President Obama's controversial compromise on tax-cut extensions has increased speculation that he will have to fight off a challenge from the left in the 2012 primaries. The idea has "little momentum for now," says Matt Bai in The New York Times, because there is no obvious alternative candidate, and "because such a challenge would seem to have about as much chance of success as, say, a reality show about David Hasselhoff." But the mere fact that a runoff is being pitched by leading liberal thinkers suggests the rift between Obama and liberal activists could be a factor in 2012. Could Obama really face a serious fight for his party's nomination? (Watch a Fox Business discussion about Obama's future)
Come on. What utter nonsense: This is the "most pointless piece of fantastical political 'analysis'" anyone has published in a long time, says Alex Pareene in Salon. "Obama's coalition still loves him," and talk of a primary race may just be something journalists are pushing "because it would be fun to report on." There's zero chance it will come to that.
"Matt Bai pretends Obama will face a primary challenge"
Liberal anger really could sink Obama: This kind of talk "ought to gladden the evil hearts of Republicans everywhere," says Robert Stacy McCain in The American Spectator. A primary challenge typically spells disaster for the party in question. "When Pat Buchanan took on George H.W. Bush in 1992... Republicans suffered a landslide defeat the next November." Before that, Ted Kennedy challenged Jimmy Carter in 1980, and Carter was trounced by Ronald Reagan. If liberals stay mad, it could happen, and that could mean Obama is in real trouble.
"A smorgasbord of schadenfreude"
These rumblings could actually help Obama: Furious liberals say they'd rather have anyone from Russ Feingold to Rachel Maddow as their candidate, says John Aloysius Farrell in U.S. News & World Report, which only shows how "delusional" and "self-defeating" the left can be. But "there is a potential upside for Obama." With the left calling Obama "both a traitor to the cause, and a wuss," he'll have an easier time convincing independents and moderates he really is "the centrist they thought they voted for."
"A progressive rebellion could help Obama in 2012"