Sunday, March 16, 2008

Will Obama Collapse in Pennsylvania?

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This is a Pennsylvania version of the column I posted today on my main blog: I believe Obama is going to perform very badly in Pennsylvania, losing the state by a substantial amount. I'd guess that Hillary Clinton will get more than 60% of the Democratic vote in the Keystone State, bringing her a lot closer to Obama in the "delegate count." In that primary, I have "endorsed" Hillary Clinton, although I believe she would make a lousy President, whereas John McCain, an American hero, could be a great one.

"The [U.S.] government lied about INVENTING the HIV virus . . . " (Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, pastor of Obama's Trinity Church)

Is Barack Obama, a serious candidate for President of the U.S., a closet believer in radical Black separatism? I fear the answer to that question just may be "yes." I have recommended recently that Obama, because of his close ties to Pastor Wright, should suspend his campaign.

Pastor Wright is scum, a man driven by deep hatred for white people. In one recent sermon, he said the following about the Clintons: "Bill [Clinton] did us [Black people] just like he did Monica Lewinsky. He was ridin' [us] dirty . . . ."

Apparently on a preacherly roll, Wright then added the following: "God damn America." A Christian minister, Black, White, or otherwise, doesn't say such things. And a congregation that hears such verbal slime doesn't whoop and holler in approval, as the attendees (was one of them Obama?) did at Trinity Church.

That group of Yahoos is the one Obama describes as his "faith community." Obama has called some of Wright's statements -- somehow, he doesn't specify which ones -- "unacceptable." He seems to feel such tepid comments on his part will distance him sufficiently from the man he now calls his "former preacher." (Wright retired last month as Trinity's pastor, although he retains the title "emeritus.")

In fact, Wright was his pastor for 20 years. He's the man Obama called his "spiritual advisor" and his "sounding board," and his metaphorical "uncle." Famously, he provided the title ("The Audacity of Hope") for the book that made Obama a multi-millionaire.

If John McCain's long-time preacher -- or Hillary Clinton's -- had made such hateful statements over many years, they would no longer be serious candidates for the presidency. Wright's remarks are racist and separatist, and for Obama to pretend he was unaware of his pastor's views is totally disingenuous.

If you look closely at Obama's speaking style, you can see he's learned a great deal from Jeremiah Wright. Like the pastor, the Illinois Senator can work a crowd into an emotional lather. Where Wright denounces white people, Obama does the same with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the man he calls his "cousin." The notion of Wright's being a man's "uncle" and Cheney his "cousin" is a scary thought.

Michelle Obama has talked about being ashamed of her country -- until, of course, her husband started winning primaries and caucuses (often in states that are mostly populated by white people) -- and one wonders how her husband feels about America.

Of course, we know how Wright feels -- he despises his native land. To what degree does Obama agree with him? Is he really just another cynical politician looking out for "number 1?" Is he someone, totally unlike this pastor and mentor, who seeks to bring us together? Or he merely an egomaniac committed mainly to advancing himself through carefully crafted rhetoric?

Can Obama really drop out of the presidential race? "Yes, he can!" And yes, he should.

In Pennsylvania, Obama may end up losing the white vote by percentages approximating the situation in Mississippi, where he got skunked with Caucasians going to Mrs. Clinton by 73% to 27%. Ohio is a lot like Pennsylvania, and Obama did very poorly with whites there.

If you'd like to read an outstanding piece on the problems facing the Democratic Party, please click on the following: The essay is by David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He identifies five issues that are dogging the Democrats: female voters, Black voters, young voters, Michigan, and Florida. Shribman's point is that all five groups might end up very dissatisfied with the Democrats. He's right.

The following is a remarkable piece on John McCain's Campaign Strategy. It's long, but it's very much worth reading.

Maverick wants to paint blue states red

By: Jonathan Martin March 14, 2008 09:24 AM EST

EXETER, N.H. — Every candidate tells his audience that its votes are crucial to his success, and John McCain was no different here Wednesday. “I intend to be back and back and back, because I love it here,” McCain said at the end of a town hall meeting held to thank the state that launched and then relaunched his presidential hopes. “But also, a little straight talk, because I need to win New Hampshire to win the presidency.”

That may be stretching it some, since the state's four electoral votes are not critical to his chances, but McCain’s camp is serious about playing to win here. And it’s not just the Granite State — which John F. Kerry won in 2004 and which turned out its two Republican congressmen in 2006 — that the campaign thinks the Arizona senator can seize. Conversations with McCain backers and other Republican operatives, most of whom insisted on anonymity, reflect a party intent on altering the red state/blue state paradigm.

