Those of you who have counted down, hunkered down, or fled the country in order to survive the second (and/or first) term of the Bush Administration are sure to realize that there are (only/still/as few as) 9 more months left in this here presidency. And if your bomb shelter/terrorist hideout gets cable or internet, you’ve probably seen headlines to the effect of “It’s All Tied Up in November Race,” “Obama Loses His Edge Over McCain,” et cetera ad nauseum. But as attention-grabbing as these stories are, they entirely miss the point: despite what you and/or they might think, the Republicans won’t win in 2008, no matter who the Democratic candidate. It probably won’t be close.
First, let me address the notion that Hillary Clinton staying in the race is somehow hurting the chances of a Democrat in the White House for the next four years. Bill Clinton talked about this issue at the California Democratic Convention a couple of weeks ago:
Now what I want to get out of the way is this. There is somehow the suggestion that because we’re having a vigorous debate about who would be the best president, we’re going to weaken this party in the fall.
Let me remind you of something. On June 2, 1992, when I won the Democratic primaries in Ohio, New Jersey and California, I had been so beat up, worked over and chewed out that I was running third in the national public opinion polls behind Ross Perot and President Bush.
Now, that will tell you how much you can attribute to these polls. Ross Perot was running first. Six weeks later with the Democratic convention open, thanks to you and many people like you, Al Gore and I were in first place and we never lost it.
The fact that we had a vigorous debate at the Democratic primary that the Republicans were actively involved in I might add, actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Don’t you let anyone tell that somehow we are weakening the Democratic Party by telling the people in Pennsylvania and North Carolina and Indiana and Kentucky and West Virginia and Montana and South Dakota and Oregon and Puerto Rico that they count, too. We’re strengthening the Democratic Party. Chill out, we’re going to win this election if we just chill out and let everybody have their say. Source: CNN Transcripts
Yeah, chill out. If Barack Obama cannot stand attacks from Hillary Clinton and her supporters- attacks that are almost always pretty benign- then he has no chance against the omnipotent Republican Attack Machine (TM). And those “Democrats” who say that they will vote for McCain if their candidate (Clinton or Obama) is not nominated- they will wimp out, if they like any of the following things:
– Iraq withdrawal sometime in the forseeable future
– a dismantling of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” sometime in the forseeable future
– Universal Health Care
– Gun Control
-etc., etc., etc.
I have too much faith in this country to believe that Democrats, or even Democrat-leaning moderates, will fall for these things. These are not minor issues- they are at the core of what it means to be a liberal.
Furthermore, and I know I am not the first to say this, most people don’t trust Republicans anymore. The Bush administration has been too damaging on everyone- liberals and conservaties- to elect someone so similar to him in ideology. Sure, McCain is a different name, but what- or perhaps more importantly, who- is behind it? Let me give you a hint: the same people behind Bush. You cannot be a fundamentally different candidate from Bush, as McCain tries to paint himself, if you take campaign and policy advise from the same people he did.
So yes, I think that either Obama or Hillary can beat McCain. For as much as people whine and moan and complain, I refuse to believe that, in choosing between the lesser of two evils, Americans will choose McCain over a Democrat. Obama is too well-liked, and Hillary too well-established, for either of them to lose.