At least they’ll both be better than Bush

It depresses me that Hillary won the states that mattered yesterday, even though the delegate contest is far from decided. If she becomes the Democratic nominee, she’ll lose to McCain, even if Obama is her VP choice.

It’s only gonna get uglier as the Democratic convention approaches. For all of Obama’s high-road smarts and strategizing, there is no overstating the ability of the Democrats to shoot themselves in their feet, and settle on a doomed candidate come convention time. The ghosts of McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry — and even Gore and Carter — loom large. Obama can win, mostly because he has so many positives and he isn’t hated by Republicans. Hillary can’t.

So then the only question that remains is who McCain will choose as his VP candidate. Because, as of this morning, McCain and that guy (it won’t be a woman) will likely be our next two presidents.

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to At least they’ll both be better than Bush

  1. Simon Cast says:

    It would be interesting to see if McCain waits until later in the year to pick a VP.

    I wondering whether a McCain – Obama partnership is possible if Obama looses to Clinton?

    Probably a little other-worldly but it would make for an interesting Presidential election.

  2. I wouldn’t over-estimate Obama’s chances, either. The Rezko trial has every chance of tarring him as “just another politician” – which is exactly what he’s claiming not to be.

    Then there’s his extremelly left wing set of beliefs (evident from his voting record). McCain could very easily paint himself as the candidate who is actually able to work both sides (based on his actual record), while Obama is nothing more than a slick talking partisan hack.

  3. Harl Delos says:

    I did a little experiment this morning.

    Suppose, just suppose, that instead of the Democrats’ formulae for dividing up delegates, they played winner-take-all like the GOP, and the number of delegates was equal to the number of electoral votes each state gets.

    That’d put Hillary in the lead, 219 to 158. Small states get overrepresented in the Electoral College, and that’s not the result I expected.

    That’s not what matters, of course. DC will surely go democratic, no matter who’s the candidate. Indiana will surely go republican, no matter who runs. What really matters is who can win the states that could swing either way.

    I don’t know how to define a swing state, and there aren’t polls available, state-by-state, comparing Obama versus McCain and Clinton versus McCain.

    But I think you’re right. Obama’s been bringing a lot of people into the polls that in previous years sat on their hands. If Hillary gets the nomination, they’ll go back to sitting on their hands, and we’ll have McCain for about a year, and his VP for the next three….

  4. Bob Boynton says:

    John McCain will run for commander in chief in the war on terror, and claim and Hussein Obama cannot possibly keep the country safe.

    A terrible economy might save either Democrat.

  5. Doc Searls says:

    James, I agree that the tar might stick to Obama, but not that he’s a slick partisan hack. I know too many people who know him and believe otherwise. I’ll stick with them for now.

    Meanwhile, I think Bob might be right. McCain will run for the imperial presidency of a republic still in denial about being on the road to hell. Nixon said he’d end the Vietnam war, and we elected him. ’08 may end up looking more like ’72 than any other year.

    The good thing being that McCain is a decent man and Nixon wasn’t.

    Not sure what President Romney will do after McCain goes. Hire some management consultants, I suppose.

  6. Take a breath, Doc.

    The math for Clinton has become more terrible, not less. She still needs huge leads in many upcoming states, plus MI and FL as they stand now, to have any hope of tying. Re-dos in those states will not give her what she needs, nor will the prospect of Obama being tagged with scandal; they’ve been investigating Rezko in Chicago for nearly a decade now with no hint of illegally between him and Obama. They’d LOVE to find it — thus the news bit day-before-yesterday — but there’s no serious dog in that hunt.

    What this gave her is the media attention and funding she craves. But it’s far from giving her the nomination, and Obama has shown an uncanny sense for learning from his mistakes (see NH). For example, he’s already hitting Clinton (and by extension, McCain) hard on National Security, and he’s learned he can’t let up on that one bit, from this point forward.

    The (A-HEM) woman of size might have gone back to the dressing room, but she’s keeping her voice tuned up, in my estimation.

  7. Jim says:

    I would hope the Democratic Party would recognize one of their remaining candidates appeal to independent and Republican voters, even two time Bush voters, compared to one who represents the same division and crippling politics that has saturated American politics since 1992.

