Thursday, May 24, 2007

Obama And His Prospects

Andrew Sullivan gets all fellatial over Obama and his chances in '08, saying that America yearns for change and that Obama best represents the notion of change.
The overwhelming first impression that you get - from the exhausted but vibrant stump speech, the diverse nature of the crowd, the swell of the various applause lines - is that this is the candidate for real change. He has what Reagan had in 1980 and Clinton had in 1992: the wind at his back. Sometimes, elections really do come down to a simple choice: change or more of the same?

Look at the polls and forget ideology for a moment. What do Americans really want right now? Change. Who best offers them a chance to turn the page cleanly on an era most want to forget? It isn't Clinton, God help us. Edwards is so 2004. McCain is a throwback. Romney makes plastic look real. Rudy does offer something new for Republicans - the abortion-friendly, cross-dressing Jack Bauer. But no one captures the sheer, pent-up desire for a new start more effectively than Obama.

There's just a couple of points to be made about this, points that are so obvious I feel stupid making them. One, Obama is going to have quite a time just getting the Democratic nomination. While pundits all around the country may have a strong dislike for Hillary, the fact remains she's the front-runner. The latest polls give her a 15 percentage point lead (38-23) over Obama with Democratic voters. Now, it's patently true that it's waaay early and that at this point, poll numbers matter little in the larger scheme of things. But the presumption that Obama is more popular with "the base" than Hillary really needs to be revised. He's not, and merely wishing it will not make it so.

The second point to make is that even if Obama gets through Hillary (and John Edwards, don't forget about him), he's going to have to win two of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida to win the Presidency. That assertion is based on the assumption that all "true" blue states will vote blue and all "true" red states will vote red in 2008. I think that assumption is a reasonable one to make because politics in America is increasingly a team-game, i.e., people vote for whoever is on their "team" even if they can't particularly stand them. In other words, no matter what evangelical Christians have to say at this point, if it comes down to McCain/Hillary or McCain/Obama, they're going to vote for McCain. So when it comes down to it, all that matters is Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Now, can Obama win two of those? Sure he can. Will Obama win two of those? Who the hell knows? All I do know is the following: if the election were held today, Obama would lose Ohio to both McCain and Guilani, by six and eights points respectively. In Florida, he would tie with McCain but lose to Guilani by a massive 11 points. In Pennsylvania, he would lose to Guilani by four points and beat McCain by a meager two points, well within what I would imagine is the margin of error. The lesson? He better hope he's not going up against Guilani. Even beating McCain would be really tough.

Look, I love Obama. He's a great guy, he's a great speaker, and most importantly, he's a leader, not a politician. It's not often that Charles Krauthammer, Tom Friedman, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks and Nicholas Kristof agree on something, but they all agree with the assertion that Obama would be a great President. I back that contention completely; if I was American, I'd vote for him. But that doesn't matter, the facts on the ground do. And the facts on the ground tell you that Obama will, in all probability, not even win the Democratic nomination. If he does win the Democratic nomination he will, in all probability, not win the Presidency. So can everyone just chill out please?


somethingrichandstrange said...

haha, prescient much?

Ahsan said...

Haha I hate archives.

No but seriously, I wasn't wrong about anything I said here: Obama was an improbable shot to win both the Democratic nomination as well as the Presidency. What part of my post was factually incorrect?

But yeah, I look stupid, no question.