It`s worth bearing in mind that there`s a third option. When Jim Fallows anticipated a different (though not entirely different) economic calamity in his big "Countdown to a Meltdown" essay for us several years ago, he framed the whole thing as a strategy memo to a soon-to-be-elected third party candidate, who was on the verge of triumphing after two consecutive failed post-Bush administrations, one Democratic and one Republican. This is obviously an unlikely scenario - but there`s nothing written in stone that says the current two-party lock on the presidency has to endure unbroken forever, and a long L-shaped recession in which both parties look ineffectual is exactly the kind of time when unlikely scenarios start looking at least somewhat more likely. Ross Perot`s 1992 candidacy, you`ll recall, was premised on the idea that the GOP had failed and the Democrats couldn`t be trusted; if Obama`s presiding over an economic disaster in 2012, then a third-party run premised on the idea that the Democrats have failed and the Republicans can`t be trusted might do rather well indeed.
Lyn Noziger had some thoughts about that, preserved here