tMichaelB is the web site for Tom Bengtson, who writes about business, religion, family and politics.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Presidential predictions

The 2008 presidential election is about a year and a half away; will John McCain still be in the hunt a year from now? James Carville, a genius when it comes to campaigns, doesn’t think so. I was at a business meeting last month in Hawaii where Carville and his wife, Mary Matalin, shared political observations and Carville predicted McCain would drop out of the race before the Iowa Caucuses.

“When I look at him, he just looks like a guy who doesn’t have his heart in it. And it is a long haul,” Carville told us. “He strikes me as someone who is playing a role he is not comfortable in. He is 72, which is not too old, but he does not look as young as he did in 2000. It’s a long way to go, and I don’t see him making the cut.”

Carville said he expects either Newt Gingrich or Al Gore to get into the race. He said it is possible both of them will enter the race. He also said he suspects there will be a third party candidate who will get more than 5 percent of the vote.

Then he made a prediction that seems like a long shot to me: Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee. “Why? Because the Republicans love order, and they are not going to get any of it. There is going to be disorder the likes of which you have never seen,” Carville said. “The only name I can think of that if he got in the race that would kind of quell everybody down would be Bush. I don’t think the Republican nominee is in the field” right now, he said.

He went out on a limb even further and predicted Mike Huckabee would be the Republican nominee for vice president.

Among the Democrats, he said it is all about “Obama and Mama.” Carville observed that “Mama needs more spice and Obama needs more seasoning.” He said “any good Cajun knows there is a difference between spice and seasoning.”

Carville said if Hillary Clinton can deliver her message with a little more passion, she will get the nomination; but if her message remains flat and Barack Obama improves his campaigning, Carville said the nominee will be Obama.

He predicted the vice presidential nominee for the Democrats will be Catherine Sebelius, the governor of Kansas.

Matalin explained that each party is looking for the candidate who can win the most swing states. “The question is, ‘which Red guy can pick up more Blue states, and which Blue guy can pick up more Red states?’,” she summarized. “Right now, Rudy Giuliani moves more Blue states than Hilary moves Red states. He puts more states in play.”

Although many observers think the election is in the bag for the Democrats, Matalin urged caution. “You cannot listen to conventional wisdom today,” she said. “Conventional wisdom today cannot predict the tomorrow.”

She said the notion that the Democrats will win in 2008 is based on a “very specious premise, which is the outcome of the 2006 elections. You would only predict the Democrats will win in 2008 if you thought they won in 2006,” she said. “They did not win. The Republicans lost. There is a difference.”


gary said...


Interesting analysis. I would be surprised to see the Jeb Bush in the race, but I suppose it's a long way off still.

Since you're talking about the candidates, I would like to show you my own website on the subject...

It's just an organization of the candidate YouTube videos by issue. I see this as the extra layer that most people will need to make any sense out of it all.


Morey said...

An interesting perspective from Dr. Paul Minot, a psychiatrist in Waterville, Maine on George Bush's "irrational" consideration of a "surge" in the wake of the Iraq Study Group report -- which apparently defies all credible counsel has begun to generate speculation regarding his sanity. References to Bush's "delusions" have appeared in the mainstream media and throughout the blogosphere.

As a psychiatrist, I understandably get concerned when I see clinical terminology bandied about in political discourse, and thought it might be of interest to share a professional perspective on this question. I have a distinct clinical impression that I think explains much of Mr. Bush's visible pathology.

First and foremost, George W. Bush has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder(NPD). What this means, is that he has rather desperate insecurities about himself, and compensates by constructing a grandiose self-image. Most of his relationships are either mirroring relationships --
people who flatter him and reinforce his grandiosity -- or idealized self-objects -- people that he himself thinks a lot of, and hence feels flattered by his association with them. Some likely perform both functions. Hence his weakness for sycophants like Harriet Miers, and powerful personalities like Dick Cheney. Even as a narcissist, Bush knows he isn't a great intellect, and compensates by dismissing the value of intellect altogether. Hence his disses of Gore's bookishness, and any other intellectual that isn't flattering him. Bush knows that his greatest personal strength is projecting personal affability, and tries to utilize it even in the most inappropriate settings. That's why he gives impromptu back rubs to the German Chancellor in a diplomatic meeting -- he's insecure intellectually, and tries to make everyone into a "buddy" so he can feel more secure.

The most disturbing aspect about narcissists, however, is their pathological inability to empathize with others, with the exception of those who either mirror them, or whom they idealize. Hence Bush's horrifying insensitivity to the Katrina victims, his callous jokes when visiting grievously injured soldiers, and numerous other instances. He simply has no capacity to feel for others in that way. When LBJ was losing Vietnam, he developed haunted expression that anybody could recognize as indicative of underlying anguish. For all his faults, you just knew he was losing sleep over it. By the same token, we know just as well that Bush isn't losing any sleep over dead American soldiers, to say nothing of dead Iraqis. He didn't exhibit any sign of significant concern until his own political popularity was sliding - because THAT'S
something he CAN feel.

Which brings us to his recent "delusion." To be blunt, I don't see any indication that Bush has any sort of psychotic disorder whatsoever. The lapses in reality-testing that he exhibits are the sort that can be readily explained by his characterological insensitivity to the feelings and perceptions of others, due to his persistently self-centered frame of reference.

Mr. Bush knows that things aren't going his way in Iraq, and he knows that it is damaging him politically. He also sees that it is likely to get worse no matter what he does, and in fact it may be a lost cause. However, he recognizes that if he follows the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, that Iraq will almost certainly evolve into a puppet state of Iran, and given his treatment of Iran he will completely lose control of the situation -- and he will be politically discredited for this outcome.

The ONLY chance that he has to avoid this political disaster, and save his political skin, is to hope against hope for "victory" in Iraq. Advancing the "surge" idea offers Bush two political advantages over following the ISG recommendations. One is that if it is implemented, maybe, just maybe, he can pull out some sort of nominal "victory" out of the situation. The chances are exceedingly slim, granted, but slim is better to him than the alternative (none). Alternately, if the "surge" is politically rejected, he gains some political cover, so when things inevitably go bad, he can say "I told you so" and blame the "surrender monkeys" for the outcome. Most people probably won't buy it, but some (his core base) will.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking -- is George Bush willing to risk the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands more American soldiers, on an outside chance to save his political skin, in a half-baked plan that even he knows probably won't work at all? Yes, he is. Because George Bush is that narcissistic, that desperate, and yes, that sociopathic as well. Especially interesting about Mr. Bush, but quite common, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is frequently associated with alcoholism. The insufferable "holier than thou" attitude associated with "Dry Drunk Syndrome" is indicative of underlying narcissism. Also, the way that Bush embraces Christianity is characteristically narcissistic. Rather than incorporating the lessons of humility and empathy modeled by Jesus, Bush uses his Christian faith to reinforce his grandiosity. Jesus is his powerful authority to do anything he thinks.

Finally -- and this will sound VERY familiar to many readers -- those persons with NPD [Narcissistic Personality Disorder] are notoriously unable to say they're sorry. Admitting error is fundamentally incompatible with their precarious efforts to maintain their sense of order. Anyone having this particular character flaw almost certainly has NPD.

Professor of Sociology &
Faculty Associate, Institute for Policy Research
Northwestern University
1812 Chicago Avenue, room 108
Evanston, IL 60208