Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Obama and McCain: Appearances and Achilles Heels

Obama and McCain appear to have secured their respective party’s nominations, but appearances are deceiving. Neither has won the heart and soul of his party. Both have Achilles heels.

Obama’s Achilles Heel

Despite the best-financed and one of the best-organized presidential primary campaigns in American history, Senator Obama:
  • Has lost to Senator Clinton in most of the largest states, including California, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania;
  • Has never significantly penetrated Senator Clinton’s advantage among key Democratic Party constituencies -- female, senior, Catholic and working-class voters;
  • Has depended upon an overwhelming African-American vote, which hovered around 85 to 90 percent, and a larger-than-average vote from college-educated and younger voters to secure many of his victories;
  • Now confronts the daunting task of wooing some 40 percent of Senator Clinton’s voters in the general election, who declared in exit polls that they would not vote for him in a race against Senator McCain; and
  • Faces the likelihood that Senator Clinton will once again reveal his Achilles Heel in such states as West Virginia and Kentucky, if she persists in her campaign.
McCain’s Achilles Heel

Weeks ago Senator McCain’s opponents for the Republican nomination left the battlefield, but their presence remains, revealing a potentially fatal flaw in his campaign. Senator McCain has not yet won the heart and soul of the Republican Party as revealed by one fact:
  • Non-candidates -- Huckabee, Romney, and Paul -- have won approximately 25 percent of the primary vote since their departure from the campaign.
Support for McCain’s opponents comes from the center of gravity of power in the Republican Party – the right. As Richard Nixon used to say: For a Republican to become President he must tack hard right to win the nomination and then tack hard left back to the center to win the election. Remember that not so long ago, Rush Limbaugh and others bashed McCain’s candidacy. Although some on the right have made up with McCain, he still has a long way to go to win their enthusiastic support, without which he cannot win the general election.

Overcoming Their Achilles Heels

Unquestionably Obama and McCain have Achilles Heels, but they may overcome them by (1) selecting vice-presidential nominees who will help to unite their parties, (2) taking positions on issues that will appeal to their party’s disaffected, (3) bringing on board in their campaigns key leaders from their opponent’s campaigns, and (4) allowing their opponents appropriate platforms to speak during their party’s national conventions.


petebargas said...
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petebargas said...

All very true. I also believe Obama will have a harder time in the "Big Show" giving an account for his lack of experience with passing any substantive legislature. He also has promoted idealistic plans for change and yet again, no real substance. It's all a big pie in the sky, but if elected, I fear it may be a cream pie.

Victor said...

A perceptive analysis and on point! In response to peterbargas though, Obama's so called "lack of experience" is questionable. He has a total of 11 years experience in the Illinois State Senate and the U.S. Senate. That in my books counts for something! Before becoming President, JFK had a combined total of 12 years of "experience" in the U.S. House of Representative and the U.S. Senate.

The big problem for the Republican party in 2008, regardless of who the Democratic nominee is, are that (a) McCain's Republican credentials have always been suspect and (b) in every single primary so far, a more energized Democratic base has had two to three times as many voters at the polls ... a trend that seems likely to continue in the November General election.