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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!

Careless:

So I guess nobody can win!


Let us hope.
4.15.2008 5:17pm
treebeard (mail):
What about Nader?
Or Barr?
ha ha ha
4.15.2008 5:30pm
wekt:
And I guess it goes without saying that, barring some miracle, Ron Paul can't win.
4.15.2008 5:38pm
rarango (mail):
Probably not a bad outcome; now if we can just do something about the legislative branch or at least repeal the 17th amendment....
4.15.2008 5:38pm
Mikey:

So I guess nobody can win!

It seems obvious at this point that the American people certainly won't...
4.15.2008 5:39pm
catullus (mail):
The Hart insult is explicit and impossible to explain. Think defamation per se. Obama's comments are susceptible to different interpretations and, while many will regard them as insulting, they are not per se insulting. We shall see. It's interesting that the Quinnipiac poll of Penn. voters, taken after the "bitter" comments surfaced, showed the Clinton lead holding steady at 6 points.
4.15.2008 5:43pm
rarango (mail):
catullus: rassmussen has her extending her lead and asked specifically about voter reaction to the "bitter" remarks. Poll is here
4.15.2008 5:49pm
Ghostmonkey57:
Uh, Unlike 84. Obama actually has a huge lead in delegates and in the popular vote count. The Hildabeast is the one who needs a 20 point win in Pennsylvania just to keep a sliver of hope alive. There are no parallels to 84. The beast has never been ahead, nor is she likely to be.

This race ended with Wisconsin.
4.15.2008 5:49pm
Maniakes (mail) (www):
Nader and Barr can't win because they're third party candidates, and because they're perceived to be goofy extremists.
4.15.2008 5:52pm
rarango (mail):
Maniakes: unlike, say, Obama and Clinton (sorry--that was a high hanging curve ball and too much to resist).
4.15.2008 5:53pm
Oren:
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.
Philly and Pittsburgh outpopulate the rest of the state, so if you win big enough there you can take a drubbing in the boonies. Just a thought . . .
4.15.2008 5:54pm
Gaius Marius:
If McCain croaks before the GOP convention, this election will get very exciting very fast. Although McCain's mother is in her 90's, I daresay those 5 years in the Hanoi Hilton probably aged McCain by 20 additional years.
4.15.2008 6:06pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):
The most recent polls don't seem be showing any movement for Hillary or Obama in either direction, at least in Pennsylvania. Obama remains about 8 points down in polls from the past weekend, which is about where he was the week before. It could be that it's turned into a 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of another deal, with him gaining as much as he loses out the deal. How this translates nationwide will remain to be seen, but if he is able to make the "What's wrong with Kansas" argument persuasively (see this interview with Charlie Rose from 2004), and shape the campaign narrative in that way, and prevent the narrative from being caricaturized to look like he thinks that rural people only like Guns and God because they are "Bitter" about their economic circumstances, he could end up gaining more support than he loses out of the ordeal.
4.15.2008 6:09pm
Bender (mail):
If none of the three wins the American people will.

A politically astute friend has made the same point as Gaius Marius. McCain's running mate may well be literally a heart beat from the presidency.
4.15.2008 6:10pm
mathgeek (mail):
Ron Paul still has a shot!
4.15.2008 6:12pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
I don't buy it. The polls are indicating that despite bittergate Clinton is holding steady, or only extending her lead slightly. It seems very unlikely that she'll get the blowout she needs in order to win the national popular vote, and the states coming up are very Obama-favorable, which will kill any stories about supposed Clinton "momentum" from Pennsylvania.

By the general election these comments will be old news and there will be lots of other pseudo-scandals for the media to write about.
4.15.2008 6:14pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
Actually, I think the bitter remark was right on the money. I'm bitter about what's going on in D.C., so I'm voting pro-gun. What's wrong with that?

Of course, that's not what Obama meant. Someone sell him a clue.
4.15.2008 6:15pm
Gaius Marius:
Governor Mark Sanford should be nominated for VP in the very likely event that McCain strokes out before the general election, much less the end of the first term.
4.15.2008 6:18pm
rarango (mail):
I am guessing the superdelegates are reassessing their support for Senator Obama. They may decide he really isnt ready for prime time: He's only articulate with a stump speech or prepared address; other than that, he is very unsteady (IMO). That said, such a decision to dump Obama in favor of Clinton isn't going to play well with a bit more than half the democratic party including the black vote. Glad I am not a democratic superdelegate--beet they are hoping this situation resolves before they have to go on record. I suppose I should add this warms my cold conservative republican heart.
4.15.2008 6:22pm
Jake437 (mail):
If Obama had said that all small-town voters were bitter and misdirecting their rage, then that could kill his chances in the general election. Since he didn't, it's unlikely to have much of an effect.
4.15.2008 6:23pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
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.


Agreed my DFL-leaning family wrote off Obama after they learned the last 20 years, he attended the black equivalent of a Klan meeting complete with a "spiritual advisor" who liked to yell "go**amn America!" as part of his "sermons." Having him diss small town America is only going to push them further away from him.

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).


You're kidding right? The only way that either Obama or Clinton could win this November is if they don't' try to run with a "unity ticket." Neither of them adds anything to a ticket with the other -- they're both one-term Senators and rather unaccomplished ones at that, neither has shown an ability to work with people across the aisle, neither puts a State in play (Illinois and New York are both going Democrat), and both are solidly on the far left of the Democratic Party. They're only hope for being competitive this fall is to pick a moderate Democrat governor from a Red State who brings the gravitas to the ticket that each is sorely lacking.

