If the Clinton campaign believes its own press releases, it is now clear that only Obama can beat McCain in the general election . The campaign announced primary wins in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma as proof that Clinton can "compete and win in red states." If that's true, then Obama's red state sweep in Colorado, North Dakota, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Alaska means he can compete even better. These victories include such margins as 80% over Clinton in Idaho and 74% in Kansas. In no state did Clinton poll better than 60% over Obama. Obama beat Clinton by more than that time and again.
Even more important than outright wins in red states is Obama's performance among crossovers and independents. In the crucial South Carolina primary, perhaps the reddest state in the union, more than 23% of voters are independent. They went almost 2-1 for Obama. Other pivotal red territory won by Obama includes Missouri, Georgia, and Kansas.
There is a "Republicans for Obama" website with 11 state chapters.
Clinton's negatives are sky high. Nearly as many Republicans like Obama, 39%, as dislike him, 43%. This compares with 78d% of Republicans who express an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton.
Some red state Democratic office holders are concerned that Clinton at the top of the ticket is a problem. Melvin Kahn, a member of the Central Kansas Democratic Committee, fears Clinton will turn out the far right and cause Democratic officeholders to lose. "Clinton is a liability,'' Kahn said to Yahoo News.
Obama has crossed race lines, geographic lines, party lines and every other kind of line the country can throw up. The only question is will Clinton keep the remainder of the primaries clean, or try to rip him to shreds for a long shot at McCain?
I'd like to see a woman president someday. But I prefer one who made it on her own, not as an extension of the ambitions of a man who loves the limelight and wants it back. Bill Clinton in the White House with nothing to do but enjoy the glamor should be a scary thought for anyone. He'll probably wind up having an affair, and media attention will hamstring Hillary's presidency. It was grand cocktail party conversation in the Nineties, but that's not what the country needs now.
Hillary's obsession with showing strength with her Iraq positions may, ironically, make her the least strong. JFK's strength saved us from nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Not by facing down Khruschev, but by facing down his own generals, such as Air Force Chief Curtis LeMay. Almost to a man the generals argued for attacking Cuba and risking all-out nuclear war with Russia. We'd all be crawling out of our caves about now.
Kennedy didn't need to prove anything. To LeMay's arguments to attack, he told him "I'm not going to start the Third World War for you." When LeMay taunted that it "Looks like you're in a pretty bad fix, Mr. President," Kennedy shot back: "You're in it with me."
The Clintons understand that Hillary's appeal is based on nostalgia for better times. Since they are pushing her candidacy as a two-fer, it's fair to ask whether that nostalgia is justified. Clinton inherited the dot-com boom and had the sense not to mess with it too much. But the credit belongs at the feet of CEOs like John Chambers of Cisco, and the thousands of other entrepreneurs who saw the Internet's potential.
Bill Clinton's presidency is a tale of talents wasted. He tinkered at the margins, such as making the interest on college loans tax-deductible. Woo hoo! But more often he upheld the status quo. He never challenged the permanent Cold War military budget after the Cold War was over, including some of Pentagon's most insane weapons systems, like Star Wars. On the environment he caved in to mining interests, big timber, and cattle ranchers. He exempted SUV's from gas mileage standards.
I'm not easily impressed by politicians, not even, at first, Obama. Then, this month, he said we have to "disaggregate" the issue of raising taxes on the very rich, from the issue of raising them on the middle class. He touched on a sore spot that has had me throwing the remote at the TV whenever most Democrats open their mouths.
Clinton came to power by matching Republicans on not raising taxes, not cutting the military budget, and not being anti-business, even though Republicans still manage to blame him for all these things. To the widening income gap and shrinking of the middle class he parroted Republicans: We don't do class warfare.
Wait now, the middle class has been losing ground since Bartlett and Steele documented it in "America: What Went Wrong" in 1992, but suddenly it's the poor waging war upon the rich? That's when the remote goes flying.
The dot-com boom left a lot of people well-off, but left a lot more behind. Our manufacturing base went to Mexico, China, and beyond, thanks to NAFTA and Clinton's backing of anything "free trade." Clinton's promise to not be "anti-business" also translated into the $70 billion Telcom Act of '96 giveaway.
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