February 16, 2008
POLITICS: On Wisconsin And After
The Democratic primary contest is by no means over, despite the public momentum shift to Obama. Wisconsin, the next primary up on Tuesday, is more natural Obama territory given the weight that left-leaning Madison and the college crowd, so while Hillary has been running closer than expected in the polls there, I would still expect Obama to win it by 6-7 points.
I have to agree with the conventional wisdom that it's all going to come down to Texas and Ohio on March 4 and Pennsylvania on April 22. Hillary has a much stronger position in those three large states - polls show her leading Obama in Ohio by 15 points or so - plus Ohio and Pennsylvania are crucial November states where McCain tends to run better than the typical Republican. If Hillary is able to win all three, she will have more than enough delegates and momentum to take this all the way to the convention. If she doesn't, there will be more pressure on her to drop out, but of course nobody ever made a penny betting on the Clintons to relinquish power willingly.
Then what? It always amuses me to hear the stream of commenters who will come through here predicting certain doom for the GOP. We heard exactly the same thing in 2004, the idea that voting Republican was so far beyond the pale that the public could never even conceive doing it. And George W. Bush walked off with more votes than any presidential candidate in American history.
If I had to lay money today on this year's result, I'd give the Democrats better than a 50/50 shot; Bush is indeed unpopular, people are generally dissatisfied and looking for a change, and the Dems have two strong candidates, in terms of their national profile, and McCain is not beloved of his own party. But a lot can happen on the way to November, and it's lunacy to suggest that a McCain defeat is a foregone conclusion, especially with the possibility that it will be April or June or August before the Democrats settle on a candidate, and in light of the built-in weaknesses those candidates and McCain's appeal to independent voters, I like his punchers' chance to take this one. McCain historically runs much better from behind than as a frontrunner anyway.
I have to say, for those of us who write about politics from the Republican side, even if Hillary is the easier candidate to take on, it's going to be a lot more fun to run against Obama, with the huge contrast in experience between him and McCain, the extremism of so many of Obama's positions and the vacuousness of his campaign. Obama, when you scrape away the hype, is basically Howard Dean without the anger. A white guy with Obama's record wouldn't win two states. What Obama really reminds me of is the Dukes of Hazzard movie: fresh new faces, same old 70s script.
Running against Hillary is a dreary exercise in rehashing the 90s, dragging out old grudges and settling old scores, and in engaging in the endlessly tiresome exercise of trying to pin down a Clinton's positions (although one of the morals of the current campaign may be that it's easy to keep track of the truth, hard to keep track of lies and twice as hard to keep track of two separate people's lies). There's just so little new to say about Hillary that hasn't been said to death.
The logical thing for Democratic voters to do at this point is to rally behind Obama, since he's the clear front-runner, if only by a small margin, and since Hillary really cannot win the race sooner than the convention, which would be bad for the party. So I would think that Obama should have the wind at his back in the upcoming races. If he can't win Ohio and Pennsylvania under those conditions, that would tell me that the voters there really do not want to support him, and he'd be likely to lose them in November. Which would make it pretty hard for him to win the election. I would think that's a persuasive case that Hillary could make to the superdelegates.
Couple of points/observations
1)This will not be decided before the Convention.
Because of the proportional allotment of delegates, neither Obama nor Hillary will reach the magic number without needing superdelegates.
There is what a 2 month gap between the end of the primaries/caucuses and the Democratic Convention-a lot of things could happen in those 2 months. Even if Hillary is behind by between 100-200 delegates-the Clintons will not stop fighting and the dirt will be flying. In addition, for numerous reasons I cannot see either Barak or Hillary choosing the other one to be on the ticket. I would say there is a good chance that the Democratic party can really damage itself. Also if they don't seat the Florida and Michigan delegates can you imagine the hue and cry.
2) Obama is not as strong general election candidate as he is perceived.
No one is talking about his record or his positions, it is all about "change" and "hope" and the cult of Obama. He is at the height of his teflon powers right now, it is only going to be going downhill from here. The more avaerge voters find out about him the more ordinary and thus worse he will look. Look at the last post and his votes on gun issues as a state legislator. How about the position that everyone is ignoring-He actually supports driving licenses for illegals-do you remember how that cooked Hillary-these issues and his other far left positions is going to make him impalpable to a lot of middle America. If you look at the exit polls his weakness is with those blue collar moderate traditional democrats-NASCAR/ pick up truck driving people.
Crank, your analysis is correct, Obama is playing the Howard Dean role and Hillary is the John Kerry establishment candidate. Aftter the last election a lot of Democrats regreted nominating the electability candidate over the charismatic "change" candidate? A lot of them are making the common mistake of fighting the last battle, coupled with Clinton fatigue. The other night on FOX, Karl Rove noted that if a Republican campaign can't make headway against a first term senator with basically no accomplishments and the most liberal voting record-well then who can we defeat.
dch - I think it certainly will be decided if Obama can win all or most of the remaining contests. He may not clinch the nomination, but I think the remaining uncommited leaders of the party (Gore, Edwards, etc) would exert great pressure on Hillary to get out, and I think she'd reluctantly do so. However, she's currently leading in all three big races, and if she wins them all, she'll stay in, as well she should.
