President Lou Dobbs

Would it be insane for the insane Lou Dobbs to run for president? I've written about this before. I don't share his immigration obsession or his anger, but he does fill a void in American politics, an ugly one. With a more or less free trade consensus between the parties--has Obama lifted a finger to renegotiate NAFTA--his protectionism would have an audience as much as his anti-immigration stand. There was more of an opening for him in '08 when John McCain was the nominee. McCain had co-authored comprehensive immigration reform and was backing off of it, but he was associated with the policy. Next time, the GOP is almost sure to nominate someone with a harder line. If Dobbs wants to remain a force--or a joke, depending on how you look at it--hinting at and beginning a run for president isn't the craziest idea. Pat Buchanan beat a sitting president of the United States in the New Hampshire primary. The Depression gave us voices of protest like Huey Long and Father Coughlin and Upton Sincliar as well as the sobriety of FDR. It wouldn't be surprising if this economic hardship gives us a candidate named Lou Dobbs. It used to be that you wrote books and went on TV to run for president. Now you would run for president to sell books and promote your radio show.

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Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

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