Given the economy, McCain's age, and the unpopularity of Republicans, I don't see how McCain can get elected.


McCain is actually pretty popular particularly amongst the swing-voters who decide elections. As unpopular as Bush is, the Democrat-controlled Congress is polling considerably south of him and despite Howard Dean's best attempts, no one seriously buys that McCain will be a "third term for the Bush administration" because he has challenged the administration publicly on far too many high profile issues like spending and the War while bringing a credibility to these issues that neither of the Democrat wannabes could hope to bring. As far as the age goes, I think McCain is probably going to do well amongst older voters than Obama will with his youth and inexperience.
4.15.2008 6:30pm
Rock On (www):
"...both are solidly on the far left of the Democratic Party"

You can't be serious. I keep seeing this allegation, but other than the anti-war thing, I really see no evidence that either is anywhere near the left end of the party spectrum, and even with that, their detailed comments are typically far more nuanced than those of the wingnuts of either party. With regard to everything else, I don't buy it.
4.15.2008 6:38pm
ithaqua (mail):
"my DFL-leaning family wrote off Obama after they learned the last 20 years, he attended the black equivalent of a Klan meeting"

That's an unfair comparison. At least the Klan was patriotic.
4.15.2008 6:39pm
bittern (mail):
draft Romney!

You know he's the one we really want.
4.15.2008 6:40pm
bittern (mail):

I'm bitter about what's going on in D.C., so I'm voting pro-gun.

That's exactly what he said, LarryA. And it's what he meant, for better or worse, i'n'it?

Umm, Next?
4.15.2008 6:44pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
http://nj.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/

this has been beaten into the ground, but here is where the allegation comes from
4.15.2008 6:48pm
autolykos:

You can't be serious. I keep seeing this allegation, but other than the anti-war thing, I really see no evidence that either is anywhere near the left end of the party spectrum, and even with that, their detailed comments are typically far more nuanced than those of the wingnuts of either party. With regard to everything else, I don't buy it.


Rock On, if that's the case, you need to open your eyes. Obama's routinely been evaluated as having the most liberal voting record in the US Senate.
4.15.2008 6:51pm
ithaqua (mail):
"Rock On, if that's the case, you need to open your eyes. Obama's routinely been evaluated as having the most liberal voting record in the US Senate."

He took over that mantle from John Kerry, another loser Democrat candidate who was the most liberal member of the Senate in 2004. Strange how Democrats keep choosing the most liberal, elitist, out of touch candidates available. It's like they want to lose to someone (other than the terrorists) :)
4.15.2008 6:57pm
bittern (mail):
autolykos, you're widening the narrow bits and narrowing the wide bits. Obama was semifamously rated once as most liberal of the senators by National Journal. If there's more, please document. Personally, I think somebody at National Journal who happens to think like Barack made up the scoring and whatever they liked they called liberal, but hey, that's speculation.

On the other hand, there's plenty of Democrats left of Obama who have long been satisfied that he's not a solid lefty. They just don't happen to be in the Senate. I'd spot you one piece of evidence that Rock On didn't admit to, but you're twicely on thin ground. How 'bout you pick out some particular legislation he developed or voted for that supports your view.

Oh, by the way, I need to check this out, but I believe McCain got scored as most extreme conservative in the Senate, somewhere some time ago. IIRC!
4.15.2008 7:04pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
He took over that mantle from John Kerry, another loser Democrat candidate who was the most liberal member of the Senate in 2004.

Uhh, the thing to notice here is that conservative organizations in Presidential election years just so happen to come up with a "rating" that magically makes the Democratic nominee the "most liberal member of the Senate." What a coinkee-dink!!!

As for JL's comment that no one from small towns will vote for Obama, I have to say that that is one of the stupidest things I have ever read on this blog. Ever. Including the comments sections. A law professor from the University of Chicago really can tell who is and is not an "elitist".
4.15.2008 7:05pm
bittern (mail):
Crazy Train, I'm not entirely sure you're right, or that it matters who made up the rating. But as long as the Volokhers are just regurgitating spin, let me just quote:


In rating Obama "the most liberal senator in 2007," the Journal's results differ with those of a highly respected study by political science professors Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis that ranked Obama as tied with Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) as the 10th "most liberal" senator in 2007. Moreover, as Media Matters previously documented, among the votes Obama took that purportedly earned him "the most liberal senator" label were: to implement the 9-11 Commission's homeland security recommendations, provide more children with health insurance, expand federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, and maintain a federal minimum wage.

Me again: Poole and Lewis let the clusters of votes speak through the numbers, they do no classification of votes themselves. For the 109th senate, the most liberal were Feingold, Harkin, Leahy, Boxer, Kennedy, in that order, which certainly reflects the high liberals . . . Ben Nelson shows as the most conservative D, then Chafee as the most liberal R. On the other end are Kyl, McCain, Sununu, Gregg, DeMint, Burr, and Coburn, in that order. In other words, evidence that McCain is an extremist, and Obama is middle of the Democrats' pack.
4.15.2008 7:33pm
James Lindgren (mail):

CrazyTrain wrote:

Uhh, the thing to notice here is that conservative organizations in Presidential election years just so happen to come up with a "rating" that magically makes the Democratic nominee the "most liberal member of the Senate." What a coinkee-dink!!!

