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March 15, 2008

Another bold prediction

It's time for me to go on record with this one: If the Democrats nominate Barack Obama this year, they will lose. It's possible they could lose with Hillary as well, but I believe that a HRC-McCain race would at least be competitive. By contrast, I think John McCain will beat Obama like a drum.

I've always questioned the conventional wisdom, common in both parties, that Hillary would be easier to beat than Obama. Folks who subscribe to this logic seem to be taking a snapshot of a moment in political history and fallaciously assuming the same political dynamics will obtain in November.

If the election were held today, they may have a point, since early head-to-head polls have thus far seemed to indicate that Obama would fare better against McCain than Hillary (although now that I check the latest numbers, it seems that Obama's advantage, never more than a couple of points, may have already evaporated.) The problem as I see it is that Hillary's numbers are fairly stable, whereas Obama's have nowhere to go but down. I think one would have to be incredibly naive to believe that his current stratospheric popularity can survive intact for 8 more months.

A Democratic friend of mine with no especial fondness for Obama recently confessed that he'd voted for him in the primaries, primarily because he thought Obama stood a better chance at defeating McCain. When I asked, skeptically, why he believed that, he said of Hillary "they're going to swiftboat the shit out of her."

Well yes, they will. But so what? She's been through it all before. What are they going to say about her that hasn't already been said? She's a known quantity, and I doubt that rehashing cattle futures or the White House travel office yet again is going to change her ranking in the polls significantly (unless it's in the upward direction, there being a historical pattern that such attacks often backfire by engendering sympathy for Mrs. Clinton.) Obama, by contrast, has never even faced serious political opposition, much less the no-holds-barred smashmouth brawl that modern presidential campaigns have become. Who knows how well he'll hold up? Judging from the week he's just had, it doesn't look promising.

When you look at the electoral map, the picture looks even more grim. Obama's been kicking ass in states like South Carolina, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Mississippi -- in other words, in states that he doesn't have a prayer of winning in November. In the swing states that could actually decide this election (e.g., Ohio and Pennsylvania) Hillary usually polls much stronger. I can look at the 2004 electoral map and find several blue states that represent possible opportunities for McCain. Can anyone show me a single red state that Obama can win?

I suppose that as a McCain guy, I could just sit back happily and enjoy the train wreck, but I can't. I can't bring myself to hope for an Obama nomination. You never know what might happen. What if McCain's cancer comes back? What if he turns out to be Client Number Eight? I confess that I'd much rather have Hillary there to pick up the ball than Obama.

And I'm sensing that more and more Democrats are beginning to think the same way. We all knew the honeymoon couldn't last. It's winding down now, and I think buyer's remorse is starting to kick in. But will it be too late? Has the contract already been signed, or is there still time to get out of it?

March 10, 2008


All right, I'm officially ready to use the "R" word now. If Wall Street can't muster a rally on this news, the party's over.

Yay, more deadly sins!

Via K, I learn that the the Vatican has apparently doubled the number of Deadly Sins. Sloth and gluttony will have to make room for new friends such as "genetic modification" and "becoming obscenely wealthy."

Hooray! This brings the percentage of deadly sins I've committed down from 100% all the way to 64%!

March 04, 2008

She's a student of history

Politics makes for great theater. When I heard Hillary say she'd "earned every wrinkle," I had to stop and think why it sounded familiar. Then I remembered the stories of George Washington being called to testify before Congress. He would mount the podium (heh) with a sheaf of papers containing his prepared remarks, examine them, pause, and then very theatrically pull out a pair of spectacles. "Gentlemen," he would say. "I have grown old in the service of this country. And now, it seems, I am growing blind in its service as well." Not particularly subtle, but nonetheless effective. There's nothing new under the sun. Well, not in politics, anyway.

PC lesson number 3682

It's okay to imply, as folks have done for seven years, that the current White House occupant looks like a chimp (which he does), but you're a racist to even chuckle at the suggestion that Barack Obama bears a passing resemblance to Curious George (which, now that I think about it, he kinda does.)

At the crux of this disparity seems to be the fact that Obama is black -- which to mind, he isn't, since he's as much white as he is black, except for those who'd have us go back to the Mississippi "one drop" rule, which I'd like to think we've outgrown by now, except that in some progressive circles we obviously haven't. Sigh.

Anyway, now you know. Don't make that mistake again, h4t3rz!

Hillary, Obama and McCain

When I first read this theory about Hillary's "phone rings at 3 AM" commercial, I dismissed it as conspiratorial.

The Clinton campaign did not release that ad for the sake of Clinton 2008. It is to defeat Obama, for sure. But not now.

Hillary knows she's going down. They issued that ad because they want McCain to win. She thinks she can be a star in the Senate, leader of the Democratic party when he loses.

But the more I thought about it, the more plausible it sounded. It would free Hillary up to have another go in 2012, when McCain would be what, like 90? And even if she were to sit 2012 out, a McCain win would secure the Clintons' positions as party leaders for the foreseeable future.

The only part of it I really don't buy is that she's given up. This may be a plan B, but I think she'll fight for the nomination until the very last superdelegate has been threatened/cajoled/bribed. Not only that (and you can call me crazy) I still think it's possible that she'll bag both Texas and Ohio tonight. We'll see. Either way, it'll be a late night for those of us on the East Coast.

March 03, 2008


...what happened?