Hillary's Stumble Could Be Great News for GOP

Whether Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign truly is in trouble or the mainstream media simply likes a more competitive storyline, or even if the Clintons are coyly setting-up a comeback kid scenario, the big political news of the last few weeks has been Hillary Clinton's apparent fall from being the inevitable Democratic party nominee to having to fight tooth-and-nail to hold off a fast charging Barack Obama.

Unfortunately for Hillary, her campaign's initial attempts to slow Obama's momentum with crude personal attacks (e.g., highlighting Obama's admitted past drug use) have backfired, making Hillary look desperate and petty and mean.  Indeed, it is this supremely unattractive quality of Hillary Clinton that, in my opinion, renders her election as President of the United States unlikely, even if she ultimately secures the Democratic Party nomination.  After all, how many Americans would answer "yes" to the following question, which I think lies at the psychological heart of modern presidential politics: 

Would you want Hillary as your parent, spouse, or boss? 

Not very many, I'm confident to say.

But Hillary remains the most formidable Democratic candidate.  She has widespread name recognition, impressive fundraising ability, solid liberal credentials, yet an uncanny ability (with the aid of the mainstream media) to position herself as a "moderate."  Moreover, she is the wife of the still popular Bill Clinton -- frequently cited by pro-Hillary voters as one of the main reasons for supporting her -- and she will have the powerful feminist establishment behind her.  Plus, one should not underestimate the appeal to many "independent" and "moderate" voters, especially women, of electing the first woman president.  Although I predict that any of the four serious Republican candidates -- by which I mean Giuliani, Romney, McCain, and Thompson, but not Huckabee -- would beat Hillary in the general election, it will be a close, hard-fought race, just like 2004.  (And also like 2004, the mainstream media will be trumpeting polls all the way through Election Day that supposedly show Hillary as the winner.)

So I am positively thrilled to see Hillary taking her lumps  and the Democratic Party faithful reassessing whether Barack Obama might not make the better candidate.  For nothing would guarantee a Republican victory in 2008 more than Barack Obama being the Democratic nominee.  The pundits can talk until they are blue in the face about Obama's charisma and eloquence and cross-racial appeal.  The fact of the matter is that Obama has no chance of being elected president in 2008 (provided the Republicans nominate one of the four candidates cited above). 

Why not?  For starters, Obama is much too young and inexperienced, with no real (or even hyped) achievements to his name.  Unlike essentially every successful presidential candidate since 1900, he has no meaningful executive experience, whether in government, business, or the military.  Indeed, as countless commentators have noted, the only reason Obama is being taken seriously is because of his race.  (Although Obama has a white mother and a black father, he is considered, by himself and others, as "black."  Except, of course, for the ultra-liberal commentators who preposterously question whether he is "black enough.")  And the black vote already goes 90 percent for the Democrats, so Obama is unlikely to attract many new voters among this demographic.   

True, white liberals and the mainstream media in general love the idea of a black presidential candidate.  At least a liberal one.  They especially love to talk in terms of "racial healing" and "overcoming America's legacy of racism."  However, the rest of the country is not so enamored with the idea of electing a president for no other reason than the color of his skin.  And, quite frankly, there are many voters who, everything else being equal (or not), are less likely to vote for a black candidate than for a white candidate.  Which means that Obama's lack of any meaningful qualifications, besides his race, makes his candidacy an even greater long shot.

But that's not all.  For better or for worse, Obama's candidacy also will be hampered by his name.  Barack Obama.  DThere are those who will think, "Does that sound like the name of an American president?  Of course not."  Would this be a stupid reason to not vote for him?  Of course it would.  Nevertheless, will there be voters who will be less likely to pull the lever for a candidate named "Barack Obama" than for one named, say, "Rudy Giuliani" or "Mitt Romney"?  Obviously there will be. 

Similarly, Obama's candidacy will be hampered by the perception that he is a Muslim.  Recall that his middle name is Hussein, that his father was a Muslim, and that he apparently attended a Muslim-oriented school as a child in Indonesia.  It cannot be disputed that, in today's world, this is not a positive characteristic for an American presidential candidate.  Yes, Obama is a Christian.  But it does not help his candidacy that the church he attends, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, plausibly can be said to embrace a black racialist or even separatist agenda.

Lastly, Obama's life story -- the son of an African Muslim, who spent his early years overseas, who was raised by his white grandparents in Hawaii but who embraces his black identity, who attended elite private schools from middle school through law school but who bemoans the "inequality" of American society, and who made his name as a community organizer in Chicago -- just is not that compelling, or even accessible, to most Americans.  Obama's is not a stereotypically "American" narrative, compared to, say, Bill Clinton's or Ronald Reagan's.  Nor does he have the "establishment" pedigree of the Bush or Kennedy families.  The United States will have a black president someday, but it will not be Barack Hussein Obama.  

I confess that it may be considered politically incorrect, even "insensitive," to point out these serious -- I think fatal -- flaws in Obama's candidacy.  Yet when voters step into the voting booths come November 2008 to select the next President of the United States, I guarantee you that few of them will be thinking in politically correct terms.  Those who do almost certainly are going to vote Democratic anyway.  More importantly, I predict that those who don't will have a much harder time pulling the lever for Obama than for Hillary, over the Republican nominee.

This is why Hillary's stumble -- if it results in Obama winning the Democratic nomination-- could be great news for the GOP.