“2004 was defined by 2000,” a senior McCain aide said, assessing the mostly static state-by-state strategy pursued by President Bush’s two campaigns. “We’re just in a very different situation, and that has given us the freedom to look at the map a lot more broadly.”

Though still very early in the planning stages, McCain aides have begun eyeing between 20 and 25 states that could be competitive, a list that includes some places that are anything but rock-ribbed conservative. Next month, they’ll make this case symbolically by sending the candidate on a different-kind-of-Republican tour into places where party members typically don’t tread. By virtue of his maverick brand, nontraditional stances on key issues and his Western roots, McCain may be able to compete in states that were far out of reach for Bush and that have otherwise been trending away from Republicans.

This potential, say McCain strategists and other Republicans, could amount to the GOP’s ace in the hole in an otherwise dismal political climate. “It puts a whole new set of states in play for us,” Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) said of McCain’s candidacy. Davis, a former NRCC chairman with an almost unmatched command of political demography, said McCain’s chief strength is that his appeal among independents, the fastest-growing affiliation in many states, can compensate for the decline in self-identified Republicans.

“Where we have been losing ground is among independents, and in every survey I’ve seen, he’s very competitive with independents,” Davis said.

McCain’s character-based appeal and his “straight talk” image has enabled him to win over primary voters who disagree with him on key issues such as the war in Iraq. It’s this identification, in which persona trumps policy, that McCain can use to reach out to those who were turned off by Bush, backers say. “He moves politics from the culture wars that have dominated for the past decade to a different matrix,” said Davis. Even though McCain holds mostly traditional views, “he’s not viewed as a cultural conservative.”

“Every time these guys are out screaming helps bring [independents] in,” Davis argued, alluding to McCain’s critics on the right. For that reason, say McCain aides and unaffiliated strategists alike, the nominee could compete in states that have a history of rewarding mavericks and that count significant numbers of independent voters on their rolls.

Such a list starts here, in famously flinty New Hampshire, one of only three states to switch allegiance in presidential voting between 2000 and 2004. But it could also include Maine, which has elected an independent governor and which gave Ross Perot his highest vote share in 1992. Connecticut would be tougher but has also elected two third-party candidates to statewide office (Lowell Weicker and Joseph I. Lieberman).

The upper Midwest is another region that, while trending Democratic, has the sort of free-thinking voter that McCain could appeal to. Wisconsin, in particular, is viewed with high hopes by Republicans. On the West Coast, Washington and Oregon fall into this category, with the latter seen as more promising because it lacks a dominant liberal population center like metro Seattle and includes a sizable rural population.

Beyond McCain’s independent image, of course, there are votes that will help him with blue state voters — the same votes that underscore why he’s caused his own party heartburn.

Mitt Romney rattled off “McCain-Kennedy,” “McCain-Lieberman” and “McCain-Feingold” like they were four-letter words toward the end of the GOP primary, but it’s precisely immigration, the environment and campaign finance reform that the Arizona senator’s camp hopes will attract targeted unaligned and Democratic voters. The first of these could help McCain play political defense in competitive, formerly red states more than anything else.

In fast-growing states like Colorado and Nevada, he could potentially offset unfavorable demographic trends with an appeal to Hispanic voters that a more orthodox Republican candidate with a hard-line immigration approach couldn’t make. For the same reason, New Mexico, which Bush carried by a small margin after losing it by an even smaller margin in 2000, could also favor McCain.

While McCain’s comprehensive approach to immigration reform could play well with Hispanics at all income levels, his passion for addressing climate change and zeal for political reform could appeal to the sort of affluent, well-educated voters who have largely abandoned the GOP in the Bush years. Such progressive views would likely play best in the same states that have shown a penchant for independence — select parts of the Northeast, upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

McCain’s background as a veteran Western politician might also prove to be an asset. Aides think his ability to talk fluently on regional issues such as water rights and public land use could help in a part of the country that views Easterners — politicians and otherwise — with suspicion. This could help him in large swaths of Washington and Oregon, as well as in the “defensive” red states in the mountain West and Southwest.

