Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 29, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

McCAIN'S BASE PROBLEM....I'm not saying anything here that we don't already know, but the Florida exit polls confirm that John McCain has a big problem. As expected, he does well among independents and moderates, but also as expected, he does less well among Republicans and conservatives. Sure, they'll mostly come around in November, but mostly isn't enough. He needs 105% of the conservative base, not 95%. Remember that Karl Rove famously had to turn out four million extra conservative evangelicals just to eke out a bare win against John Kerry in 2004.

Does anyone seriously think that any Republican candidate can kick such major ass among independents in November that he can afford a conservative base that's not charged up and working feverishly to turn out every last vote? I don't.

Kevin Drum 10:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (68)

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Comments

I'd pray that you're correct, if I believed in God.

Posted by: Anon on January 29, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry. The conservative base will be charged up to run against Billary.

Posted by: bob on January 29, 2008 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

I don't want to talk about electability, but he does have a spare Hillary Clinton up his sleeve to help him get out the vote....

Just saying.

Vote Edwards.

Posted by: jerry on January 29, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

I see Bob got there first.

Posted by: jerry on January 29, 2008 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone seriously think that any Republican candidate can kick such major ass among independents in November that he can afford a conservative base that's not charged up and working feverishly to turn out every last vote?

Well, it depends. If the Dem candidate's name rhymes with "Shmarack Shmoshmama" (or, for that matter, "Shmon Shmedwards"), then no.

If it rhymes with "Shmillary Shminton," on the other hand...

Posted by: Daniel A. Munz on January 29, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if I had to scrape up X million voters outside my normal range of support, I think it would be far, far easier to go to the center and get them from moderate voters who have recoiled from recent Republican candidates than to try and dig even deeper into the tarry sludge at the very bottom of the fundie barrel. Bush didn't really have that option in '04, but McCain does.

So I guess I don't entirely agree with the premise. I think McCain could easily compensate for his lost base by appealing to people who probably would have voted Dem. if Romney (or especially Huckabee) were the Republican candidate.

Posted by: john on January 29, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think McCain will look that good in November. His age will show more and more. He's not that smart, having graduated 4th from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy.

This is a Democratic year. I don't think McCain is the candidate to overcome the Republican disadvantage.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 29, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Shmike Shmavel?

Posted by: jerry on January 29, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush could get "re-elected" after the train wreck that was his first term in office, anything can happen.

Posted by: edub on January 29, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

two words: veep huckabee.

i don't think too many people would go to the polls to vote for a vice president. but the evangelicals might.....

Posted by: snarky_boor on January 29, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but I really think McCain/ Huck / Media stomps Hillary.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on January 29, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand the analysis here, Kevin. If McCain becomes the Republican nominee, what choice does that base have except to join the independents and moderates and vote for him in the general? Why would they even dream about staying home on election day when doing so means they would cost the Republicans the White House?

Posted by: shawn on January 29, 2008 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

I have to wonder if it makes a difference when you consider the different states. If McCain were the nominee, but he wasn't the first choice of the hardcore, twenty-eight-percent-style crowd, is that going to hurt him the same in Minnesota and Ohio that it would in, say, South Carolina? In other words, can he still get to 270 with a smaller margin of victory in the more conservative states and any margin of victory in the swing states? It doesn't seem so ridiculous that we can dismiss it outright. And if that's the case, who cares if he only wins by ten points in North Carolina and Alabama if he can still eek out a victory in Iowa and Wisconsin?

Posted by: Brian on January 29, 2008 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

I am optimistically hopeful for a Democratic landslide in November. However, two things give me pause when considering the points you raise:

1. Conservatives have spent the last 15 years working themselves into a frenzy convincing themselves that Hillary Clinton is, if not the Antichrist, at least the Antichrist's best buddy. They will turn out in throngs to vote against her, no matter who that means they have to vote for.

2. Conservatives are very good at suppressing cognitive dissonance in their own brains. As soon as it becomes clear that McCain will get the nomination, it will be akin to Orwell's war with Eastasia: "We love John McCain. We have always loved John McCain."

