign he worked to tack on another $140 billion on top of the $700 billion giveaway, then during the debate he proposed another $300 billion giveaway to snap up bad loans, without even the possibility of recouping it. He actually makes Obama with his trillion dollars for universal health insurance and/or slavery reparations look prudent. A pox on both their houses. I'm voting for Bob Barr. Francine 10:28, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Bob Barr? A RW user is actually in favor of the war on drugs, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the banning of Wicca in the military? And that's just to start with...--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 10:52, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Ok, I'll say the obvious here.... A, Obama does NOT support universal healthcare, and although he frequently calls his program that, it really isn't and B, where in the blue hell do you get that he supports reparations? SirChuckBI have very poor judgement 16:40, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

In the bag?[edit]

Obama's definitely looking good right now, but at least some of that has to do with the tanking economy causing people to run from the Republicans. Ironically, the economy continuing to implode could be huge in getting Obama a win. But the election is roughly a month away. In American politics, that length of time is approximately eternity; I'm not comfortable saying that Obama has it in the bag. Two weeks from now, virtually nobody will remember McCain's old-mannish aimless wandering around the debate stage in Nashville. Echoing Researcher above, GO VOTE (probably don't have to harp on that to people at this site, but just sayin'...).--Bayes

Dude, we can vote in their country? What about darkies like me? SirChuckB
Finally someone mentions outside factors. With the economy tanking, and Obama touting for big government spending, how could he not win? Not to mention that McCain is for nationalizing our banking industry, which discourages true conservatives. Add to that the fact that when McCain attacks people hate him, and when Obama attacks people ignore it... it doesn't matter what their stances are in this race!
Oh and PS: I'm a BIG fan of discouraging mass voting. Don't know? Don't vote! JazzMan 13:27, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, I'm not a fan of convincing ignorant people to vote either. I was more concerned about the informed potential voters falling into "outcome is inevitable, so I don't need to vote" camp.--Bayes 13:39, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
While that happens a lot in local and state elections, it almost never happens in National Elections. Actually, it's the reverse that usually comes true. Side A gains a lot of momentum, discouraging side B supporters from voting, so what was a tight race comes out as a landslide in the final polling. On a side note, talking about voting, next person who says one vote doesn't matter gets stabbed in the eye with a drafting pencil. SirChuckBI have very poor judgement 14:01, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Bayes: I see what you mean. Carry on :)
Sir Chuck: But one vote doesn't matter. Ow! My eye! JazzMan 14:59, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
I didn't want to have to do that, but you had fair warning. SirChuckBI have very poor judgement 15:17, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
The outcome is inevitable. Also, no, one vote does not matter. -Sρΐяαl.Дгсђıτέςτstand up and shout 07:11, 2 November 2008 (EST)

I think the Republicans NEED to lose this election[edit]

Not out of spite, but because I hope that absorbing two hideous beatings in a row (2006, 2008) might finally bring them down off of their religion- and hubris-fuelled power-binge, hopefully allowing them to get some of the really scary lunatics out of leadership positions. OTOH, getting curbstomped repeatedly didn't teach the Democrats ONE GODDAMNED THING between 1972 and 2004, so... --Gulik 15:23, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

You don't think that 1992 and 1996 were substantially different from the years before that? (Also, it should be remembered that from 1972 to 1994 they also controlled Congress.) Researcher 21:32, 9 October 2008 (EDT)
Seems the troopergate affair for Palin just drove another proverbial nail in the coffin: they say she abused. Take THAT, mister "Republicans don't abuse power" Gulik! WAHA! NorsemanWassail! 23:11, 10 October 2008 (EDT)

I Really Hope We Don't All Die[edit]

McCain and Palin have run a campaign that has—whether intentionally or unintentionally—strengthened and legitimized the great undercurrents of fear and hatred and partisan paranoia that have been growing within our nation for generations. They have labeled Obama as a socialist who consorts with terrorists, and they have spooked tons of folks into thinking of Obama as a communist Al-Qaeda Manchurian candidate. A whole lot of people now seem to think that an Obama presidency would spell the end of America.

