An long, costly, bloody, badly run, unpopular war (which war wouldn’t be, after the first 4 qualifiers) 8 years of Republican rule in the White House, after which the out party usually has the upper hand (unless you’re running against Dukakis, which they may be this year) an extremely unpopular president, latest poll numbers at 28%, dropping below the basement 30% of hard-core Republican stalwarts (although I don’t see it as justified, and I believe most people like him personally) and an economy that is perceived as, even if its not actually, going South.
Going in with a well-financed, establishment supported, battle hardened veteran associated with a presidency a lot of Americans still looked back on favorably, you’d think the Dems would coast. Hell, everyone did. The nutroots mostly held fire on Hillary because they figured she was going to be the nominee, even though they despised her they didn’t want to lose to Guiliani or worse yet Huckabee or Romney. McCain was dead as, dead, as Eric Stoltz said in Pulp Fiction about coke.
The nutroots were nominally backing Edwards, whom everyone knew had zero chance of winning, but hey, the nutroots love to lose and never fail to back a really lame-ass loser when possible, because its possible he could have pulled out a few primaries so they could have their sop of moral victories they live upon, having no more nourishing meat.
Obama wasn’t running as one of them, and had pissed off gays and their far-left handlers with the gay-bashing ex-gay Christian singer Donnie McClurkin. They’d written him off as DOA before a single vote had been cast.
However, once Obama began to catch on, the nutroots was ready to jump aboard because they hate the DNC and all its minions and adherents worse than they hate Dubya, and they detest the Clintons as triangulating moderate traitors to the progressive revolution the nutroots seems to think is right around the corner, if they can just get enough Republicans to retire.
The net effect (no pun) of the nutroots has been to pull the party to the left, forcing Hillary and Obama lefter than they’d like to be, and the long primary season has left both of them exposed longer than they would like to be. By now, the Democrat has usually locked up the nomination and can stop pandering to the far left and can safely ignore them for the rest of the campaign (see Kerry, John, “gay marriage” “gun control” “cutting off funds for Iraq”).
Unfortunately, they are still having to pander while people are beginning to pay attention. Its not good for the Dems for the general public to see what the Dems stand for and for what they will not stand (NAFTA, for one, it seems).
Dean’s ham-handed handling of the Florida-Michigan debacle threatens to alienate two must-win states (or some combination there-of), which, its easy to say now no one could have foreseen this coming, but the Democrats rules are so weighted its amazing this has never happened before. Same with the super-delegate disaster. They are in place to forestall a preordained loser from snagging the nomination, but here they are and they can’t exercise that role for fear of pissing off half their electorate. Another screw-up.
Yet another facet is the liberal press’ early infatuation with Obama that allowed him to get this far with no real criticism nor vetting. A fair-minded, adversary press would have savaged him early and often, and brought out the worst flaws or driven him out of the race altogether (that’s my guess, I think he has a glass jaw, frankly) but their stroking and fondling of his tender person has left him naked and vulnerable now that the blows are falling in earnest.
It was a dicey proposition from the get-go. Not even a majority of the most “liberal” sub-set of the most “tolerant” party, Democrat primary voters, are ready to vote for a black man, any black man. Add an inexperienced black man, add Obama’s arrogant nature, his problems with a race-baiting preacher, his Tony Rezko and Chicago machine politics sleaze factor and his gaffe-prone mouth along with an inexperienced candidate with an untested campaign team and you have a potential disaster on your hands.
Its entirely possible Obama could fall below the magic 45%, which no major party candidate seems possible of diving below in this 51-49 country. Any time any party gets a little behind, they focus group finesse their message, the Dems micro-adjusting their policy goals on gays, guns and God and taxes, and the Republicans laying off illegals and toning down the God talk so as not to scare the moderates. Then things balance back out to 51-49 and we go on from there. This would probably continue for a long time.
But with a supremely bad candidate, a minority candidate for whom some people will not vote under any circumstances, who belongs to a minority group that many members of an up and coming minority (Latinos) find threatening to their own aspirations, plus who cannot close the deal despite over-whelming financial advantages, you have a real problem here.