Posted by: adgs on January 29, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

In a few weeks or a few months, about the only supporters McCain is going to have left will be complete KoolAid drinkers, and liberal Democrats. His HispanicOutreach director is a former official with the MexicanGovernment. I don't expect Kevin Drum or many liberal Dems to understand why that's a bad thing, but everyone else will.

And, someone's already asked him about it. When a better question is asked, it's going to get a lot more views. Then, on to Hillary and/or Obama.

Posted by: The annoying LonewackoDotCom on January 29, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

He could if Senator Clinton is the nominee.

Posted by: Will Allen on January 29, 2008 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

I find it strange that conservatives prefer Mitt "I was for it...whatever it is...before I was against it...and vice versa" Romney over an actual conservative. Well, whatever, I don't much care as long as their confusion helps elect a Democrat.

Posted by: rabbit on January 29, 2008 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

ex-draft dodger: He's not that smart, having graduated 4th from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy.

and yet he bravely served his country instead of getting deferments for 10 years like you did. if you were capable of shame, you'd be prostrate with it for even having made that remark.

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 29, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you aren't going to try peddling that "a choice, not an echo" crap AGAIN? Every time a party has actually bought it, the result has been disastrous for them. And right now McCain is running even with all the Dems, while all other Republicans are trailing them by landslide margins -- with Romney doing worst of all.

I think McCain is eminently beatable IF the Dems keep their wits around them, and particularly if they keep the campaign focused on his utterly dotty thoughtless super-hawkishness (consider what they could do just with TV clips of him singing "Bomb, Bomb Iran", let alone some of his other comparable comments). But that does nothing to clash with the idea that he will be a very seriously formidable GOP candidate if the Dems DON'T keep their wits about them -- and, frankly, their record of wit-keeping in recent campaigns is not very impressive.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on January 29, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is precisely correct in his evaluation of 105 vs 95 percent.

John McCombover will make it a race....but he's at a disadvantage, even to Hillary.

Posted by: Jack Boot on January 29, 2008 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

This is going to be a make or break week for Romney. I'll bet he will go aggressively against McCain trying to point out that he is a Dem lover who considered switching his party after the humiliation (Rovian push polling) in South Carolina.

Posted by: rational on January 29, 2008 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you wrote, "John McCain has a big problem. "
Don't worry, the Democrats will find a way to deliver.

Posted by: RS on January 29, 2008 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

So... Wait, the numbers in the second chart make no sense o-o

Most Huckabee supporters don't think they're on that scale?

McCain supporters think they're more than one?

O-o

Posted by: Crissa on January 29, 2008 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-draft dodger: He's not that smart, having graduated 4th from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy.

and yet he bravely served his country instead of getting deferments for 10 years like you did. if you were capable of shame, you'd be prostrate with it for even having made that remark."

Yep.

Poor ex-lib, breaking out the undergrad transcripts. He was smart enough for squadron command, and smart enough to recognize Rumsfeld for who and what he was back while you still had the OSD kneepads on.

He was brave enough to fly off of carriers into harms way while the douchebag set of my party (this would be you, ex-lib) got fat and happy as emerging dittoheads.

And he's decent enough to, however imperfect he may be, to call the party back to, well, decency.

It must hurt to see the collection of jackasses that have taken over my party trembling at someone who really cares about national security and servicemen\women, rather than being interested in the soundbites and expansion of executive power. Or who actually works with both parties. It probably really sticks in your craw. I hope you fucking choke on it.

Posted by: hotrod on January 29, 2008 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone seriously think that any Republican candidate can kick such major ass among independents in November that he can afford a conservative base that's not charged up and working feverishly to turn out every last vote?

Yes. I am an independent, and I would definately vote for him over Obama and consider voting for him over Hillary.

Posted by: Rory on January 29, 2008 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I think he has a pretty good chance. I know moderate Democrats who like him and would vote for him who are not crazy about Hillary.

Plus the black vote will not be strong for HRC this time, not after what's happened recently. The % for Clinton among blacks will be high but the turnout will be depressed.

Plus there are lots of progressives who may (and I mean may) vote for Hillary, but won't work to organize and turn out the vote. They may figure that McCain is a whole lot better than Bush and, besides, a Clinton loss cues it up quite well for Obama in 2012.

