Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hero v. Emo – It’s No Contest

Noon – January 20th, 2009:

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Please raise your right hand, place your left hand on the Bible, and repeat after me. I, John Sidney McCain, do solemnly swear…

Yeah, get ready for it – barring catastrophe (possible, always, I’ll admit) John McCain is going to be the 44th President of the United States. I said it last year, when all hope seemed to be lost, and I’m going to repeat it again now. So far as anything in politics is a certainty this is one.

How can it be? Doesn’t everyone hate George Bush? Isn’t the economy going into the tank? Isn’t Barack Hussein Obama the Messiah? The short answer is this: don’t believe everything that you read, see, or hear.

It didn’t have to be this way, of course. We just have to cross ourselves and thank the Lord that the average Democratic primary voter is colossally stupid.

Let’s begin with a basic fact.

There have been ten Presidential elections in the last forty years. The Democrats have won three of them. They won under the following circumstances:

1976: Watergate, “newcomer” Democratic nominee, slightly inept Republican President.

1992: 1990’s recession. “Young” Democratic nominee. End of Cold War takes foreign policy off the table. Major third party challenge.

1996: Beginning of economic boom (much-hyped by the media). Terrible Republican nominee and strategy. Overreaching by new GOP Congress.

In other words, Democrats have only taken the White House when several major factors have been working in their favour. On these grounds alone, 2008 ought to be an auspicious year for them. Until we consider another factor.

Of the seven Presidents in the last forty years, only two have been Democrats. And those Democrats were both Southern Governors who went to great lengths to project a moderate image and remain in the cultural mainstream.

As a side note, in those forty years, the Democrats have followed this formula twice in a contested primary race and won both times. In other words – in this the Democrats have found a sound and winning strategy that manages to reverse the slightly Republican tilt of the nation at the Presidential level by peeling off enough culturally conservative (but otherwise liberal or moderate) voters to put themselves over the top.

If the Democrats had followed that formula this time and nominated, say, Governor Brad Henry of Oklahoma or Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, this race would already have been decided in their favour. Instead, however, the deranged and hyper-liberal Democratic base insists upon a nominee that meets with their unconditional approval. Thus, as a result, we end up with a Democratic race for the nomination that drives their party to the ideological fringe – sort of like what would happen if the Republican nomination was decided by a Free Republic poll.

Senator Obama – who is going to be the Democratic nominee at this point – was voted the single most liberal member of the Senate. And, it should be noted, he’s been far more moderate as a national figure than he was in the past.

Let’s think past the hype and the ranting of Barack Hussein Obama’s cult of personality and consider it. The Democrats are about to nominate for President – against a war hero popularly known as the most respected Republican moderate in the country – an ultra-liberal black Senator who has served barely half a term and whose highest experience prior that was as a member of the Illinois State Senate.

Think about that for a second.

This is going to be one of those things which are much clearer in retrospect – and awfully hard to explain to people who weren’t there at the time.

What about money and turn-out? We keep on hearing that the Democrats are having record turn-out and that they’re raising so much more money than the Republicans. Both of these things are true. But, again, you have to step back and think about it.

The fact that Senator McCain doesn’t inspire a large segment of the Republican base is a virtue in a General Election. Those voters, who represent a very small share of the actual electorate but a disproportionate share of Republican Primary voters, are a drag on a national ticket. Plenty of people who are natural Republicans on taxes, spending, and national defense refuse to vote for the GOP because they believe that most Republicans are theocrats who’ve just stepped out a Margaret Atwood novel. The idea that members of the religious right are automatons under the influence of their zealot leaders is a stupid myth – most members of the religious right will vote for Senator McCain as the lesser evil. Those few that won’t – and will loudly proclaim their unwillingness – will surely belong to the most odious components of our coalition. For the most part, they won’t be missed.

More to the point – if the Republican Presidential Primary had been a contest between Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter it would have attracted record numbers of voters to the polls as well. That would hardly be a sign of health. Indeed, in general, it’s fair to say that the more taken the base of a party is with a candidate, the more difficult road that the party will have to follow in a General Election.

After all, thinking back, the only Presidential candidate of the modern era who truly excited party activists and regulars was Ronald Reagan – and it took something approaching a perfect storm to get him elected.