Jerry-I agree with most of what you say. I keep seeing different numbers, I think Obama is up by about 60 or so delegates.
Wisconsin is going to be close and while Obama will probably win, the delegate counts will be close due to proportional allotment. You know the media loves a horse race and wants to write a Hillary comeback story. If he doesn't beat her bad-the story is going to be she stopped the bleeding.
If Hillary wins Texas, Ohio, and Penn. and the rest keep splitting. It is going top be close and can you imagine the firestorm if Florida with Michigan would have given her the lead. Oh boy.
We are talking about the Clintons and they will toss anyone, including the Democratic party, under the bus. Hell even if they were to lose I could see them screwing Obama in the hope of a possible "hail mary campaign" in 2012
I still don't expect Hillary to win all of TX, OH, and PA. But if she does, I think she'd have a persuasive argument for why she should be the nominee, and I'd probably support her if I were a superdelegate. I think the party would be stupid to nominate a candidate who has lost in 3/4 of the states a Democrat has to win to become President.
Crank-on a related note. I believe the Constitution specifically provides that the President can call Congress back into session to address important issues. Congress has now gone on a 12 day recess. The FISA related legislation lapses today. I believe that Presidential power was made for situations exactly like this. Additionally, wouldn't it be a great election year move and a beautiful way to show the differences between the parties on security issues if Bush called them back and forced them to deal with this. It would also help Bush's standing and make the moonbats have coniptions. I bet it would also cause logistic problems for the Hillary and Obama campaigns with the whole upcoming Wisconsin primary.
So do you know anyone who belongs to say like Redstate or who knows a bunch of bloggers who could maybe create a blogstorm and get this idea to the powers that be :)
Majority of the brazilians and perhaps majoriies of the countries of the South America and the world want Obama to president from USA, because he is realy a blessed of God.
We feel good energy, same being so far, and truth in the words from Obama. We also feel all will from Obama to help USA. We feel who Obama would be the better for USA, Brazil and the world.
We are with you Obama.
God bless you in this race presidential and give you many victories...Go Obama!
Hugs from Brazil
Obama is running a vacuous campaign? I guess you forgot Reagan's "morning in America" run in '84. i understand the GOP's necrophilia for RR, but c'mon, the guy had one or two ideas (lower taxes, communism is bad). If you would bother to look, Obama has substantial detail in his campaign. Besides, if it were so vacuous, how do you know his ideas are so extremist?
I campaigned for Ronald Reagan. I had friends who worked for Ronald Reagan. I stood on a town green with 50,000 people to see Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan won the Cold War.
Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan. He's a lucky street pol from south side Chicago who gives a good speech
Bush is unpopular? After 7 years of unprecedented lies and vicious slander from the MSM and the Democrats (but I repeat myself), who wouldn't be?
The MSM is owned by corporations.
Are you proposing that corporations are anti-Bush and anti-Republican?
Is that because corporations know that democrats have the corporations economic best interests at heart or is it because corporations aren't smart enough to support their own economic best interests.
I eagerly await your reply.
BTW, my advice: Lay off the RNC Talking Points. Repeating them makes one sound clueless.
Magrooder: If you think Reagan's policies were an unknown quantity in 1984, I don't even know where to begin with you.
Robert - So, you believe that all journalists and editors are automatons and that all day-to-day copywriting and editorial judgment is exercised by the Board of Directors? Anyway, most corporations (with exceptions like The New York Times Company and News Corp.) are not ideological, they are small-c conservative, not-rock-the-boat entities. And in the world of journalism, that usually means letting news divisions make day-to-day decisions as they always have. It is, by and large, the journalists who do the journalism.
Reagan could run a very non-specific campaign in 1984 because he was already running the country. For better or worse, his actions spoke for themselves.
Who do you work for Crank?
I want a job there, where the lowlings are free to act any way they want, and the higher-ups don't promote based on the lowlings toeing the company line.
I always get stuck with these jobs where management provide promotions based on how the workers help them reach their goals. Must just be my luck finding the few corporations that work that way.
BTW, Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, Tim Russert, et al (those who influence the public) are millionaires. They probably want to pay a higher tax rate if it will help the country as a whole. Just as Fortune 1000 companies will gladly pay higher taxes (it means they're making higher profits), and would never set-up shell companies offshore to reduce their tax burdens. (LOL)
It's true I was born at night, but it wasn't last night.
As for the NYT, go back and look at how they covered Whitewater and Gore's 2000 Presidential run (vs. The Downing Street Memos, for example). Then see if you can still convince people the NYT is "liberal" with a straight face.
Also Crank, checkout what happened to Ashleigh Banfield's career when she reported NBC was sugarcoating the Iraq War coverage.
Actions have consequences, or as NBC might say: Let that be a lesson to you independent journalists.