Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 06:44 | SYDNEY
Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 06:44 | SYDNEY

Who will challenge Obama?


Andrew Carr


18 March 2011 15:26

I recently finished a novel called 'O', by Anonymous, promising an insider view of Obama's White House. While it doesn't tell us much about the inside workings of the Obama Administration, it delivers on his Republican challengers. 

The novel was likely written by a former speechwriter for John McCain's 2008 campaign, Mark Salter. While including clearly identifiable cameos from most well known Republicans, Salter creates a new challenger named 'Tom Morrison', a four-star general and small state governor with an almost Obama-like zen in the face of chaos. Morrison is the closest thing to an original character in the book, and the need for his creation, an almost perfect opponent for Obama, tells us much about Republican angst for 2012.

With the state of the US economy, declining American prestige internationally, and highly contentious debates about the size of the deficit and health care, Obama should be in trouble for the 2012 election. Yet there is no clear Republican party nominee. Look at this Gallup poll, showing the different levels of recognition vs the intensity of support. Huckabee does best, but seems unwilling to run, Palin and Romney struggle to gain support because of their past, while Bachmann, Daniels and Pawlenty struggle to be recognised. Each contender also has major challenges that will deny them the complete support of the Republican base.

By this time next year, the Republicans should have chosen a nominee, but as 'O' shows — putting into fiction a truth too difficult for Republicans to admit directly — there are no strong challengers to Obama for the 2012 cycle. Maybe further economic decline or a major error could make Obama an easy beat. But US presidential elections come down to a choice between two individuals, and right now, no one seems a viable opponent.