Sometimes smarter Democrats, in attempting to justify their leftist v. leftist race, argue that the conventional rules don’t apply because this election offers an opportunity for a realignment. They point to the then widely-held belief that Reagan was unelectable and his subsequent landslide victory. What they forget is that Reagan won against President Carter – and that his win was a closer-run thing than is now remembered. If he’d been facing a popular moderate Democrat with some distance from the Carter Administration (though I struggle to think of a name at the moment), he probably would have lost.

As to the money issue – what money? Reports are that Obama is outspending Hillary at a significant rate in Pennsylvania. The odds are that the money is going out as soon as it’s coming in. Poorly-managed Presidential campaigns (and both the Clinton and Obama campaigns appear to fall into that category) blow their money faster than Michael Jackson. Do you really think, after a race that lasts until June or even into August, there’s going to be much more in that well to tap?

And, in any case, as we’ve already seen, in the Dean campaign and the Paul campaign, how these campaigns can raise bucket-loads of money and then spend it all without visible effect. If you want a good demonstration of that, compare the Romney and Huckabee campaigns this year. As old-fashioned advertising has lost its power, most fundraising and ad campaigns have become little more than an exercise in genital measurement. In 2004, the few million dollars spent by the Swift Boat Vets had many times the effect of the hundreds of millions spent by the Democratic 527’s. People have short attention spans. They tune out saturation-level advertising. The only time that we’ve seen ads move numbers in this whole election cycle has been during one-sided media wars relating to an upcoming primary

Not only is McCain going to win – I suspect that he’s going to win big. Perhaps by up to ten points. Indeed, the major effect of the various anti-Republican factors will be to reduce Obama’s defeat from McGovern or Mondale-sized to merely Dukakis-sized. For God’s sake, it’s April and we have polls showing McCain winning in New York.

Dukakis-Bush is actually a good campaign to study for reference because it provides a very good guide for how Barack Obama is going to be destroyed (indeed, is being destroyed) by the Republican attack machine. Forget the Moslem stuff. Forget also, though I think that it’s very revealing, the Red past of his parents. Instead, consider the narrative that’s being written.

We begin with a candidate with a foreign-sounding name. I regret that that will raise some eyebrows, given my own name, but it does. We add in, merely as background material, the rumours about his past.

Now we add to that the “God Damn America” stuff. Powerful, damning stuff. It was the first serious blow inflicted upon Obama.

Pile onto that the “small-town Americans are bitter, bigoted, religious morons” comment. A picture begins to emerge.

What is that picture? It’s one of a man who is vaguely un-American. Elite, effete, and unpatriotic. It is indelible and will leave upon him a stench like that of a month-old corpse in a Baltimore basement.

It’s just the beginning. Obama’s background must be full of this stuff. His mostly-unexplored past is full of radicalism and ties to anti-American individuals and organizations. This is going to be a drip-drip-drip process which last for six months. It will destroy the man.

Indeed, if one wants to understand how this is going to play out – and why – I recommend that you read both Senator McCain’s book “Faith of My Fathers” and Senator Obama’s book “Dreams from My Father.” The former is the rousing memoir of a happy warrior, recounting how (combined) his Grandfather, his father, and himself served in three different wars – and doing so with good humour and grace. In contrast, Senator Obama’s book is a catalogue of the frustrations and resentments of a racially-confused man who was abandoned both of his parents.

In the end, this race is hero v. emo. It’s no contest.


Blogger JJ said...

Some good points, but there are some contradictions.

I think it's a bit specious argue that Republicans are the default winners of presidential elections until proven otherwise. You admit that Reagan's win was the product of unusual circumstances, and for the sake of argument one can just as easily argue that George W. Bush didn't really "win" the 2000 election, at least in a sense that is useful for this sort of analysis. If anything, it seems that the greater trend is for the incumbent party to win barring an unusual new dynamic.

I also don't think Obama is AS liberal as he is made out to be, and there's certainly no evidence to suggest he is the Senate's "most" liberal.

For example, consider this aggregate data showing who gets the best and worst scores from top US conservative groups. Obama is near the middle, and is actually seven senators more conservative than Hillary.

I still agree with your overall conclusion that Obama will probably lose, but I think it ultimately has more to do with John McCain's very high personal popularity (which has now been largely forgotten, but used to be front-page news back when he was a "maverick") and not much to do with Mr. Obama.

April 15, 2008 9:26 AM  

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