Posted by: Sal on January 29, 2008 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

McFilin will have to court the wingnuts with a passion, and this will undoubtedly turn some independents off big time. For some reason, I don't think McFilin is very good at twister...

Posted by: elmo on January 29, 2008 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect even with the usual borg like assimilation tendencies to line up behind the crowned nominee no matter who it is there is going to be problems for McCain with getting enough of the conservative vote along with independents to offset the energy on the Dem side, partly because of his own issues with conservatives but also I suspect with many normally conservative voters planning on punishing the party for "abandoning the way" over the past 15 years and bringing such disrepute to the brand no matter who each side puts up. Not that they will admit to it publicly of course but then such internal rejections among the more hardcore voter elements of a political party rarely do, at least ones as top down as the GOP has been. I also suspect that even with the aid in getting conservatives out to vote the Clinton factor is being overstated to the degree it would need to overcome the clear excitement of a charged Dem electorate, just look at Florida's participation numbers for a delegateless primary. So long as Clinton can hold her own on the substantive policy areas especially on the economy and at least par him on national security hardness required (which I think she can manage) to be CinC I suspect McCain can't beat her even with the character issues being tossed around at new levels.

Indeed, given the punitive impacts going negative has been evoking in not just Dems but Independents the GOP machine may be less effective this year (although that is *NOT* an assumption I will use, I'd rather in the end be guilty of overestimating it this year than underestimating it, every time I thought there were limits to its power it has surprised me quite unpleasantly) against any Dem candidate and further energize the Dem vote in protest. There is clearly an active anger in the electorate towards the status quo, Obama's electoral success to date is clearly rooted in that as much as his own skills for the job from the moderates and more centrist Dems and the clear anger at the GOP and wanting to aggressively reverse the damage done by them is represented in/by the core Democratic voters in Hillary's and in Edward's camps. It is that in part why I think Clinton can (note I say can, not will or even probably but I do see it as a reasonable potential/possibility) not only win but more decisively that since Reagan in this year's environment. To be honest with everyone without the complete disaster the GOP created I don't think the antipathy the GOP inculcated could be sufficiently overcome regarding the Clintons and especially HRC among conservatives particularly.

So McCain thinking going against Clinton he could get a lot of help from that anti-Clinton hatred developed especially within conservative ranks where his own support is less than solid as KD is saying may end up causing him false confidence and to his party as well. I really think the Dems would have to put someone up who lacks sufficient experience to at least come close to balancing McCain to have a shot at losing, which is one of the reasons Obama worries me since the only thing he has that counters that is his message and how well it has translated so far for him. Everything else is that of a promising up and comer more than someone reaching the pinnacle of political power in the American political system. While I know it has been mocked (and to be fair the way some Clinton commentators have used it I can't blame the Obama side for doing so) the knock against Obama that he is trying to 'jump the line' is not without some reasonable basis in fact and to not acknowledge that seems foolish to me. There are times when having someone jump the line will be a good thing and what is needed so saying it is a bad thing always or even as a general rule is too extreme a position for my tastes, and Obama may be one of those. Only after the fact can we ever be sure that someone is such a person, too often the difference between the image of expectations by supporters/observers and the reality of the voters final say is too opaque to see through in such political campaigns.

McCain is vulnerable to attack, but then so are all of the candidates in terms of wedging between the factions that make up the GOP. It is far less a cohesive machine this year than it has been in decades I believe in terms of the voters themselves even if the leaders and organizations pull themselves together and I think this is the year for the Dems to actual snatch victory from the jaws of victory to twist a favourite knock used against the Dems.

Posted by: Scotian on January 29, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is whistling past the graveyard. Here there is a republican who appeals to moderates and liberals, and he thinks that is a problem for the republicans? Give me a break.

But I do agree that McCain does not seem all that smart and he is awfully old. Either one could turn out to be a problem. But he will be a strong candidate. He has something no one else will have - respect and admiration pretty much across the board.

