Here in New York, we don't really feel like we have much sway in the election. The city and the state are so blue, what we do doesn't seem to matter. We're watching Florida and Ohio and Pennsylvania holding our breaths, hoping they do the right thing.
But there is something we can do to affect November 2008, and we need to start doing it now.
Can we, collectively, this time, at least make it easy
for those all important swing states to do the right thing? Can we, all together now, agree to not nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic candidate
If Clinton does become the candidate, the likelihood of another Kerry or Gore type narrow defeat seems all too real. That, by the way, would be the best case scenario. The likelihood of all out landslide by something like the Huckabee/Thompson ticket seems almost assured.
Plenty of people like Hillary. I actually think she'd make a fantastic president and would be a great "first woman Commander in Chief." And, I wish, like most things in life, you could just vote with your gut and be morally pure and actaully go into the voting booth and choose the person who you think would do the best job.
Unfortunately, this is primary politics and not Oscar balloting -- it's not a meritocracy.
The choice of candidate this time needs to be completely overshadowed by electability. It's either the Democrats come up with a candidate who can win the electoral college, or we're on the fast track for 12 straight years of Republican rule. Now, the cult of "electability" got the Dems into trouble before -- that's why we were stuck with Kerry as a candidate in 2004. However, I'd say the crop of '08 is a little stronger than '04, more polished and spitshined. This time, we're not going for "blandness" (as seemed to be Kerry's biggest advantage versus the presumed frontrunner, Howard Dean).
What this is all leading up are these numbers
H. Clinton Favorable Unfavorable
Republicans 11% 84%
Democrats 79% 13%
Republicans 37% 35%
Democrats 57% 18%
The democrat numbers are just in there for reference and balance. The thing to look at are the Republican numbers. Republicans are shaky right now -- their party as clearly lost it's way -- not all registered Republicans are going to vote down party lines. But, by looking at these numbers, you can tell they're sure as hell not going to vote for Hil, either. More than 4 out of 5 registered Republicans have made up their mind -- they have an unfavorable view of Clinton -- and will definitely not cross party lines to vote for her.
But, Barack -- one third don't like him (fair enough, one third of Americans still think Bush is doing a superlative job), one third like him and one third are ambivalent. Up to two thirds of Republicans are at least open
to voting for Obama. I'd much prefer my chances with those numbers going into November '08.
Here's what it all comes down to: Hillary is simply too polarizing to play in the flyover states. Regardless of what you think about her, or what she would stand for, I think ending Republican control of the executive at this point in history trumps all other concerns. And I'm not saying Obama should be the candidate -- I'm just saying Hillary shoudn't be.
Most Americans are good people and want to do the right thing -- let's make it easy for them to do the right thing this time.