Matthew Norman: Obama's second term is safe. Republicans will see to that

If Michelle Bachmann, another ultra-Godly, Creationist mom of five from the howling far right, is a new name to you, best get used to it

Share
Related Topics

From a physical distance of several thousand miles and a temporal one of almost 20 months, it would take an idiot of an astonishingly rare order to predict today that the 2012 race for the White House is as good as over. Having passed that test, let me state that Barack Obama will be re-elected, probably by a landslide. You will have noted the cunning insertion of that "as good as", by way of pre-emptive disclaimer for when he loses. And lose he may yet, for any number of reasons. Between now and November next year, for example, he might – influenced by Luke Rhinehart's novel The Dice Man, devolve every Oval Office decision to the random fall of numbered cubes – nuke Montana in compliance with a double six. He might replace Michelle with John Galliano, adorning their bed with a silk organza Dior duvet featuring the Führer's face in sequins. Or he might give his Secret Service detail the slip, and streak down Pennsylvania Avenue waggling the presidential member at pedestrians while singing Chuck Berry's "My Ding-A-Ling" in a Scissor Sisters' falsetto.

If these, in Rumsfeldese, are the unknowns we cannot know, the US economy is the known unknown. With growth accelerating and unemployment finally, if gingerly, starting to ebb, the cycle looks as well calibrated in this incumbent's favour as it was for those other mid-term strugglers Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Yet even if the economy should suddenly stagnate, how can he lose to any of the potential Republican contenders on view? If God invited him to pick the ante post GOP field for 2012, he could hardly improve on the list with which fate has rewarded him by adding the Unabomber.

No candidate has declared yet, unusual at this stage, and may hint at the hunch that challenging Obama in 2012 is a suicide mission. Mitt Romney is the favourite, though by default in much the way I'd be odds-on for the Olympic 100 metres if the other seven lanes were occupied by Eric Pickles, Patrick Moore, Two Ton Tessie O'Shea, Stephen Hawking, the late Margaret Rutherford, my wife's tortoise Niles, and Young Mr Grace. Crushed last time by John McCain, Romney is a frail candidate by normal standards. His Mormonism is a serious flaw in a nation of nauseatingly aggressive religiosity; his introduction as Governor of Massachusetts of a health care scheme strikingly similar to Obama's, a potentially fatal one with Republicans. With the looks of a plastic Warren Beatty and the charisma of an anaesthetised hat stand, Romney has two things in his favour: a colossal fortune to bankroll his campaign, and not being a fully fledged dunce (though of course the latter may be a handicap with primary voters).

The erstwhile televangelist Mike Huckabee has neither. In a bid to ingratiate himself with Tea Partiers and their Birther brethren, he recently blew his USP – a certain, aw shucks likeability – with an attack of such moronic disingenuity that Sarah Palin herself has never made it. He told an interviewer that Obama was reared in Kenya by his anti-British father and grandfather. Later reminded that Obama, after a spell in Indonesia, grew up in Hawaii with the white, American half of his family, not setting foot in Kenya until 26, Huckabee used the euphemism du jour for "told a whopper" (© H Clinton, 2008) and claimed he "misspoke".

Still, at least Huck always knew that Kenya is a sovereign state within the continent of Africa... an arcane shard of knowledge once allegedly beyond Palin, who this week unconvincingly denied positing that Africa is a country. That, she said, was a hurtful lie – one of the few areas on which the inventor of "Obama death panels" speaks with authority. The Palin joke appears to have delighted America long enough since Gabrielle Giffords' shooting in Arizona.

Indeed, with her – as with Huckabee, the Sooty to her Soo on puppetmaster Murdoch's Fox News – doubts grow that she will have a crack. If she does, it will be fun watching the great huntress becoming, to adapt Earl Spencer at Diana's funeral, the hunted. She can run from scrutiny now, confining herself to ghost-written tweets, but the glory of US national politics is that, over all the draining months of primary and general election campaigning, you cannot hide.

And so, because insta-satire abhors a vacuum, to the new Palin. If Michelle Bachmann, another Tea Party Express darling and ultra-godly, Creationist mom of five from the howling far right, is a new name to you, best get used to it. Bachmann is poised to turn her gearstick to overdrive, and I imagine that even those familiar with her work ain't seen nothing yet. Not that what's been on offer so far has been dull. The congresswoman who recently described Obama's as a "gangster government" once asked Minnesotans to become "armed and dangerous" to resist his plans to combat global warming, in which she doesn't believe on the grounds that carbon dioxide is "a natural by-product", and must therefore be good for us. Like uranium.

There are other, equally credible potential runners. Some, like Newt Gingrich, are has-beens. Others, such as Rick Santorum, another Creationist, look like never-will-bes. Both have had their Fox contracts suspended preparatory to announcing their candidacies, where tellingly Huck Thick and Alaska's Cretina D'Evil have not. Other laughable far right fancies include untested pretty boy Marco Rubio, who hasn't yet turned 40. With forward-combing panto dame Donald Trump toying with a run on the billionaire independent platform, what Obama sees as he scans the electoral horizon must look less like a field strewn with landmines than an elongated audition for an off-Broadway revival of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

The President may vex his supporters almost as much as his enemies, with Matt Damon doling out a kicking even before the soul-chilling news about military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay. His presidency has hardly been the game-changing assertion of liberal values many expected. He has, in many ways, disappointed. Yet he is waltzing towards a second term while the dullards, maniacs and quarter-wits of the Republican Party prepare to spend 18 months gouging each other's eyes out. The economy will be pivotal, as always, but Obama's election slogan need not ape Bill Clinton's to the letter. "It's the stoopids, stupid" should do just fine.



React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Jihadist militants leading away captured Iraqi soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq, in June  

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Robert Fisk
India's philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco feminist Vandana Shiva arrives to give a press conference focused on genetically modified seeds on October 10, 2012  

Meet Vandana Shiva: The deserving heir to Mahatma Ghandi's legacy

Peter Popham
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law