Posted by: brian on January 29, 2008 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

okay, okay, it's already been said so i'll cut it down to a couple of planks:

1. many conservatives will turn out just to vote against whoever the Dem nominee is, the same way liberals keep turning out to vote against Republicans no matter what kind of centrist crapload we get from the party. This gets you the 95%.

2. if Hillary is the nominee, then that likely gets you the other 10%, especially if Huck makes veep. I know kevin, that you don't buy that she has this effect. all i can say is that you should spend more time around Midwestern conservative, you know, expand your horizons.

3. Hillary also I think doesn't catalyze our base, and doesn't particulalry draw in new Dem voters. this means they might not need that extra 10% anyway. don't forget that part of why Rove needed 105% of the evangelicals was because the Dem base was catalyzed by the urgency of trying to prevent another Bush term. Mcain likely doesn't scare enough of our folks to come out like that. Some of the like Mccain.

Posted by: URK on January 29, 2008 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

I think making predictions of whether the 95% of the base will be out on election day versus 105% is very, very premature.

In 2004, I thought a Democratic win was virtually a slam dunk. Now I think nothing in politics is a slam dunk.

Posted by: Quinn on January 29, 2008 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

But dude, if Hillary is nominated, there are a lot of liberals (including me) who won't vote for her either. We will basically have two candidate who a lot of people just can't stand.

Yay, America. Land of the pathetic.

Posted by: DemWontVoteForBillary on January 30, 2008 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

...and I think this is the year for the Dems to actual snatch victory from the jaws of victory to twist a favourite knock used against the Dems.

Oh. That was good!

Posted by: elmo on January 30, 2008 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry to join the pile-on, but it needs to be said: Hillary can take care of turning out the mouth-breathers all on her own.

Against McCain she's also the worst choice because she can't exploit his biggest weakness: that he's the country's biggest Iraq War cheerleader. She can't because she voted for it herself and refuses to admit it was wrong to do so. She managed to give away her true feelings yet again when she stood and cheered when Bush brought up the "success" of his "surge" last night.

Obama, on the other hand, has the advantage of having gotten it right and having framed the issue perfectly when he did: "I'm not against all wars, just stupid ones." So Obama wins on judgement as well as plans for the future: McCain wants us in Iraq for 100 years; Obama wants us out in 1. Gee, I wonder which position the voting public will favor....

Posted by: Jim in Chicago on January 30, 2008 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Note that 40=% of the people for McCain considerthemsleves liberal and 40 % consider themselves to be moderate. This is exactly whhy mcCain can kick Hillary's butt inn thhe general. Since 48% of thhe voters wonn't vote for her, shhe has to get every independent vote she can and she only has a small pool of voters who are persuadable to her side. mcCain will get his base because they ahhte her, not because they like him, plus he can get independents who self idenntify as moderate or liberal.

This is whhy we need to be talking electabilty NOW before Super Tuesday. Otherwise we're going to be in for some seriouus buyer's remorse when we get to the general witha candidate that probably won't win.

Posted by: wonie on January 30, 2008 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Obama was right about the war with the aid of hindsight, but it must be recalled that at the time it was 100% certain that Saddam was addicted to WMD, as far as most of us knew.

Seems like lady luck follows him. He lucked out in the Illinois senate primary when stronger opponents self-destructed, and in the senate race when Jeri Ryan dropped a dime on her sex club ex., but now Tony Rezko is reaching out from jail to grab him by the sleeve, and Ted Kennedy gave him the kiss of death from the ghoulish remains of Camelot.

Posted by: Luther on January 30, 2008 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

shhe has to get every independent vote she can and she only has a small pool of voters who are persuadable to her side. mcCain will get his base because they ahhte her, not because they like him, plus he can get independents who self idenntify as moderate or liberal.

weenie, McFilin will have to run so far from the liberal label that no self respecting "moderate" liberal will vote for him.

Posted by: elmo on January 30, 2008 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

McCain has a problem with the base unless he's up against Hillary at which point they will have no choice but to get behind him. They may not be crazy about McCain, but they hate Hillary a whole lot more. You take that along with how well McCain does with independents and some Democrats and he wins the White House easily.

