Can Anybody Win in November?--

Barack Obama’s gaffe in San Francisco reminds me a lot of Gary Hart’s comments disparaging New Jersey in the 1984 election. I see that the Perrspectives blog has been drawing 1984 Hart/Obama parallels even before Obama’s latest mistake:

Locked in a tight contest in New Jersey, Hart and his wife Lee spoke with reporters at a Los Angeles fundraiser. In one moment of carelessness, Hart went from closing fast on Mondale in the Garden State to a 15 point blowout a week later. As Time recalled:

In a classic campaign boner, he exposed his sarcastic side at a fund raiser in Los Angeles. The "bad news," he told a well-heeled audience standing on the lawn of a Bel Air mansion, is that he has to campaign apart from his wife Lee. "The good news for her is that she campaigns in California while I campaign in New Jersey." When Mrs. Hart interjected, "I got to hold a koala bear," Hart sniggered, "I won't tell you what I got to hold: samples from a toxic-waste dump."

(Full disclosure [from Perrspectives]: I not only worked for Gary Hart in 1984, but was at the photo-op at the toxic waste dump in question. While hanging out at the Jersey shore the next summer, I was harangued by a woman who saw my "Gary Hart for President" t-shirt. "I hate him," she said, "because he insulted our state.")

The rest, as they say, is history. Walter Mondale went on to a first ballot victory at the Democratic Convention.

It is hard to see how small-town residents would vote for Obama, which means it will be very difficult for him to get elected. And it seems too late for Clinton to win the nomination without the convention seating her Florida or Michigan delegations (if that happens, Obama supporters — including members of the press –- will be so bitter that it would be hard for Clinton to get elected in November unless Obama joins her on the ticket as VP). Given the economy, McCain’s age, and the unpopularity of Republicans, I don’t see how McCain can get elected.

So I guess nobody can win!