THE RACE DEVELOPS


The new spate of Quinnipiac polls from Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania have rocked the GOP political establishment.

Here is the brief overview from Quinnipiac:

This is the first time Sen. Obama has led in all three states. No one has been elected President since 1960 without taking two of these three largest swing states in the Electoral College. Results from the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University polls show:

Florida: Obama edges McCain 47 - 43 percent;

Ohio: Obama tops McCain 48 - 42 percent;

Pennsylvania: Obama leads McCain 52 - 40 percent.

In the three states, Obama leads McCain 10 to 23 percentage points among women, while men are too close to call. The Democrat trails among white voters in Florida and Ohio, but gets more than 90 percent of black voters in each state. He also has double-digit leads among young voters in each state. "Finally getting Sen. Hillary Clinton out of the race has been a big boost for Sen. Barack Obama. He now leads in all three of the major swing states, although his margins in Florida and Ohio are small," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute
.

Believe me: these results - especially in Florida (thought to be secure for McCain) and Ohio (very winnable for the GOP - especially with Governor Ted Strickland stating he would not accept the Veep slot from Obama) - have shaken the McCain campaign and renewed the fear that an anti-GOP, anti-Bush tsunami is rolling in this fall - and it may take not only McCain along with it but dozens of GOP House and Senate hopefuls, as well.

Now, some questions need to be raised:


What can McCain do to reverse this pro-Obama trend?

Is it more anti-GOP - or anti-McCain? Or, to put it another way, could a different GOP candidate do better than McCain?

McCain seems mired at 42% - in these state-by-state polls and in the recent ABC and Gallup national polls. Why can’t he grow above that?

There are still four and 1/2 months to go before Election Day. What events can shake up this race?


Some attempts to answer/analyze:

John McCain is - technically in the TV era - a disastrous, awful, unattractive, inarticulate, boring, mis-guided and not-too-bright candidate. Period. Plus, he doesn’t want to run the kind of campaign necessary to destroy and thus to defeat Obama. (Witness Mccain’s prohibition of even mentioning Obama’s middle name - Hussein.)

McCain as a former POW is a valuable political biography. But his conflicted personality and ‘inside-the-beltway’ contradictions (he is surrounded by lobbyists after decrying government pork) undermine what could have been a pristine personal story: Mr. POW Hero Comes to DC and Takes On the Corrupt Establishment.

Instead, the story has been turned into: Mr. Principle Becomes A Bush Lackey and A Corporate Suck-Up - Who Switches Positions More Often Than John Kerry.

McCain’s overall campaign strategist - Charlie Black - is a smart guy who will maximize all that is possible with such a weak candidate. But he does not have much to work with.

There is a built-in resistence to Obama that will still help McCain - or another GOP nominee should McCain not be nominated in September (still a possibility). Obama is at the mid-to-high 40s; a moderate, non-leftist Democrat would today be in the mid-50s and be virtually unbeatable in November.

The GOP must show the American voter that Obama is too risky - and too radical to be entrusted with the Oval Office.

The problem is that McCain is tied to Bush’s hip, is bad on TV and doesn’t connect with voters.

And McCain’s base - the so-called Mainstream Media - is already abandoning him for their real love: Obama.

Do you know what is needed? A real conservative GOP candidate to emerge and to challenge not only McCain but also the fact that the media chose our nominee for us.

The American people distrust the media.

It is too bad both nominees are creations of that media.

OBAMA SUFFERS SECOND BIGGEST BLOW


On Tuesday the Obama campaign suffered the biggest blow to their chances in November since the emergence of the Reverend Wright videotapes.

The stunning - and totally unexpected announcement - on NPR by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland that, under no circumstances, would he run/accept the Veep slot with Obama threatens Obama’s chances to garner the 270 required Electoral Votes.

On the popular show, "All Things Considered," Strickland was
asked if he was angling to become Senator Barack Obama’s vice-presidential running mate.http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91360615 He said, "Absolutely not. If drafted I will not run, if nominated I will not accept, and if elected I will not serve."

This unexpected announcement removes the most likely Veep choice for Obama.

