The Near Future of American Politics

As I write these words, the date is June 11th, 2012. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for August 27 to 30 in Tampa, Florida. The Democratic National Convention is scheduled for September 4 to 6 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mitt Romney is the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republicans. He has not yet announced his choice for vice presidential running mate. Barack Obama is the presidential nominee for the Democrats. He is running for his second term.

As I said in my book, Notes on the Apocalypse: 2012, President Obama might choose Hillary Clinton, not Joe Biden, as his running mate. At the time that the book was published, this suggestion seemed unlikely. But as the campaign has unfolded, it has become an increasingly common topic of discussion. At this point in time, I am more firmly convinced that Obama will choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate for the 2012 election, for several reasons:

1. By all accounts, Romney is a viable candidate with a substantial chance of winning. He has the money and the nationwide organization to compete with Obama, despite the advantages of incumbency. Obama will be under pressure to do something to jump ahead of Romney.

2. Biden is a liability, and Clinton is an asset. Biden is well-known for gaffes, whereas Hillary is an experienced campaigner and a shrewd politician.

3. Having a woman as his running mate will shore up Obama’s support among women voters. Romney has been gaining in that voting demographic, which is usually essential to a democratic victory.

4. Having Hillary as VP running mate will guarantee that Bill Clinton will support Obama’s reelection wholeheartedly. Currently, it seems as if Bill Clinton is doing as much to undermine Obama as he is to support him. (Some commentators have gone so far as to suggest that Bill is deliberately trying to sink Obama’s campaign, but I don’t believe that.)

5. But there is another reason why Obama is almost certain to dump Biden and choose Hillary as his running mate: Iran will soon possess nuclear weapons.

Once that happens, the importance of foreign policy as an election issue increases sharply. As long as the economy is the main issue in the election, Romney has a good chance of winning. His economic credentials are substantial, and the economy has not flourished under Obama. But as soon as Iran obtains nukes, foreign policy trumps the economy. As an experienced hard-working Secretary of State, Hillary has better foreign policy credentials than Romney or anyone Romney might choose as VP. In addition, her work as Secretary of State has few detractors, and is widely praised.

Moreover, I believe that Iran will use at least one nuclear bomb, in a vicious unprovoked attack, soon after obtaining a working nuke. Their most likely target, as I have been saying for many years now, is New York City. See my previous posts on this topic, for example: Reasons why Iran will nuke New York City, not Israel.

How soon will Iran have a nuclear bomb? See my previous posts:
Iran’s Progress Toward Nuclear Weapons
Is Iran enriching uranium to 90% yet?
I believe that Iran has been purifying 90% uranium since early this year, and that they will have a completed nuclear bomb by sometime this summer. If so, then they could use that nuke against the United States during that same time frame: summer of 2012. Yes, I realize that it is already June. There is not much time left.

If Iran obtains nukes prior to the Conventions in August and September, if they obtain nukes prior to the election in November, certainly this fact alone will have an influence on the vote. But suppose that Iran uses a nuke against NYC prior to the conventions, or at least prior to the election. The political landscape will change suddenly, severely, and permanently. American politics will never be the same.

Which politician does this type of event benefit? It is difficult to say. President Obama should rightly be blamed if Iran nukes the U.S, for several reasons:

1. Obama refused to use military force against Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities

2. He stretched out talks even after it was clear that Iran would not make sufficient concessions.

3. He leaked an admission that the U.S. and Israel were behind the Stuxnet cyber-attacks on Iran’s nuclear program. This admission led almost all observers to conclude that the U.S. was also behind the Flame attacks, which then forced U.S. intelligence to shut down the Flame program prematurely.

4. He repeatedly prevented Israel from making a military strike:

a. Obama’s team offered Israel bunker buster bombs, needed to take out the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran, but only if Israel would forestall military attacks until after the U.S. elections in the fall.

b. When Israel was secretly planning to use the air bases in Azerbaijan in order to attack Iran, the Obama administration deliberately leaked classified intelligence on that plan, for the purpose of stalling an Israeli attack on Iran. (Source)

c. Obama offered to increase sanctions on Iran, if Israel delays a military strike until after the elections in the fall. The increased sanctions will include “an embargo on aircraft and sea vessels visiting Iranian ports.” (Source)

5. President Obama was unwilling to use military force against Iran because he realized that the disruption in the Middle East would spike oil prices, harm the economy, and probably cost him the election. He delayed an attack needed to save tens of thousands of American lives in order to retain political power for himself.