    It is simple, nominate Senator Clinton, we go to McCain. Nominate Obama, we turn the page on the political division of the past.

    Within my group of independent conservatives, we are all moving the same way. She will polarize the two parties, and unless we have another contested election, she will lose the general election to Senatory McCain and bring us what is effectively the continuation of a failed domestic and foreign policy courtesy of the current administration.

  8. Kevin Kiely says:

    Hillary can not mathematically get there in terms of pledged delegates, and in fact Barack will likely increase his lead over the last 12 contests. The 10 pt. Hillary margin in PA will be offset by wins in Wyoming, Mississippi and North Carolina by Barack. Barack will head to denver with more pledged delegates and a bigger popular vote, so what ever happened to democracy???

    I think Hillary needs to compete through PA, but if she is still 100+ behind in pledged delegates when the dust settles on April 23rd she should do the honorable thing and step aside. There is only way McCain and the republicans get back into the White House in November…her name is Hillary.

  9. Rita1 says:

    Will Obama craft a “kitchen sink” strategy that could be much longer and cover far more ground against the coronation queen than that which was thrown at him in 72 hours? I think so. I think it is past time. Two prongs: defense & heroic answers on the attacks against him, and slam both Hillary and her “fighter/ fighting” mantle as divisive, politically expedient, and questionable pursuit of personal wealth and power – insufferable to republicans and independents.

  10. Mike Warot says:

    No matter who wins, they’re going to have deal with the collapse of the dollar, and the results of 40 years of globalism which has exported most of our ability to sustain ourselves.

    It strikes me as ironic pushing our military presence all over the world in the name of “national security” is the very cause that has bankrupted us, leading to a collapse of our nations security.

  11. Don Marti says:

    There’s a huge file of negative stuff on Hillary Clinton. Example: cattle futures. The Republicans are too smart to use it now, but if she’s the nominee, the 527 organizations that spring up to spam us all with negative Clinton stories will make “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” look like a Boy Scout color guard.

  12. Brian C. says:

    Depresses you? lol, I wouldn’t go that far, unless your going for Obama. I admit, the primaries have gone pretty far… in effect “dividing” the party. But you have to consider the end result… the best person will be the nominee.

    I think everyone is underestimating Clinton… still. Statistically, she’s tied with McCain in the general election polls BUT general election campaigning hasn’t really started yet, except for a few weak jabs from McCain. If Hillary is anything like she has been these past two weeks, she’ll show McCain that “hell hath no fury…” and unleash more political Metamucil than McCain can swallow. That’s what I call a “Clintonian Comeback.” McCain is trying to look different than Bush, but has come full swing only to imitate him. This country is sick of Bush, just look at his approval ratings! They’re the lowest on record!

    Take these facts and think about it. Did Hillary influence Bill? Most definitely. Will the reverse be true if she sits in the White House? I’m sure of it. Just Briefly, a quote from Bill Clinton:
    You’re getting two presidents “for the price of one” These are the things that happen when a Clinton is in office:

    Considering the economy, Just look at how it was when Bill left office?

    A balanced Budget, Surpluses, a strong dollar, unemployment was way down, excellent trade deals, the longest boom in U S HISTORY. Compare that to our economy now, this is what Hillary could potentially do.

    As for winning a general election:

    Clinton left office with a 65% approval rating, the highest end-of-presidency rating of any President who came into office after World War II.

    “Many Democrats who had supported Ronald Reagan and Bush in previous elections switched their allegiance to Bill Clinton.”

    He unseated a victorious War Time president.

    Clinton’s not hard on terrorism or Iraq? Look up Operation Dessert Fox!!

    Clinton’s election ended an era in which the Republican Party had controlled the White House for 12 consecutive years, and for 20 of the previous 24 years.
    Sound Familiar?

    Bill Clinton did a lot for this country. Was there a scandal? yes. But I would rather have a sex scandal than a Halliburton/funnel money into my company scandal. Why do Republicans refuse to take responsibility for Bush’s crimes? The want to criticize Democrats constantly… “What are the accomplishments?” ok…


    Thank you and thank Wikipedia for the direct quotes.