Posted by: Sally on January 30, 2008 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

...but they hate Hillary a whole lot more.

I hope you fools take that bait. I doubt it will be that easy, but it'd be cool...

Posted by: elmo on January 30, 2008 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

is this a joke? McCain has a much better image among Latinos generally in this country than just about every other guy in his party. The Clintons have already shot themselves in the foot with blacks after South Carolina. These are two major ethnic groups Democrats can't win without, and under Hillary we'd have to spend major time getting them back while staying on the offensive against McCain.

Oh, but we'll have women because they'll all come out in droves to continue the Clinton dynasty? McCain/Hutchinson takes care of that. Or McCain/Rice. McCain would have to run the dumbest campaign in the history of humanity to lose this thing against HRC. The lesson of 2008 could well be that the Republicans got their shit together at the last minute and we did not.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 30, 2008 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

I hope you don't think you're slick by playing the race card, sweaty guy(take a shower asshole).

Because you look like an ass..

Posted by: elmo on January 30, 2008 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

My post doesn't play the race-card, it considers basic demographics. If you have a problem with what I've laid out, address it. How does the Democratic candidate win without a strong showing by latinos and blacks?

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 30, 2008 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary Clinton = Conservative Based set AFIRE and Democratic based doused in cold water.

Perhaps you should send Inkblot and Domino out to meow at doors for Obama. That might be useful.

Posted by: MNPundit on January 30, 2008 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

My post doesn't play the race-card, it considers basic demographics...

Shorter sweet guy..."I'm not a racist because I brought up race!"

Please keep saying blacks, demographics, women, and all kinds of shit like that...please?

Posted by: elmo on January 30, 2008 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Please keep saying blacks, demographics, women, and all kinds of shit like that...please?


Okay.... elmo is posting at two in the morning because he's a nice jewish boy who lives with his mother and can't get a girlfriend.

How's that? Do you have some kind of disability I can throw in there too?

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 30, 2008 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, McCain has some base problems. But after tonight he's not going to be on the stage against Republicans. Yes, there is a debate or two left, but Romney can't compete against McCain/Giuliani. Look at the polling numbers in the big states already and the dough he'd have to pull out of that wallet to get votes in California, New York and New Jersey.

Posted by: Brainster on January 30, 2008 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Okay.... elmo is posting at two in the morning because he's a nice jewish boy who lives with his mother and can't get a girlfriend.

Think again, sweet guy. elmo is a grunt all too used to sleep deprivation...

And I'm a Catholic, by the way.

Posted by: elmo on January 30, 2008 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

adgs:

They will turn out in throngs to vote against her, no matter who that means they have to vote for.

Remember ABB - Anyone But Bush? Remember Impeach the Chimp? Remember the predicted motivated, united, Democrats turning out en masse to vote out Bush? How well did that turn out? You guys overestimate the anti-Hillary vote.

Posted by: Andy on January 30, 2008 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter PA commenters:
Hillary sucks

Posted by: anyone on January 30, 2008 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you can RELY on Hillary Clinton to charge up the GOP base. They will come out in droves, motivated by insane Clinton hatred, to vote against that woman.

Posted by: Fran on January 30, 2008 at 6:33 AM | PERMALINK

Andy - Kerry nearly won. If he had McCain's personal popularity and support from Independents to go along with the vigorous anti-Bush turnout in 2004 he'd be president right now.

Posted by: Fran on January 30, 2008 at 6:40 AM | PERMALINK

Good for McCain. I hope the Democrats look hard at these numbers.

They are forever acting as if the "Talk Radio" Republicans need to be feared, and their talking points addressed.

The TR Republicans are a whacked out fringe of their own party. They can't even get their boy nominated. About 20 million Americans listen to these blowhards, and probably about 17 million of them vote with them. There were 85 million American's voting every year.

Posted by: jvoe on January 30, 2008 at 6:42 AM | PERMALINK

i agree with adam that the talk radio boys are overestimated by their friends and enemies.

BUT, ALOT of independents dislike Hillary Clinton and like McCain. A swing vote to your enemy is worse than your enemies base "staying home".

