Eyeing 2012 Versus President Obama

Politics turns on speed and preemption, so it's not surprising that some people are already rushing to handicap the political landscape for an Obama presidency.

It's premature, I think, but even some Republican leaders are saying Obama will win by a landslide, and politicos are sizing up the potential challengers to a President Obama.

This kind of chatter, however speculative, has the practical effect of undermining Sen. John McCain's attempts to regain momentum. It also fosters the notion that McCain's attacks on Sen. Barack Obama have less to do with important policy differences than with efforts to rescue a "losing" campaign.

If the predictions are right, however, smart Republicans won't wait until November to work on their game plan.

These thoughts were prompted by a note I just received from an astute Democratic operative. Ticking through recent Republican pronouncements about a McCain loss, the operative, who has worked on several presidential campaigns, lays out an intriguing case for why Republicans are not only worried but worrying out loud:

I think that not only do the Republicans know the election is over; they are sensing that an Obama presidency could be highly successful. Obama will have:
  1. Large congressional majorities (and fairly liberal majorities -- the conservative Southern Dems that plagued Clinton and Carter are gone).
  2. The media will not stop talking about the implications of having an African American president for months -- virtually no democracy outside India has elected an ethnic minority as its leader (I can only think of Leon Blum, the first Jewish leader of France during the height of European anti-Semitism in the 1930s as the only thing that strikes me as more extraordinary. [Disreali was an Anglican of Jewish heritage]). Obama will have an incredible honeymoon period.
  3. The opposition GOP is a mess without a clear opposition leader - there is no Newt Gingrich or what Hillary [Rodham Clinton] would have become if McCain had won or what Reagan was to Carter. While the Republicans are better in opposition and will win a lot of seats in 2010, all their biggest "stars" (maybe minor celebs is a better term) are governors--Satah Palin, Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, etc.
All this will allow Obama to do what has to be done to turn the economy around in two to three years and insure his reelection. There really aren't any excuses.

After 1932, the Dems held the White House for 20 years, and after 1980, the Republicans held it for 12 years. While the financial crisis and overall Bush unpopularity are fueling this particular loss, when you add the overall demographic trends, this could be the beginning of a long drought for the GOP.

An early time to talk about a long drought, to be sure, but that's the landscape some Democrats are eyeing.

Ari Melber is traveling with the Obama campaign for The Washington Independent, blogging from the road here and Twittering here.