Whew… glad that’s over.
As a political observer, the whipped-up fun of the primaries can be dampened considerably when it is your own state that is part of the mix. Before the dust from South Carolina settled, the lead-in to Super Duper Tuesday had things pretty noisy here in Massachusetts.
We aren’t a huge delegate prize, but when John McCain started feeling his oats and decided to challenge Mitt Romney on his home turf, voters got caught in the middle.
Phone call after annoying phone call started ringing at Chez Spinney in the waning days of January, reaching an absolute crescendo by February 4. It made me nostalgic for telemarketing – Pre-National Do Not Call Registry.
I suppose it could have been worse. There’s only one registered Republican under my roof. Were I aligned with one of America’s two real political parties I might have opted to unplug the phone.
At least today, without the constant ringing, I can think a little more clearly about the nomination process as it stands at SDT Plus One, so here are my thoughts.
For the Democrats, I think Obama’s going to win. The enthusiasm he’s generating will eventually overtake and put real distance between he and Hillary Clinton. I know Democrats who have done nothing overtly political their whole lives that are now volunteering for Obama; white guys who went door-to-door in places like Trenton, New Jersey to try and mobilize voters. I mean, is anyone writing songs about Hillary? Obama’s showing yesterday was surprisingly strong, and while Clinton took the big prizes, the apportionment of the delegates actually tipped slightly in Obama’s favor. As a result, the delegate count today is a tossup, but from here on out Hillary’s bailing against the tide.
Everything I hear and see, both through the media’s lens and with my own eyes and ears, tells me that many Democrats are growing tired of Clinton’s campaign undercurrent, and that may become even clearer with the California win. The country’s “first black president,” Bill Clinton, has been using bigoted tactics to try and gain the upper hand on behalf of his wife, especially where there are large numbers of Hispanic voters. Analyses of SDT voting showed that Obama’s numbers are strong among white voters and overwhelming among black voters – a danger sign for Clinton – thus the effort to rile traditional anti-black racial animosity among Hispanics.
Look for Obama to line up some big name Hispanic endorsements and proxies in the near future. Don’t know who, but when it happens, I think you’ll see the polls spike for Obama. Clinton’s days are numbered. It may take a fist-fight at the convention, but the party will see that Obama is their best hope for victory in November.
The picture is clearer for the GOP, but no less interesting.
I laugh at the fight to don the Reagan mantle, and the convenient loss of memory the candidates have with regard to amnesty. Today, Romney’s doing everything he can to hang amnesty around McCain’s neck and drape Reagan over his own shoulders, but it wasn’t that long ago – a mere 22 years – that President Reagan, with a majority in Congress, signed the first amnesty bill.
In attempting to make his case as the campaign’s only “true conservative,” and draw a contrast between he and McCain, Romney has erred strategically in making his attacks on McCain seem personal, rather than an Outsider vs. Establishment issue. People like McCain, and I think Romney’s demeanor solidified in voters’ minds the notion that he will say whatever it takes to win.
Finally, the GOP mouthpieces, especially the radio pundits, are fooling themselves if they think a right winger can win in November. In 2008 there’s no way Romney will convert the equivalent of centrist Reagan Democrats. Ain’t gonna happen. Nor will Mike Huckabee.
McCain is the only chance the Republicans have to win the centrist/independent vote. It’s looking more and more likely that McCain will capture the nomination and, when he does, the right wing of the party will fall in line. They’ll have to, either because of their loathing of Hillary, or because, even through they may find him admirable, they are fearful of a lefty like Obama in the White House.