Posted by: jvoe on January 30, 2008 at 6:47 AM | PERMALINK

The Repub base will be charged up in either case. Running against Billary would be ideal, but even Obama can be expected to drop a few power-turds that will enfuriate them - wait till he gets to point out the kind of judges he will appoint, or the Repubs go back to his answer on driver's licences for illegals; he was for them, Hillary waffled and drew the media attention.

Posted by: bukarin on January 30, 2008 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Two words: Veep Petraeus.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on January 30, 2008 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Well, if I had to scrape up X million voters outside my normal range of support, I think it would be far, far easier to go to the center and get them from moderate voters who have recoiled from recent Republican candidates than to try and dig even deeper into the tarry sludge at the very bottom of the fundie barrel. Bush didn't really have that option in '04, but McCain does. - john

That's exactly what I think McCain will *attempt* to do. The Jesus! slides on his campaign PowerPoint will be purposefully brief and few in number. The "success" of the Surge™ will be highlighted and prominent with him assuring everybody that he can maintain a hard won "stability" there. But two things are going to hurt him-his age/health and his propensity to come across like a kooky hothead that can't be trusted with the nuclear button. I think putting Huckabee on as VP would be a mistake because of McCain's age-people will worry about Huck assuming the presidency in the near future. McCain will self-destruct by projecting the image of a warmongering kook (something that his campaign managers probably will try to avoid), which is what ironically will turn away the moderates and centrists that he needs to win.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 30, 2008 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

But Kevin, McCain does only slightly worse than Romney among Republicans [2% worse]. He does 10% worse than Romney among conservatives. What we need here are cross-tabs of vote for McCain and Romney among Conservative Republicans, surely.

Posted by: derek on January 30, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Well, the Republicans haven't had anyone the true believers could rally around, not anyone who's viable, anyway. Brownback, Hunter, and Thompson were DOA. Huckabee isn't going anywhere.

I imagine this is because of the trouble the GOP establishment has been having with its base since before the 2006 elections. Romney was supposed to be the machine guy, but apparently scared the pearl-clutchers who write the GOP's checks when he started appealing to Huckabee's people. Where did I hear this? Why, from Buchanan and Scarborough, only last night!

It's looking like 1996 all over again for the GOP. They're going to wind up with an aging irrelevance as their standard-bearer, someone no one can get excited about.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on January 30, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Them's smart observations Mr. Drum.

Posted by: Linus on January 30, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Jim in Chicago : "Against McCain she's also the worst choice because she can't exploit his biggest weakness: that he's the country's biggest Iraq War cheerleader. "

Bruce Moomaw: ..what [the Dems] could do just with TV clips of [McCain] singing "Bomb, Bomb Iran", let alone some of his other comparable comments)."

I agree that his "Bomb, Bomb Iran" stance is McCain's biggest liability. But if it is Clinton v McCain in November, we'll have two candidates who are Iraq war hawks. McCain has been clear...scary actually... about his eagerness to go after Iran. But he has been equally clear about stopping torture. OTOH, Clinton has equivocated on torture, and she will be under obligation to prove that the First Woman President is the toughest dude in the WH. One of Bushco's timebombs is that, by invading Iraq, he strengthened Iran. So the next President is going to have to deal with Iran's regional hegemony one way or another. I don't have high hopes for HRC on this dimension. It may be a terrible trade-off between how they are willing to wage the war, not whether they are willing to use the military.

If it is McCain v Obama, we'll have a clear debate between pro-Iraq war and an anti-Iraq war candidates. But they would split the Independents between them.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 30, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

I can't believe how people can blithely dismiss the problem McCain poses for any Democrat, let alone Hillary.

The big problem for Republicans in 2006 wasn't their base. Remember Rove had "the numbers", well his numbers were the turn-out numbers for his base. And they were right on. What he didn't count on is independents turning en-mass to the Democrats and throwing the election. He assumed they would break roughly even.

Well, this election will turn on who can win the independent vote. No Democrat can win unless they win about 60% of the independent vote and McCain makes that almost impossible.

Romney-Hillary is a straight party split with independents breaking to Hillary. But, McCain could actually win the majority of the independent vote, which means he wins by a much bigger margin than Bush '04.