As for JL's comment that no one from small towns will vote for Obama . . . . A law professor from the University of Chicago really can tell who is and is not an "elitist".



1. The National Journal, which did the rating, is not conservative; it leans Democratic and I think it would generally be viewed as moderately liberal. Are you confusing it with the National Review?

2. I did not write that "no one from small towns will vote for Obama." I wrote: "It is hard to see how small-town residents would vote for Obama . . ." I was obviously referring to small town voters as a group, and I said that it was hard to see how they would vote for him, but I didn't say it wouldn't happen. Remember, one point of the post was to list reasons why none of the three candidates can win, when it is extraordinarily likely that one of the three will win.

3. I did not refer to Obama as elitist and I didn't even disagree with his statement. You may not follow the blog enough to know that I voted for Obama in the primary, as I have voted for him many times before. I have not made up my mind yet about the general election, but I don't like what I see from Obama in the last few months.
4.15.2008 7:36pm
LM (mail):

It is hard to see how small-town residents would vote for Obama

That's what I would have expected, but the early response seems to be less hostile to Obama's comment than to all the presumptions like yours (and mine) about how it would be received.

But your post does at least reveal a little irony in Gary Hart's vocal support for Obama.
4.15.2008 7:47pm
bittern (mail):
J.L.:

I have voted for [Obama] many times before

I've voted for McCain once, Clinton[s] four times, and Obama once, all in Presidential votes. I'm almost sure to be a winner!
4.15.2008 8:17pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"both are solidly on the far left of the Democratic Party"

Um . . . right. Clinton voted for the Iraq War and the Kyl-Lieberman saber rattling. Obama's most "left" stance was opposing the Iraq War (also opposed by such bleeding hearts as Pat Buchanan, William F. Buckley and Tom Clancy) before it started, though he's had pretty middle of the road positions about funding it and not "cutting and running" (i.e. he's advocated slow, phased withdrawal, just like the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by the bleeding heart James Baker). Dennis Kucinich is the far left of the Democratic Party.
4.15.2008 8:27pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
The only way that either Obama or Clinton could win this November is if they don't' try to run with a "unity ticket." Neither of them adds anything to a ticket with the other -- they're both one-term Senators and rather unaccomplished ones at that, neither has shown an ability to work with people across the aisle, neither puts a State in play (Illinois and New York are both going Democrat), and both are solidly on the far left of the Democratic Party.

Not to mention that a "unity ticket" doesn't work too well when each of the two has spent months arguing that other is totally unelectable.
4.15.2008 8:44pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"By the general election these comments will be old news and there will be lots of other pseudo-scandals for the media to write about."

You really think the Republicans won't use this in the fall, or they will have too much other good stuff to bother with this?
4.15.2008 8:49pm
grackle (mail):
When the beltway press realizes the import of McCain's neck wattles, he will be doomed.
4.15.2008 9:06pm
Gaius Marius:
Al Gore is going to the Democratic nominee.
4.15.2008 9:07pm
Thoughtful (mail):
From bittern: "In rating Obama "the most liberal senator in 2007," the Journal's results differ with those of a highly respected study by political science professors Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis that ranked Obama as tied with Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) as the 10th "most liberal" senator in 2007....On the other end are Kyl, McCain, Sununu, Gregg, DeMint, Burr, and Coburn, in that order. In other words, evidence that McCain is an extremist, and Obama is middle of the Democrats' pack."

So it seems that for bittern being tied for 10th most liberal among 51 Democrats places one in the "middle of the Democrats' pack." While being placed 6th most conservative among 49 Republicans makes one an extremist.

That's one mighty skewed curve...
4.15.2008 9:10pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Thales: "Dennis Kucinich is the far left of the Democratic Party."

To be fair, he would be in the far left of the Socialist Worker's Party...
4.15.2008 9:14pm
David Donar (mail) (www):
Barack is smooth...too smooth for his own good. These bitter comments probably won't cost him the nomination, but he needs to watch what he says...as it makes life harder for his campaign.

Bitter Midwesterners

Barack Joe Cool
4.15.2008 9:45pm
JPJ:
Jim,

If you don't mind my asking, what is it that you haven't liked from Obama in the last few months?
4.15.2008 9:48pm
frankcross (mail):
The National Journal ratings are bogus, because they compare senators across different samples of votes. The gold standard for these assessment, the Poole-Rosenthal scores, was developed some time back and is widely used political science. Last I saw, Obama and Clinton both were around the 75th percentile on liberalism in these scores.
4.15.2008 9:51pm
Dave N (mail):
The trouble with any rating system is that somehow votes have to be categorized as "liberal" or "conservative." That itself can be highly subjective.

Do I believe that Obama is THE most liberal member of the Senate. No. But he is A liberal Senator. There is nothing in his voting record to suggest otherwise. Likewise is McCain an "extremist" as Bittern claims? I don't think so. Such an assertion is palpably false. However, so is the assertion that he is a RINO (Republican In Name Only).

For grins and giggles, I looked up the ratings of the American Conservative Union and the Americans for Democratic Action for 2005 and 2006 (I could not find 2007 ratings for either group but I doubt the numbers skew much).