And then there is California. “I intend to contest all over America, including the state of California,” McCain told reporters when asked after his town hall meeting about his desire to move beyond the red-blue paradigm. The Golden State hadn’t even been mentioned in the question, but McCain wants it known that he’ll compete there. Still, no Republicans contacted for this story gave him much of a chance to win the electoral behemoth. McCain’s campaign was somewhat more diplomatic. “A strong grass-roots campaign there is realistic,” a campaign aide said, noting the high cost of airing ads in California.

The McCain campaign's optimism about being able to expand the map reflects the freedom the moment allows. It’s easy to say now, just having captured the nomination, that they’ll compete aggressively and expansively, but tough decisions about where to allocate resources will eventually have to be made. “Every campaign has to make a judgment about where they can win and where they can’t win,” said Terry Nelson, McCain’s former campaign manager and a top aide in Bush’s reelection. “Resources are limited.”

McCain is in a position similar to that of a hopeful baseball team in spring training: There is great potential on paper, but the long season has yet to begin. And McCain must shoulder a burden that baseball teams don't have to worry about: the record from the previous season.

“Democrats are going to try to paint him as Bush III, and that’s a problem for him,” Davis said of McCain.Aside from contending with the Bush legacy, there are problems both internal (many conservatives are dissatisfied with McCain) and external (Republicans are held in low esteem by the broad public). “Our morale is terrible,” said Davis, a lame duck whose moderate, suburban-Washington seat could easily flip to the Democrats. “And the primary turnout says everything. If we were a brand name, you wouldn’t let it on the shelf.”

Further, McCain isn’t the only White House hopeful who expects to tear up the old map. Barack Obama’s campaign pitch to Democrats is in part rooted in his appeal to independent voters and so-called “Obamacans,” the Republican-oriented voters he has picked up in many competitive states. Obama’s camp is touting primary and caucus victories in Colorado, Iowa, Missouri and Virginia — all of which are trending Democratic — as a sign that they’ll play on once-red turf.

As for Hillary Rodham Clinton, her success among female and downscale voters, particularly in industrial states such as Ohio, leads her backers to believe she could prevent any McCain gains in Democratic strongholds and the traditional battlegrounds.

McCain aides and GOP consultants not aligned with his campaign believe both Democrats have glaring vulnerabilities — as laid bare by their lengthy primary process — that will work to McCain's advantage. Clinton’s polarizing persona, combined with McCain’s appeal to upscale voters who have moved away from the Republicans, could bring some suburbanites who might have otherwise preferred Obama into the GOP fold. Obama’s weakness among some white blue-collar and rural voters is another encouraging sign to Republicans.

If he cannot gain traction among those voters, Michigan and Pennsylvania will appear more attainable for McCain, and even Ohio, which Bush carried but where the GOP has collapsed, might be salvageable. Similarly, Obama’s problems with Hispanics could, when combined with McCain’s immigration stance, also help the GOP.

Given McCain’s strengths, the Democrats' seeming vulnerabilities and the headwinds the Republican Party will face, one top GOP strategist not affiliated with the campaign said McCain's camp had no choice but to be “bolder and more aggressive.” “Bush won by a field goal twice,” said the strategist. “But it doesn’t play to [McCain’s] strengths to play to the base.” And nobody is happier about McCain’s intent to go after Democratic strongholds than those downtrodden Republicans fighting against a blue tide and the dead weight of an unpopular president.

“I’m genuinely delighted to have John McCain as our nominee," New Hampshire GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen said with a smile after McCain made his first general election trip here, "because it guarantees that New Hampshire is going to be competitive and sets up an election where all of our state candidates are going to be judged on their own merits.”
© 2007 Capitol News Company, LLC


realitygirl2 said...

Senator Obama will do wonderful in the Pennsylvania state. The mudslinging created for Rev. Wright is the same filth that Bill Clinton did in New Hampshire before the SC primary and is the same that Hillary Clinton did in Texas and Ohio. You do not want the great worker like Senator Obama to help all of the people. If you do then you would be shocked and distressed at the area in Ohio that Hillary Clinton televised with her in the clipping. How can she have the nerve to face a group of people that her husband helped to beat down through NAFTA with job losses and then pretend that she will make everything better? She will not. She is a victim of domestic abuse and then channels that behavior into her campaign through her speeches and the speeches of her husband. I wish that she and Bill would go to a faraway island and disappear from politics for good. Their day is over. Let a new voice help the people of America.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I don't think Pennsylvania is ready to support a man whose spiritual advisor says, "God damn America." Senator Obama is now a seriously wounded candidate. The more we learn about Sen. Obama the more he makes a street-fighter like Bill Clinton look like a choirboy.