Posted by: Cugel on January 30, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone seriously think that any Republican candidate can kick such major ass among independents in November that he can afford a conservative base that's not charged up and working feverishly to turn out every last vote?

Sure. If we're stuck with Hillary as the nominee.

Posted by: filmex on January 30, 2008 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

What he didn't count on is independents turning en-mass to the Democrats and throwing the election. He assumed they would break roughly even.

Considering that independents had been tracking with Democrats on the issues for almost two years, this is just another example of why Karl Rove is a fucking moron whose only skill was scaring the shit out of the trailer park.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on January 30, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

What I fear is that McCain could possably be elected as a moderate then spend 4 years proving his reactionary credentials.
Remember when this idiot was elected he was considered to be a "moderate" with his lies about compassion. Then after the theft of the election he we were told he would "have" to govern towards the middle because of his questionable right to the office and while all to many, espiacially in Congress, drank the Kool aid and gave him everything in Cabinet appointments etc he slammed this country into reverse and headed us back towards the 18th century.
McCain is just as bad if not worst then the present group traitors and people should cease and desist on the bad mouthing of any dem with the knowledge that it will be recycled in the general election.
I have no favorites left but I have some who I fear would not deliver but either way any D over any r this time.
We must run scared and as the underdog because when the noise machine cranks up and denigrates whomever gets the D' nomination they will play upon the fear, dislikes and slams that we have used upon each other if only to make a segment decide it doesn't matter and stay home while the fundies and Dieboldt guarentee that we do head back into the dark ages.

Posted by: Ken on January 30, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone has to check out the article “White Voters with a Side of Hispanics” on the blogzine Savage Politics. This is an awesome discussion and analysis on the current Democrat and GOP candidates and their eligibility.

www.savagepolitics.com
Here is an excerpt: “Tuesday night’s Florida Primary was a very important episode in the drama in which both the Republican and Democrat Parties are unfolding towards the Presidency of the United States. It also dramatically demonstrated the incredible bias that the Media continues to display towards the Democratic hopeful Barack Obama, in spite of all the evidence pointing to his lack of viability. From MSNBC’s Chris Mathews, who openly stated the day before that any Network that decided to report on the Democratic voting results in Florida was proving a “gross” favoritism for Hillary (ironically enough his Network ended up having to cover it nevertheless), to CNN’s pundits, who continuously utilized the exact same rhetoric that the Obama Campaign was spewing to excuse their defeat (”Beauty Pageant” was their favorite phrase, with all the sexist connotations it implies). All the same, the Florida results in the Democratic side were overwhelmingly favorable to Hillary Clinton, who won a 50% margin, to Obama’s 33%, Edwards’ 14%, and Gravel’s 1%. On the Republican side, it was John McCain who came out victorious with a 36% margin, to Romney’s 31%, Giuliani’s 15%, Huckabee’s 14%, and Paul’s 3%. Let’s discuss each Party’s results and their realistic consequence.
First, we have the very significant victory of John McCain. His candidacy was, from the very start, labeled as a failure due to his unpopularity amongst most “base” Republicans, much of it owed to McCain’s overwhelmingly dubious record on Conservative issues. His notorious tendency to side with multiple (highly despised) Democrats on issues like Immigration, Bush’s Tax Cuts and other measures, have always been enough to marginalize him from even the “moderate wing” within his Party. Still, when the Florida Exit Polls are analyzed, they reflect many unexpected re-alignments in his favor. Evangelical/Born Again Christians voted for John McCain in a 30% margin, in comparison to both Romney’s and Huckabee’s 29%. This may seem like an insignificant difference, but when you also consider that the majority of non-Evangelicals (Catholics, Atheist, etc.) also…” Find the rest of the article at http://savagepolitics.com/?p=64

Posted by: Elsy on January 30, 2008 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody think McCain would have a chance if Bill could run again?

You're gonna see McCain saying we should stay in Iraq for 10,000 years about 10,000 times. How the hell is that a winning message?

Posted by: El on January 31, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: objerleve on February 18, 2008 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: objerleve on February 18, 2008 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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