Thursday, February 14, 2008


Well, it's pretty obvious that McCain will be the Republican nominee, so the obvious question is which Democrat has the best chance of beating him. I honestly don't know, but my current analysis follows:

1. Media Coverage
The Media (MSM and most of the blogosphere) love both Obama and McCain. This means that, for possibly the first time in 20 or 30 years, we could expect fair coverage of both candidates (i.e. negatives will be minimized).

If Hillary is the candidate, we can, of course, expect her to be thoroughly trashed no matter what she says or does and no matter what McCain says or does.

2. Debate Performance
O v. M
Visually, we will see a tall, young, vigorous man vs. an older, shorter, weaker man.

In a debate between these two, both men have to be careful how they attack. If McCain focuses too much on Obama's youth, he risks raising the specter of his own age.

McCain must also be careful not to say anything that could be interpreted as racist. (This is less likely for McCain than it would be for Hillary because there is no presumption that McCain would play the race card.)

But Obama must also be careful about calling McCain too old, or implying that his experience and judgment are irrelevant or flawed. Whatever else McCain's opponents may think of him, they know he is a war hero. Just as McCain must worry about being perceived as "dissing" Obama, Obama must avoid the use of his "Hillary-dissing" strategies: looking down his nose, smirks, etc.

H v. M
Visually we will see a short, middle-aged woman vs. a short, older man. They will appear, more or less, evenly matched.

McCain must worry about talking down to Hillary or treating her as a lesser rival because of her sex. He will lose a lot of woman if he dismisses her experience.

Hillary, I suspect, will not commit any "perception" errors. She has known McCain for many years, she knows about his temper, she already knows how he treats her. That gives her an edge over Obama.

3. General Election
If there is a terrorist attack prior to the election, it will favor McCain. But which Democrat will it hurt less? I think Hillary, in part because she did support the vote to invade Iraq and because of her experience on the Armed Services Committee. Obama would be at a disadvantage because McCain could paint him as a peacenik who obviously doesn't know how dangerous the world is. (The fact that a second attack occurred under the same Republican President as the first attack will not hurt McCain. Why, I don't know. But it won't.)

Otherwise, I think either Obama or Clinton has a good shot to beat McCain simply because they are Democrats. Hillary would have negative media coverage while Obama's would be good. (See #1 above.) Obama is, of course, the more uplifting speaker, but there's the chance that during the campaign, his speeches could wear thin. And, as in the debates, he has to avoid the flip side of the race card.

Still, I don't think one can reasonably predict which Democrat would do better against McCain.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Has Obama's Campaign Turned Into a Cult?

Has Obama's political campaign turned into a political cult? I ask this in all seriousness.

It's not simply that almost the entire MSM, and a large majority of the so-called netroots, is actively campaigning for Obama.

It is that the language used by the MSM, netroots, and thousands of commenters on blogs such as those at the Huffington Post, is eerily similar. Hillary is Satan, a woman without principles, a woman who has lied since the day she was born, a woman who acted as a pimp for her husband, and so on, up to and beyond all the Right-Wing swiftboat attacks in the 1990s that included an accusation of murder. Nothing she says or does is considered to be sincere. If she smiles, she's just pretending. If she tears up, she is acting. If she criticizes Obama, she is being nasty at best and racist at worse. If there is any way, no matter how bizarre, to detect evil in something she says or something one of her supporters says, it is pounced on and amplified until, like the Swiftboat attacks, it sticks.

OTOH, no criticism of Obama is valid. Point out that he is not the first African-American to win a Presidential primary in South Carolina and you are racist - even though the MSM frequently opined that he was likely to receive the majority of Black votes in the South Carolina (why? because he's Irish?). The MSM was not accused of injecting race.

Everything that Obama says and does is good because he is Obama. Point out that he attacked Hillary and the answer is that she attacked him first. So, of course, he didn't really want to do it but he had no choice. Did he smirk at her, snub her? No, of course not. Just another of Hillary's lies and an attempt to get sympathy. See an Aussie's take on this:"Stop Bagging Hillary" by Michael Costello, 2/1/08

Nobody has asked just how Obama plans to "bring us all together" or even if that is a good idea. We are just supposed to take on faith that Obama, because of "who he is" rather than "what he has accomplished" will bridge the divisions between Republicans and Democrats, supporters and opponents of the war in Iraq, right-to-lifers and freedom-of-choicers. The subtext is that the divisions and bitterness can be equally apportioned between Republicans and Democrats. Anybody who has lived in the U.S. for the past 20 years and thinks that the Republicans are willing to compromise and share power has, indeed, been living in a dream world. Worse, he implies that the divisions are not based on strongly held principles which are worth fighting for.

Name me any President, other than Washington, who was not reviled by some part of the population. Adams? Lincoln? FDR, Truman, Eisenhower (well, maybe nobody actually hated Ike), JFK, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan (yes, some people hated Reagan), Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43? Name me an era when Washington politics was all sweetness and light.

Think I'm being irrational? Check out these two blogs and read the comments made after the 1/31/08 debate in Hollywood (start with the oldest ones since they represent the first reactions, uninfluenced by the media spin. It is necessary to read only 20 or 30 comments.)

HuffPost "LA Debate: Hugs, ..."
The candidate of hope and light who promises to bring us all together (white and black, Republicans and Democrats, the rich and the poor, Bill Kristol and Ralph Nader) is supported by people who hate, loathe and despise Hillary with a venom greater than that usually heaped upon child abusers. And many of these supporters of the unity candidate promise to vote for a Republican rather than vote for Hillary. In short, their allegiance is to a person, not to a political philosophy, and they are willing to give the party that has achieved a bloodless coup against the Constitution another shot at completing the destruction rather than vote for Hillary.

TalkLeft's "Democrats and America Won Tonight"
The unelectable, divisive, high negative candidate is supported by people who saw a woman and an AA standing on the stage and vying for the Democratic Party's nominee for President as a truly historic event. They were thrilled at the sight and proud to be Democrats. They want Hillary to win but will support Obama if he is the candidate. (I have yet to see a Hillary supporter threaten to vote for the Republican if Obama is the nominee.)

These are not aberrational differences. They have been playing out for months. Obama's supporters spew poison minute by minute, directed almost solely, with the exception of Hillary's vote on Iraq, at her as a person who is worse than Satan rather than at specific decisions & acts. Hillary's supporters, OTOH, tend to point out specific factual reasons for not choosing Obama.

Read the comments posted in response to any blogger or columnist who is neutral or pro-Hillary (there are a couple) and. Obama's supporters accuse these people of working for Hillary, of being paid shills for Hillary, etc., etc. They then launch into the usual anti-Hillary diatribes. In their minds, nobody can possibly support Hillary out of a conviction equal to their own.

After 7 years of a supine press blindly supporting the inarticulate & uncharismatic Bush 43, I think we should worry about the love affair of the media, new and old, with Obama, especially their belief that he is Perfection personified and to criticize him is to commit a sin.