20080211

Rant: Election Ramblings

I'm publicly stating a lot of my political opinions here for several reasons. One, this is my personal space and I've always maintained that it is primarily here as an outlet for my thoughts and creativity. Two, I find it is probably best if I let my political thoughts be scrutinized by some of my politically active friends.

The number of remaining candidates in both races have thinned, although each is now sporting its own flavor. For the democrats we have a heated neck in neck battle, and for the republicans we have a sure race with a leader and a pair of runners who refuse to accept defeat. I'll touch on the latter first.

I don't have as much to say about the republicans because I'm not as invested in the outcome. The people I disliked have all dropped out, leaving my second choice in the lead and my first choice in second. While a lot of Huckabee's policies are described as insane, I have faith that the house and senate would regulate such matters. As it stands I'm rooting for him to keep going as it will keep McCain honest. Ultimately, I don't feel McCain's a bad candidate. It's refreshing for him to say outright that it might be necessary to stay in Iraq for decades, when for years his fellows have said otherwise. I don't think it's worthwhile for us to do so, but that's another matter altogether.

I'll probably write for a while about the democrats, for obvious reasons.

There's a lot of media attention flying around the democratic contest, probably because it is so gripping and shows little sign of letting up. While I'm sure McCain's camp is actively considering what strategy to pursue in either case, people are generally excited at seeing either the first woman or black presidential candidate.

The race is at a stalemate, and will be for another month. The last chance for a "knockout blow" comes March 4th, when the 255 pledged delegates held between Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island are decided.

Begin speculation.

My general gut feeling is that Hillary is on the ropes. Perhaps I am being overly influenced by the media, but there are a lot of little cues pointing to bigger problems. The removal of her campaign manager, the five million dollar investment in her campaign, her somewhat petty comments concerning Obama's recent string of victories, and polls showing stronger confidence in Obama's ability to best McCain all point to a campaign that is in trouble.

One of the biggest issues is one of money. It is speculative to say that the Clinton campaign is in a financial crisis, but I think it's very likely. Consider for the moment how easily Clinton is giving up on almost all of the states holding contests in February. That is not the tactic of a strongly funded campaign. In a system where delegates are awarded proportionally, it's foolhardy to avoid establishing a strong presence in any state, even ones where you're likely to lose. At this point, it seems obvious that any resources Hillary now possesses are being saved for the trifecta of contests on March 4th.

To continue the speculation, we can extrapolate something of Hillary's past strategy. It seems possible that she banked on February 5th being the day where she ascended above the competition, much as McCain did. Unlike McCain, her "victory" was indecisive at best and even fictional depending on how you look at matters. The result is a lot of money, probably most of it, spent for a tie.

Add to this equation Obama's significant cash flow and you have a recipe for disaster. According to reports, only 3% of those who have donated to Obama have donated the maximum of $2300, whereas Hillary is in the opposite position. Even if both candidates spent the majority of their holdings on "Super Tuesday", Obama is in an excellent position to fight by attrition.

The worst part of this scenario is that it forces Hillary to do exactly what she did on February 5th. Even with her five million dollar influx, she can't afford to spend money on anything prior to March. She might even ignore Rhode Island, instead focusing entirely on Texas and Ohio. If March 4th plays out anything like February 5th, that effort will be wasted.

The other large issue is momentum. Rudy Giuliani spent an entire month in Florida ahead of his competitors. Despite that investment he was soundly beaten by two competitors and effectively tied one other. If momentum split between three candidates can bowl over someone so heavily invested in a contest, unified momentum could be unstoppable.

While momentum wasn't the only factor in Giuliani's loss, it's notable enough that many are making comparisons to Hillary's current strategy and Giuliani's. With Black History Month effectively called for Obama, a lot of eyes are looking to see if March 4th will signal the end of the "big state" strategy once and for all.

Lastly, there's little question as to who the democrat nominee will be facing in November. McCain is the frontrunner for the republicans by far, and polls show that Obama is given a much better chance against him than Hillary. With "Super Tuesday" having been a razor thin tie, any factor that could swing people away from Hillary is significant. There's always the chance for a miracle in the republican camp, but such a miracle will come far too late for Hillary.

In short, right now Obama has the money, the momentum, and the credentials. Even a loss on March 4th is unlikely to end his bid, unless it is very decisive. Meanwhile, Hillary is teetering on the edge. Her campaign could be over if she ties Obama in March, let alone if Ohio or Texas swing his way.

So is it all over? Is Hillary truly finished? Hah! As I said this is speculation, largely based on gut feelings established by reading articles, watching newcasts, and browsing comments from random people such as "obama08" and "prezhillary". If anything, this is analogous to those crazy conspiracy theories which begin plausibly enough and end with Zionist death rays on the moon.

It's entirely possible for Hillary to turn things around, for Obama to goof up, or for the second coming to render the whole thing moot. If Obama loses Virginia, for example, it would be a notable bump in his momentum, and bring up questions of his ability to crash through the March contests like a tsunami.

Personally, I don't see the status quo being upset in February (irony intended). Hillary's recent remarks concerning Obama's victories are sour at best, and offensive at worst. It's fair enough to downplay the importance of such victories, but it's another thing altogether to call caucuses undemocratic, and write off the importance of the African-American vote.

Those comments are a small part in why I'd never vote for Hillary. I've met a large number of people via my leadership position in my World of Warcraft guild. I've interviewed lots of potential candidates who wanted into our group, and I've turned away quite a few. Hillary shares a number of attributes with these people. There are disturbing parts her speeches that are all too reminiscent of various leeches and sycophants that sought into our guild not for the friendship but for the rewards we could carry them to. Her answers to questions are always self-oriented with lip service paid to key people or concepts. Overall, she hasn't given a clear idea of who she is. To top it off, her remarks she makes when she wins or loses point to arrogance and needless pride. If I were interviewing her for a position, I wouldn't be inclined to let her in.

Were Hillary to win the democrat nomination, she would have an uphill battle convincing me to vote for her. I'd be likely to vote for McCain, but if he loses my confidence I will have no hesitation writing in Obama, Huckabee, or Ron Paul come November.

So there you have it. To some effect that's my prediction for the days to come. It's rambly and will probably bear out to be largely inaccurate, but I needed to get that off my mind a bit.

3 comments:

jocelyn said...

I don't have much to comment on regarding your predictions, but I do find it interesting that we refer to the woman by her first name, and the man by his last. I know that perhaps the first-name basis is to clarify Hilary as opposed to Bill, but it certainly lends a particular flavor to the overall discussion.

Matoushin said...

The reason for that is simple, it's what the candidates themselves do.

If you look at the official placards and signs the campaigns distribute, this is how it has been since the beginning. Barack Obama has emphasized his last name (an odd choice considering what it can be made to sound like) and Hillary Clinton has emphasized her first name.

If this is indicative of anything, it's the candidates' own choices. One might say, as you said, that Hillary is trying to emphasize that she's not her husband, or that she's simply more personable. One might also say that Barack's choice is his defiance at the idea that he's anything like Osama, and his challenge for people to look past the name and to the person.

It's more speculation, and probably the most baseless of any.

RAGE said...

Huckabee is on a mission from God. Which god it is I leave open to speculation.