Just Give it a Few Days…

Although Ireland’s largest bookmaker, Paddy Power, has made Barack Obama a 2:5 favorite in winning re-election, The Bench Jockeys are not quite so sure.  The election is still 18 months away and anything can happen.  Obama will not face any competition from his fellow Democrats so he can hold onto his war chest until a worthy opponent is identified, whereas each of the GOP candidates will need to use his/her fundraising money early and often to gain separation and party traction.  History tells us that only four incumbent presidents have been denied a nomination to run by their own party:  Millard Fillmore, Chester A. Arthur, Andrew Johnson and Franklin Pierce.  Quick Pop Quiz:  What do three of these four men have in common?  Answer: Fillmore, Arthur and Johnson all ascended to the presidency after assassinations or deaths in office of the sitting president.  Only Pierce was actually elected as a president but he lost his re-nomination bid to John Fremont.

In 1905, the US switched to a system of primaries designed to assign delegates/votes to party-based candidates.  Since the initiation of the primary system, the only President to decline to compete for his party’s nomination for a second term was LBJ – who smelled blood in the water after only narrowly beating Eugene McCarthy in the New Hampshire primary while fearing the political clout of Bobby Kennedy.

Among the GOP contenders, Paddy Power grades Mitt Romney at 10:1 and Mitch Daniels is at 12:1 to win the 2012 election.  The Bench Jockeys odds posted on the following page contemplate the likelihood of securing the GOP nomination, not the 2012 popular election; however, we are giving newly designated CIA Director, General David Petraeus a downgrade to 30:1.  We think Petraeus will have his hands full in Langley as he is ultimately responsible for being the nation’s eyes and ears; it is unlikely he will contemplate a run in 2012 so soon after assuming the helm at the CIA.  We think he is more of a candidate in 2016.  Further, as a “Rockefeller Republican” – a pro-business, socially liberal New Englander – he is a bit outside the current direction of the GOP.

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