The Third Party Jinx

By Alan Caruba

I regard the primary campaigns for a party’s nomination as a sign of the health of the two party system, but they can be brutal; unless, of course, you are a Democratic Party member being frog-marched toward Obama’s nomination.

The elections themselves always take a measure of the nation’s political health and sanity, but as we saw in 2008, a sufficient portion of the electorate lost their wits and voted for Barack Obama, a man with no obvious qualifications to be President and a past that was carefully hidden from serious examination.

I am reminded of the 1992 elections when then-President George H.W. Bush, possibly one of the most qualified men to hold the office; a man with a lifetime of service to the nation from World War II to holding many positions including ambassadorships, the director of the CIA, and of course, two terms as Ronald Reagan’s vice president, lost reelection.

What cost him reelection was a third party candidate, Ross Perot, a Texas billionaire who turned out to have a decidedly nutty side to his personality. He drew off enough votes from Republican H.W. Bush to put William Blythe Clinton into office for two terms; one that included a sordid sexual relationship with a White House intern young enough to be his daughter.
Of the various people vying for the Republican nomination these days one is Libertarian Ron Paul, also from Texas, whose ideas are also often nutty. Some are good, but he is an isolationist in a world where terrorism knows no borders. There is word circulating around that he might form a third party and, if he does, we risk repeating 1992 except that President Obama will be the beneficiary, retaining office if enough disaffected Republicans and Libertarians cast valuable votes for Paul.

There is no need to review Obama’s record. He has proven himself to be the worst president since Jimmy Carter, outdistancing him in terms of sheer incompetence, but also displaying some personal characteristics that are downright scary.

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove, credited with being “the architect” of George W. Bush’s two election campaigns, explored “The President Who Hates to Govern”, noting Obama’s love of campaigning as opposed to his interest in actually governing. “President Obama has attended 60 campaign fund-raisers this year. That’s one every four days since he kicked off his re-election on April 4. By comparison at this point in 2003, President George W. Bush had appeared at only 28 fund-raisers.”

“Energetic at campaigning,” said Rove of Obama, “he’s lethargic at governing.

“Mr. Obama’s indifference to governing has led him to out-source the drafting of the key legislation. That happened with both the Stimulus I and Obamacare, resulting in ineffective, unpopular and unworkable laws.”

“Mr. Obama looks like a one-trick pony—a man who is good at giving campaign speeches, but very little else.”

At the risk of being a dime-store psychologist, a recent book devoted to mental disorders has a chapter on “narcissistic tendencies” and it is worth considering its description of behaviors that include arrogance, boundary violations, over-reaction to criticism, lack of empathy, entitlement, envy, exploitation, and magical thinking.

These add up to a borderline personality disorder and they fit Obama like one of his many tailored suits. In many ways they make him a good campaigner because, as we have seen, Obama will say anything, use any group including the Occupy Wall Street protesters, and exploit fears of economic collapse as he did in 2008 and does now, blaming President Bush and the Republican Party.

His kind of magical thinking led him to believe he could bring Islamists from the dark side into a world of reason. When reality set in, he got busy giving the orders to kill Osama bin Laden and a who’s who of Muslim bad guys.

Magical thinking is a good description of the failed Stimulus I and drives him to believe that a few more hundred billion will solve economic problems deeply rooted in too much government spending and borrowing. This explains the extraordinary joint session of Congress in which he repeated over and over again, “Pass this bill now.” Even his own Party rejected it.

In 1992 enough voters took a pass on George H.W. Bush to hand the election to Bill Clinton whose campaign mantra, ironically, was “It’s the economy, stupid.” The nation later came within a few votes of putting Al Gore, Clinton’s vice president, into the Oval Office. That election gave us George W. Bush whose place in history is still under review, but who, during his eight years, restored American’s confidence in our national security.

“It’s the economy, stupid” should be the mantra of whoever leads the Republican Party in 2012. Fanciful campaign plans to fix the economy are no substitute for political expertise, economic smarts, and a firm grasp of how dangerous the world is.

Least of all, we do not need a President who is a textbook definition of narcissism, who is disdainful of people “who cling to their guns and religion.”

Those two things brought America into existence and those two things are still its first line of defense.

The Moral Lib­eral Fea­tured Writer, Alan Caruba, writes a daily post at An author, busi­ness and sci­ence writer, he is the founder of The National Anx­i­ety Center.

Copyright 2011 © Alan Caruba