09/22/2010 10:59 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Political Madness, or Maybe Not

Enough already of all those political experts.

For a change of pace, here's a different kind of look at the political scene. No, it's not from one of those political pundits making the TV rounds, but rather an insight from the politically unsophisticated man and woman in the street. Or, more specifically, from some of those HuffPost readers who offered me their own political two cents on what they see ahead in the mid-term elections and who they think will be the big political newsmakers in 2012.

In some cases, their expectations seem off the wall and smack of political madness. But then again, maybe not. After all, it would have been political madness to have expected Christine O'Donnell, backed by the Tea Party, to shoot down Mike Castle, a widely regarded shoo-in, in the race for the Republican nomination for Senate.

But win she did in a major upset, the ramifications of which are anybody's guess

Unexpectedly, I got an early preview of some of our readers' political thoughts. It came about via a variety of personal responses I received in reaction to a piece I did early last week--"From Wall Street: Obama won't run again."

The spotlight centered on an economic bear, Harry Dent, a Florida investment advisor and author, whom I quoted as saying that the U.S. economy would be in such a sorry state in 2012 that Obama would not seek re-election.

If you're about to say that's outlandish--which is what a number of critical HuffPost responders insist to me is the case--I'm with you. But that's the man's opinion and he's not some nut case.

So what do some of our politically-minded readers have to say? Here are a few thoughts; their full names, when they were given, have been omitted to protect their identities.

One of the more intriguing observations came from a gal, Ankle, in San Francisco who wrote: "You read it here first. It will be two women nominees, Hillary versus Sarah, in 2012."

It's simple logic," she writes. "Palin is the energizer and star of the Republican party. The Tea Party's triumphs in Delaware and New Hampshire only give her more credibility. She appeals to the suffering middle class, which is mushrooming in number. Just look at the crowds she draws wherever she goes. Liberals and elitists despise her and call her a whackjob, but liberals and elitists don't elect Presidents."

As for Clinton, Ankle argues "she's probably got too much pride and anger after losing out in 2008 to pass up a chance, especially if it's a duel with a female rival, of being the first woman President."

But what happens if Palin decides not to run?, I e-mailed her. "Clean your glasses or see an optometrist," she replied. "It's the Sarah and Hillary show in 2012."

Another reader, Pete, who identifies himself as a GOP'er, predicts Obama will dump V-P Joe Biden and pick Hillary as his running mate, which will enable him to win again. For whatever it's worth, such speculation, is becoming somewhat more widespread in Washington.

Mike, a New York engineer, lambastes me for the article suggesting Obama won't run again. "What about all the great things he's done, like health care reform, credit card reform, stimulus that prevented a depression and increased attacks on terrorists? Give the man credit after the mess he inherited from Bush. Right wingers like you, Palin, Gingrich and the rest of the lunatic fringe Tea Party should be guillotined."

Keith from Dallas, Tx. writes "Right on with your article on one-term President Obama. Heaven help us. He keeps preaching yes we can, when he should be saying no we can't . He should be banished for the economic mess we have on our hands.

"The Republicans are already on the March. They'll take the House in the mid-term elections, maybe the Senate, as well, and then on to the presidency. I'm rooting for a Republican Prez and vice-prez team in 2012 of Palin and Gingrich, which would win...and then the United States of America can become the United States of America again.

Another Texan, Chris in San Antonio, chimes in with this observation: "That's one piece of projection you've pushed out. Just how badly do you Wall Street folks want the President to fail? You just can't stand the fact that a sizable portion of the U.S. is on to you folks and we're just not going to put up with much more of your rigging of markets and seizing of our assets. We will all be working very hard to remind people of this nation where the problems begin and where they will end.

"Wuck Wall Street,!" he concludes.

Sam, a former New Yorker who now lives in Miami, writes that he expects the surprise winning ticket in 2012 to be an independent ticket headed by Mike Bloomberg, who, he believes, will pick an African American as his running mate, maybe Colin Powell.

For some thoughts, I rang up one of academia's brighter political minds, Larry Sabato, Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia.

Sabato ridicules the notion that Obama won't seek a second term. "Emphatically yes, he'll run again," he says. As for Obama being a one-time president, he points to similar talk about Bill Clinton, but that didn't happen. While he's heard the speculation that Obama may scrap Biden, Sabato strongly doubts it. "It's just not done in modern politics" he says. "Besides, it would suggest weakness on Obama's part and say his original judgment was wrong."

This is a Republican year, Sabato says, but he believes 2012 may not be because the economy will have recovered to some degree by then, giving the Democrats a lift.

Suppose it doesn't recover? "The economy is it," he says. "If it looks in 2012 like it looks today, Obama could lose. provided the Republicans don't nominate an unacceptable candidate, one too far to the right."

In this context, he points to Christine O'Donnell's win in Delaware. This nomination, he believes, greatly damaged the Republicans' chances of maintaining the Senate because "O'Donnell's too extreme for moderates everywhere."

At the same time, though, Sabato figures the Tea Party will have a major voice in the Republicans' nomination process, which he believes could greatly complicate its efforts to win the White House.

As for Palin, he says he's not convinced she will run. But if she does, he believes she has a good shot at capturing the nomination. He doubts, though, she can win the Presidency
because most of the swing vote in America has already concluded that she would not be overall competent.

One more 2012 forecast you should hear about, this one from my wife, Harriet. Why Harriet? Because of her political acumen. Before the 2008 primaries, she insisted to me a number of times that Obama would be the Democratic nominee when almost everybody thought it would be Clinton

Her pick for the Republicans' nominee for President: Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota.

Harriet's rationale: "He's a Senator, Kennedyesque, handsome, non-controversial and he has no baggage. Obama is exotic, but people want a change. They don't want the exotic anymore; they want plain vanilla, and Thune fits the bill."

Who knows? It could be, if Harriet is right, that one of Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion may be giving us a clue of what's ahead politically--namely, for every action, there is a reaction.

What do you think? E-mail me at