Earlier today, I read this article by Bob Beckel making the strategic case for an Obama-Clinton ticket, and I found myself almost beginning to doubt the ferocity of my oft-stated belief that such a choice would be “wolf-face crazy.” Then I read the little biographical blurb at the bottom:
Bob Beckel managed Walter MondaleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 1984 presidential campaign.
LOL! And Obama should take this guy’s advice on political strategy, why exactly? ;)
Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s Dan Balz argues that, so far, McCain vs. Obama is politics as usual:
Whatever substance they may contain has been buried in negative counterattacks from the opposing camp, designed to turn ideas into stereotypes and candidates into caricatures. In the hands of Obama’s advisers, McCain is nothing more than the third coming of President Bush. To McCain’s staff, Obama is merely a liberal, naive, arrogant extension of what Democrats have been offering for years.
Gone in the early stages of this campaign is any sense of the uniqueness of the two nominees. McCain is certainly no garden-variety Republican and the historic possibilities of Obama’s candidacy cannot be overstated. But those realities have been submerged beneath a tactical shouting match that feeds the cable culture of contemporary politics.
Don’t blame the media for this. The campaigns have deliberately adopted postures of hyper-aggressiveness to set the early tone. The testosterone levels appear extremely high. No charge however small or incidental can go unanswered. No proposal, no matter how innocuous or provocative, can be discussed calmly or intelligently.
That led a McCain surrogate to respond to Obama’s comments on the rights of terrorist detainees, a topic on which reasonable people can differ, as “delusional.” It led to an Obama surrogate to describe as “stupid” the positions McCain has taken on the Iraq war, though it is clearly arguable that the surge strategy has helped to reduce violence and U.S. casualties. …
Of all the candidates who sought the presidency this year, McCain and Obama seemed the least likely to fall so quickly into old habits. The question is whether the opening weeks are a true reflection of their characters and the kind of campaigns they intended to run or a temporary departure.
(Hat tip: Halperin.)
The Waterbury Republican-American evidently does not believe in God and Senator Dodd. Well, maybe the former, but certainly not the latter. :) In an editorial Monday, the Rep-Am’s editorial board calls Dodd "Tammany Hall’s senior senator" and scolds the national media — as well as, in a subsequent editorial, the Hartford Courant — for failing to more vigorously cover "the sweetheart mortgages he got from Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Nozilo." (Countrywide is described as "the Enron of subprime mortgages.") "This scandal has legs," the editors assert.
I haven’t followed this at all, so I have no idea whether it’s a big deal; I just saw the link on InstaPundit, and since it involves Connecticut’s, er, other senator, I figured it deserved a post.
Meanwhile, in other Connecticut news — and speaking of the Courant — the Nutmeg State’s paper of record is eliminating 60 newsroom staffers and reducing the number of news pages in the paper per week from 273 to 206. Here’s the memo to staff. (Hat tip: my dad.)
It’s times like these I’m really happy I went into law instead of journalism.
Ross Douthat has a good post about Iraq and the surge.
The L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll finds the following national breakdown in a four-way race: Obama 48%, McCain 33%, Nader 4%, Barr 3%, Undecided 10%. Even if we assume that most of those 10% will eventually vote for McCain, in accordance with the Bradley Effect, Obama’s still clearly winning.
What’s particularly intriguing is that, although Nader does slightly better than Barr, their combined effect hurts McCain far more than Obama. When only two candidates are mentioned, it’s Obama 49%, McCain 37%. Another 4% volunteer their intention to vote for "someone else," while 10% remain undecided. The poll write-up explains:
Eighty-seven percent of McCainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s voters would stay with him [in a four-way race featuring Nader and Barr], but 11% would vote for another candidate, with 2% undecided. Almost all of ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s voters (95%) would still stay with him even when the race opened up to include more candidates.
More specifically, when the two-way race becomes a four-way race, 5% of McCain voters switch to Barr, and 6% switch to Nader, while 2% say they "don’t know" how they’d vote. By contrast, just 2% of Obama supporters switch to Nader, 0% switch to Barr, 2% "don’t know," and — just to prove that you can always find a tiny segment of poll respondents who’ll say things that don’t make any sense whatsoever — 1% switch to McCain! (Remember, he’s an option in both scenarios; why anyone would vote for Obama in a two-way race, but McCain in a four-way race, is beyond me.)
Other interesting findings:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ "More than 80% of Obama voters said they were enthusiastic about their candidate, including 47% who are very enthusiastic. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s another matter for McCain. Just under half (45%) of McCain voters said they were enthusiastic about voting for him, but 51% were not enthused about the prospect."
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ "While almost a fifth of moderate Republicans would support Obama, just 7% of moderate Democrats would support the Republican candidate. Overall, almost four out of five liberals support Obama, just 58% of conservatives support McCain."
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ "[M]en are somewhat divided — 40% for Obama to 37% for McCain — but women give the Democratic candidate a 25 point lead (54% to 29%)."
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Among whites, it’s McCain 39%, Obama 39%, Nader 5%, Barr 4%, someone else 2%, undecided 11%. (If Bradley/Wilder holds, McCain will get the bulk of those undecideds in the end.) Among blacks, Obama gets "nine out of 10" or thereabouts, while McCain gets just 2%, and 2% are undecided. Obama wins 61-23 among "other ethnic groups."
State-by-state polls, it should be noted, have been trending in the same direction. Five Thirty Eight, which was projecting an extremely close race as recently as a few weeks ago, now has Obama winning 344 to 194 in the Electoral College, with a map that roughly resembles Clinton’s win over Dole in 1996.
Caveat: It’s still very early, and polls at this point can be extremely misleading, arguably to the point of meaninglessness. It’s clear that Obama is doing very well right now; it’s not at all clear what, if anything, that means for November.
P.S. It should also be noted that, although some pre-election polls in 2000 showed him in the high single digits, Nader ultimately got just 2.73% that year, and in 2004 he managed a paltry 0.38%. It seems highly unlikely, then, that in a high-stakes election offering such a stark issue-based contrast as Obama vs. McCain, he’ll ultimately get anywhere near 4% of the vote. In fact, given that Obama is practically a liberal’s dream candidate (at least as plausible Democratic nominees go), I find it hard to believe that Nader will do better than the 0.38% he got in ‘04, when he was running against the far less dreamy John Kerry. (On the other hand, I suppose Nader’s numbers could be boosted by the "racist liberal" vote — folks who won’t vote for McCain because he’s a Republican, but won’t vote for Obama because he’s black.)
The only way I can see Nader breaking 1% is if he truly does pick up a whole bunch of erstwhile McCain voters — and that itself seems highly unlikely, given how anathema his views are to anyone who is remotely conservative or libertarian-ish. My guess is that those 6% of McCain voters who currently gravitate to Nader in a four-way race are simply disaffected with their candidate, and are casting a "protest vote" for the third-party candidate whose name they recognize, namely Nader. But once they start paying more attention, I’d imagine that most of ‘em will realize Nader is really not their kind of guy. Nader is a liberal candidate; it’s hard to believe he can build a sizable support base that’s based fundamentally on anything other than liberal voters.
In the end, most of the disaffected conservatives/Republicans will either stay home, vote for Barr, or hold their noses and vote for McCain. The "conservatives for Nader" movement is about as plausible as the "elderly Jews for Buchanan" movement in Palm Beach County eight years ago. ;)