Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rock Star Versus Rocking Chair

The stage is set for a historic battle this November, between Sen. Barack Obama--the rock star--and Sen. John McCain, in the rocking chair.

Okay, that's unfair. We actually have a lot of respect here for Senator McCain, although we expect to lose it in the next few months.

Here's some things to expect: first, Hillary Clinton will keep at it for a couple more weeks. After the final primaries in Montana and South Dakota on June 3, she will give a gracious concession speech, and Obama will formally claim the mantle of the Democratic Party nominee.

Obama will then spend the summer fence-mending and uniting his party, recruiting some new people into his campaign to help especially with (1) blue collar whites; (2) middle-aged women; (3) the elderly; and (4) Jewish voters.

Us bloggers will go into full-time speculation mode on both nominees' VP picks. At some point, Hillary will declare that she is not interested (we were intrigued by the suggestion in today's Post that she should be appointed to the Supreme Court; she'd be an excellent choice).

A bunch of irrelevant polls will be released, showing a close race. The worst of these polls will be national polls, based on phone calls to a few hundred voters, which won't really tell us anything. (Indeed, if you look at such polls now, you'll see that McCain is beating both Obama and Hillary; that Obama is beating McCain, but Hillary is not; and that Hillary is beating McCain, but Obama is not. Take your pick.)

There will be a lot of speculation about the impact of racism on the election, and the so-called "Bradley effect" (voters who tell pollsters they'll vote for Obama, but who won't vote for him because of his race). Maybe some voters will figure out that Obama is just as white as he is black.

Finally, a couple reflections on the Democratic nomination race. When the race started, Obama was questioned as not black enough for African-Americans. Hillary had significant African-American support, and many whites despised her for being part of the rich, liberal elite. Then, in the South Carolina primary, the Clintons stumbled on the race issue, allowing Obama to be viewed as sufficiently black to garner the overwhelming support of African-American voters. When that happened, Hillary suddenly became popular with blue-collar white males. Only a black man could've accomplished that!

Team Obama out-organized, out-energized, and out-strategized team Hillary. Frankly, we here at the Curmudgeon wish it had ended up the other way around, with Hillary winning by a small margin and then offering the vice presidency to Obama. That would've worked. But for all the mistakes team Hillary made, for all they got out-maneuvered, there was one mistake that was fatal: the failure to plan for and organize the caucus states.

For the all the post hoc moaning and whining of Hillary supporters about the "unfairness" of the caucus system, we should remember that when this started, Hillary assumed she'd be the beneficiary of caucuses dominated by party activists and insiders--the liberal elite. Little did she know she was going to become the NASCAR candidate. In the end, Hillary lost in the nomination in the caucus states, but not because of any unfairness. It was, instead, bad strategy. Her campaign took those states for granted and never bothered to organize them properly, leaving a huge opening for Obama. Future campaigns should take heed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hillary for SCOTUS? What, are you mad? She's far too conservative. Besides, I think its clear that the Clinton's have worn out their welcome in this town. How about Reinhardt while he's still alive. Or maybe Larry Tribe.

I think you should rephrase your concern that Obama has a problem with "Blue color" white voters. He has a problem with with Applachian white voters. In states outside of ths cousin-loving parts of the country, working class whites in Iowa, Oregon, most Mountain West states adn the Northeast voted for Obama pretty handily. Its WV, KY, TN, MD, AL, PA, OH that have varying degrees of that effect.