In any event, here are the ratings (along with ACU lifetime ratings) for the 3 major candidates and selected other Senators (to avoid ugly formatting, the ratings are for 2006, ACA followed by ADA, 2005 ACA followed by ADA, and then the lifetime ACU score:

McCain 65-15//80-10//82
Obama 8-95//8-100//8
Clinton 8-95//12-100//9

Kennedy 0-100//0-95//3
Kerry 12-95//8-100//6

Lieberman 17-75//8-80//16

Coburn 100-5//100-5//98
Specter 43-30//63-45//45
Frist 76-5//92-15//88
Hatch 84-5//92-5//90

Feingold 8-100//13-100//12
Boxer 8-95//12-100//3
Feinstein 0-90//12-95//10

So looking at the numbers, it is fair to say that McCain is moderately conservative to conservative and Obama and Clinton are both liberal. That's the reality.

Partisans on both sides, feel free to spin away.
4.15.2008 10:03pm
bittern (mail):
Thoughtful, I wasn't clear. My own comparison was to the 2005-2006 figures. In that ranking, Kyl was the furthest on the line (i.e., most conservative), McCain was #2. Obama was #21 on the list for the Dems. So yes, he was middle of the Dems, while McCain was "extreme" by that particular ranking.

For 2007, Obama is tied for #10 with Biden; McCain is #8, ahead of Cornyn. By that measure, their extremisms were equivalent. Can anybody back up autolycos' claim that Obama's "routinely been evaluated as having the most liberal voting record in the US Senate"? Or does incessant repetition of the same single rating count as "routine"?
4.15.2008 10:17pm
Tom S (mail):
Has it not occurred to anyone that Obama may have successfully expressed the feelings of conservative, small-town voters who used to vote Democratic, and are frustrated--or worse--with the crop of Republicans they may have supported more recently?

What is condescending--and elitist to boot--is the assumption that Obama insulted these voters, when there is little evidence that he in fact did.
4.15.2008 10:30pm
bittern (mail):
Dave N, autolycos says "Obama's routinely been evaluated as having the most liberal voting record in the US Senate." ithaqua says "Democrats keep choosing the most liberal . . . candidate available." Somebody says Obama is "solidly on the far left of the Democratic Party". All of this while McCain sails through with some sort of moderate image. I call hosiery. Contrary evidence needs to be examined. I swear, I never said the contrary evidence was the whole truth.

Accounting for all info, I'd call Obama liberal. I'd call McCain very conservative, mostly, but with a number of high profile iconoclastic positions. Each has, on occasion, called out the hyperpartisans on his own side, and each has on occasion looked for common ground.
4.15.2008 10:44pm
Gaius Marius:
Tom S, I hardly think "small-town voters" are going to choose to vote for a snooty Ivy League elitist who looks down his nose at those whom both he and Jeremiah Wright view as a bunch of redneck crackers with guns and bibles. To the contrary, come general election time, those same "small-town voters" are going to cast their votes for a Naval Academy graduate who graduated last in his class and spent five of the best years of his life as a POW in Hanoi Hilton.
4.15.2008 10:50pm
Tom S (mail):
Gaius Marius:

You are pretty good with the labels, aren't you? Do you get this from the commentary you read--or more likely listen to--or did you come up with them yourself?

John McCain is going to be torn apart on the campaign trail. Sadly, the chances are he will do it to himself.
4.15.2008 11:07pm
dougfretty (mail):
Out of fairness I must point out that Mickey Kaus, Slate's fearless curmudgeon and my fellow Angelino, has been doggedly making the Hart-Obama analogy since at least December, 2006. Observe his prescient monologue on bloggingheads.
4.15.2008 11:12pm
Dave N (mail):
Bittern,

I agree that calling Obama the most liberal Senator is hooey. That was the major part of my post. I disagree with your characterization of McCain as being deeply conservative. He is conservative. Yes. But no ideologue.
4.15.2008 11:17pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Jim's conclusion--that, logically, no one can win--is similar to an exercise (in futility, it seems) I engage in every 4 years. I look at each candidate in the Republican and Democratic primaries, study their records, evaluate their stands, search out their negatives, and--on very strong, objective grounds--prove to my satisfaction that, one after another, "obviously, THAT guy [or gal] could never possibly be elected." Until I've gone through the list and proven it conclusively for each and every one of them.

Yet, somehow, every four years, one of these amazingly unappealing people manages to bamboozle enough Americans to prove me wrong.

HL Mencken was right: ""Democracy is the system of government under which the people, having 60,000,000 native-born adult whites to choose from, including thousands who are handsome and many who are wise, pick out a Coolidge to be head of state. It is as if a hungry man, set before a banquet prepared by master cooks and covering a table an acre in area, should turn his back upon the feast and stay his stomach by catching and eating flies."

80 some years later, we now have 300,000,000 Americans and are not restricted to choosing only among whites. Yet we're still eating flies...
4.15.2008 11:21pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Why did New Jersey get all the toxic waste dumps while Washington DC got all the lawyers?

Answer: They flipped a coin and New Jersey won.
4.15.2008 11:38pm
frankcross (mail):
Bittern, Poole has said that McCain is kind of unique and harder to classify. While he grades out overall as quite conservative, he has an extremely high "beta." That is that he is a true maverick who is quite liberal on occasional issues.
4.15.2008 11:41pm
bittern (mail):
Frankcross, the beta is something like one minus the second-to-last column? For the 109th, Feingold, Ben Nelson, Chafee, and McCain are among those that aren't well characterized by just a left-right score. But Feingold is still liberal, and McCain still conservative.

