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Monday, February 04, 2008

 

Super Week

Yesterday was the Super Bowl (and super it was) and tomorrow is Super Tuesday. Following Florida, which the blog's source on the ground called perfectly, we head into a vote that is national in scope and should leave us with the setup for the conventions pretty much in place. Here's where I think we are in each party and where I expect we'll be after the votes are counted tomorrow night.

Democrats - Despite Hillary's Florida win, the media and the polls discern all the momentum on the Obama side, a truly amazing anomaly. Will the Democrats again find a way to snatch all but certain defeat from the jaws of probable victory? This party's ability to self-destruct in Presidential politics is utterly astonishing. The only better bet than the Giants and the "under" yesterday is that Obama, for all his rhetorical skills, will not be elected President in 2008. Ask any Democrat you know what Obama's positions are with respect to almost any position, and I bet they can't tell you. He has been a very well spoken sphinx up to this point, and when he does pronounce a position, it usually turns out to be hopelessly naive. He is all about bringing the two sides together (D's and R's, capitalists and terrorists, etc.), as if all these very basic policy differences will be resolved if we can only have an intelligent conversation.

So why are people going for him now? There are three sources of support for him. First, is the anti - Hillary vote, which is considerable among Dems, if not as virulent as among R's. Believe me, a lot of these Dems will go for McCain in the fall. Second are those truly on the left (the MoveOn and the KOS crowds) for whom Obama has been more consistent on their positions, especially the war, than Hillary. The third group is the young crowd, for whom Obama is the fresher voice and face, and the representative of change. Note the exit of Edwards hurts Clinton since his supporters were made up of members of the first two groups, and are shifting to Obama.

This presents a problem for Hillary since there have been few substantive positions for her to attack, and whenever she has gotten even a bit aggressive with him, either the race card or the old bugaboos that always dodge the Clintons come out. Of course it doesn't help when you have the kind of ethically challenged record the Clintons have compiled.

The problem for Dems is that they may nominate this guy, and after he is finally exposed for a while, they will realize they have a hopeless candidate. Sort of like the New Jersey Senate situation a couple of years ago when they were able to substitute Frank Lautenberg at the last minute. Too late this time, I think. Their best hope for this election now seems to be the scenario this blog has long said was a possibility - that neither candidate emerges with a working majority and the convention is actually deadlocked. I know political scientists say this is no longer a possibility - that neither party can wait til August to identify their candidate, but even if they decide the result before they get to the floor, it amounts to the same thing when the party leaders and at large delegates hand pick a candidate. And if they get the chance, they will pick Al Gore, and that is by far the most electable Democrat right now. In that case it will be Gore - Richardson, a very tough ticket. If Obama gets the nod, Gov. Rendell of PA will get the 2nd spot, and if somehow Hillary pulls through, she will pick either Obama or some white male well to the left of center, probably from west of the Mississippi. But if Hillary heads the ticket, she may have some trouble co-opting all the Obama supporters so she may try very hard to get him to run with her. This has become a bitter race.
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On the Republican side, despite the remarkable staying power of Governor Romney, John McCain will close the deal tomorrow. If you look at his voting record, he is a consistent conservative, and the party's right wing will make its peace with him despite his high profile defections on campaign finance, immigration, and health insurance. Interestingly, all of those positions help him much more in the general election than they hurt him in the primaries. Hillary also framed her positions for the general election, but her party has been even less friendly to her than the R's have been to McCain.

The media questions the enthusiasm the base will have for Senator McCain, and whether they will come out. If the choice is between him and Obama, or Hillary, or even Gore, you can bet they will vote, and the voting machine does not register enthusiasm, it only counts votes. The folks like Rush who say they will sit it out are only letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, as the current cliche goes, and they will see that as soon as the nominating process is over. Of all the candidates left, only McCain has grown-up positions on the war, taxes, and immigration. I will vote for him tomorrow with more than a modicum of enthusiasm. It still will only count as one vote though.

The ticket will most likely be McCain and Governor Crist of Florida, also a very formidable ticket for the general election.

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One of the other super things about this week was that the night before the Super Bowl, Counting Crows played a free concert in Arizona sponsored by the NFL. If you want to have some fun, go to countingcrows.com, click on the media tab and the audio tab and listen (for free) to the September, 2006 Houston concert, either in its entirety (my recommendation) or songs you select. The long awaited new album is out this week, too.

Also, I thought Tom Petty was super at halftime.

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On 1/30, I bought 100 shares of Diebold (DBD) at 25.88. Today, I bought 100 shares of Fortune Brands (FO) at 68.85. Disclaimer time - Neither redwavemusings nor its author are investment advisors and the stocks mentioned here are not recommendations, nor are they likely to be suitable for readers (or even for me).

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