Strickland was crucial to Obama’s attempt to win two of the three key swing, battleground states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

McCain is way ahead in Florida and most astute political pros do not think Obama can make the Sunshine State even close in the fall.

Pennsylvania, which in recent years has gone into the Democratic column, is slightly leaning toward the Democrats again this year.

So it is Ohio - like 2004 - which may hold the key to winning in November. And for that reason yours truly has been telling everyone that Obama’s most likely Veep choice was Governor Strickland. A former US Congressman and an ordained minister, the Governor would have been an ideal choice - and the type the Democrats have not recently made.

Joe Lieberman in 2000 and John Edwards in 2004 were total failures because they brought nothing to the ticket: no state, no region and no constituency.
The Veep pick must give the Presidential nominee something he would not have had without it.

In Strickland, Obama would have had a more than even shot to win the Buckeye State, plus the Governor was for Hillary so he would help heal that divide. And his executive experience would help, too.

If the revelation of Reverend Wright on those explosive videotapes was the single biggest blow to Obama so far, this sudden announcement by Ted Strickland - while not as sexy or seemingly news-worthy - is indeed a major setback for Obama’s ability to garner those 270 Electors.

He now may have to revamp his strategy and focus on other states which are more difficult for him to win, such as North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia. Democrats do not win these states in Presidential elections; maybe this year will be different. But the Obama brain trust knows their odds are worse in these states.

So, who now goes to the top of Obama’s Veep list?

Is it Bill Richardson (supposedly has a zipper problem, and can he really deliver the Hispanic vote)? Is it some retired general (dubious, would be a huge mistake, generals are not usually adept at the skills necessary to be a candidate, risky to bet the ranch on an untested candidate), Bill Nelson of Florida (a pretty boy lightweight who probably couldn’t deliver Florida anyway so it would be a wasted pick) - or does this surprise by Strickland put Hillary back in the running?

Only time will tell.

On the GOP/McCain side, Mitt Romney is ahead in the Veep stakes - mainly to help in Michigan and to help raise money.

But there is a long, long way to go - even to the two conventions.

No decisions will be made until mid-August.

THE CLINTON PLAN: HIGH ROAD AND LOW ROAD

Hillary’s campaign is almost toast - or so the media says.

But, for the sake of argument, let us assume that sometime in the next few days or weeks Hillary concedes and then suspends her campaign. And then she announces her "unqualified" support for Obama. And then she publicly campaigns for Obama.

Here is what will be said:

"Hillary is taking the high road. She is helping unite the Democratic Party in opposition to McCain and the GOP. She is also preserving her right to run again in 2012 if Obama should lose this year. She is trying to be seen as a ‘team player’ and a ‘good loser.’ In sum, she is taking the High Road.
But here is what the truth will be:

Yes, she will look as though she is taking the high road; in reality, she will also be taking the lowest road imaginable. Here is how:

While smiling at Obama and speaking sweet sounds of support, Hillary (and Bill) - bitter and vengeful - have a team of private detectives fanned out gathering salacious dirt on Obama. The rumored tape of Michelle Obama spewing anti-white diatribes is just such an example of the Clintons’ dirty work. So is another rumor circulating in Democratic circles of Team Clinton having the dirt on Obama and a woman.

You can bet Team Clinton has a Dirty Road Plan: try to expose enough dirt on Obama - leaked through cut-outs - to derail him before the August 27th Democratic Convention. The Clintons figure if enough bad stuff comes out before then, the Super Delegates will see Obama as a certain loser in November and may still switch their votes to Hillary at the convention.

Or, if the dirt from the Low Road Plan comes in after the convention, Team Clinton will either leak it out or give it to McCain to use (if that wimpy campaign has the guts to attack Obama).

Her Low Road Goal? Have Obama lose in November - whereupon she will immediately begin her I Told You So campaign. She will remind every Democratic Party official and leader that she and Bill had told them all along that she could and would have won in the general election and that Obama would not win. This is the beginning of Hillary 2012.
This is what Team Clinton is planning.

Anyone who honestly accepts them on their word is a total fool. The Clintons are a political machine dedicated to one thing only: acquiring and then keeping political power. Period. Finis. Done. That’s All, Folks.

