Monday, May 12, 2008

(D) versus McCain and (R)

An article by Jim VandeHei and David Kuhn about the "Toxic GOP" got me thinking about some of the dangers of 'counting chickens.' Both Democratic Primary contenders have some weaknesses against the Republican noise machine despite the historic lows that BushCo has engendered.

Both candidates absolutely suck for gun owners. Does that seem harsh? It isn't. The most responsible remark regarding this Bill of Rights Civil Liberty was made by Obama who stated that it seemed the 2nd Amendment must be read as an individual right, the problem is that he then moved on to compare it to zoning. Does there exist a Democrat who'd lay such an idea on the 1st Amendment? This train wreck happened for Democrats quite awhile ago and it seems the best efforts to dissuade them have minimal effects. There is a core vote that will absolutely not let this slide. I happen to be willing to elect one of them and have this one out in court. What people seem unable to grasp is that a firearm is a concrete example of a serious right to people who do not have that example in their life otherwise. They can look at or pick up an actual example that the government is not their boss. These two candidates will have that to overcome and the Republicans will use it.

Both Democratic candidates have an oppo research background that isn't going to be easy to shake. Obama has Rev Wright, a politically unfortunate middle name, Rezko, and at least one "bitter" statement. I won't even bother to retail the Hillary problems other than to note that they span from the present to her college days. The fair aspect of Republicans addressing this stuff is meaningless, they will. They will follow oppo research where ever it might let them and twist anything that can be twisted. I understand that McCain is absolutely rife with stinky oppo, that is beside the point, most oppo is designed to validate a direction already comfortable or to defuse negatives about the candidate.

Let me use an egregious example, nobody really inclined to vote for Obama believes he is a Muslim, that attack is used to validate a direction of thought already in play and solidify it. It has the added virtue of protecting a candidate from the smelliness of his own past or present. The Keating 5 looks pretty bad for John McCain - but at least he's not a Muslim. If this kind of calculation offends you, find a nice pretty alternative reality to live in.

There are large swathes of Republicans who are disaffected with BushCo, only around 60% of them approve of it. This is good, right up until you run the oppo at them, I don't care if it is Obama with the pretty public stuff or Hillary with the more buried stuff, this is a reason to stay with the (R) candidate you would ordinarily have loyalty to. I have no belief that there is great hope of pulling large numbers of Republicans.

The chunk that is least subject to this stuff is the Independent or more correctly Non-affiliated Voter. These people are by nature of their registration suspicious of political parties, their slogans, and oppo. Non-affiliated voters run the gamut from those too left for the Democratic Party to those too right for the Republican, they are nothing like a monolithic group other than their disdain for Party politics. This leaves most available for the Democrats the left through middle in this election. There will be a piece of right of center NA and liberal Republicans that become a toss-up.

The absolutely gut wrenching pieces of this campaign will occur outside the candidates' campaigns. The candidates' gloves will probably come off, but that part will revolve around policy; I expect that to get pretty darn rough. The independent campaigns, 527s and others, will work the oppo. Both parties have research groups that are professional at this and they'll make sure their information is available in one fashion or another. Despite John McSame's blather, he will run as far into the dirt as he can without getting it all over his face and then leave the real mudslinging to his surrogate campaigns all the while disavowing it. John is no jolly old grand-dad, he's a rough tough mean ole SOB in politics and everybody who has battled with him will attest to it, and he does take it personally. The Democrats have shown differing methods of dealing with this stuff, but what they've shown has been in a Democratic Primary and that isn't what we're talking about.

I have confidence in both Democrats to take the fight to John McSame and the GOP and deal with the negatives. They are both able politicians and the Democratic party has available to it some real astute thinkers and strategists. I am warning against over confidence and smugness. The General Election is not a slam dunk run away race, it will require the candidates and their campaigns to be top notch and also a lot of workers in the trenches. If this is done right the Democrat could be able to go into office with a solid majority and good down ticket results.

1 comment:

Zak J. said...

As you no-doubt know, being a recipient of pro-2nd Amendment political statements, the sleaze machine has already begun against both our candidates, led to some extent by pro-gun lobbies. These include at least one I'm an unapologetic member of that has made bizarre claims that don't bear repeating. But it's a real shame the candidate's don't appear aware of the depth of political feeling attached to firearms. From Obama's perspective, the best we can hope for that is that his South Side Chicago years made him myopic but that his time in Indonesia showed him first-hand what an government or its proxies can do against unarmed dissenters,e.g. East Timor. I see room for political growth on his part on this subject. But as you say, I'm willing to let the courts have this one because I'm not afraid to see the 2nd Amendment discussed in court. The best thing that can happen for the Democratic candidates on this is a very strong SCOTUS statement before November affirming the individual right to firearm ownership and a prohibition on blanket bans like D.C. and NYC have put in place....and then to have the Democratic nominee endorse that decision.