Also, there’s another factor: the longer this goes on, the more Hillary’s people feel that she must legitimately have a chance. And the longer Obama must attack her. If you notice, John McCain rarely ever attacks Hillary, and although Hillary attacks President Bush, she doesn’t lay many a glove on McCain.
|Snobama courtesy Michele Malkin|
In the latest imbroglio, it was almost as if they were coordinating their tag-team attack on Obama (much to Obama supporters’ chagrin).
UPDATE: A Drudge exclusive seems to highlight this:
Republican presidential hopeful John McCain has confided to his inner circle that Hillary Clinton may yet be the Democratic nominee, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, a development the senator from Arizona would personally welcome!
“Look, I know something about long odds, they had me written off last summer,” McCain explained over the weekend, according to a top source.
McCain would prefer to go up against Clinton in the general election, insiders reveal.
He has instructed his campaign staff to “chill out” on countering Hillary Clinton’s torrent of claims and promises as primary voting comes to an end over the next 6 weeks.
McCain made the tactical decision to downplay Clinton’s tale of Bosnia sniper fire, leaving some McCain staffers frustrated and perplexed.
Instead, the critical focus has been on Barack Obama. McCain’s official website features 14 press releases taking on Obama since the first of the year, only 3 for the former first lady.
As a McCain supporter, I find myself more and more antagonistic toward Obama. And, any enemy of my enemy is, at least tactically, my friend. I’ve begun to wonder if some Hillary partisans aren’t beginning to feel the same way. Day after day, Obama is bruising her with sarcastic, snarky, mean-spirited attacks. Not that she isn’t answering in kind, but partisans don’t see it that way. They only smart from their own candidates injuries.
Wouldn’t Hillary’s backers get the same satisfaction seeing McCain beating on Obama that McCain backers, including myself, feel when Hillary smacks Obama around? I’ve actually felt bad for Hillary during the Bosnian thing, and cheered her attacks on Obama. And I can’t stand either of the Clintons, never have. But I’ve come around to the thinking that Hillary would be preferable to Obama, because I detest him so much.
Mightn’t Hillary’s people be thinking the same thing about McCain? I mean, we’ve seen the polls where nearly 30% of her voters say they will not vote for Obama if he is the nominee. Some of this is seen as raw feelings that will die down after the nomination is settled and Obama starts in on McCain, but I wonder. If even 5-12% of Hillary’s people either sit it out or better yet, vote for McCain, Obama is in a lot of trouble. In tight elections like this no one can write off, factoring her support, 3-8% of Obama’s base, practically.
I think Democrat establishment types know Obama is headed for disaster, especially now with this latest gaffe, but what can they do? They are holding off giving Hillary the kiss of death by moving en masse to Obama. They are probably hoping for a major meltdown that would justify denying Obama the nomination (although by now Hillary is so damaged, she can’t win either) without causing riots and the permanent disaffection of the African-American bloc.
Right now they have to be very concerned not just about losing the election, which seems like a foregone conclusion, lose the election but save the party, but they have to be worried about a down-ticket bloodbath. If Obama is truly toxic, especially in red and swing states, their dream of padding their Congressional advantage is not just up in smoke, they could lose one chamber or the other. Many of the new Congressmen are takeovers of traditional Republican seats handed over during a down turn for the GOP and because of retirements, scandals and just bad luck and bad campaigning (see George Allen). These guys would be massacred if the Republican wins by 8-10 pts. nationally.
About the only thing they can do at this point is take over Obama’s campaign with Democrat old hands and run a very conservative campaign trying to keep it respectable. Obama, faced with a landslide loss, might say fuck it and run a wide open campaign, figuring he has nothing to lose so he might as well go balls out anyway. The Dem establishment could install their handlers to spend money with an eye toward minimizing down-ticket losses, keeping a rein on Obama’s big mouth, shaping the platform and Obama’s campaign themes in a way that doesn’t scare the shit out of the working class Dem voter to the point where they face a mass exodus not seen since the Reagan Democrat years.
Then they can turn their attention toward flushing the ’12 race down the shitter.