Quick update on Van Patten's posts from a few weeks back about the likely Republican challengers for 2012. It now turns out that Rick Perry is definitely running, while Tim Pawlenty has dropped out after a poor showing in the very weird Iowa "straw poll".
It's probably going to be one of Perry, Bachmann or Romney for the GOP nomination to take on Barack Obama's "GOP-lite" ticket in 2012. That's assuming of course that Obama can get re-nominated, but I'd be surprised if it didn't happen. Michael Moore is apparently backing Matt Damon for President - I must admit I've never actually seen any of Damon's films, but I've seen several of Moore's. I still think an independent left-wing challenger to Obama is more likely than a successful primary challenge within the Democrats. Still holding out hope that Bernie Sanders will step up to the plate.
In terms of Obama's chances, running on his "GOP-lite" policy platform will be a huge demotivation to the voting base which handed him the election in 2008. My prediction is that if the Republicans nominate Bachmann, Obama will win, but if they nominate Romney or Perry, he'll lose. This despite the fact that Perry's platform is likely to be closer to Bachmann's than Romney's: I think Perry has more cross-over appeal to non-Tea Party Republicans than Bachmann does, and that will make the difference. A Romney presidency will be pretty much indistinguishable from Obama; a Perry presidency will be the end of US democracy as we know it. Four years ago I compared Mike Huckabee (a comedy version of Rick Perry in many ways) with Stillson from The Dead Zone: with Perry, the comparison seems even more apt.
Future historians (if we survive that long as a species) will look back and wonder how, after the euphoria of November 2008, the USA managed to get itself in just such a mess. I blame the fact that the entire US political process is controlled by Wall Street. Politicians with guts could still stand up to multinational corporate power... but they are in short supply, seemingly everywhere.