More political comments/questions (in no particular order)?
These are a kind of blend of my own views, those of my listeners and various political scientists and writers that I?ve had on my show on Sirius.
1) Who was surprised that Edwards dropped out before Super Tuesday? If he had stayed in, even if he couldn?t afford to run many commercials or do much campaigning, he might have put himself in a stronger position to make a difference at a ?brokered? convention?and/or, (if he is interested) make himself a more viable vice-presidential nominee.
Maybe, in the end, it was personal, considering his wife?s illness?
2) Would Edwards be a good choice for either Clinton or Obama as a VP nominee?
3) If not Edwards, who are the possible VP nominees for the Democrats?Who would be best with Clinton?Who would be best for Obama? (I?m assuming those two would never consent to serve under each other?considering the obvious deep dislike that exists between the two of them.
Also, if Clinton were elected president, we?d have her and her husband in the White House. It?s hard to imagine any Vice President having any power or influence at all under those circumstances.
4) I?m assuming the McCain will be the candidate on the other side? There are a lot of indications that, at 71, he might be just too old (whether or not that?s fair or right) for most of the younger voters who have shown up during this primary season; though it seems that most of these younger voters?so far?are Democrats?attracted by Obama?
5) If, as many people seem to think, there is no clear outcome for the Democrats on Tuesday, does that put Clinton and Obama at a deep disadvantage vs. the Republican candidate (McCain)? Specifically?if Obama and Clinton were wrestling with each other for all the months leading up to the convention?they would be unable to deal effectively with a single approved candidate on the other side. Somebody like McCain could consolidate his positions, money, strategy, speeches, attacks on the Democrats, etc. etc. while they are using up time, money and energy fighting each other.
However, its impossible to imagine either Clinton or Obama considering that and one of them backing out for the sake of party unity and strength?even though they were being so friendly and accommodating during their last debate.
Clearly, people everywhere were sick of the bickering and attacking (more of it from the Clintons? side then Obama).
6) I often hear callers to my show saying they won?t vote if one or the other of the candidates gets chosen to be the nominee? For the Republicans it seems to be Ron Paul?If he isn?t chosen (which he won?t be), they say they won?t vote for any other Republican.
Since I?m on the Liberal channel at Sirius, most of my callers are Democrats?and a lot of them say they would never vote for Hillary Clinton if she were the nominee.
I understand people?s dislike/loathing for various candidates?but I can?t imagine anyone who considers themselves a Republican not voting against Clinton or Obama?
Same goes for Democrats? Even for the people who swear they would never vote for Clinton? Would they seriously not vote against McCain, who, at the very least, wants us to be in Iraq longer that the Nazis imagined there would be a Third Reich?
Even the extreme right-wing Republicans?many of the evangelical fundamentalists?are, despite their vehement dislike of McCain, coming around. Can you imagine a Christian fundamentalist who loved Bush sitting out the vote if Clinton or Obama (endorsed by Satan?Ted Kennedy) might become President?
9) The role of independent voters has been crucial in our elections for a couple of decades now. A political scientist and author I spoke to last night (Earl Black of Rice University) said that for quite a long time, both parties have been ?minority? parties. They don?t have enough backers across the country to win a clear plurality. So they have always targeted independent voters?and especially those voters he called ?moderate independents?. Republican and Democratic leaning independents might swing in the opposite direction?but there is a huge in-between group (could be hundreds of thousands) who are ?moderate independents?. These are the ones most crucial to swinging the election. They were at the core, many people think, of the Democrat?s victory in the Congressional elections in 2006.
Along with this important target group, there are regions that are usually solid for one party or another (for instance the South for the Republicans and the Northeast and Pacific coast for the Democrats). Again, when you add the various regions, there are still not enough votes to see a clear victory?thus a couple of the Midwest states, and most particularly Ohio?which seems not to favor one party or the other?become absolutely crucial.
10) It is insulting to most blacks?and they call my show to say so?to suggest they would vote for Obama merely because he is black; as it is equally insulting to women to suggest they would vote for Clinton just because she?s a woman. But is it so insulting?
Sure, you hope, in a perfect world, that any voter who wants the best for the country would pick the candidate they feel is the most qualified. Yet, if both Obama and Clinton are both qualified and fairly equal in their policy stands, why wouldn?t a woman want to vote for a woman, or a black voter for a black candidate?
For that matter, there may be many Democratic voters?doesn?t matter if they are male, female, black or white, who would vote for Hillary Clinton just because she would be the first woman President or Obama just because he would be the first black President. (Again, this is assuming that you thought they were more less equal in their ability to do the job).
Last night on my show, a black man from Chicago called up, very exercised, and said that a woman has already had her time in the White House (after all, Hillary Clinton stresses her experience in governing)?and now it was time for a black man to be the President.
So, is it wrong?given that these are two intelligent, powerful people?just to vote for them merely on gender or color? They both represent nothing less than a revolution in American culture and politics?That either a black man or woman could very well be the next President is beyond astounding, given our awful history in these matters.
And in the end, people can say what they like (and I?m sure most black and female voters would never describe themselves as so ?irrational? or irresponsible as just choose by race or gender)? But who knows what people will do when they enter the voting booth?
11) I don?t like Hillary Clinton or Obama?s ties to big corporations?and Mrs. Clinton, especially, is surrounded by people who represent the worst kind of lobbyists for big business. Just for that reason alone, I might choose Obama?though I?m still not absolutely convinced is strong or experienced enough to handle the attacks and the complex, vicious maneuvering he would have to deal with in the campaign or as President.
12) All things considered, I see Obama as a stronger candidate against McCain than Clinton. She has too much baggage and she really is part of the old boys network of insiders and wheeler-dealers.
McCain is the darling of the media and he is, actually, charming and personable. The man has a sense of humor. And, despite one?s stance on this detestable war and someone who so loves it as McCain does, you can?t discount the respect and sympathy the man gets?almost viscerally?from a great many Americans, no matter what their affiliation, just because of his wartime experiences.
This might be especially true for anyone my age or older (62)?and we?re talking about millions of voters.
Even though a lot of are Sixties types?and very liberal and anti-war?there is still that left-over respect and even admiration (maybe more among men) for a man who has been in combat and endured such hardships for patriotic
reasons (no matter misplaced you might feel they were). My generation grew up in awe of WW2 vets and some of that is still deeply blended into in our bittersweet feelings about this country.
No matter how she might be in private, Hillary Clinton could never match the charm and humor and human-ness that McCain possesses. After all this is America, where even a rich, nasty, ignorant little monster like George Bush could win over people by his ?common-man? approach. This is the country of American Idol and a hundred ?reality? shows, where substance means nothing and style means everything.
Think of Hillary Clinton on the same stage as John McCain.
However, Obama does have all these gifts. He can be charming and funny and winning. He is charismatic and has supreme oratorical gifts.
As Frank Rich pointed out in today?s New York Times, these abilities made almost all the difference in John Kennedy?s victory against Nixon. Kennedy just out spoke and out charmed Nixon (no matter what political differences and qualifications they had). It was no contest when it came to who had the most winning personality.
In this case we have McCain?who has some claim to decency, ethics and compassion in a couple of the bills he has championed in the Senate. And he has his war experiences? And, the man is just plain appealing.
I think Obama is best suited to deal with that.
He would absolutely need an older, more experienced veteran Democrat to run with him as Vice President.
There is so much more to say, but that?s all for now?I?m on deadline; which means I have just about used up the small portion of brain power, concentration and nervous energy I have for this week).
As always, comments are welcome.
– Mike Feder (New York City – February 3, 2008)