The Obama base

USA Today wonders about Barack Obama’s base being “disengaged” come 2012.  That may make the presidential election closer than it would have been otherwise, but it won’t tip the scales in favor of a Republican challenger.

George W. Bush had a similar problem in 2003.  Conservatives were grumbling about education reforms and the prescription drug benefit; there was even a healthy dose of disagreement on the Iraq war.  For many, it meant sitting on their hands – and one conservative writer even told me he voted for John Kerry because he felt anyone would be better than Bush.

Bush did, however, have a brilliant campaign apparatus in place and enough excited activists to overlook some specific policy disagreements.  Initially, it seems Obama can boast the same.

If Dick Cheney is to be turned into a prophet, it will not be due to former loyalists losing faith; more likely, it will be because independent voters don’t buy what those loyalists are selling, Obama may join the ranks of the unemployed.  A GOP version of John Kerry – or, to avoid crossing party lines, a re-enactment of Bob Dole’s uninspired 1996 campaign – will still run into a buzz saw.

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