I've made this case in personal conversations, but never on this blog, so here's my thinking: The hardcore conservative base--that 30% living-in-another-reality of the electorate that still basically approves of what Bush is doing--hates McCain even more than Democrats hate Lieberman. They haven't had to compromise for eight years and they're not going to start listening to other people now. And McCain--to judge not only by his own past, but in his noticeably tepid acceptance of Bush's endorsement--hates Bush. So that Bushite 30% will either stay home or--in many cases--vote for Obama, since he's clearly the most authentically religious candidate running.
This leaves the majority 70% of the electorate who have to choose between McCain and Obama, and again, this is a fairly easy case for Obama to win. Because McCain's two biggest strengths in the past have been 1.) that he draws consensus-minded independents, and 2.) that the press just loves him to death. And Obama is significantly more popular among independents (since even hard rightists who hate McCain are favoring Obama), and the press loves Obama even more than they love McCain. Throw in the fact that McCain has gone on record saying things like "We'll be in Iraq for a hundred years" and "I'm not that good at domestic policy," and he practically sinks himself--especially if, as I dearly hope, Obama comes up with an answer to Hillary's "3 a.m. phone call" ad that says, "When the terrorists attacked, Obama didn't panic, he didn't attack the wrong people, and he didn't throw the Constitution under the bus. That's taking a long view. That's smart defense." (Or something like that. I'm no sloganeer.)
Throw in the anecdotal evidence that Obama's own groundswell of support consistently sets records in halls and stadiums across the land (Obama got another record-setting $55 million last month, while McCain--the presumptive Republican nominee in the party of rich people--drew only $12 million), and that our foreign allies (including Sweden's p.m., who has never weighed in on such things before) are all consistently excited by the prospect of an Obama presidency...well, how does McCain even start to fight that, given how the party that's supposed to be behind him can barely stop sharpening their knives long enough to toss him a few nickels?
Of course, Obama could suddenly wind up being named in a prostitution sting, so I'm trying not to get too cocky. But my strong suspicion is that all the "W" bumper stickers, come November, will be replaced by ones reading "O." I've officially stopped worrying.
UPDATE: I should add, of course, that the nusto ultraright wing is already calling Obama a Muslim, a jihadist, linking him with a Black Panther ("Obama's a violent thug!") and his Black Nationalist preacher ("Obama wants black people to rule over whites!"), and so forth; I'm not saying it won't get ugly. (And those ugly elements are the Republicans' worst cancer.) But the interesting thing is that to object to McCain, you only have to look at his actual policies. To find something seriously objectionable about Obama, you have to actually lie out your ass. The only serious knock against him (outside Rezko, which should be yesterday's news by now) is his light experience. The voters haven't cared so far--because he's obviously smart, shows good judgment, and has learned quickly how to kneecap even the Clinton machine--and I predict they'll continue not to care.
Labels: current events