Like millions of people around the world, my eyes were glued to the TV shortly after the Japanese earthquake finished and the massive tidal wave began. What was particularly heartbreaking for me and my family was the horrific sight of Japanese drivers who thought they were driving away from the great wave but in reality were heading straight toward it. They couldn't see this of course, but we, thanks to our vantage point high up in the sky, saw it all coming and could do nothing to warn them.
I had that same feeling about John McCain in the 2008 election race shortly after he was picked to take on Barack Obama and today, I've got that same feeling about President Obama as he faces what will most certainly be a trouncing by Governor Rick Perry of Texas.
Despite the best attempts of political reporters to pretend a race was on in 2008, it was clear from the moment the GOP selected McCain that Obama would be the victor. There was no way that a tired old man bereft of ideas and imagination who gloried in siding with his opponents against his allies could ever defeat the dashing, charming and smart newcomer. There were moments when I wondered if smart men and women couldn't gather in a smoke-filled room, declare Obama the victor and save the rest of us the hassle (not to mention the expense) of living through a campaign season whose result we already knew.
2012 is shaping up to be the same story, only in reverse. Nothing against any of them, but the narrative of Obama losing never took shape when the GOP field consisted of Bachmann, Paul, Huntsman, Santorum or any of other candidates who initially jumped in, but from the moment Perry entered the fray, I had that same feeling I had in '08.
To be sure there will be drama: If he's smart, Obama will dump the hapless Joe Biden and select Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be his VP, enlist the help of Bill Clinton and attempt to make a race of it.
And if he's smart, Perry will select Marco Rubio early in the process, thereby locking up delegate rich Texas and Florida and making a serious play for up to 40% of the nation's Hispanic voters.
Still, the outcome of such a race seems very clear, with the only question being whether Perry wins by 5 or 10 or perhaps more.
There were diehard Republicans in '08 who insisted that McCain would somehow triumph just as there will be Obama fans who insist that their man will pull off an upset. But like those unfortunate Japanese motorists who thought they were driving away from and not into harm's way, President Obama is headed for an electoral disaster that will only be stopped if, in the inimitable words of former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, Rick Perry is caught with a dead girl or a live boy, something that seems unlikely to happen.