Jun 29 2008
The calculus required for Obama to win enough votes against John McCain appears to be based on fantasy math. Â There are times were things just cannot line up, no matter how much people wish they could. But Obama has to knit together a coalition which is impossible to because each side is repulsed by the other, and McCain just doesn’t represent the kind of political enemy required to push these opposing groups together.Â
There is no stable policy configuration Obama can put together to win. No matter what he does he causes upheaval and loses support. Â Either he appeases the far left, sending moderates to McCain, or he appeases the moderates sending the far left into a tirade, ending their support and sending moderates to McCain where they will feel more welcomed.
Just checkout the the far left’s responses to Obama’s efforts to move into a general election mode, where he has to become acceptable to moderate voters. Â Each move inflames the left, creating anger and hate at moderates – which will push them to the McCain side just as the hyperventilating from the far right in 2004-2006 pushed the moderates to elect a Democrat Congress. There are three ways to lose the moderate middle and lose the election.
- Embrace far left policies such as destroying our ability to defend this nation by using baseless, paranoid fear mongering about invasion of privacy to stop listening in on potential terrorists in the US contacting their known terrorist masters overseas. Â One of the problems the left has in their fear-mongering claims is Saddam and al-Qaeda did have connections that could have led to another 9-11 attack on the US. Â But there is no evidence the NSA or FBI have misused their efforts on national security to listen in on shrill anti-war liberal dribble. Most of us reach for the ear plugs when the anti-FISA crowd wind themselves up, not the amplifier volume control.
- Being insulted and attacked by the far left liberals who cannot stand to see their positions take a back seat to the moderate views. Every time Obama moves to the middle he inflames those who helped him beat Hillary, thinking The Messiah would not sacrifice their wishes and views to pander for votes. When he does in fact do this, the rage coming out of the far left is enough to repulse anyone into the McCain camp.
- Losing all credibility on key issues by flip-flopping from his previous positions and simply becoming a weak echo of Maverick McCain’s long held views. Obama beat Hillary by becoming the new fresh face in politics, The Messiah – the man who was not a politician. On policy there was not very much difference between the two, so the election turned on the mythology of ‘change’. Now Obama’s promise of ‘change’ only reflects his pattern of changing his position on issues. He has become the quintessential politician, saying whatever he thinks the audience wants without conviction or sincerity. McCain’s reputation as the GOP maverick too willing to cross the aisle for compromised progress is legend. Obama’s credibility on this and the issues is rapidly being destroyed has he shifts positions.
Some obvious examples:
- FISA-NSA: Obama changed his tune on this matter to reflect the realities of the Democrat cave-in. Â He moved closer to McCain’s long held positions. Â This has infuriated the far left who saw their candidate dump their signature issue and given credence to the moderate position. Advantage McCain.
- Campaign Finance Reform: Obama pledged to use public campaign money, then abandoned his pledge when he saw all the money coming in. McCain’s maverick persona was built on his position on campaign control and limiting free speech. Obama actually moved further from McCain on this issue, and looks very Bush-like in his race for money. Â If campaign reform is your thing, now there is only McCain to lead your cause.
- Second Amendment/Gun Control: Obama flip-flopped on this key liberal issue as well, moving into McCain’s shadow on the now settled issue. This was another case of infuriating the left and scaring the moderates, who support the Supreme Court decision. Â Advantage McCain.
- NAFTA, Death Penalty, etc: There have been increasing numbers of areas where Obama has tried to Â become McCain-light. This Chicago Sun Times piece from a lefty really spells out the dynamics at work and how Obama’s moves are shattering his support, not cementing it:
- The Big One – Iraq: McCain has been a critic on the execution of the Iraq war, but a strong proponent of doing it right and not quitting until we achieve success. On this, since The Surge and Awakening and the removal of the Sadrist Mahdi Militia, Bush and McCain areÂ inseparable. But as success upon success is racking up in Iraq, and the Iraqis themselves are starting to warn the Democrats they need to abandon their Surrendercrat positions, the everyÂ malleable Obama is planning his biggest move to date – there are signs he is going to surrender on surrendering Iraq:
Obama has risen like a rocket through this election season because he has looked, sounded and operated differently. But in the last two weeks, he has lost altitude as he gets closer and closer to taking possession of the real presidential seal, not just the embarrassing facsimile launched by his overconfident staff.
A pattern is becoming clear.
NAFTA: Turns out his earlier expressions of opposition were “overheated.” More conciliatory vocabulary is now employed about Canada and Mexico.
Death penalty reform: Supreme Court conservatives, in the minority last week, argued it’s OK to execute child rapists. Obama, the Illinois death penalty reformer, sees their point.
Warrantless wiretaps: They’re suddenly not looking so bad.
Flag pins: Looking better.
It’s time for Obama to stop yapping about being a community activist and go back to acting like one. This nation is awash in guns. And despite the Supreme Court majority’s myopic notion of the Second Amendment and its Revolutionary War rhetoric of “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,” the only militias in our streets today are run by drug-dealing gang-bangers.
I need to note that 95+% of gun owners and gun users are responsible and law-abiding. If guns were the problem, given the numbers in the hands of US citizens, we would see something more like Iraq under al-Qaeda rule than we see in Virginia – a concealed carry state with very harsh penalties for misusing the right to bear arms.
Recent reports and rumors have indicated that Senator Obama plans to aggressively move to the middle on Iraq in the coming months. This is a good political move for Obama, if only because heâ€™s finally starting to recognize reality. However, it’s no surprise that he will continue to try and have it both ways: moderating his withdrawal language without giving any credit to surge/Petraeus advocates.
There is no way Obama can gain any credibility with the moderate middle by pretending to have been John McCain all along. And surrendering Iraq is the last key issue for the far left to hang on to. To dump them on Iraq will be the end of support for Obama in that camp, and the moderates will not buy his weak version of Maverick McCain is better than the real thing.
All this moving to the center is inflaming the far left, whose reactions are unnerving the center and keeping Obama from taking off in the polls or winning over sufficient numbers of Hillary supporters. As much as they try to put the Democrat Party together again there is no way to overcome the opposing forces between the far left and the moderate-conservative center of America. Â There is no common ground out there for Obama to stand on and win. While the theory is Obama should be a shoe-in to win, McCain is not the kind of scary far right GOP candidate to force the opposing forces under Obama together. Â Too much repulsion exists to form the winning coalition.
Same thing happened to the GOP in 2006, when few believed it would happen (me included). McCain doesn’t face this kind of implosive forces on his side. Â The far right knows we cannot afford to lose all the progress we have made to date in Iraq. Â Their respect for the sacrifices of our military in Iraq, for the security of this nation, are much more powerful than any concerns over McCain. Â They won’t like it, but they can see why supporting McCain is in the best interest of this country. Â Given the sacrifices of others so far in Iraq, living with President McCain is a small sacrifice in the end.
Obama has no such external forcing function operating on his voter base, which seems to be spinning ever out of control.