In Whatever Happened to the Massachusetts Miracle? I first wandered my way on to this idea when I realized that soon after Democratic Presidential-nominee Dukakis lost in 1988, the so-called 'Massachusetts Miracle' of prosperity also went bust, and his high-regulation, managed-growth, high-taxes, generous-welfare policies left a state that was mired deeply in debt, facing budget shortfalls, and not growing.
As the years have gone on, it has become increasing clear that Obama is Dukakis, as was written in my post Obama is Dukakis?:
...Both creatures of the liberal Northeast and of Harvard, with no sense at all of most of the rest of the country; both rationalists who impose legalistic criteria on emotion-rich subjects; both with fixed ideas of who society’s victims are, which do not accord with the views of the public; and both with a tin ear for the culture and a genius for creating wedge issues that split their own party...In that post, I was highly critical of John McCain's campaign, which failed to capitalize on all of the weaknesses that Obama brought as a candidate, and contrasted it with George H.W. Bush, who was able to capitalize on all the weaknesses that Dukakis brought as a candidate:
...GHWB capitalized on the fact that Dukakis wasn't 'American', didn't like saluting the flag, blamed America for everything (later on Dukakis blames America for 9/11), and didn't reflect the values that made America great. GWB hammered away at how Dukakis was simply an elitist, no-nothing, Harvard-educated liberal who was purely smoke-and-mirrors and who, if put in charge of our nation, would never make the hard tough choices that have to be made. If you don't believe me, watch some of the ads yourself- check out at the website the ads "Tank Ride," "Revolving Door," and "Willie Horton." There is no coming back from those body blows that GWB inflicted on Dukakis.Months after I wrote these posts, it turns out that Dukakis actually visited the White House to give Obama advice- it was written in my post Dukakis Gives Advice to Obama: Obama Gets it?:
On the other hand, for some reason John McCain didn't run a brutal, hard-hitting campaign that called Obama's policies, judgement, and character into question. He didn't go after Obama for his church, he didn't attack him for his terrorist friends, he didn't call into question his 'Americanism', he didn't question his patriotism, he didn't attack his naive views, he steered away from questioning his lack of experience, and he didn't attack Obama for his elitist schooling. On every major important point that McCain could have capitalized on, he pulled back, and only gently batted Obama around a bit. Oh, he hints here and there about stuff, but nothing smacks you in the gut with the full brutal face of a real battle that Obama could have brought against Obama. If you don't believe me, watch the ads yourself, and lick at the kitty milk that JSM poured playfully on Obama- see the ads "Celeb," "Education," and "Storm" for examples of how weak and unfocused the attack on Obama by JSM was.
So, I guess we have whoever ran GWB's campaign in 1988 to thank from saving us from the mess that we find ourselves in today, and we have whoever ran JSM's campaign in 2008 to thank for us finding ourselves in the mess that we are in today (may that person be smacked around by milk jugs)...
...Former Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis, the failed 1988 presidential nominee, recently visited the White House and delivered his strategy for the midterm elections: pound key precincts across the country with the message that Republicans want to implement the same policies that led to the Great Recession. Asked if the White House aides were receptive, he said, "I think they certainly get it." He declined to name the aides he met at the White House...Apparently, as usual, my instincts were right, because today my favorite numbers guy Jay Cost broke down the latest polling data, and Obama does not track like Clinton or Carter, but tracks most closely to Michael Dukakis:
...Obama gets it- the Democrats in general are now all running on the 'blame Bush' strategy, even though they controlled (House for 4 years and Senate for over 6) and the White House for (3)....
...Accordingly, I think that at this point the Democrat that Obama most closely resembles is Michael Dukakis. To appreciate what I mean, let’s compare Obama’s current standing among different political groups with the 1988 exit poll results.This is all good news- not good news that Democratic policies are destroying our nation, but good that we have been shown the way in the past by hard-campaigner George HW Bush how to defeat someone like Dukakis/Obama (new nickname for the list- Duke Bama?). One can only hope that the next Republican nominee will follow the path and defeat Obama, whether it is an establishment moderate like Romney or an outsider conservative like Bachman.
These are some very eerie similarities – Dukakis, unlike Carter, was able to hold together his party coalition. He lost the 1988 election because Republicans were firmly united behind George Bush, and independents broke decisively toward the GOP.
This is roughly how the current political landscape appears, which leads me to conclude if the election were held today, and the GOP nominated a reasonably attractive candidate, Obama would do about as well in the popular vote as Dukakis did. Given the geographical polarization of the electorate (i.e. the red state-blue state divide), Obama would surely capture more than the 111 electoral votes Dukakis carried. Even so, it would be a sizeable Republican victory. Not quite as smashing as Reagan’s victory in 1980, but still substantial.
Moving forward, I think that is the best way to compare Obama. Not so much to Carter, who was hampered by internal divisions that did not plague Obama, but more to Dukakis, whose final vote share is roughly consistent with Obama’s job approval rating over the last 18 months.
Out of curiosity, has anyone ever read anything Dukakis has written? Leader-Manager in the Public Sector: Managing for Results or Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story.