There are now thousands of parents who think that Barack Obama will destroy the futures of their daughters and sons. Is it so farfetched that one of those parents might decide to kill to “protect” his children?

The mini-mass hysteria surrounding Obama in certain parts of the Republican party, combined with old-fashioned racist hatred, makes it pretty likely that there will be an assassination attempt against Barack Obama if he wins—and I’m not talking about one of those pathetic half-assed never-got-off-the-ground assassination attempts like the white supremacists they caught a little while ago; I’m talking about a full-blown, John Hinckley Jr. -type “Oh, God…that was too close…” scenario. If we’re lucky. And, if we’re not lucky, well…

They might get him. Assassins might kill Barack Obama, and if they do, we’re all screwed.

Hundreds of thousands of people have invested their hopes and dreams in the Obama campaign, and if Obama is killed that devotion will turn into sorrow, anger, and loathing. They will remember that rally where a McCain supporter yelled “Shoot him!” when Obama was mentioned, and they will come to hate John McCain and Sarah Palin for the tone of this campaign and the violent revulsion for Obama it generated. They will come to blame the dynamic duo for failing to repudiate the crazies in their party and for running a campaign that, in these later months, has done so much to engender fear and sow division. McCain and Palin will become lightning rods for all the pent-up disgust with Republican dirty pool and all the grief and rage unleashed by the death of Obama. Millions of Americans will blame McCain for the destruction of their dreams, and some of them will want to get even.

If Obama is killed, there’s a very good chance that either Palin or McCain will be killed too. Whether or not they would truly bear responsibility for Obama’s assassination, they would be culpable in the eyes of much of the American people, and a few Americans would probably take it upon themselves to mete out retribution. Without the protection of the Secret Service (since, I think, they don’t protect ex-presidential candidates and definitely don’t protect ex-vice presidential candidates), an assassination attempt would have a very good chance of success.

And, if that happens…well, it’s hard to say. But one thing’s for certain: if Obama and McCain/Palin were assassinated, open hostilities would be officially established between the left and the right. Each side would have committed an unforgivable crime, and the crazies on each side would have a martyr. We’d be lucky to avoid a small-scale civil war.

All of this is just speculation, of course. Mostly, these are just ideas I’ve been brooding about over the past few weeks, and I wanted to get them written down. Obama’s probably going to be okay—the Secret Service knows their stuff. However, I think there’s a very real danger that Obama—as polarizing a figure as he is—could be assassinated, and that might be the moment when all the tension between conservatives and liberals coalesces into something far more terrifying and destructive than Conservapedia blocks and wandalism.

An Obama presidency would not be bad news for America. Let’s just hope an Obama win means an Obama presidency and not an Obama assassination.

Just a thought, anyway. Sorry for getting all preachy. A Writer of Vaudevilles 05:33, 2 November 2008 (EST)