McCain's mavericity seems to vary over time between flame-thrower and suck-up (okay, a little overcolorful there). That's perhaps a topic for another day. But yes, he's obviously been out-of-camp on particular issues.
4.16.2008 12:00am
bwan:


What is condescending--and elitist to boot--is the assumption that Obama insulted these voters, when there is little evidence that he in fact did.



i believe it's the part where obama implied that these people "cling" to guns, racism and religion because they're frustrated. the number of offensive possibilities in that statement is fantastic. equating religion to racism. suggesting people only "cling" to their gun rights because they're frustrated. and, best of all, suggesting that the only possible reason to be religious is because you're frustrated at the economy coming from a jeremiah wright follower....

judgement to lead, folks. judgement.

(i know it's been talked to death, but really, it's such a perfect gaffe i can't let it go just yet...)
4.16.2008 12:14am
Brian G (mail) (www):

Hart "sniggered"


Good thing someone didn't write that in an article about Obama. After all, you have to be niggardly in your criticism of him lest you'll be branded a racist.
4.16.2008 12:14am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Hmmm.

McCain won't win unless the economy is not crashing in October. I'd give his odds of enjoying that as one to 10 against.

The Democrats cannot win unless they can bring Barbara Jordan back from the dead.

Or something else could happen between now and then. Big, successful Moslem strike on the homeland, pandemic of intrahuman bird flu, another outbreak of Arthur Bremers.

If it comes down to character, McCain in a walk.
4.16.2008 12:16am
ithaqua (mail):
"I agree that calling Obama the most liberal Senator is hooey."

Heh, liberals. The 'reality-based community' until reality doesn't say what they want it to say. Fact is, Obama is a far-left, elitist, latte-sipping red diaper doper baby who even Democrat Joe Lieberman admits is one tiny step from Marxism. The fact that liberal orgs are struggling to cover up the entirely accurate "most liberal Senator in America" label speaks volumes; one might think that a liberal party would be proud to have a liberal candidate, but the Democrap elitists understand that their policies and platforms - enforced atheism, destruction of traditional society via feminist and homosexual indoctrination, the unthinking pagan Gaia-worship of modern environmentalism (best understood as a cult) and so on - are hated by actual Americans, and rightly so.

The above rant, I admit, has dubious relevance to the thread :) That being said, I think it's worthwhile to ask why so many progressives and liberals have such a profound fear of their candidate being labeled 'liberal'.

"I hardly think "small-town voters" are going to choose to vote for a snooty Ivy League elitist who looks down his nose at those whom both he and Jeremiah Wright view as a bunch of redneck crackers with guns and bibles."

The criticism applies to Obama, but let's leave Wright out of this one. The absolutely last word I'd use to describe the pastor of a black church in the Chicago ghetto is 'elitist'.

"To the contrary, come general election time, those same "small-town voters" are going to cast their votes for a Naval Academy graduate who graduated last in his class and spent five of the best years of his life as a POW in Hanoi Hilton."

And since McCain has a black baby, we'll recognize the whines from the Obama camp about small-town racism as the elitist, racist and race-baiting slurs they are.
4.16.2008 12:28am
Oren:
For 2007, Obama is tied for #10 with Biden; McCain is #8, ahead of Cornyn. By that measure, their extremisms were equivalent. Can anybody back up autolycos' claim that Obama's "routinely been evaluated as having the most liberal voting record in the US Senate"? Or does incessant repetition of the same single rating count as "routine"?
Not only routine, but if they keep repeating it, it will become true!

What I never understood about these ratings is the lack of any relative weights - every matter is somehow judged equally. Who in their right mind would rank people like that? That would be equivalent to saying that the Patriots were the best team in the NFL last season because they had the best overall record (18-1).
4.16.2008 12:29am
Richard A. (mail):
What everyone's missing here is that Gary Hart disparaged New Jersey, which is the greatest state in the union, while Obama merely disparaged Pennsylvania, which is filled with people who would love to move to Jersey if only they could figure out which way is east and which is west.
4.16.2008 1:00am
Hoosier:
The candidate who gets the most electoral votes will win.

So, yes. Someone can win.

I'm thinking McCain, after Obama's performance this spring
4.16.2008 1:03am
DH (mail):
Anyone who is seriously think McCain is going to win against Obama in a general election match up is clinging to recent polling bounces.

Obama has wide, deep, and untapped financial resources, and no matter what McCain does, he will be at a tremendous funding disadvantage.

By the time the convention rolls around, Obama may well have 2 million donors to his campaign who have not maxed out for the general election. Each one of those can be tapped again and again for small contributions. Even with an average donation of just $20, that nets a 40 million dollar take. And that can be repeated, and repeated, and repeated.

Cash alone won't win this for Obama, but cash can buy two things: a constant stream of broad-based TV advertising; and a top-notch ground game, which will be augmented by traditional democratic machine politics from unions and local bigwigs. This is type of organization that got Bush to the White House in 2000 and 2004, and Obama knows it, and is preparing a huge push to get this mobilized for November.

McCain's overall weak support from GOP loyalists, plus the increasing and serious gap in voter registration and identification, make the prospects of a President McCain a tough sell.
4.16.2008 1:24am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Except that the 527s will be playing Wright around the clock.
4.16.2008 1:58am
Darrin Ziliak:
Except that the 527s will be playing Wright around the clock.