  13. I wrote on this blog four years ago ‘never underestimated the effect of pissing off the other side’ in relation to the massive hatred of the left by many on the right. When the right gets into a fury (and they can get frothy just at the idea of smug left wingers thinking Obama is going to win) you better watch out. As the curtain pulls back on Obama’s wizardry, don’t think he’s going to be loved as he is now by a bunch of college kids.

    I assure you….Obama will be hated by November.

  14. Julian Bond says:

    Why is this all so damn predictable? 3 months ago, it was pretty easy to say that Obama and Clinton would fight themselves to a standstill and the Republicans would then steal the election. Please tell me that’s not really going to happen.

    The cynic in me says that the problem with this scenario is that McCain isn’t extreme enough. If that’s what’s going to happen then the pendulum still hasn’t swung far enough to wake up the remaining 30% who can’t see what’s happened. Perhaps the USA needs one more Republican, but one that’s so bat-shit crazy that he’ll make Nixon look like Mother Theresa. The last thing the world needs is 4 years of Bush-Lite.

  15. I’m glad you used the word “depresses,” because that’s how I feel: depressed. I am afraid that if Obama doesn’t get the nomination, he will go away from politics disgusted by the negative energy and we will lose him.

  16. Doc Searls says:

    These are all great comments.

    It’s a long way to November, and both my eyes are different crystal balls.

    I’ll just say this.

    Hillary’s appeal to women has been underestimated. So has her durability as a candidate.

    Obama’s ability to spread his appeal to the broad middle of America is unproven. So is McCain’s, but a slightly deficient conservative war hero is a lot easier for Middle America to swallow than the tax & spend Liberal that Obama will appear to be after McCain is through with him.

    Hilllary’s hope is that women, minorities and Clintonian nostalgists will coalesce around her as a candidate.

    Obama’s hope is that he can stay on the high road that has served him best so far.

    McCain’s hope is that he’ll look and feel like the Republican that former Bush voters wished they’d got in Dubya.

    Unless he screws up royally, I think it’s there for McCain’s taking.

    And I fear that we’ll be in for 4-8 more years of handbasket denial.

    One more thing… Andrew, what do you make of what Jim (a conservative) says a few posts above yours?

  17. If you think Obama will get many conservative votes, you’re on something. He’s got a more liberal voting record than Kennedy, and that will become very, very clear if he’s the nominee.

    There’s another thing, too – and I think Hillary understands this. A fair bit of the war opposition on the right is simply not wanting to lose. Those of us in that camp are not going to vote for Obama, who says he’ll pull out of Iraq as fast as he can (but promises to go back if it goes bad). Regardless of how you stand on things, that’s a ridiculous bungee policy. Either you oppose military action in the region in general, or you want a favorable ending. Obama’s policy is pretty much the worst of all possible worlds.

  18. Mike Warot says:

    If the Republic-an party gets to frame progressives as Tax & Spend Liberals, do we get to frame them as Bomb and Borrow Conservatives?

    Hillary is an oil occupier.

    So is McCain

    Unfortunately my man Ron Paul is out of the running… let’s hope Barack Obama does better.

  19. John Quimby says:

    I’m one who has a political opinion which I won’t repeat here.

    I’m troubled by the lack of will or expertise from the national media as it covers this campaign. Hillary is right to complain about the news media and Obama is finding out why.

    One side lobs an unproven charge and the cub reporter pack runs to the other side demanding answers…WTF? These people ought to know better. Meanwhile – we get BS instead of information.i

    More on my blog:

  20. Hi Doc,

    There are independent conservatives who maybe looking for a fresh face and can go beyond party labels, but ‘movement conservatives’ that are part of the Evangelical crowd, the gun lovers in my neck of the woods, and some of the neocon hawks are all going to look beyond words to actions and deeds. Many of them single issue voters.

    I don’t see the pro-life movement voting for Obama.
    I don’t see the pro-gun groups voting for Obama.
    I don’t see the neo-con US uber alles voting for Obama.

    These groups organize and mobilize. As they say so often in Washington, “Democrats Fall in Love, Republicans Fall in Line”.

