Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Obama for Veep

Armando, writing as Big Tent Democrat, makes a strong case that yesterday was the high water mark for Obama. He points out that Obama has been an insurgent candidate trying to knock off the front runner, and his media, momentum and endorsements put him in the position on Super Tuesday where, if he could win at least one of the large states (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey or New York) he might be able to keep the momentum going forward and defeat Hillary. Unfortunately, Obama failed to get any of those states. Since Clinton is preferred by the Hispanics and White women, Texas is probably out of his reach also. Without at least one of those five very large states, Obama will not get the nomination. Armand puts it this way: "He can not win women, Latinos, older voters and lower income non-African Americans. The Obama coalition is simply not enough".

That analysis seems quite persuasive to me. I don't think that Texas is going to be changed enough in the next month for Obama to win. Since Texas has 28 different television markets, any fast change in the attitudes here are extremely unlikely. Any attempt to make such a change is prohibitively expensive. (California, I am told, has only four TV markets.)

That's going to leave Obama in an interesting position as the convention approaches. It is clear that the strongest Democratic ticket would be Clinton/Obama. It is also very clear that Obama wants to run for the Presidency. If he can't do it this year, he will have a much better shot at it later from the position of Vice President than he would from being just another Senator.

I've heard rumors that Clinton and Obama don't like each other that much, and that would prevent him from accepting the position of Vice President on the Democratic ticket. That's what people thought in 1960 when Kennedy took the Democratic nomination from Lyndon Johnson, too, and it didn't stop LBJ from taking the job. Even if there is bad blood, which I consider more of a media artifact to gin up conflict and make stories more interesting than it is a fact, if Clinton gets the nomination and offers the position of vice President on the ticket to Obama, he'd be a fool not to take it. And, since the Democratic nomination looks like it is coming down to the decision of the roughly 20% superdelegates, I think those professionals will push both individuals into such an arrangement.

A race between Clinton/Obama and McCain/(Huckabee?) would pit the strongest Democratic coalition against the a Republican coalition that leaves out the extremists conservatives but otherwise carries the moderate Republicans and the evangelists, which is probably the strongest possible Republican coalition. And the extremist conservatives are not going to sit on their hands and not vote when they have a chance to vote against both Hillary and a Black Democrat at the same time. So the only people to be left out on the Republican side are the extremist right-wing talk radio hosts and Mitt Romney.

The comparative turnout between the Democrats and the Republicans in the Primaries and caucuses indicates that a Democratic win in November is very likely.

The other thing that is extremely likely is that the wealthy Republicans who hate losing and who fund swift boat campaigns will be out in force, making this the most nasty Presidential election in the memory of living voters. I don't think they will change the election dynamics this time, except possibly against the Republicans. One of the main things that Obama has had going for him as a candidate is his promise to make elections about the future of America instead of fighting off nasty attacks, and I think the climate this election is going to one in which swift boat attacks become a negative for the candidate they are supposed to support.

And no, I don't think that the Democrats do the same thing, certainly not as blatantly. These dirty tricks are a trademark of Republican politics as played by Lee Atwater and Karl Rove.

But this isn't a prediction. It's a possible scenario.

No comments: