Saturday, May 03, 2008

History tells

There's been talk about whether Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal might be under consideration as a running mate for John McCain. He's a very conservative Republican, an up and coming politico, and the first elected Indian-American state governor. That's Indian as Punjabi, not Comanche.

I don't think it will happen, as I think Jindal's far too smart a guy to fall for this. Why? Aaaaaand that gives me my lead to mention a really interesting site: My History Can Beat Up Your Politics.

Bruce Carlson is a history buff whose passion is taking current political issues and looking at American history to see if it will give us any insights. He then makes a podcast about each issue, talking it all through taking anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes. His thesis, which he supports with a lot of evidence, is that you'd do better to look at historical trends than current polling, if you want to know what's going to happen. It's very wonky, as he'll methodically go through, say, every single presidential election in light of his current question, but if you like that stuff (and I do) it's great.

About McCain, two of the podcasts I've listened to seem relevant. In Running From the President, Carlson notes that no candidate trying to succeed a president of his own party has ever done so without the enthusiastic support of his predecessor, which he cannot get if he repudiates or even just distances himself from his predecessor's policies. McCain has already tied himself to Bush's policies.

But in Presidential Pass-offs, he notes that nobody, starting with John Adams following George Washington, has gotten elected to succeed a president of his own party unless the outgoing president was very popular. Bush now is officially the most unpopular president since modern polling was invented around 1935.

That puts McCain between a rock and a hard place. He's handcuffed to Bush's hideously unpopular person and policies, which indicates he's sunk, according to history. But if he were to break away from Bush, Mr. Straight Talk Patriot Hero would look like a disloyal little fuck of a weasel, and history says he's sunk again.

This is why I think Jindal will pass. Think what you may of his policies, nobody thinks Jindal is stupid, and he's certainly not stupid enough to chain his Louisiana shrimp boat to a sinking ship called the USS John McCain.

1 comment:

Don said...

I am persuaded that historical trends will usually trump political guesswork. Too bad, because Obama will just be another GWB, if his handling of Wright gives any insight into his ability to manage.

Anyway, looks like a pretty neat site. Too bad it's all podcasts. This means I will never hear/read any of his articles.