Things to do in Denver?

Well, it appears that my prediction of a Hillary victory was incorrect. Obama seems to have secured the Democratic nomination. Barring some unexpected turn of events (like the appearance of the mythical “Whitey” video), the DNC will nominate Barack Obama for the office of President of The United States of America.

Much has been made of the contest between an African-American and a Woman, but little has been said about the real battle lines that this contest represented: hard-left vs. middle-left. 16 years ago, Bill Clinton moved the Democratic party to the middle. Obama promises to move the party to the left. Way left. Way, way left.

Way, way, way left.

And that will be his biggest problem in the general election. Obama is the farthest left of every other Senator. There is simply no other politician on the national stage who is farther from the center than Barack Hussein Obama. All of the controversies that will surround Obama in the coming months; his relationships with unrepentant former terrorists, his willingness to meet with dictators and terrorist sponsoring tyrants, his desire to bomb allies, his refusal to acknowledge progress in Iraq, his steadfast refusal to even consider listening to military commanders in the field before making far-reaching strategic war-time decisions, his relationship with the worst parts of the black segregationalist movement, and his seeming inability to muster any reasonably authentic display of pride in America all spring from the same well: his deeply progressive political ideology. Jeremiah Wright isn’t the problem for Obama, it’s the ideology that makes Wright possible.

To make matters worse, Obama is inexperienced as a politician. Compared to McCain, Obama’s lack of experience is comical. To combat that lack of experience, Obama will argue — as he has been — that he has better judgment. But when his history is littered with the likes of Ayers, Wright, and Rezko, when his major foreign policy decisions have ranged from the simply ludicrous: bomb Pakistan, to the simply wrong: the surge won’t work, to the simply awful: unconditional meetings with Iran and North Korea, his judgment seems to be rather powerfully flawed. All those lapses in judgment spring from the same well: his deeply progressive political ideology.

Obama needs to move to the center, and he needs to move quickly. To win the general election, Obama needs to win over independent and moderate voters in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. He needs to appeal to the exact same voters that voted for Bush over Kerry. And he needs to win them back. That bears repeating, because while it’s the line that Clinton has been singing to the superdelegates, it’s a line that hasn’t gotten much play in the major media. To win in the general election, Obama needs to win over the white suburban women who voted for Bush instead of Kerry.

Will making Hillary his VP help bring those voters over?

Or will those voters turn to a politician with decades of experience and a strong commitment to national defense? As Victor Davis Hansen put it, the Democrats have nominated the only candidate they had that could lose this election and the Republicans have nominated the only candidate they had that can win it.

Things to do in Denver?


Hillary Wins

CNN won’t do it, and neither will Fox. I’m going to scoop all the major news outlets. I’m calling the Democratic nomination. Hillary will win. All she has to do is stay in the race.

It won’t be decided until the convention and the super delegates will certainly play a deciding role, but I don’t think the floor fight will be very bitter. Obama will struggle initially but will graciously accept the inevitable–especially if he’s given the VP nomination. Here’s my thinking:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination received more than just a reprieve yesterday after winning both the Texas and Ohio primaries. Although Clinton didn’t make much headway in the delegate count, the margin of her victory in Ohio gives her hope that she can win Pennsylvania by as wide a margin, and continue to chip away at Obama’s delegate lead in the coming months.

Of course, the conventional thinking says that the math is just too difficult, that the margins that Clinton would need to win by are impossible. But I think that’s misleading. First, Clinton demonstrated in Ohio that she can win by large margins, and if she can continue to carry the larger states, she’ll continue to cut into Obama’s delegate lead. She may not erase it entirely, but she can reduce it.

And remember — there’s still Michigan and Florida. Clinton won Michigan handily (Obama wasn’t on the ballot) and she won Florida handily as well. She’d likely do very well in both states even if they both voted again. And even if they delegates aren’t seated (which I think is unlikely), Clinton will argue that the Super Delegates should take the results of the Michigan and Florida primaries into consideration (after all, the nominee will have to win Florida in the General election). But ultimately, Clinton can argue that the voters in Michigan and Florida should not be disenfranchised. Whether the states violated party rules or not, the argument to intentionally and deliberately disenfranchise millions of voters is not an argument that the Obama campaign will want to make very strenuously. The Michigan and Florida delegates will be seated at the convention and Hillary will have a significant majority of them.

