As a result, small-government conservatives are now obsessed with recapturing the GOP, to the extent that they can't even support vital government intervention in the wake of a huge economic crisis. That extreme position leaves a large political vacuum waiting to be filled.
With populists across the country aghast at how Bush and Obama have spent billions to prop up Wall Street and the banks, the key political question for 2012 is whether the Obama administration manages to end the economic crisis. If it does, he's golden. If it doesn't, count on centrist opposition rearing its head.
If the economy doesn't come back, all a new centrist movement or party needs to emerge is its own version of H. Ross Perot — another populist centrist. Right now, because the GOP looks so weak and divided, Obama and the Democrats appear untouchable. In truth, things are just getting interesting.
To read the "Stark Ravings" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/blogs/starkravings. Steven Stark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
: Stark Ravings
, Barack Obama, Politics, The great Depression, More