Dammit, stupid politics…

I’ve sworn to myself that I’m not getting into this yet.  The [tag]Presidential election[/tag] is over a year and a half away and these ninnies are already vying for votes like it was already September of 2008.  But dammit, sometimes stories are just too good not to comment on.

Let’s take this one, for example from the Washington Monthly – McCain a Democrat?

According to the article [tag]John McCain[/tag] seriously negotiated with senior members of the Democratic Party in 2001 to switch allegiances.  If this story is true then McCain has been finally outed as the opportunist that he is.  The GOP will abandon him and his campaign for the White House is pretty much over.  That leaves [tag]Rudy Guliani[/tag] and [tag]Mitt Romney[/tag] as the front-runners in the GOP camp.  The rest of the pack the Republicans have so far put forward don’t have a prayer of securing the nomination.

So, what does that do to the dynamics of the campaign?  Well, for starters it makes it far more likely that we’ll have a Democrat in the White House in January of 2009.  Guliani has weaknesses galore.  He’s not liked by the conservative base of the GOP and he’s got scandal galore in his past.  He can only go so far on “look at what a good job I did reacting to 9/11/01.”  Mitt Romney also does not have the trust of the conservative base of the GOP because he’s waffled on their core social issues too much.  He’s also a Mormon, which is likely to make middle-of-the-road voters nervous as hell.  So, unless some other candidate comes out of the woodwork in the GOP we’ll most likely have the 2008 election decided during the Democratic primaries.

Where does that put us?  Ah, well, last week a poll said that more than 50% of registered and likely voters in the US absolutely would not vote for [tag]Hilary Clinton[/tag].  By the way, you can count me as one of those people.  Unless Hilary can change the minds of a significant portion of us in the next 8 months or so I’d say her candidacy is dead.  That leaves us with [tag]John Edwards[/tag] and [tag]Barack Obama[/tag].  Edwards probably won’t make it to the finish line.  Regardless of what he’s saying now about his wife’s cancer not derailing his campaign I’m willing to bet that if she gets really sick or even near death then his mind will change.  One of the things about John Edwards that makes him an appealing candidate for President is that you can see that the man has a heart.  He’s not going to be able to sustain a campaign for President and support his wife at the same time.

So, does that mean that Barack Obama is the next President? Here’s why I think not – for as much progress as has been made in the US over the past 50 years in race relations this is still a profoundly racist country.  While people will not hesitate to say openly to pollsters that they wouldn’t vote for Hilary Clinton if you put a gun to their heads and ordered them to, they’re not going to openly declare an unwillingness to vote for a black man.  So no polls are going to suss this out.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not there.  Regardless of racism, Obama’s got two other strikes against him – he’s an inexperienced politician who has never held an executive position and he’s a Senator.

On the latter point first – the last sitting Senator to be elected President was John F. Kennedy in 1960.  Americans have not supported the candidacies of people from Congress moving into the White House for a long time.  Dubya = governor, Clinton = governor, Bush the First = businessman with a past political history, Reagan = former governor, Carter = governor, Ford = not elected, Nixon = former VP, Johnson = VP who ascended to the Presidency on the death of the President.  Members of Congress who have gotten their asses handed to them = Kerry, Bob Dole, George McGovern, Barry Goldwater.  That’s not to say that we Americans don’t like our Senators.  We just don’t think the things that make someone a good Senator make him or her a good President. The trends do bode well for Bill Richardson though, who actually probably wouldn’t be a half-bad President, but that’s fodder for another blog entry.

On the first point against Obama, his lack of experience, that’s already showing in his campaign.  He comes across as a thoughtful, serious and gentle man, but he cannot point to any point in his life where he’s actually been a leader who was responsible for managing the work of many, many people.  He’s very obviously a professional politician and he’s also very obviously a skilled legislator.  If he was white he’d have a tough time selling himself as chief executive of the US of A.  But he’s black, and that’s not going to help him in the south or in the American suburbs.

There’s still a lot of time left in this campaign.  There’s plenty of time for other candidates to surface on both sides, but if the roster doesn’t change and Edwards doesn’t bow out entirely at the moment my money’s on him to go all the way.

What I’d really like to see though is for [tag]Al Gore[/tag] to throw his hat into the ring.  And this time instead of hiring nitwits to run his campaign he should just run it himself.  Go full bore grassroots.  Here’s the slogan – in 2000 most Americans voted for Al Gore – this time let’s make it official.

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