However, I know that when there is a war, the general population tends to support the sitting President, regardless of his past mistakes and his political positions. As a candidate for reelection, at the start of a major war, he can easily wrap himself in the flag and rally the emotions of the voters. Obama is particularly good with speeches and rhetoric. And with the help of Hillary Clinton as his VP running mate, he may well win the election.

Once a war begins, the sitting President has an enormous advantage over a challenger, especially someone like Romney, whose main experience and credentials are on domestic issues. Romney is not a veteran, and has no substantial foreign policy experience. If Obama responds to the Iranian nuclear attack with very decisive and forceful action, he will have the support of the voters, despite his grave errors in dealing with Iran.

Veeps Become Important

The choice of VP running mate becomes much more important once Iran gets nukes. It is unfortunate to have to even mention this topic, but war against an opponent with nukes means that the Vice President of the United States might possibly need to take over as President. Remember when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Immediately, and for some time afterward, they made sure that the POTUS and Vice POTUS were not in the same place.

Some commentators have said that Romney might choose a VP early, well before the convention. That could be a serious miscalculation. Politics will change once Iran gets nukes. If Romney chooses early, he might choose someone with little or no foreign policy experience. Big mistake. Mitt Romney needs to choose someone with strong foreign policy credentials, as well as a solid conservative pro-life background. I’m skeptical that he will make a good choice for VP. If he does not, it will be much more likely that he will lose.

What To Look For

When Iran gets nukes, how will we know? Hopefully, they will announce that they have nukes. This would indicate that they intend to use the mere possession of nukes as a way to increase their world political power. They could test a nuclear bomb in the underground testing facility that the IAEA says they have prepared (Nov 2011 IAEA report). A test would be a way of announcing that they have a nuke.

The worst case scenario would be if Iran builds two or more nukes, but does not announce it. This would indicate that they intend to use one or more nuclear bombs in an unprovoked attack. If you possess nuclear bombs, but no one knows it, then that possession does not increase your political power. If other nations know you have nukes, then you can act with greater impunity, because they will fear to make a military strike against your nation.

Iran is seeking more power in its region and worldwide. So if they build a few nuclear bombs, they will either announce it, so that they can have more political influence, or they will use one or more nukes. Yes, they are just crazy enough to use a nuke against the U.S. We are their greatest adversary. Iran has repeatedly called the United States, “the great Satan”. (The term Satan means adversary.)

As I explain in Notes on the Apocalypse: 2012, the Iranian leaders are motivated by a radical version of Islamic eschatology to think that Iran has a special role in the end times: to start a war that will being the end times and eventually usher in a worldwide Islamic caliphate (kingdom). They think that God is on their side, so they will not fear to use a nuclear weapon against us, despite our military strength.

From the point of view of Catholic eschatology, Iran does have a role in the end times. But it is not the glorious role that they imagine.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic moral theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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4 Responses to The Near Future of American Politics

  1. Matt says:

    Ron,
    Do you think Obama’s support of homosexual marriage made him lose many votes with conservative Democrats and possibly the election?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I think that changing his position cost him some moderate votes as well as some democratic votes among evangelicals. Not all evangelicals are Republicans. It was a Biden misstep that forced his hand. But if Iran gets nukes, that issue trumps the social and economic issues.

  2. Firas says:

    I could agree with you ,if Hillary accepted the potential offer, but I don’t think she would… why would she? I think it is a given that any president ( Democrat or Republican) will have a difficult 4 yrs with all that is going on economically and with foreign affairs . Hillary will not want to be associated with that, and would rather wait 4 yrs and then run for the presidency. She would be a lock for the POTUS in 2016.

    • Ron Conte says:

      She has already said that she will not serve a second term as Secretary of State. I don’t think it would be politically astute for her to sit on the sidelines for four years, and then try to run for President. But if she were to serve 4 years as Veep, that would add to her already substantial experience in politics.

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