Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why Democrats should choose Clinton


Conventional wisdom in the media is that Obama has the nomination sewn-up. Even rightwingers like Sean Hannity - while agreeing that Clinton has a case with the superdelegates that Wrightgate and Bittergate make him unelectable - believe that in the end the Obama will be the one to face John McCain in November. Dick Morris, a Republican who worked on Bill Clinton's re-election campaign in 1996, considers Clinton the stronger candidate but shares the cosy consensus that the 795 superdelegates (party bosses) would not dare alienate their most loyal support-base (African-Americans) for fear of tearing the party-apart as in 1968. At the same time, the superdelegates are largely elected politicians including governors, senators, mayors, former presidents and vice-presidents, some of whom will be conscious that voting against their states or local support-base could prove costly to their political ambitions. The backing of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, whose state voted narrowly for Hillary, might call this into question. But if you ask me, he has probably been offered the VP slot. Otherwise it just doesn't make sense - the Clintons made his political career. He served as Ambassador to the UN and Energy Secretary in the Bill Clinton administration of 1993-2001. Why else would he have crossed over to Obama?

So Obama will be the nominee. But it will just prove how addicted the Democratic Party is to opposition - sortof like Fine Gael here. He is fatally damaged by his associations with Rev.Wright, the 1960's terrorist Bill Ayers (who bombed the Pentagon), and to a lesser extent by his participation in the Nation of Islam rally organised by his controversia leader Louis Farrakhan. While I do not believe his treatment by Fox over Michelle Obama's comments that this was 'the first time in my adult life I am proud of America', to the farmers of Kansas and Oklahoma,the Evangelicals of the South, and the gun-owners of Pennsylvania, this merely confirms a stereotype of the Democrats that is widespread in these places. It is places like this that the Democrats need to win to have a chance of taking back the White House. All the Republicans and their 527 group surrogates need to do in November is replay those Bitter/Wright/Ayers videos again and again to both galvanise redstaters against Obama in a way they would already be galvanised against Hillary. The last six weeks have been the bells tolling for Obama's presidential ambitions in November. He does not lead in the average of the polls in any of the states that voted for Bush in 2004 other than Iowa, Nevada and Colorado - with 21 Electoral Votes between them. Meanwhile he is behind McCain in Pennsylvania, a must-win state for the Democrats that was carried by Clinton, Gore and even the hapless Kerry - albeit only 51-49. If Obama cannot even win here, then how can he possibly win in the rural, conservative states that decide the presidency? No Democrat has won the White House without carrying a Southern state, and since 1904 (other than 1952), every president has won Missouri. Obama is behind here 9% while Clinton runs McCain within 1%. She leads in West Virginia and in some polls in Arkansas, and is more competitive in Tennessee and Kentucky. Obama by contrast, is crushed 63-29 to McCain in Kentucky. It seems that the Democrats, yet again, are set to choose ideology over electability, a mistake the Republicans have surprisingly not made this year.

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