    What I think worries Republicans most about Obama is that his will be a straight out blueprint of Reagan’s 1980/84 campaigns. He won’t be running on his ‘record’, he won’t be running on his platform to do this to that and that with this, he’ll be running on a ‘vision thing’ which, as we have seen thus far, is a powerful enough message and deliverymen to knock the establish machinery of the Democrats completely on its heels.

    A Hillary-McCain campaign is old school. Your records vs. mine. Your personality vs. mine. Many Republicans think they can win that. But record vs. hyper-mystical happy message? The latter wins out nearly all the time, unless some screams ‘the Emperor has no clothes’.

    As we saw in Texas, with just a smattering of negative ads, Obama’s veneer cracked. He’s not down, just off a few points (enough to make a difference). The press turned on him just one iota this week (thank you Saturday Night Live) and his press conference this week had a markedly different tone. It may be very hard to keep the buzz alive after months of organized, coordinated attacks next fall.

    As for me, a pragmatic ‘leave me alone’ conservative partisan cynic who is as tired of Bush as anyone else and who really doesn’t like McCain (note: I was a congressional aide for a number of years and I never really liked the guy for various reasons when I was up on the Hill), I can say clearly “there isn’t a chance in hell I’d vote for Obama”. I’d vote for myself or my neighbor Bob who helps me mow my lawn first (I voted for him in the primary rather than McCain). I made hold my nose come November but still, not a chance I’d vote for Obama. I watch Obama’s speeches and I’m consistently reminded of the Simpson’s episode in which space aliens took over the bodies of Bob Dole and Bill Clinton:

    “We must move forward not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling toward freedom.”

    Sorry, but I’m a meat and potato guy looking for more, a whole lot more, and what he has put down really doesn’t impress me at all.

    That said, it’s nice to see so many Americans excited about something, someone, especially when many are so morose about the current state of things. I’ll get by even if he is President, and if his hyper-marketing ever came true it would be an interesting change.

    But as for my vote, I guess I’m too cynical to fall in love so I’ll probably end up just getting in line.

  21. Doc,

    One more thing, and this gets to your skill set actually.

    What do you think of ‘Obama’ as a marketing campaign? A message, an idea, whatever. My question would be something like this–is it a six month message? In this hyper-pay-attention-to-this-election-cycle campaign (one that is extraordinary in the history of political campaign/marketing) one has to ask does this message have the ‘distance’ in it to go through November?

    How will the MacAir superlight notebook marketing campaign be run in 6 months? How will an Obama marketing campaign be in 6 months. Now he is a fresh face, a new idea, something exciting. But in October, when people start to focus even more, will it be like an over-chewed piece of bubblegum, flavorless and somewhat annoying?

    We haven’t really had a campaign marketing ‘message’ that has had to be on the stump as long as Obama has been. Reagans ‘Morning in America’ was really only a few months at most. One wonders if Blade Runner’s dictum can be applied to the Obama ‘marketing campaign’

    “The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. And you have burned so very very brightly…”

    Anyway–food for thought.

  22. fp says:

    Just wanted to point out that in your litany of losers you left out Hubert Humphrey, the guy who started the modern era of shoot-in-the-foot for the Democratic Party. While Hubert preached the politics of joy inside the Convention Center, something else entirely was happeniong in the streets of Chicago in 1968. And of course, Nixon did promise to end the war that first term too.

  23. Keith Dick says:

    All of them, Obama included, when push comes to shove, will do the bidding of the big corporations. That’s where the money comes from, where the power comes from. Some may put up a little resistance in narrow areas, but the differences among them are not very significant in the long view.

    Short of armed insurrection, which I don’t have the stomach for and which has little chance of success, anyway, is there any way to break the hold the big money of the big corporations has (and has had for more than 100 years) over the government?

    The big corporations control the mass media, so they get to suppress any candidate they think they can’t control. The alternative media, such as the internet, don’t reach enough people at the moment to make a difference. If the internet ever did begin to have enough influence, the big corporations would manage to block it one way or another (traffic shaping? reasonable network management? frivolous civil and/or criminal lawsuits? assassins?).

    Is there a way out? What might do it? The best I can imagine is to devise a clever, very quick acting, last-minute approach to capture the public imagination behind the idea that we need a complete top-to-bottom replacement of EVERYONE in government (federal and state) at the coming election with people dedicated to fundamental reforms that would be effective in blocking the influence of big money, and actually have such a slate of candidates ready for write-in.