So, ignore their High Road words - and instead focus on the obvious Low Road they are on. There are going to be new revelations about Obama. And he may still not be the nominee.

The Clintons are masters of the Low Road.

And it may still lead them to their Promised Land.

MCCAIN: WHAT DOES HE STAND FOR?

Three months after (somehow) winning the GOP nomination for President, Senator John McCain has so far failed to put any flesh on his almost-bare political bones. In other words, McCain is an empty shell - or, as Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, "There is no there there."

With McCain, there is no "there there."

Here is a good test: take any successful politician and you can sum up their message or legacy in one easy sentence. For example:

Ronald Reagan: won the Cold War and limited the growth of government;
Abraham Lincoln: ended slavery and saved the nation;

FDR: kept the country hopeful through the Great Depression and fought Hitler and Tojo;

Or among current politicians:

Ted Kennedy: Big Government liberalism is the solution to everything;

Ron Paul: Libertarian conservatism is the only philosophy that works over the long haul;

Now, take John McCain and try to come up with his one-sentence message.

Is it:

John McCain: political reformer, fiscal conservative who took on run-away, out-of-control Big Spending GOP and who challenged the dominance of the Christian Conservatives;

Or is it:

John McCain: railed against the inherent corruption in DC but is, at the same time, surrounded by inside-the-beltway lobbyists, used clout to help Arizona political contributors;

Or is it:

John McCain: voted against Bush tax cuts, then voted to make them permanent; attacked concept of a withdrawal date from Iraq and then proposed his own 2013 withdrawal date; created Gang of 14 and then said he’d nominate ‘constructionist judges.’

Or is it:

John McCain: passionate advocate of amnesty for illegal aliens who then swore he would oppose amnesty for illegal aliens;

The contradiction of the above is one of McCain’s many problems: there is no consistent, constant John McCain.

He has tried to be all things to all people. The result is he is nothing to anyone.

And thus he inspires no positive emotion. If he is to win in the fall, it will be because his campaign demonizes the Democratic nominee and scares the voters into voting against that nominee. (No wonder the GOP wants to run against Obama. There is a vast, unmined trove of material to use to paint Obama so far out of the mainstream as to make his election almost impossible.)

But how many people will be voting for McCain?

And if he should win, how can a man who basically stands for nothing - and who heads a party with which he disagrees on almost everything from taxes to amnesty to global warming - run the Federal Government with an overwhelming Democrat House and Senate?

All of this makes McCain such a strange anomaly. No one knows him. What would he do? What does he really believe?

My guesses:

McCain is not a bright man. He knows very little about anything. He cannot expound on any topic for more than 20 seconds. His knowledge of business and economics is zip. His knowledge of foreign policy and history are equally weak.
He has devoted most of his life to hard-partying.

He is not a serious man; he was a lifelong, playboy play-around. While that may be great for a daring, dashing jet jockey, it is not good for a President.

He has terrible candidate skills. His speaking ability earns a D-minus; he cannot rouse an audience; he is terrible reading the TelePrompter and is not good on TV, either.

He looks 171 years old - not the 71 he is.

His attempts to make light of his age are backfiring. Unlike Reagan who defused the age issue, McCain actually seems to be aging right in front of our eyes.

His cosmetic attempts to change reality will not work. I.E., his recent removal of lobbyists from his campaign does not and cannot alter the fact that he hired them in the first place. He chose these people - and now that he sees it may hurt him he is canning them;

Same with Reverent Hagee’s endorsement brouhaha. McCain accepted the endorsement months ago and refused to budge until the heat grew to an unbearable degree. So now he has ‘rejected’ Hagee’s endorsement - and that will suffice? How can that be - any more than Obama trying to separate himself from Reverend Wright will not work either.

Conclusion: McCain is an empty suit - albeit wrapped in a POW’s prison uniform - who actually stands for nothing.

But he is running against an equally empty suit - Obama - with all sorts of political problems.

November is a long, long way off.

I will guarantee you of one thing: there will be a Big, Big Surprise before too long which will upset this race for the White House.