Can Obama, the anti war candidate win?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, May 27, 2008.

Can an anti war candidate be elected?

  1. No

    6 vote(s)
  2. Yes

    8 vote(s)
  1. McGovern: Not sure anti-war Dem can win
    By: David Paul Kuhn
    July 10, 2007 06:44 AM EST

    For Democrats of a certain age, there is no figure more haunting than George McGovern, who ran for president pleading, "Come home, America," but instead was sent home himself with just 38 percent of the vote.

    Among those who worry that the lessons of 1972 may still spell trouble for Democrats in 2008 is none other than … George McGovern. He is 84 now, is as opposed to the Iraq war as he was to the one in Vietnam -- and is paying close attention to the race for president.

    "I'm not sure that an anti-war Democrat can win," McGovern said in an interview. "We haven't proved that yet."

    "Some people point to the fact that the war in Vietnam was dreadfully unpopular," he said, "but that when I came out for an immediate withdrawal, it helped me win the nomination but not the general election. And there may be some truth about that."

    Democrats are heading into the 2008 election with what, at first glance, looks to be a historic opportunity: For the first time in decades, they are facing Republicans on terms of rough parity -- and possibly even superiority -- on national security issues. Polls show the public trusts Democrats as much as or more than Republicans to keep the country safe, a dramatic reversal from President Bush's first term.

    These numbers may mean that Democrats have vanquished the ghost of the Vietnam era, when liberal activists won the debate about ending the war but, in the process, gave the party a reputation among many voters for being too dovish to lead on a dangerous planet.

    But some political analysts say they believe the McGovern experience could be repeated again, as the party's presidential candidates compete to win the favor of anti-war Democrats while leaving themselves vulnerable to charges of weakness in a general election.

    This uncertainty is one reason the leading Democratic candidates are trying to run as hawk and dove simultaneously. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), for instance, are both moving rhetorically and substantively against the Iraq war while calling for an increased military presence to fight terrorists in Afghanistan.

    Democratic strategists believe they have Bush to thank for the reversal in the parties' national security reputations.

    "It is a phenomenal change from what has happened in the past," said Jim Margolis, a senior strategist for Obama's campaign. "People see the mistakes that this administration has made, and the impact that it has had on our standing in the world has made it less safe rather than more safe. That's certainly something that helps us going into an election."

    The Iraq war's erosion of Bush's and the Republican Party's standing has been stark. In early January 2002, the Gallup Poll found that 65 percent of voters said they believed Republicans would do a better job on military and defense issues, compared to 24 percent who backed Democrats on these issues.

    A few days later, White House senior adviser Karl Rove caused a stir when he told a gathering of Republicans about the GOP's political strategy: "We can go to the country on this issue because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America." His remarks infuriated Democrats but proved prescient when Republicans made substantial gains in the 2002 midterm elections.

    But in October of last year, a few weeks before Republicans were routed in the midterm congressional elections, a New York Times/CBS News poll found the electorate essentially tied -- Republicans 41 percent to Democrats 40 percent -- over who would better fight terrorism. A Washington Post/ABC News poll last month found that 46 percent of voters trusted Democrats in Congress to do a better job handling terrorism, versus 40 percent for Bush.

    The GOP advantage on war issues long preceded Bush's presidency. In 1993, at the beginning of Bill Clinton's presidency, Gallup found that 56 percent of voters favored Republicans on military issues compared to 31 percent who thought Democrats would do a better job.

    As far back as the Eisenhower years, Gallup was recording consistent preferences for Republicans on military issues.

    But if the mood of the country has changed, Democrats are plainly still laboring to project that opposition to Bush's handling of the Iraq war -- most polls show the public agrees with them -- does not mean they are uncomfortable with military force.

    Republicans are banking that this is a distinction Democrats cannot sustain and that votes by Clinton and Obama to defund the war effort would damage either one as a general election nominee. A similar vote by 2004 Democratic nominee Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) -- while former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean pressed Kerry from the anti-war base -- combined with his inept public explanations, shadowed him through the general election.

    "It's one thing for (Democrats) to say, 'Get out,' or 'Redeploy,' or 'Divide the country into thirds,'" said Mark Salter, a counselor to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "But it's another to say, 'We won't fund the troops.' That, I think, will be a pretty costly mistake in the general election.

    "You had 150,000 troops in the country, and you voted not to resupply them with armor," Salter added. "Those things are easy to point out."

    Today, as Clinton and Obama debate who is more qualified to lead a pullout from Iraq, leading Republicans compete to portray themselves as most capable of continuing the fight. Neither party's leaders seem willing to break too brazenly with their base over the war.

    More than six in 10 Republicans still support the Iraq war, while nine in 10 Democrats do not, according to a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press analysis of March, April and June polling for The Politico.

    Republicans are also more concerned over terrorism. Fifty-three percent of Republicans say they are "very" or "somewhat" worried about being a victim of a terrorist attack, while 43 percent of Democrats express the same, according to Gallup polling conducted in mid-June.

    Among top-tier Democrats, it is Clinton's maneuvering on Iraq that has drawn the most attention -- and the most criticism -- from people on both sides who see calculation rather than principle guiding her.

    In the past year, she has advocated stances she once opposed, both on a set timetable for withdrawal and in utilizing the "power of the purse" to end the war in Iraq. But last month, at a Take Back America conference of liberal activists, she offended some by treading a careful rhetorical line.

    "The American military has succeeded," Clinton declared. "It is the Iraqi government that has failed."

