Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A New Part of the Invisible Primary

CBSNews picks up where FHQ left off late last year: with a look at the Twitter followings of the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

This is yet more evidence of the alteration to the invisible primary since the advent of the internet. Websites have given way to blogs have given way to social networking sites. Throughout this evolution candidates have become better able to circumvent the media and talk directly to supporters or interested passersby. Sarah Palin has used both Facebook and Twitter to great effect

Are you following FHQ on Twitter and/or Facebook? Click on the links to join in.


Robert said...

It's still way early. a candidate who is not officially running has a decided advantage over one who is running or in office, particularly if the person in office is facing difficult times. Kennedy was the clear winner over Carter in 1980 until he stepped in the race without a reason. Fred Thompson was the only one with a hope to get the Republican nomination in 2008 until he entered the race. It's much easier to criticize than to get something done. Charles Krauthammer warns us not to underestimate Obama. He has had some amazing accomplishments for 18 months. It's easy to criticize health care and financial reform now, but most people are not going to want to give up the benefits of health care by 2012 and a defense of Wall street won't play well in 2012. Reagan's genius in 1980 was to give Americans an alternate positive universe to a Carter administration bogged down in Iran. The biggest problem for Obama in 2012 will probably be Afghanistan. If there aren't significant withdrawals by next August, some Democrat like Feingold will challenge him. If there are significant withdrawals by August, the Republican who can manipulate the issue the best will be the nominee and perhaps the next President.

Josh Putnam said...

It is way too early. However, the jockeying for position among the Republican candidates is happening and both Twitter and Facebook offer an interesting glimpse into the thoughts of those candidates. You are right Rob, that the issue field on which the 2012 campaign will be fought is quite fluid. Palin, for instance, has done an adequate job of tapping into the angst of some on the right, but is that angst transferable if the predominant issue were to be foreign and not domestic? I don't know and I don't think we will until that switch takes place (if it takes place). Of course the candidates aren't going to wait for that to happen. They will begin their open pursuit of the White House early in 2011 if 2007 is any guide.

You've mentioned Feingold in this capacity before and I just don't see it happening. First of all, he's going to have a fight on his hands this fall in terms of winning reelection from the looks of it. Secondly, I don't know that the Democrats have lost their pragmatism just yet. The elites within the party -- if the Rules and Bylaws Committee meetings are any indication -- are intent upon reelecting Obama. And though progressives may be upset with the direction Obama has taken things, I don't think they are quite ready to imperil the party's grip on the White House with a Tea Party-like challenge to the president.

If Afghanistan goes severely downhill though...

Robert said...

You are spot on about Palin. If the polls look like she can beat Obama, she has a chance to get the nomination. I still am putting my money on Gingrich.

I thought that Feingold would jump in in 2007/2008. I was obviously wrong. If he loses his Senate seat, he will be less likely to run, but if he wins in November and is not happy with Afghanistan, I think he'll run. It will probably be more like Pat Buchanan's run, not necessarily to win but to make Obama to be more antiwar which could compromise his run in the general election. The election will still probably come down to the shape of the economy.

Josh Putnam said...

I like Gingrich's chances. He's the type of ideas guy that the GOP needs. His problem is that he carries a lot of baggage into a potential run.

The 2012 election will most likely come down to Obama's stewardship of the economy since January 2009 unless something goes very wrong in Afghanistan or some other problem arises.