You paint a disturbing picture. I hope things do not pan out as you fear. I would be most interested to see if any of your fellow Americans share your forebodings.--Bobbing up 06:40, 2 November 2008 (EST)
Hey Writer of V--thanks, the Secret Service just came by after reading what you wrote. I told them where you live. Okay, seriously, now: Every president has to deal with assassination attempts, and I imagine that we never hear about most of the threats/plots that are foiled/plans that don't go off. Would President Obama be more prone to these threats? Maybe. On the other hand, I've seen thousands of people wearing "George Bush, International Terrorist" t-shirts over the past seven years, mainly by people who watched Mike Moore draw strong connections between Bush and the Bin Ladens, and none of them have tried to kill the president. Maybe people are able to live with the level of cognitive dissonance that would come with truly believeing the Presient is a terrorist. Do Obama's supporters really make strong connections between racists with guns and the Republican candidates? I'm not so sure. Yes, McPalin could have done a lot more to distance themselves from some of the ugly rhetoric that glommed on to their campaign, but they were pretty artful about letting it go on without appearing to embrace it.
What's most interesting here is that for a country with so much voter apathy, a lot of people are going to vote this time around, and a lot of people who tended to ignore politics are following it--how disillusioned are they going to be when the candidate of their choice turns out to be just another politician, with more failures than successes, a few scandals, and quickly demonstrating that he is beholden not to the voters, but to the corporations, wealthy interests and political power brokers--like every other politician. PFoster 09:24, 2 November 2008 (EST)
If Obama is assassinated, people will be very unhappy and many things will be dedicated to him. People will probably pass his agendas and such postmortem for the most part, like a lot of JFK's cruised through. And this statement "If Obama is killed, there’s a very good chance that either Palin or McCain will be killed too" is just nuts. No one is going to blame either of them except in the most tangential way for such an event. And a "civil war"? "Open hostilities?" It's just alarmist and bears little relation to reality. Sorry.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 09:30, 2 November 2008 (EST)
Yup. It is totally alarmist. Like I said, this is all speculation--and, after all, I did write this up in the wee hours of the morning, and I was feeling pretty doom-and-gloomy at the time. And, yeah, saying "AHH! OBAMA'S GONNA GET SHOT, AND WE'RE ALL TOTALLY GONNA DIE!!" does basically gloss over all of the more likely consequences of an Obama presidency. But I also think that, if Obama was assassinated, the consequences would be a lot more serious than a bunch of dedications and postmortem healthcare reform.
Obama's image shares a lot of similarities with JFK's image--Obama is a very appealing candidate to young voters, and Obama is the fixture of a lot of people's hopes and dreams, just like JFK was. Both Obama and JFK transcended the usual bounds of political popularity to become a major fixture in our culture. If Obama was assassinated, then, with luck, we might not get any violence--but, at the very least, we'd get a JFK-style cultural upheaval. All of the young voters Obama has brought into the democratic fold would be completely disillusioned, just as the general public became disillusioned with politics after JFK's death. All of the old wounds caused by racism and discrimination would be reopened, and race relations would take a serious blow. And, as PFoster pointed out, a lot of people are following the election for the first time. Sure, it would be disheartening to watch the political process reveal their candidate to be a fallible human being, but how much more disheartening would it be if that process actually killed him? How many of those voters would vote again, and how many would be turned off of politics forever?
Unless Biden stepped up big-time, the Democratic party would be a party without a leader and without the youth constituency and new voters that helped propel it into the presidency. Even under the best of circumstances, it would be a miracle if the Dems could clean up all of Bush's messes in four years. How well do you think they'd manage in the wake of an Obama assassination?
P.S. I do think that some people could blame McCain and Palin for an Obama assassination. The McCain/Palin campaign has called Barack Obama an anti-American socialist who associates with terrorists. If an assassin goes after Obama and gives "he's a terrorist" or "he's a socialist" as his reasoning, would you see the two people responsible for spreading around those messages as blameless? I think many people would not. Speaking for myself, I would be pretty damn mad at John McCain if Obama was assassinated and "Obama is a socialist anti-American terrorist" was the rationale the assassin gave. Not mad enough to kill anybody (because I'm a pacifist (and a wimp)), but pretty damn mad. But, then again, I'm mad at McCain for using that rhetoric in the first place, so maybe I'm not the most representative sample in the world for this sort of thing.
You're right, though--the "civil war" thing is probably a bit much.
(Note: my post here had "who would you blame for putting those ideas inside his head" instead of "would you see the two people responsible for spreading around those messages as blameless? I think many people would not.". Then, I realized that the former sounded really, really moronic. I revised it a little bit, and in the interest of full disclosure, I'm noting it here.) A Writer of Vaudevilles 19:19, 2 November 2008 (EST)

What Will Happen If Obama Gets Assassinated --Gulik 02:50, 3 November 2008 (EST)