It would be remiss of me to write the following words without prefacing or making some sort of disclaimer that Obama is my candidate of choice. But it should be noted that I haven’t been too sure of this one for too awful long, and in fact had serious doubts, until recently. Lest any further doubts of your own linger, I was holding out hope for another Wes Clark run at it in 2008, and when that didn’t happen, I certainly was quite disappointed that he decided to align so quickly with the Clinton camp.
So, kos, apparently much chagrined at Obama, for a purported statement that, “I don’t want to go into the next election starting off with half the country already not wanting to vote for Democrats — we’ve done that in 2004, 2000,” fires off one of his own:
Psst, Barack, slamming John Kerry and Al Gore is what Republicans do. Not Democrats.
Psst Markos — since when do Democrats find themselves peering down the long barrel of some Reaganesque “11th commandment” of their own?
It is true that the Dems seem to eat their own, whereas the GOP tends to be lockstep — something that’s both an asset and a liability to the party, breeding diversity while also running the risk of causing animosity. You’re well aware of this, and you called out these this splintering in Crashing the Gate. But it’s apparently wrong to call out the failures of past campaigns and candidates — something else you also did in the book?
Markos, we know that you are, amongst other things, a sports fan, so you’re probably well aware that, often times, in close games, controversial (and sometimes bad) calls are made which may very will change the outcome and drastically change the end result. And just as often as people will whine that game was lost due to poor refereeing, cooler heads — often times those of the coaches themselves — prevail and the age-old truth is known: you can’t blame a game on a single call. If your team was good enough, they’d have won decisively, and that single call wouldn’t have affected the result — if it would have even occurred at all.
So now, in an odd bout of revisionism, you’re suggesting that Gore won (he didn’t, semantics and political systems be damned) and that Obama is somehow running to the right in order to win (he’s not).
A lot of people, wrongly or not, thought Gore2K was boring and wooden. The marketing sucked, the end result was both devastating and sobering. So what happened in 2004? Kerry won Iowa, and the Democrats, frothing and ready to take on GWB, buck the general historical trend concerning Iowa caucuses and eventual winners and latch on to Kerry, ignoring his fatal flaws, showering him with support, and run with him all the way through to the doubly-damning 2004 election result.
And Obama is somehow wrong for saying that the Dems need a candidate who doesn’t have a groundswell of opposition from the onset? We can ignore Gore’s buffed and polished weaknesses, but yet ignore the obvious issues a Hillary candidacy will entail? The Hillary campaign may seem like a juggernaut, but maybe that hulking mass is little more than a disguised 800-lb gorilla that everyone seems to be ignoring.
You and I both know the real paradox here — Hillary is the most centrist of the Democratic candidates and yet is the most despised by those on the right. I’m sure the Obama campaign is well-aware of this as well. I don’t know how Obama can be perceived as embracing “right-wing talking points”, either politically or rhetorically. I know you continually discount Hillary “electability” issues by citing national poll after national poll, but national polling did a fat lot of good in 2004.
I find my own anecdotal evidence to be a whole lot more revealing — real people to whom I’ve spoken, not anonymous polling numbers and not merely “centrists”, but those with right-leaning tendencies — people who are publicly or privately fed up with GWB and are looking very earnestly at candidates on the left. They tend to like, and sometimes even admire the likes of Edwards, or Biden, or Obama.
But the paradox lives on and these same people will not, in any way, shape or means, vote for Hillary.
Democrats want a landslide victory in 2008. In 2006 a near tidal-wave of change hit Congress and the Senate, and 2008 could be a repeat of epic proportions if the voters have the right choices. But that choice does not, however fortunately or unfortunately one wants to consider it, include Hillary at the helm. That Obama is recognizant of this does not make him a partisan or someone looking to the right for support. Rather, having seen what has occurred in 2000 and 2004, and what risks the Dems entail if HRC were to get the nomination, I’d say he’s a realist.