And the left leaning 527's such as MoveOn.org and their progeny won't be working to counter it?
4.16.2008 3:38am
Gaius Marius:
McCain turns this election around if he nominates South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as his VP running mate.
4.16.2008 7:53am
Gary McGath (www):
One of them will get elected, but whichever one it is, we Americans all will lose.

Seriously, Obama has managed to wipe out all the hope I felt for him a few weeks ago. His defenses of his comments (e.g., the "Annie Oakley" jab at Clinton) have been even pettier than the original comments.
4.16.2008 8:58am
Gaius Marius:
One also has to take into account that if Barack "Hussein" Obama becomes the Democratic nominee, then HRH Hillary Clinton will do everything imaginable to ensure that Obama loses the general election so she can run again for POTUS in 2012. Anyone who thinks otherwise gravely underappreciates Hillary Clinton's ambition to become POTUS -- which is the only reason why she defended Bill Clinton's sexual escapades for several decades.
4.16.2008 8:59am
Just Dropping By (mail):
who even Democrat crypto-fascist Joe Lieberman admits is one tiny step from Marxism.

Fixed it for you.
4.16.2008 9:49am
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):

One of them will get elected, but whichever one it is, we Americans all will lose.


Motion seconded.
Time to go celebrate "Buy a gun" day! Only a day late.
4.16.2008 10:29am
Emmanuel Winner (mail):
Let's move to Canada - the Right is doomed! The news coming out before November is that John McCain was brainwashed in Vietnam as a POW and has been ating as a deep mole in the US government for 30 years! Now his commie masters are about to trigger his programming to destroy us utterly during his presidency, after which we will be forced to become socialists. And - worse yet - while a POW, McCain was allowed the spiritual comfort of an Islamo-Marxist Imam, as he will reveal when he takes his Presidential vows with his hand on the Koran, then announces his committment to 'global revolution' in his inaugural address! We have no choice here! Those who love America must leave it quickly, before catastrophe occurs!
4.16.2008 10:38am
Thoughtful (mail):
Just Dropping By: "even Democrat crypto-fascist Joe Lieberman admits [Obama] is one tiny step from Marxism.

Fixed it for you."

To be fair, it often takes a crypto-fascist to recognize a Marxist...
4.16.2008 10:48am
ithaqua (mail):


"who even Democrat crypto-fascist Joe Lieberman admits is one tiny step from Marxism.

Fixed it for you."

A fair correction. As Jonah Goldberg has shown, there's not much distance between the modern Democrat/Socialist Party and those old timey National Socialists :)
4.16.2008 10:50am
rarango (mail):
I will go on record and fearlessly predict the US will elect a president this fall. Now, off to go to church, then go to the target range to pop the caps on some 45 acps after the benediction, then retire to the local tavern to have a shot of crown royal with beer chaser, hoot at the babes, and tell flatulence jokes with the other rubes. That's how we spend our Sundays in bitterville for all you argula eating, latte sipping, chablis drinking San Fransiscans.
4.16.2008 11:36am
JosephSlater (mail):
More and more polls are showing that this molehill talking point for right-wingers is not hurting Obama. As it shouldn't.
4.16.2008 11:39am
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Dave N. has it correct. Allow the libs and cons (ADA and ACU, respectively) to rate their own vs. relying on some "neutral" observer to decide which Senate votes are lib and which are con. On that basis, Obama is 100% liberal while McCAin is 82% conservative. I'd call anything above an ACU rating of 80 to be solidly conservative.

What the numbers don't communicate, however, is that when McCain goes outside the wire, he tends to do so on issues that are extremely important to his fellow conservatives. He sided with Lieberman on gun control, he sided with Kennedy on illegal immigrant amnesty, he has gone Green on us and bought into the AGW hoax, and his Gang of 14 shenanigans infuriated lots of cons. I don't even know if his G-14 antics affected his conservative rating, since the agreement did not involve a recorded vote--I suspect not. If McCain were to change his stances on abortion and the GWOT, he'd be of no value whatsoever to conservatives--regardless of his fidelity on lesser issues.
4.16.2008 11:44am
Hoosier:
"Anyone who is seriously think McCain is going to win against Obama in a general election match up is clinging to recent polling bounces. "

Not me. I'm clinging to Obama's patent "not ready for prime time player" status.
4.16.2008 12:07pm
Brian G (mail) (www):

What everyone's missing here is that Gary Hart disparaged New Jersey, which is the greatest state in the union, while Obama merely disparaged Pennsylvania, which is filled with people who would love to move to Jersey if only they could figure out which way is east and which is west.


That is afunny. I loved in both states for the first 29 1/2 years of my life. That's why I evacuated out west to Arizona and haven't looked back.
4.16.2008 12:13pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Folks who think either Obama or McCain can't win are kidding themselves.

Having said that, it's interesting to see all this time on this blog playing "gotcha!" with Obama comments and Wright, and as far as I can tell, nothing about the deteriorating situation in Iraq. What will be a bigger issue in the election: Obama's "bitter" remark, or continuing sectarian violence in Iraq (sixty folks in Iraq were killed in car bombs yesterday), and whole chunks of the Iraqi security forces deserting?
4.16.2008 12:13pm
Seamus (mail):
So I guess nobody can win!

