We’re talking with old friends from the Movement’s glory days (1970s through Reagan I) to gauge reaction to the Tea Party fringe, RNC irrelevancy and Obama’s well-publicized troubles. These are the kind of friends who together at CPAC we watched a certain congressman who ran for president denouncing the Panama Canal Treaty work the YAFF CPAC party suite. With slurred speech he’d disappear from the suite for 35 minutes at a time with a wide eyed, gushing patriot. She was so eager to halt Soviet subversion of Baskin Robbins. For policy work, of course.
These are Values Movement types, closer to Uncle Pat (but uncomfortable with his obviousness) than the Warlord’s Christian Socialism. Today’s Movement schism is well known. We all saw briefly a public glimpse. Paladins such as the lugubrious Bill Bennett went after Beck post-CPAC. Much more knife fighting continues behind the curtain. Our unscientific sampling includes both long time political operatives and money. They are convinced Obama is on track for re-election in 2012. The health care summit and Rick Perry’s win and talk of secession are factors. But other reasons resign them to 8 years of Obama.
A conservative intellectual put it this way. Think Carter 1980 as preview for 2012. 19% interest rates, hostages in Iran, cardigan sweaters, malaise, Billy Carter and the Sovs crawling all over Afghanistan. The American people still did not abandon him like the Warlord in 2007-08. RWR from the Right had to use ‘aww shucks’ and ‘there you go again’ geniality to defuse serious reservations. Similarly, Obama’s in trouble. He likely could lose the Congress. His blessing. By triangulating against his Left [sic] and ‘Tea Party-esque Congress, Obama can do a Clinton. Micro initiatives like school uniforms and a Rahm punt or two. Picture Obama on stage with a Tea Party-Anger candidate. Obama wins hands down. No one sees a Republican with RWR’s ability to be both Movement radical and re-assuring.
Do these old time Movement veterans we talk with prefer an Obama win than endure the Tea Party mentality ascendant? Here’s our take: remember the old Jack Benny joke, ‘I’m thinking, I’m thinking’.