All Quiet on the Election Front

A little too quiet?  Maybe not.  The overwhelming sanity being demonstrated by the American people in the face of the increasingly absurd and irrelevant Republican Party is both satisfying and impressive. After 8 years of “Can’t You See This President Is a Joke?!” frustrations, all one can really say is Kudos, America. U.S.A.!

Of course this is all far too good to be true, but that isn’t to say that I think the race will tighten exactly…

Joe Biden got a lot of flack the other day for saying that an Obama win will lead to “an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”   TPM wryly observes a report in which a McCain campaign rep predicts there will be War With Iran whether Obama is president or not. While both of these statements are of course political stumbling blocks for the speakers, I happen to think the general advice of “Brace yourself, this ride’s only getting bumpier” is probably wise.

Yes, Obama will win in a pretty impressive fashion, and we will all feel really good about ourselves for a couple of weeks, and there will be much rejoicing all ’round the world.  BUT THEN, possibly before Barack is even inaugurated, one or more terrible things will happen and by the time he is actually in office, America’s favorite new POTUS will be an extremely controversial figure forced to make multiple no-win decisions.  Further ominious speculation, after the jump!

Not to draw an over-the-top comparison between eras, but look at this timeline of 1860-1861. I do think the many parallels between Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama make this a worthwhile analogue for our current election cycle, so I’m not just being hyperbolic. Maybe I can elaborate on this in a later post.

As you can see, half the South had seceded and laid seige to various forts by the time Lincoln was sworn in. Lincoln’s White House was responding to national crisis from Day 1. Of course we aren’t facing another civil war, but in this globalized world, here are some of the factors that could easily put Obama in a Lincoln-like position of structural calamity and impossible choices:

1) The economic fallout of the market collapse will trickle down, just like prosperity trickled down, except this time actually for real. The insolvency of some national economies will trigger massive global instability.

2) Completely aside from economic conditions, the Middle East will blow up. Even more. Again.

3) Combining economic disaster and systemic insecurity, Pakistan will collapse into a failed state, leaving a giant Chaos Soup of autocratic military juntas, terrorist leadership, nuclear weapons technology, and a couple units of American special forces for garnish.

Maybe none of it happens, but I would advise the wide world of Obama supporters to temper their expectations for the man’s actual presidency. The reason we need him to be President isn’t because things will stop getting worse. He needs to be President because things ARE going to get worse, and chances are ZERO that “Rebel Without a Cause” McCain would handle it properly.  So just be prepared for the possibility that Barack will make major decisions that his poltical base will find questionable, even offensive. For example: what happens if President Obama ends up launching a war against Iran for some reason or another, even if it is arguably a good one? I smell tumult.

I, for one, welcome our troubling and dangerous new future. Look at it as an adventure. Alternately, it could be that Obama’s election is just the first leg of a smooth and trouble-free journey to a brighter and happier tomorrow until the numinous dawning of a transcendant New Age and a harmonious New World Order. Win-win, right?   Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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