However, the election of 2008 is problematic for at least two reasons that we will examine over the next two posts.
Problem #1: For the Democrats, a Strong Party and a Weak Candidate
Entering the Fall elections, the Democrat party overall is sitting in the catbird’s seat. For various reasons—low public approval ratings for Republicans, high profile scandals, an unpopular President, an unpopular war, a questionable economy, high gasoline prices—the public as a whole would rather vote Democrat this Fall. As much as I might think that much of Republican unpopularity is driven by a hostile, pro-Democrat media, the facts on the ground are undeniable…this is a Democrat year.
However, despite their potential strength, the Democrats have nominated an extremely weak candidate. Barack Obama has zero experience. He is from the extreme left of a left-wing party. His primary supporters are the radical fringe of that party. Despite all the change rhetoric and positive media attention, his constituency remains primarily African-Americans and affluent white radicals. He has made practically no headway with middle-class whites (the “Reagan Democrats”) which form the core of the Democrat Party and which the Democrats must have to win the presidency. He won the nomination by a close 15 round decision through his superior organization in the caucus states coupled with terrible strategic blunders on the part of the
Add to that the non-race to become Obama’s VP. Early speculation had Obama seeking an experienced politician that could deliver an important state. Two immediate suggestions were Ted Strickland and Ed Rendell, both popular governors of
It is not hard to discern why either governor would decline the second seat on the ticket. Obama is, by no means, a shoo-in to win. Neither governor, both cagy politicians, wants to hitch their wagon to a horse that might not win and alienate the
Obama’s choice of a VP is very important for him because of the scarcity of his experience and his limited appeal. That the obvious choices are removing themselves is trouble for his campaign.
Democrats will likely strengthen their control over Congress this Fall. Some speculate that in the Senate they could even reach the magical, filibuster-proof number of 60. A mainstream Democrat nominee for President would cruise to victory in such an environment and greatly add to Democrat control of the government. However, in 2008, nothing is easy. The Democrats nominated a very problematic candidate who could suffer a landslide loss in a Democrat year.
Tomorrow…Problem #2: For the Republicans, a Weak Party and a Strong Candidate
--Submitted by B. Bryant