Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Obama Must Face His "Red, White, and Blue" United States

Four years ago the soaring vision of the up and coming Senator Barack Obama united the Democrats; a future leader had a dream for America in which party politics were left behind in favor of the common good. Instead of that ideal turning into reality, it seems Obama's hope for a patriotic red, white, and blue America has played out literally.

As he shifts gear into a general election campaign, Barack Obama must now confront not one, but three Americas: Republicans, Obama-Democrats, and working-class white voters.

It's hard to decided whether or not to blame Senator Obama for the situation he is currently being confronted with. On one hand, Obama's "sweetie" and "bitter" comments have angered women and moderate to conservative rural democrats, his inability to distance himself from the inflammatory sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright (still), and Michelle Obama's statements that make us wonder why this man and woman want to be America's first family give me tremendous pause about Obama.

On the other hand, the long nomination process has forced Obama to draw distinctions between himself and Senator Clinton and expose weaknesses that otherwise may not have been discovered. This is not Obama's fault, and neither is the fact that the long primary season has forced Obama's name into the national media on a 24/7 basis, diluting his image as a Washington outsider with every news cycle featuring a story on him.

Kentucky's primary results from yesterday (a 35% win for Clinton) and West Virginia's from last week (Clinton's 41% victory) expose a critical weakness for Obama along certain demographics. What I've been so disappointed by in talking about this election is that I am often criticized for bringing up the fact that voters without a college degree in Kentucky, for example, voted for Clinton over Obama nearly 3-1. These observations, apparently, "divide us" and prevent us as Demographics from working to fix the problems that face us. I've heard it all before.

Don't get me wrong, I think much of Senator Obama's message represents a fantasic injection of life and energy into the Democratic Party that has not been around for years. But at the same time I am a Democrat first and foremost, and my biggest concern is not the preservation of the Obama campaign theme, rather that a Democrat wins in November. Though there are intricacies behind each of these statements that I could discuss, the following are simple facts in my eyes:

If Obama is a weak candidate among working-class white voters, Democrats should be aware of this instead of having John Edwards hop into the picture and try to pass on some credibility to Obama. Come November, endorsements matter much less than whether or not working-class whites are comfortable with Obama over McCain.

Regardless of whether or not Obama wins the Democratic nomination (and he will), I consider it presumptuous of him to make his quasi-victory speech last night. Not only had that plan been in the works for weeks, but as the Democratic-bashers at Boston talk radio 96.9 WTKK said repeatedly yesterday, Obama is declaring victory because he has more points at the end of the third period.

Finally and most important to me, can Obama beat John McCain? Can Obama win tough battleground states that he's lost in decisive primaries? What does the poll below mean?

In a state that rallied around Barack Obama during the Democratic Primary, North Carolina voters chose Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama when McCain sits across the ticket.

My guess is that Hillary Clinton, regardless of how well she does in certain general election polls, will be effectively "out" of the campaign by June 4th. So, as I prepare to become an Obama Democrat, I want to make some predictions as to how I see the 2008 election playing out. On the record, this weekend, I'll lay out how I see November's vote going down.

No comments: