Wednesday, April 30, 2008

'Thanks, Bro...'

Who would have thought that the Republicans had a chance of holding on to the White House in 2008 a few months ago? After the '06 Congressional election, the Conventional Wisdom held that the Democrats would win the White House in a walk. Hillary was the Heiress Apparent. Then, we saw the rise of Obama as the New Messiah, sent to assume the mantle of Leader of the Free World, an unstoppable force. Hillary or Obama? At any rate, most certainly not a Republican.

Things started to change after Super Tuesday. The Clinton campaign (I believe Bill gets the credit for this strategy) came to the sober realization that if Hillary was going to win, it could only be by dragging Obama down into the dirt and making him seem like just another politician. Better yet, by painting him as the stereotypical Black Candidate instead of the candidate who happened to be Black. There is a crucial difference here; a Black Candidate, such as Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, represents only Black Americans (and only the more radical ones), while a candidate who happens to be Black can legitimately claim to represent all Americans... and Americans of all ethnicities can identify with him. This was the Clinton strategy first used after the South Carolina primary, where Bill Clinton made an oblique reference to Obama's support from Black voters as to be expected, "like Jesse Jackson's support." Tie your opponent with someone who is highly unpopular, in the same way that "Dole-Gingrich" was used to tie Dole in with Newt Gingrich during the '96 presidential campaigns.

Obama's only hope for mass appeal was not to be identified as the Black Candidate. Mid-America might well vote for a candidate who happened to be Black, but a Black Candidate has no chance. He was very good at resisting this characterization... until the radical sermons of Jeremiah Wright, his pastor at his Chicago church, came to light. Obama's speech on race was more of an evasion than a response, but it was well-worded and accomplished his goal of receiving the benefit of the doubt from the majority of Democrat primary voters.

Then the 'bitter clingers' comment came to light, and the Clinton campaign waisted no time in using the comment to paint Obama as an out-of-touch elitist, again making it easier for White lower- and middle-class Democrat voters to view Obama as a 'Them' instead of an 'Us'. In my opinion these comments cost Obama his chance to put Hillary away in Pennsylvania.

The fatal wound, the stab in the back, came this previous Monday courtesy of Reverend Wright and his speeches to the NAACP and the National Press Club. Wright gleefully stripped his defenders of their claim that outrage towards him was due to taking his statements out of context, defied those who challenged him, and worst of all portrayed Obama as a liar who repudiated himself from Wright solely for reasons of political expediency. In other words, Obama's own minister publically declared him to be just another say-anything-to-get-elected politician. Imagine the political ads! This damning statement from his own pastor cost Obama any chance he has at the presidency, at least for this election. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

I don't know who will get the Democratic nomination. I think it will still be Obama; the nomination will be decided by the superdelegates before the convention and they have have no good choices. If they stick with Obama, they're going with a candidate who will not win against McCain, because he will not get the moderate white Democrat vote. If they switch to Hillary, Obama's young activist supports and especially his black supporters will be outraged, perhaps to the point of destroying the Democrat Party, and a mixed Clinton-Obama ticket with Obama as VP won't fly for the same reason. Their only choice is a different nominee, and who are they going to choose from? The primary losers who were eliminated early? McCain will cream them. Al Gore? Even Al isn't stupid enough to run against McCain? John Kerry? The fake war hero couldn't win against a reservist; does anyone think he'll do better against a real war hero, especially since he hasn't repudiated the SwiftVet charges because he can't? Joe Lieberman? A rational choice, yet unacceptable to the Progressive Kossacks, who will revolt. They have no bench.

Why did all this happen? Why did the glorious dream turn to ashes? Two words: the Clintons. The Clintons want back in the White House. No... make that the Clintons believe they are entitled to return, and they will do anything to win. Even if it means destroying the Democrat Party. Hillary's worst nightmare is for Obama to win in November; that will end her presidential aspirations. She knows that she can't win the nomination this year, and the superdelegates will not give it to her for fear of the consequences (blacks and progressives leaving the party in droves). Far better to destroy him now, to weaken him so that he can't win, and then run again in 2012, saying "You should have picked me in '08!" You just know Hillary's pissed at Obama for costing her a sure thing... "Damn him anyway for running!" (I'm sure that's the kindest thought she's had about Obama in a long time!)

The Democrat Party never forgives a loser. What Obama should do now is to realize that a Democrat can't win in '08! so let Hillary take the fall! My advice: bow out now! Hold a press conference saying something along the lines of "For the sake of party unity, and because this country that I love is greater than any one person, we have to end this fight in order to beat the Republicans. I am going to cede the nomination to my opponent Hillary, and I will work to get her elected." And then, work as hard for Hillary as she and Bill did for Al Gore and John Kerry (not very hard at all), while letting a few choice friends in the media know why you withdrew (because the water was poisoned by Hillary and Bill and their scorched-earth tactic of using race to divide the Democrat Party). Put a bug in Jeremiah Wright's ear about all this, and let him go forth and trumpet about the Clinton racist conspiracy to deprive a Black man of his legitimate chance. Suppress the black vote, and Hillary cannot win. Then, watch the Party turn on the Clintons after the loss in November, and drive them out.

The activists will love this noble self-sacrifice. The party leaders will shrink in fear and know they have to make a gesture to regain black support, and they'll do it. Obama will be lauded from every Democrat mountaintop. He will be a shoo-in for the 2012 nomination. He'll learn from his mistakes this year, and the public will largely forget those mistakes. If McCain is very popular, wait until 2016... Obama is still young. If not... the office is his. If he plays his cards right.

Obama's only chance to be president is if he gets out now while he is still relatively unscarred, letting Hillary get clobbered. It's nervy, though. Does he have the courage to do it? Most likely not.