Thursday, January 31, 2008
Heads We Win, Tails They Lose
It looks like I was a bit premature in my previous comments about the state of the Democratic campaign. Obama really does look like he's changing the political landscape in the way he needs to do in order to pull this out. No telling if the trend holds, but if he does end up winning the nomination, it would be pretty tough not to admire the story arc.
Meanwhile, for no real reason I found myself spontaneously and very forcefully declaring earlier this evening in a conversation with a friend that John McCain doesn't stand a chance in the general election, against either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. And surprised as I was to find myself saying it, I realized as the words left my mouth that I really believe that's true.
Clinton's mastery of policy detail would simply outclass McCain in a debate, and she's smart enough to adopt her disarming, charming persona (the one she used so well to deflect the question about why she's unlikable) to do it. As for Obama, even granting that McCain might edge him out for the independents and centrists (which I really don't see happening), there's a possibility Obama could actually win over some of the disenchanted evangelicals who would never support McCain. But beyond the polling and demographics, both Obama and Clinton are just so much more visibly dynamic and alert than McCain that the difference would be too apparent over the course of the campaign.
Just as importantly, if McCain wins the GOP nomination, it will be a default victory. His poll numbers since last year show that. Republican voters have at one time or another virtually begged every other candidate -- with the exception of Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter and Alan Keyes -- to take the nomination from him. The fact that they've wound up coming back to McCain says more about the rest of the field than it does about their enthusiasm for him.
What it all means is that the idea floating around out there that Democrats should be wringing their hands and biting their nails, worried that no matter who they vote for they'll wind up sending the wrong candidate out to the general election, thereby snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, is a total bunch of crap. Both Obama and Clinton are strong candidates, and regardless of how tough the battle for the nomination is, the party's going to rally around the winner come the convention. And then whichever one of them is the Democratic nominee, they'll promptly go out and turn John McCain into a pile of chopped liver in a crewneck sweater.
There. You read it here first (unless you read it somewhere else before).