Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Thoughts on Looming Obama Losses

When professional pollsters have bite dust in this election cycle, this humble blogger can not pretend to predict results of Tuesday’s Dem Primary. However, signs are clear; Hillary in all probability will win big time in Ohio, possibly decent enough in Texas and strong in Rohde Island.

Politics is never linear and never about simple arithmetic that Obama lead in delegate count. With looming victory in Ohio and possibly Texas; it is clear that Hillary as the come back kid story will be played to the hilt. Press will be obliged to play the tune. Even after out playing Hillary many times in resources, Obama could reduce her lead only so much nor could he defeat her.

With Hillary’s wins in popular votes in two big states, it will be apparent that Obama can not finish Hillary in political manner. Bill Clinton put his credibility on the line and looks like he will be honoring his stakes. Super delegates may want to parade along with Obama, but Obama has already pre-empted that route by saying these super delegates should align with their congressional district votes in the primary. So the narrative has become quite complicated and definitely negative for Obama.

The question is what do Obama wants to do from here? With NAFTA argument, it is clear that taking a short cut does not work. If Ohio was to be lost anyways, why did Obama did the ‘hara-kiri’ on NAFTA? Canadian embassy in Washington DC coming back to support Obama does not help much when the damage is already done. So taking ‘high road’ is the only way out for Obama.

Hillary never played as the ‘good girl’. Her core thesis is that you need to be a ‘bad girl / pushy girl’ in this world when all these men are out to deny you your legitimate rights. Of course she and Bill along with many Feminists are wrong in saying that Hillary has a claim on presidency because of her gender. First of all, the job of Presidency (as Ezra Klein rightly pointed out) is not ‘a run of the mill stand in the queue’ kind of the job. It is a unique leadership position where pure political competency and judgment should apply. Next, all said and done Hillary’s purported qualifications are all due to the fact that she married Bill Clinton (ask Maureen Dowd of NYT). She is no Margaret Thatcher or Angela Merkel (Peggy Noonan, where are you?) who earned her political spot without any spouse or family relations. The flip side of this argument is Obama no doubt has advantage of his race. But all rest of his achievements are at least on his own. So all in all Obama candidacy is much less on any coattails.

All this means, it is perfectly okay for Hillary to play the ‘smear card’ or ‘fear mongering’ a la Karl Rove style. Rather you expect from her. In any case that 3 am ad in itself was not very negative. But it was perfectly out of the play book of fear politics of Bush Era. And that is the deal – win or lose Obama must continue his fight to destroy or damage as much as possible this ‘fear politics’. He needs to be ‘straight and clean’ for every issue including NAFTA. Remember, it is he who is campaigning on for a swanky clean campaign. So there can not be any compromises for him regardless of what kind of politics the opponent plays.

American people and media must grant Obama the chance to compete in the remaining states. If Hillary gets chance after loosing streak of 11 contests, her possible 3 wins on this Tuesday should not deny Obama to complete the democratic process.

For better or worse, Dems have designed this primary system. Both Hillary and Obama have wins in Red states, Blue states, in caucuses and in primaries. So let us hear choices of all states and complete the process. If at all these super delegates want to play the role of party guardians and want to ensure good future for the party, they should do one of the two things:
- convince one of these two to concede the race or
- propone the remaining state elections so that the primary process completes early (including new primaries in Michigan and Florida).

Chances are if the process is complete, Obama could be still on the top. But that is stepping too much into the future. Let Hillary enjoy the Tuesday night and then let us get back to our regular scheduled programming – completing the Dem primary process.


Anonymous said...

What a stuipid post. Why don't you wait until the results. You are so fickle and naive.

Umesh Patil said...

Is the post still 'stupid' or 'naive' after today's result? I wish you were more open about your identity and ready to defend your views.

Obama campaign has well known issues in regards to 'expectation management'. Today is in that respect a set back to the Obama campaign.

Being an Obama supporter I wish I was wrong. But in politics, the first thing we have to do is start respecting 'votes'.