Steven M. Warshawsky  smwarshawsky@hotmail.com 


Whether Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign truly is in trouble or the mainstream media simply likes a more competitive storyline, or even if the Clintons are coyly setting-up a comeback kid scenario, the big political news of the last few weeks has been Hillary Clinton's apparent fall from being the inevitable Democratic party nominee to having to fight tooth-and-nail to hold off a fast charging Barack Obama.

Unfortunately for Hillary, her campaign's initial attempts to slow Obama's momentum with crude personal attacks (e.g., highlighting Obama's admitted past drug use) have backfired, making Hillary look desperate and petty and mean.  Indeed, it is this supremely unattractive quality of Hillary Clinton that, in my opinion, renders her election as President of the United States unlikely, even if she ultimately secures the Democratic Party nomination.  After all, how many Americans would answer "yes" to the following question, which I think lies at the psychological heart of modern presidential politics: 

Would you want Hillary as your parent, spouse, or boss? 

Not very many, I'm confident to say.

But Hillary remains the most formidable Democratic candidate.  She has widespread name recognition, impressive fundraising ability, solid liberal credentials, yet an uncanny ability (with the aid of the mainstream media) to position herself as a "moderate."  Moreover, she is the wife of the still popular Bill Clinton -- frequently cited by pro-Hillary voters as one of the main reasons for supporting her -- and she will have the powerful feminist establishment behind her.  Plus, one should not underestimate the appeal to many "independent" and "moderate" voters, especially women, of electing the first woman president.  Although I predict that any of the four serious Republican candidates -- by which I mean Giuliani, Romney, McCain, and Thompson, but not Huckabee -- would beat Hillary in the general election, it will be a close, hard-fought race, just like 2004.  (And also like 2004, the mainstream media will be trumpeting polls all the way through Election Day that supposedly show Hillary as the winner.)

So I am positively thrilled to see Hillary taking her lumps  and the Democratic Party faithful reassessing whether Barack Obama might not make the better candidate.  For nothing would guarantee a Republican victory in 2008 more than Barack Obama being the Democratic nominee.  The pundits can talk until they are blue in the face about Obama's charisma and eloquence and cross-racial appeal.  The fact of the matter is that Obama has no chance of being elected president in 2008 (provided the Republicans nominate one of the four candidates cited above). 

Why not?  For starters, Obama is much too young and inexperienced, with no real (or even hyped) achievements to his name.  Unlike essentially every successful presidential candidate since 1900, he has no meaningful executive experience, whether in government, business, or the military.  Indeed, as countless commentators have noted, the only reason Obama is being taken seriously is because of his race.  (Although Obama has a white mother and a black father, he is considered, by himself and others, as "black."  Except, of course, for the ultra-liberal commentators who preposterously question whether he is "black enough.")  And the black vote already goes 90 percent for the Democrats, so Obama is unlikely to attract many new voters among this demographic.   

True, white liberals and the mainstream media in general love the idea of a black presidential candidate.  At least a liberal one.  They especially love to talk in terms of "racial healing" and "overcoming America's legacy of racism."  However, the rest of the country is not so enamored with the idea of electing a president for no other reason than the color of his skin.  And, quite frankly, there are many voters who, everything else being equal (or not), are less likely to vote for a black candidate than for a white candidate.  Which means that Obama's lack of any meaningful qualifications, besides his race, makes his candidacy an even greater long shot.

But that's not all.  For better or for worse, Obama's candidacy also will be hampered by his name.  Barack Obama.  DThere are those who will think, "Does that sound like the name of an American president?  Of course not."  Would this be a stupid reason to not vote for him?  Of course it would.  Nevertheless, will there be voters who will be less likely to pull the lever for a candidate named "Barack Obama" than for one named, say, "Rudy Giuliani" or "Mitt Romney"?  Obviously there will be. 

Similarly, Obama's candidacy will be hampered by the perception that he is a Muslim.  Recall that his middle name is Hussein, that his father was a Muslim, and that he apparently attended a Muslim-oriented school as a child in Indonesia.  It cannot be disputed that, in today's world, this is not a positive characteristic for an American presidential candidate.  Yes, Obama is a Christian.  But it does not help his candidacy that the church he attends, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, plausibly can be said to embrace a black racialist or even separatist agenda.

Lastly, Obama's life story -- the son of an African Muslim, who spent his early years overseas, who was raised by his white grandparents in Hawaii but who embraces his black identity, who attended elite private schools from middle school through law school but who bemoans the "inequality" of American society, and who made his name as a community organizer in Chicago -- just is not that compelling, or even accessible, to most Americans.  Obama's is not a stereotypically "American" narrative, compared to, say, Bill Clinton's or Ronald Reagan's.  Nor does he have the "establishment" pedigree of the Bush or Kennedy families.  The United States will have a black president someday, but it will not be Barack Hussein Obama.  

I confess that it may be considered politically incorrect, even "insensitive," to point out these serious -- I think fatal -- flaws in Obama's candidacy.  Yet when voters step into the voting booths come November 2008 to select the next President of the United States, I guarantee you that few of them will be thinking in politically correct terms.  Those who do almost certainly are going to vote Democratic anyway.  More importantly, I predict that those who don't will have a much harder time pulling the lever for Obama than for Hillary, over the Republican nominee.

This is why Hillary's stumble -- if it results in Obama winning the Democratic nomination-- could be great news for the GOP.

Steven M. Warshawsky  smwarshawsky@hotmail.com