Finally, there’s still seven weeks till the Pennsylvania primary. Then more weeks and months after that as every possible delegate is fought over tooth and nail. While the length of this primary campaign initially worked in Obama’s favor, allowing him to surprise a complacent Clinton campaign, that’s not the case anymore. Obama can only be hurt by a prolonged campaign at this point. The Rezko trial is just starting and we haven’t heard the last about NaftaQuiddick.

The NAFTA gaffe–the campaign’s assurances to the Canadian Embassy that Obama didn’t really mean what he was saying in the primaries–will continue to haunt Obama. It’s the kind of mistake that has the potential to completely unravel his campaign. After all, if Obama is a lying, sleazy politician, what makes him any different?

Obama is also a young, inexperienced campaigner. Hillary isn’t. Obama will make more mistakes over the coming months than Clinton will. All Clinton needs to do is sit tight, stay on message, smile, and slowly pick away at Obama. She doesn’t need to dazzle, she doesn’t need to shine, she just needs to stay the course–and get Michigan and Florida. Obama, on the other hand, does need to dazzle because when Michigan and Florida are counted, Obama is the one who’s trailing.

So, Hillary will win the nomination (as long as she stays in long enough to get Michigan and Florida seated and in). That’s my prediction, for what it’s worth. (Not much.)

Of course, the cost of the extended primary may be devastating to the democratic ticket in the general election. If I were John McCain, I’d start laying the groundwork for the general campaign, but I’d stay well out of the spotlight for a few months.

Race and Democrats

Susan Estrich, writing for Fox News, tries to be courageously honest about the Democratic primary:

No one doubts, or at least no one who is honest does, that both racism and sexism come into play as people decide between Clinton and Obama, but could it be that people are more willing to admit that they won’t vote for the woman than that they won’t vote for the black?

If this is happening even among us good Democrats, what does that say about Obama’s strength in a general election? Not pretty questions. Not a fair world.


Is race/gender/shoe size the ONLY reason why a “good Democrat” would vote for a candidate? There couldn’t possibly be other reasons, right? Couldn’t it be that some people think that Obama might be a tad inexperienced (Hillary, after all, has been married to a president), or couldn’t it be that some voters actually trust Hillary more than Obama?

OK… maybe it is all about race. But what does that say about the Democratic party? Have they swallowed so much of their own identity politik that they are no longer able to see any other part of the world? Are race and gender the only issues that matter any more? Is the Democratic primary now nothing more than a race to the bottom to see who can claim to be the lowliest victim? It seems so… depressing.

Jonah Goldberg has a good article up addressing the same issue,

The Republican party is a mess, absolutely. Conservatives are sorting out what they believe, what heresies they can tolerate and on which principles they will not bend. At times this argument is loud, ugly and unfortunate. But you know what? At least it’s an argument about something. On the Democratic side, if you strip away the crass appeals to identity politics, the emotional pandering and the helium-infused rhetoric, you’re pretty much left with a campaign about nothing.

But put the race-baiting aside, and I find another insidious sentiment in Estrich’s column.

If this is happening even among us good Democrats…

“Then what hope do you troglodyte republicans have?” Democrats = Good. Everyone else = Racist Misogynist Pigs. Nice, that.

I don’t live in a perfect world, so I don’t expect much honesty or rationality from politicians. But I would dearly like it if more people approached politics as a competition between different ideas and not just a high-school charm competition. Ha. I know… silly me.

There’s this gem: Che posters in Obama offices. It would be like discovering a big David Duke poster in a McCain office. (For more on Che, check this out.) It says volumes about the kind of ideological support that Obama is generating. I’m not saying that Obama aspires to be a mass-murdering despot, or that, like Che, he wants to make homosexuality a capital crime, or that he believes that cultivating an all-consuming hatred of the enemy is a political virtue. But maybe his supporters do? You know, “us good Democrats?”

Or maybe not. Maybe, like Che, he’s dreamy… and that’s as much as thought as goes into it.