    That might have a ghost of a chance of starting on the way out, if it could be pulled off. But write-in campaigns never work. We’d never get a full slate of true reform candidates on the official ballots. If we get past those two barriers and actually seat a set of reform representatives, the Senate is still 66% non-reform, and the courts nearly 100% non-reform, so even if we could get something past the Senate (and state equivalents of the Senate), the non-reform interests could hold things up for years, even decades in the courts. The non-reform forces still have control of the media, and so, effectively, of the elections, so the reformers wouldn’t last beyond one term. Nothing could hold the public’s attention on reform that long.

    Okay, that won’t work. Change it a little. Could such a campaign be devised to capture the imagination of the people already in office and persuade them to pass effective reforms, freeing them from the control of the big money? Since there are far fewer people that have to be persuaded, that seems a little easier, but I think it would be extraordinarily difficult to persuade them to turn their backs on their traditional big-money base. And unless the courts could be won over, too, the big-money interests would tie up things in court for ages.

    Welcome to perpetually Corporate-contolled America.

    Begins to make armed insurrection look like the only way. (And just to be clear, all you FBI agents reading, I’m not signing up for that — I’m too old and too much of a wimp, so I guess I don’t deserve any freedom.)

  24. Doc Searls says:

    Andrew, I had lunch yesterday with a guy who has worked with — and knows personally — all three of the remaining candidates. And he says he is “no fan of Obama,” even as he admires Obama’s campaign.

    He likes the other two. A lot. For different reasons, but mostly as highly competent, high-integrity human beings who are both more than qualified for The Job.

    Obama is a bit of a cypher.

    I think there is more to his campaign than technique, more to his message than rhetoric, more to his substance than symbolism. But how much more is the question.

    So is how well he can last against the man who will run for Commander in Chief, with more goods to fill those shoes than any president since Ike (though JFK, a WWII vet, deserves consideration there too).

    My friend from yesterday is the only person I know who knows Obama and isn’t impressed. Since I hang at the Harvard Law School these days, you can imagine that Mr. Obama and I share many friends and acquiantences. So maybe I’m too close to the center of this thing.

    And maybe I’m too much a child of the 50s and 60s, who longs to feel the true and necessary hope espressed by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and who wants very real and now very old wounds to be healed. Here an Obama presidency would be more than symbolic. If he does a good job, his race will not matter. And that’s what needs to matter. Same goes for Hillary and her gender, by the way.

    I actually have some hope for a McCain administration. I think he’ll talk right to get elected and govern center when he gets the job. I think he’s likely to nominate good judges for the Supreme Court, and not pack it like Bush did (with good judges, but still). I know he hates the military industrial complex as much as Ike did, and will likely run a much more sane Defense.

    But we have some huge problems as a country, not the least of which is the myths that keeps on mything, not the least of which is the “War on Terrorism” that reduces its real causes to misleading simplicities. The biggest risk of “terrorism” in general — that too many people in the world hate us enough to attack us — is only exacerbated by continuing the Bush Doctrine and its expressions. I think Obama has a better chance of turning that around than either of the other two.

    I could go on, but I’m busy with real work.

    Lots to talk about in months ahead.

  25. Julian Bond says:

    I have to say I’m reading all this and wishing HST was with us still for one last election year. Perhaps political commentators should have “What would HST do?” tattooed on the back of their hands so that can be reminded when hacking out the copy for the morning news.

    This comes especially to mind when you say things like “much more sane Defense”. Feels like a Pro football metaphor and it’s not hard to imagine HST and McCain in the back of a limo arguing about the Patriots defensive line.

  26. Ed Theobald says:

    I had to chuckle at your comment – in effect ‘hoping’ that McCain would ‘govern center’.

    Why I chuckle?

    I can’t stand moderates. I’m not kidding. Our political spectrum is exceedingly narrow as it is. If someone can’t find their way to one end or the other, then they’re complete milktoast.

    Of course talking of a ‘spectrum’ is inaccurate at best – we’re dealing with multiple orthogonal facets, not a single linear space. Extreme left (talking way off our current spectrum) leads to small government and strong individual liberties (think classical liberalism). Extreme right leads to small government and strong individual liberties (think social libertarianism).

