Monday, June 9, 2008

The post-Clinton political roundup

General Info:
Everyone is calling for Democratic unity. Hillary Clinton's supporters are to join Obama against McCain. But the fact is that in polls, the defection of hardcore Clintonites has already been factored in, and Obama is still beating McCain in almost every poll. Put simply, Obama wants Clintonites, but doesn't actually need them.

How to win:
Meanwhile, pundits are trying to figure out how McCain can pull off a win in this most unfortunate of years for the GOP. One suggestion is to frame the Presidency as a job that is mostly about foreign policy and security. Obama has no experience in either of these areas, and so strategists think this would give him the boost he needs. I disagree, since if McCain's own campaign says the Presidency is about foreign policy, McCain will have to give direct, obvious and clear positions on the issue. Unfortunately for him, his maverick foreign policy is pretty well disliked by the public right now, since it's largely the same as Bush's. Given a choice between a policy they hate and a policy unknown, the voters might well move ever further away from McCain.

McCain could also try to pull a Clinton - run a campaign for the 'common worker' and try to paint Obama as an elitist or socialist. Unfortunately, he's not likely to get the union support he'd need to win this way. Also, his pro-immigration and pro-trade positions, while economically better for the country, are very unpopular in this constituency.

What has to happen? If McCain can make Obama fall apart during a debate it will bolster the 'no experience' image and give him an edge. This is a long shot, since Obama is more comfortable in public than McCain. Meanwhile, Obama would score a political headshot if, during a debate on Iraq and foreign policy, get angry and say something like "You're just another George W. Bush!" in a way that made McCain's temper go off. We've heard a few things about McCain's temper, and if it shows up during a debate people will rethink their image of McCain as a sober elder statesman.


Obama needs a VP who can guarentee him a red or toss-up state. Mark Warner (VA) and Bill Richardson (NM) are two candidates who come as a package deal with their home states and either blue collar votes (Warner) or hispanics (Richardson) - both fertile Democratic areas that Obama is weak in. However, Warner is running for the senate now and is going to win. Thinking in a more expansive strategy, does Warner bring more to the ticket than he brings to the senate? Could a quick replacement for Warner actually win? As for Richardson, would his presence make the ticket a bit too...non-white?

McCain needs someone who makes people care about coming out to vote for a Republican in November. With dissatisfaction at an all-time high, he cannot count on people voting against Obama in large enough numbers. A VP pick that excites the religious right would be smart. Could it be Huckabee? Romney? Recent times have heard more chatter about Bobby Jindal. Unfortunately for Jindal, I think he'd actually be a better candidate for the Presidency in 2012 than VP in 2008. If he's on this ticket and loses, it could be like Edwards in the early primaries this year, tainted by defeat. If I advised Jindal, I would tell him not to accept the VP spot. Plus, while he's socially conservative, his emphasis is on economics and he doesn't excite the religious right enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dream on.