Reminds me of how the Gipper mused, with respect to the Iran-Iraq war, "Can't we fix it so they both lose?"
4.16.2008 1:36pm
James Lindgren (mail):
JosephSlater:

Maybe we are not talking about "the deteriorating situation in Iraq" because it's not deteriorating. I'm certainly no expert on this, but the outcome of the recent fight in Basra seems on balance quite postive for our side.
4.16.2008 3:07pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I'm no expert either, but I would disagree with you on how things are going in Iraq (note carbombings, major desertions, etc.). My point was, however, to wonder why we're not talking about Iraq, the economy, and other significant issues -- where reasonable minds can certainly differ -- and instead focusing on what seem to me (and, per recent polls, most Pennsylvanians) to be quite minor issues concerning Obama's turns of phrase.

Obviously, it's not my blog and you can post about whatever strikes you as interesting and/or important. Although I'll defend my comment as responsive to your post because to the extent you're discussing electability, I think that Iraq's situation will, in fact, be a more significant minus for McCain in the general election than Obama's recent comments in PA will be for Obama.
4.16.2008 3:56pm
Oren:
the outcome of the recent fight in Basra seems on balance quite postive for our side.
Sir, I believe you have left the realm of facts. Thousands of Iraqi troops deserted the government in Basra and then a cease-fire was negotiated by the Iranians.
4.16.2008 3:59pm
rarango (mail):
Oren: you must have left the campaign during the intermission. Here is the rest of the story. Professor Lindgren appears to be far more up to date than are you. And you use the term "troops" incorrectly; there were desertions (closer to a thousand) but mostly among the Iraqi police and not the Iraqi army.
4.16.2008 4:30pm
JosephSlater (mail):
And then there's the company of Iraqi soldiers who just abandoned their positions in Sadr City, despite pleas of U.S. troops.

But again, it's better to be debating issues like Iraq then all this mindless "gotcha" re Obama.
4.16.2008 4:47pm
Perry (mail):
Wow - its a shame what passes for progress these days. I guess any day that widespread war doesn't break out is considered a win for the administration?

I guess if you set the bar low enough, anything looks like progress.
4.16.2008 5:24pm
Gaius Marius:
Those Iraqi soldiers who abandoned their positions should be lined up and shot for deserting their posts.
4.16.2008 6:48pm
Gaius Marius:
I amend my prior suggestion regarding the deserting Iraqi soldiers. Those deserting Iraqi soldiers should be rounded up into groups of ten. Each group will draw straws and the soldier that draws the short straw will be executed by the other nine soldiers in his group who form a firing squad. If those nine soldiers refuse to execute their comrade, then they will all be executed. Hence, the deserting Iraqi soldiers will be punished by "decimation."
4.16.2008 7:04pm
Colin (mail):
Apparently someone had a life-changing experience in their freshman classical history course.
4.16.2008 7:13pm
Gaius Marius:
...or believes in reincarnation. I recall the time both George Patton and I were in Tunisia together advancing upon the Carthaginians who were brave but stupid...
4.16.2008 7:36pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
McCain's overall weak support from GOP loyalists, plus the increasing and serious gap in voter registration and identification, make the prospects of a President McCain a tough sell.


A lot of the D registration gains are from Rs. Operation Chaos.

Perry,

What did the odds of a widespread war look like on 9/12? I'd say Bush has done OK. Not spectacular or even good. But OK.

And Iraq looks like they might get the hang of self government over time. If we have the courage to stick around and give it to them.
4.16.2008 8:22pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
BTW McCain is Mr. anti-pork. It may not work for your local Rep. but it plays well in a National election.

All McCain has to do to give some counter weight to bad economic news is say: the economy is is in worse shape than it ought to be because Congress is spending like drunken sailors.

McCain is old
Clinton is not trusted
Obama is a closet America hater

No one can win.
4.16.2008 8:26pm
JosephSlater (mail):
McCain is old
Clinton is not trusted
Obama is a closet America hater


Re McCain, true but that shouldn't be a big deal. The fact that his policies would in many ways quite similar to Bush's plus the fact that Bush is astoundingly unpopular should be a big deal, though.

Clinton is not trusted by many, rightly or wrongly. But that's probably not going to matter much because, barring something unforeseen, she won't be the Dem nominee.

The bit about Obama is just ridiculously stupid.
4.16.2008 8:31pm
rarango (mail):
Joseph Slater--take a deep breath and back away from the NYT as a source. Try reading the war bloggers and others who know what is going on the ground. The Mahdi army is getting its butt kicked, and MAS is reduced to complaining about violations--and the rest of the Iraqi government seems to be applauding the success of cleaning out the Mahdi faction. this campaign is being met with much approbation from the Iraqi factions. Or do you have evidence, other than the NYT, for a judgment otherwise?
4.16.2008 8:46pm
Oren:
Gaius, decimation involves killing one out of every ten, not nine out of every ten.
4.16.2008 10:48pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Rarango:

My breathing is fine. My point was this: the Iraq war is an important issue; this "gotcha" game with Obama isn't. I hope at least you agree with me that the Iraq war -- whatever one thinks about it -- is a much more important issue than Obama's remarks in PA that the right wing is so breathlessly trying, apparently unsuccessfully, to make stick.

As to the merits of Iraq, I doubt we will convince each other. I will stick to my prediction that this issue will hurt McCain. We'll see.