    Coincidently, this ‘extreme’ location at both ends is where this country started out. All 3 candidates mentioned are 180 degrees from this starting point – the peak of statism. The reason all 3 are fighting to differentiate themselves is because they are all cramped in the minuscule universe of modern US politics and consciousness – and any moderate is simply standing on tiptoe at the peak.

    (At least the wall is listening).

  27. John Quimby says:

    Once again, I look at the National Media coverage and scratch my head in wonder.

    Hillary won the Texas primary, right?

    Not so fast…

    NPR All Things Considered filed this story tonight:

    Obama ahead in Texas Caucuses

    Clinton may have actually lost ground on Tuesday. But the news is all about her big wins, her new found momentum, how she found the key to blunting Obama and why Obama needs to go negative to keep up.

    It’s all manufactured baloney. He may take a tougher line, but there is no real reason for him to do anything but continue to win.

    The media is selling you the news. Facts needn’t get in the way of a good story. A bloody campaign will suit corporate media just fine.

  28. Ed Theobald says:

    John Q,

    This is an issue in all caucus states. (Texas it seems is combo primary/caucus situation).

    Case in point: A friend just attended his county convention (caucus state). His county elected delegates to go the state convention – 27% of those delegates were Ron Paul supporters. This county only reported about 15% Ron Paul supporters in all the precinct caucuses – based on the presidential preference polls. This has turned out to be true in many caucus states – Ron Paul will get roughly twice the delegates that the MSM has projected. Not enough to make a real difference in the end result, but enough difference to potentially make a statement at the national convention – not to mention the potential to effect the party platform via the convention resolution process.

    So I concur – the actual delegate count for a given candidate as reported by the media is simply mapped from the preferential polls numbers. How those delegates map out in the real world has a lot to do with the veracity of the folks backing the candidates. In the example given, Ron Paul supporters are much more likely to be elected as delegates than their opponents backers at the caucuses and conventions.

    The caucus process in general is very complicated – and each state can be different. The mass media simply has no interest in attempting to inform the public – they would lose their audience in the first paragraph. I know – I’ve seen lots of blank looks as I explain this to folks.

  29. John Quimby says:


    I think you’ve hit on a big part of the problem. We need reporters to explain what’s happening and they either won’t, because they think we’re too dumb to pay attention or they can’t because they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    The people “vetting” our election haven’t been “vetted” themselves.

    Try this thought on for size…

    The reporters we knew and admired when we were young were educated in journalism and many of them served in the Army covering WWII. They invented broadcast news and had combat experience with average American soldiers all over the world. That experience gave them a keen sense of official BS and they weren’t afraid of the risks it took to get the story and send some truth home. They felt they owed it to the humble people they served to get it right. They knew how to tell a story.

    See where I’m going?

  30. Ed Theobald says:

    I don’t know if this is a supply side issue (reporters) or a demand side (readers).

    My sense of it is that it’s the demand side at fault. No one seems terribly interested in learning about the caucus process. The blank look that I referred to. ( I’m sure it’s not due to my endless droning 🙂

    FWIW, the dems seem particularly ignorant of the process – in my state anyway (MN) this is probably due to the process difference – the dems can just walk in at any time during the caucus and vote in the presidential preference poll. On the repub side the preference vote is held at a moment in time, so you really need to be involved in the caucus to participate.

    Of course the participation level (percent of population) at any caucus/convention is extremely low, so any coverage of it does not have a wide appeal. This year the participation was much higher than average, but still only 6% of registered voters participated (I’m estimating from my caucus).

    I do find it interesting that it appears to be GWB’s blatant and arrogant actions that have triggered the relatively large involvement this cycle. Yet the overall policy is consistent with the last 50-60 years on average. So in that sense (awareness) GWB has been a cause of significant improvement! (tongue firmly planted in cheek). As I’ve stated ‘ad nauseam’ – my fear is that the consistency with 50-60 years of policy is actually going unnoticed.

    Peace Out

  31. Zo says:

    “James, I agree that the tar might stick to Obama …”

    Doc, Doc … time to take a vacation, dear. And I don’t mean, get on another plane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *