Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Conventional Wisdom on the Campaign is All Wrong -- As Usual

As I sit here and watch the returns in the Pennsylvania primary come in exactly as predicted, I am taken by how the pundits are interpreting Hillary Clinton's victory as being so meaningful and fraught with implications.

The conventional wisdom is that the Clinton campaign will emerge from Pennsylvania revitalized and that the game is still very much on. It seems to also be the conventional wisdom that John McCain will prove to be a formidable opponent in November and that Barack Obama's inability to "seal the deal" and put Clinton away is an ominous sign that he will have a very tough time winning the big race further down the road.

In my opinion, every single one of those assumptions is way off base.

In the first place, the Democratic Party's nomination process is over and Obama has won. The only thing that keeps the race going at all is Hillary's determination and the media's love affair with the campaign. All the talk tonight about the importance of Clinton's win ignores the following facts:

1. Obama has built up an insurmountable lead in delegates and popular votes. For the Super delegates to override the clear will of the people and nominate Clinton would require more guts than they have and would fracture the party. It's not going to happen.

2. Obama comes out of Pennsylvania with $42 million in his campaign fund while Hillary is essentially broke. Although she won in Pennsylvania, she had to spend pretty much every nickel she had in her campaign coffers to do so. She is very vulnerable going into North Carolina and Indiana where Obama is already ahead and is now in position to outspend her by an even bigger margin than in Pennsylvania.

It is over. The only question is when she will officially throw in the towel or when the media will do its job and actually report the truth which is that we are looking at an Obama-McCain matchup in November.

The other misstatement is that McCain will be a formidable foe in the November election and that Obama will have a hard time winning.

While Obama and Clinton have been attacking each other mercilessly for months, McCain has been sitting on the sidelines and attracting very little attention. He has been traveling around the country and enjoying praise and adoration from the majority of those Republicans who opposed his candidacy so bitterly just a few months ago.

Once Obama is finally recognized as the Democratic candidate that will all change.

Much more attention will be focused on the role that Republicans and the Bush Administration have played in creating or failing to effectively address so many of the critical problems facing our country today. McCain earned the Republican nomination by being a maverick and distancing himself from the Bush tax cuts and the way the war has been handled. But since then, he has flip-flopped to positions supporting these and other unpopular positions in an effort to become more popular with his party's Right Wing base.

With Bush's approval numbers in the 20's and 80% of the country believing we are on the wrong track on issues such as the war in Iraq and the economy, it is hard to see how McCain can pull this balancing act off. His party was in complete control in Washington during the six years that brought us the Iraq war, record deficits, the rewriting of the Constitution, and the seeds of the mortgage crisis we are now dealing with.

In addition, we are already starting to see a closer look being taken at some of McCain's problems. Several of his Republican colleagues and co-workers have already started to come forward with stories about his inability to control his temper and his strong vindictive streak. In addition, he has had several "senior moments" on the campaign trail already and there are serious doubts about his grasp of key issues related to the economy, national security, the Middle East, and other critical matters.

I am going on record today with two predictions:

1. Obama will be Democratic nominee

2. He will be elected in November by a comfortable margin.

By the way, like many of my friends I share serious concerns about that prospect. I'm just making a prediction.

1 comment:

Kate Breck Calhoun said...

With the Clinton victory in the rear view mirror, and her eye on the prize, I have to wonder if the Big O will have the courage and strength to outlast the bull. Perhaps the voters get sick of the Torero and vote McCain!