And I hope your advice about breathing and stepping back from biased sources applies equally to recent comments like "Obama is a closet America hater." If not, you might be the one that needs to step back from partisanship.
4.16.2008 10:55pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
McCain is about as old as Reagan was in 1980. Apparently if a candidate looks healthy, voters don't worry too much about age -- up to early 70s, anyway.

But what do I know? In 1980 I was ready to bet money voters would not elect someone who had been divorced.
4.16.2008 11:57pm
Michael B (mail):
"I didn't say it as well as I should have" Elmer Obama Gantry, sonorous senator, oratorical sophisticate, latter-day populist and pied-piper

In fact, senator, you said it exceedingly well.
4.17.2008 12:09am
Hoosier:
I watched the debate tonight.

Now I don't care if no one can win.


On McCain's age: In January, he'll be about bit younger than was Konrad Adenauer when he took office in '49. Adenauer was chancellor for fourteen years.

Just sayin'.
4.17.2008 12:57am
Gaius Marius:
Gaius, decimation involves killing one out of every ten, not nine out of every ten.

Oren, when you obtain second grade reading skills sometime in the future, please re-read my post and you will see that in fact I state that the deserting soldier who draws the short straw is to be shot by the other nine in this group. If you are a lawyer or intending to practice law, I suggest you take out the maximum legal malpractice policy given your lousy reading skills.
4.17.2008 12:59am
Gaius Marius:
McCain is about as old as Reagan was in 1980. Apparently if a candidate looks healthy, voters don't worry too much about age -- up to early 70s, anyway.

Reagan didn't spend five years in Hanoi Hilton the way President John McCain, er, I mean Senator John McCain did.
4.17.2008 1:01am
Gaius Marius:
John McCain is going to be torn apart on the campaign trail. Sadly, the chances are he will do it to himself.

All McCain has to do is keep his mouth shut and just air ads of Jeremiah Wright and Barack Hussein Obama.
4.17.2008 1:07am
Ryan Waxx (mail):
So are we reduced to seeing who makes the biggest gaffe, and voting for the other guy? Obama, or whoever gaffes last (gaffes best?) deserves to be debated on the merits of his ideas and his qualifications for getting them done right.

Americans shouldn't be swayed by scandals as much as they are... and yet sometimes it seems as if that's the only thing that actually changes someone's mind nowadays.

And for you having fun over Obama's recent bad press: Laugh it up now, because its the last you'll ever see. Just how many embarrassing things do you think you can dredge up with someone who has so little experience? You've mined it all already... and already examined all the people close to him. So short of an inexplicable act of self-destruction on Obama's part, ALL the coming scandalpress and in-depth reporting and exposes will be on McCain only. This scenario fits the available balance of reporting material AND the biases of the reporters.

You're toast. Remember these poll numbers. Come November, you'll be wondering what happened to them.

You should be thanking the libs on this thread for demanding substance, not dismissing their concerns. Because that's the only place your candidate has a chance against Obama. Of course, they'll flip from decrying "talking points" to gleefully embracing them the moment the shoe is on the other foot, but no one expects honesty or consistency from them anyway.
4.17.2008 3:19am
Michael B (mail):
Some gaffes are merely and only that, gaffes. Some "gaffes" are rather more and, in fact, can be revelatory. I'll spell it out in starker terms, via a certain contrast and using a purely hypothetical scenario:

Elmer Obama Gantry has never needed to tell his San Francisco nabobs that he has ever spoken disparagingly of them while speaking to a group in small town Pennsylvania, or anywhere else in fly-over country. He has never had to re-visit those hyper-wealthy Leftists and elites in San Francisco in order to explain a snide and politically revealing remark concerning them or their Leftist politics and bi-coastal elitism.
4.17.2008 10:22am
JosephSlater (mail):
Oh, Ryan, you were doing so well until your last paragraph. But the rest is solid (although I'm not as confident about Obama trouncing McCain as you seem to be, I do hope you're right about that).
4.17.2008 11:39am
zippypinhead:
Richard A. wrote:
What everyone's missing here is that Gary Hart disparaged New Jersey, which is the greatest state in the union, while Obama merely disparaged Pennsylvania, which is filled with people who would love to move to Jersey if only they could figure out which way is east and which is west.
Oh, yeah... guess you've never watched the traffic flows on the I-78 bridge across the Delaware at rush hour? The middle-class is rapidly abandoning "The Garden State" (the only argiculture being gardens because almost all the farms are gone?) in favor of a neighboring state that DOESN'T have the highest taxes, the worst budget crisis, strangest laws, and most out-of-touch "elitist" Governor in the nation. Even at the expense of much longer commutes into New York.

Except for some of the seamier parts of the Philadelphia area, Pennsylvania and Jersey are very different demographically and politically -- even solidly Democratic Pittsburgh has a different brand of Dem than Jersey, being solidly Rust Belt rather than quiche-eating Corzine-[seat]belt. Anecdotally, my relatives in deepest, darkest "Pennsyltucky" (a/k/a the "it's all Alabama" part of the state) report that Senator Obitter's "cling to" remark isn't at all appreciated by the natives. One, a former elected Democratic local official, says that he's going to have to think about voting Republican for the first time since 1988 (Billary was never an option for him).
4.17.2008 11:58am
LM (mail):
zippypinhead,

Nice echo chamber. You're railing against a fellow right winger's idea of satire.
4.17.2008 4:28pm