All along I’ve said that Hillary Clinton will have a much better shot in the general election than Barack Obama, and I’m surprised by the number of people who claim to disagree with me. I’ve read some opinions that indicate people think race is easier to overcome as an “issue” than gender, but I don’t think Obama’s problem is that he’s biracial (or even that he has an Arabic middle name). For instance, if Colin Powell were running for president I’d say he might have a shot. It’s Obama’s politics that are going to be difficult to sell to the general public when the competition expands beyond average Democrats and extreme-left-leaning Democrats.
I asked two registered Republicans who they think will be the easiest candidate for McCain to beat, and they both said Obama. I know that doesn’t constitute a study (though it often suffices for the sake of Internet squabbles), but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Still, my reasons for thinking Clinton has a better chance against McCain aren’t anecdotal in nature. Obama doesn’t have any ammunition with which to spin his progressive ideas into something that will look more similar to McCain’s. Politics is a game of appealing to the masses – and Clinton is going to be much better positioned to pull that off in the end.
Clinton was a big part of her husband’s administration. A variety of women might have had Bill’s you-know-what, but by all White House accounts Hillary had his ear when it came to policy issues. And Bill Clinton played a large role in two very conservative pieces of legislation: NAFTA and Welfare-to-Work or, as I like to call it, “The War on the Children of Impoverished Single Women.” When competing against McCain, the Clinton campaign will play up her role in this process in an attempt to appeal to more moderate and conservative Democrat and independent voters. They are only playing it down right now while she’s trying to appear “leftier than thou” against Obama.
Another advantage she’ll have over Obama in the general election is that she voted to go to war initially. Remember, for all the Americans who are wondering when we’re ever going to discover an exit strategy now, the majority were highly in favor of the war in the wake of 9/11. Not that I think that was a good choice on her part, but she is in a much better position to portray herself as mainstream, practical, and experienced than Obama is.
I know it’s disappointing to Obama supporters and to people who have bumper stickers that say both “U.S. Out of Iraq” and “Free Tibet” (and lack the ability to see the irony therein), but the fact is the majority of Americans are not in favor of socialist policies modeled after those in Canada and Europe. There’s a reason the majority of labor unions have endorsed Clinton. Even those liberal voters who feel that if the CEO of their company can make $85 billion this year, surely the company should be able to afford to pay its workers a fair wage with good benefits, are generally opposed to collectivism. When Clinton stops trying to act like she’s a hundred miles left of the far left to compete with Obama, she’ll go back to being about a foot left of center right along with the majority of the rest of the Democrats, a number of independents, and even a few good Republicans.
And here’s where all my left-leaning idealistic friends (i.e. those who are nicer than me) say, “See! That’s why we hate her! She just says anything to win!”
I’m sorry to say this to those who don’t get it, but she’s a politician – that’s her job. And I know this news will make some weep, but Obama just says anything he’s told to say in hopes of winning, too. As does McCain. Sadly, in political elections we have no choice but to vote for a politician – unless you want to write in Frank Zappa. You may not like Clinton’s politics, but don’t tell me she isn’t good at her job.
Clinton is a smart cookie; she’s been in the business of politics a long time and if she wins the nomination she’ll give McCain a run for his money that Obama just won’t be able to do. Remember, once Obama’s out, Clinton will get most of his supporters. (Maybe even Oprah!) She’ll get the yellow dog Democrats. About ninety percent of black voters tend to vote for the Democratic candidate whether it’s a white man, a black man, a man who isn’t black enough or what have you – they’ll probably vote for a woman, too.
Furthermore, I don’t think there’s a danger that the most progressive segment of the Democratic party, which has been supporting Obama, is going to decide that if they can’t have him they’ll go ahead and take McCain instead. On the other hand, if Obama wins the nomination, there’s a good chance a significant portion of the moderate Democrats (and independents), who are supporting Clinton would vote for McCain. McCain is pretty moderate himself, as far as Republicans go – you might recall he’s not conservative enough to please James Dobson.
In the end, McCain might take it regardless, but if we nominate Obama we might as well just give it away. Clinton will make the Republicans work for the win at least. I wouldn’t mind President Obama, but he’s definitely not our best chance to take the White House.Powered by Sidelines