Will Obama’s Appeal Outlast Hillary?
Between RealClearPolitics and Memeorandum, there must be a dozen articles this morning wondering if Barack Obama’s nomination is now a foregone conclusion, how Hillary Clinton managed to blow what seemed a sure thing, and how long Obama can get away with being the inspiring candidate of “hope” and “change.”
The biggest beneficiary of the Hillary loathe has been Obama. Her campaign has been sufficiently subverted and sabotaged by the legions of Hillary haters to the point that it’s listing. If her campaign goes down, so will Obama’s Hillary firewall. The gloves will be off and it won’t be pretty.
His votes and views during his days in the Illinois Senate on taxes, abortion, civil liberties, civil rights, law enforcement and capital punishment have so far drawn little public attention, because of the media and a big chunk of the public’s obsession with nailing Hillary. But in a head to head match up with the likely GOP presidential nominee John McCain, Republicans and conservative interest groups will surgically dissect his state Senate votes and they will find much there to pound him on.
McCain and the GOP hit squads will go for the political jugular and lambaste him as an anti-police, anti-business, pro abortion, pro labor, pro-gun control, tax and spend liberal Democrat. Conservative interest groups will tar him as a liberal Democrat who will bend way over to pander to labor, minorities, and women. Obama’s record on civil liberties, civil rights, abortion, and spending will endear him to millions of voters, but not in the South and the heartland states.
Then there’s the personal dirty stuff. They’ll hammer him for his dealings with an indicted Chicago financier, for possible conflicts of interest in other financial dealings and legislative votes, and for his fuzzy, oftentimes contradictory, statements and actions on the Iraq War and terrorism. Then there’s the ultimate ploy: the race card. The GOP hit squads will dig, sift and comb through every inch of his personal life and poke through his voting record to find any hint of personal or political muck.
There’s much to this. Unlike the Republican race, which has been an ideological fight among different factions of the conservative coalition, the Clinton-Obama contest has been between people who largely agree with one another and the contrasts have been on style, experience, and differing visions of the 1990s Clinton legacy. That’ll change regardless of which one wins the Democratic nomination.
Of course, it’s not as if there isn’t a Democratic machine out there ready to attack McCain. And, indeed, McCain’s much easier to attack than either of the Democrats because he has a much longer legislative record and because there’s already just one opponent to research.
Charles Krauthammer, fatalistic as always, figures Obama can hold out just long enough:
Democrats are worried that the Obama spell will break between the time of his nomination and the time of the election, and deny them the White House. My guess is that he can maintain the spell just past Inauguration Day. After which will come the awakening. It will be rude.
Perhaps. This election cycle has defied expectations so many times already. Hillary was done after Iowa, became inevitable after New Hampshire, and has now been written off again. McCain was toast just a few weeks ago and is now the all but certain nominee. There are still another nine months to go.
Photo credit: 2008 Presidential Campaign Blog via Google