    That drew boos from the hall. Clinton's rhetoric seemed "almost calculated to draw a negative response" before the liberal audience, observed David Gergen, who has served in four presidential administrations. "That's a very confident campaign," he added.

    Within the wider electorate, leading Democrats may benefit from friction with the anti-war base. A slim majority of Americans still believe in "peace through military strength," while a slim majority also believes, unlike in 2004, that troops should be withdrawn from Iraq, according to a Pew survey.

    Yet some Democratic veterans remain worried, including those who favor a withdrawal from Iraq. "I'm afraid that we might be pulled too much to the left, too much into the anti-war sentiment, so that it might be as drastic as during the Vietnam War," said Richard Bolanos, who was one of four brothers to serve in the military during Vietnam and was part of the veterans group that campaigned for Kerry during the 2004 election.

    "Democrats could still blow this, particularly if they get themselves into a posture where they were to force all the troops to come home over the next six months," Gergen said. "That would leave them very, very vulnerable, because Republicans could argue that whatever chaos erupts, that has Democratic fingerprints all over it."

    In this vein, many analysts argue some tension between activists and the Democratic leadership is essential to Clinton and Obama remaining viable in the general election.

    "When the Democrats nominate someone who is seen to be hawkish -- Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter in his first incarnation as a nuclear submarine commander -- they win," said Ben Wattenberg, a longtime analyst who has advocated that Democrats retain a hawkish platform.

    "When (Democrats) nominate someone who seems soft -- Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, who I love, Jimmy Carter in his second incarnation -- they lose," Wattenberg added. "This is not proof, but Americans want a guy who will stand up for America."

    Clinton is compelled to prove Americans also want a woman, an obstacle Obama does not face. "She'll be as tough as any Republican on our enemies," Bob Nash, Clinton's deputy campaign manager, says when the subject of gender is raised.

    For his part, McGovern wishes that Clinton -- toward whom he said he feels "personal loyalty" -- was less worried about looking tough and more willing to be "stronger in favor of disengagement."

    But McGovern said he, of all people, understands the appeal of political pragmatism.

    "I lost for standing up for what was right," McGovern continued. "Some of our greatest presidents have compromised their positions in order to not offend large elements of the voting public. It's possible that's what Hillary is doing."
  2. Arnie


    Last week I said Obama wins in a landslide. This week, we got a peek at the kind of campaign he will run. To wit: Go negative on McCain. Now, he looks and sounds just like any politician. So much for "change".

    Why doesn't he articulate HOW he will get the troops home in 16 months? You know why? Because he can't and he knows it.

    HOW will he solve the "forclosure crisis". I could on and on. The guys is a hologram, an empty suit. But who knows, maybe he can fool enough voters to get elected. The dems and leftists are so desperate, its no wonder they are enamored with this guy. If he runs the rest of his campaign like the past week, the dems lose, again.
  3. Usama in a Landslide

    Republican heads explode.
  4. Obama has serious electoral college hurdles. As it stands now, it will be tough to win, even with a large popular vote lead by taking big states of Cal and NY in a landslide.

    Of course let McCain speak enough, and things could change.

    Both of em scare me.
  5. Yannis


    Yes, both of THEM scare me too: :)



    "In its final days, Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign has come to echo George Wallace's 1968 run.

    Like Clinton, Wallace as a candidate stalked the Northeast exploiting white anger. Like her, he bypassed the nation's more educated and liberal parts to focus squarely on those who felt left behind, rallying animosity against elites.

    But behind the mask of populism, it was race that fueled Wallace's campaign from the start. And it is race that has brought new life to Clinton's campaign in its final days.

    Like Wallace, Clinton doesn't address racial prejudice squarely, but cloaks the appeal to our darker fears in seemingly neutral issues. He used opposition to school busing; she has played off Obama's alleged elitism and ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

    To be fair, neither appeal is totally invalid.

    Busing failed to integrate our schools and led, instead, to greater segregation as whites fled to the suburbs and/or to private schools.

    Rev. Wright, meanwhile, is enough to scare the daylights out of anybody. To have a president who sat willingly in his pews, absorbing and seemingly condoning his hatred, is a worrisome prospect indeed.

    But the basic fact remains that Clinton, like Wallace, is relying on race. Their tactics are similar, appealing to the same kind of voters for parallel reasons.

    No, Clinton isn't a racist - but she's still using race to win elections. (So, by the way, did Bill Clinton in 1992, with his criticism of Sister Souljah and his much-publicized backing for capital punishment.)

    Racism is as racism does. When a politician consciously exploits racial divisions, fears and animosity to win an election, he or she deserves condemnation.

    But Hillary Clinton is neither a racist nor a populist; she's an opportunist. Discovering that the establishment consensus has left behind millions of disgruntled voters - the angry white men of yesteryear - she, like Wallace before her, is creating new fissures in the electorate in the hopes of upsetting a harmony that doesn't serve her ends.

    Her advocates say that Clinton has found her voice. But this new voice is but an echo of a a discordant note in a discredited past.

    In the coal mines of Kentucky and West Virginia and the former factory towns of Western Pennsylvania and Central Ohio, the anger into which this voice taps remains alive, hot and glowing. But most of America has moved beyond prejudice, beyond diversity, beyond even tolerance, into a post-racial era.

    It was a proud feature of our politics in 2008 that we seemed to have crested this wave of progress - until Clinton, embittered by frustrated ambition, blew on the smoldering embers of racial fear to stage a comeback for the nomination.

    It isn't her proudest moment."
  6. I used to enjoy Dick Morris' writing, but his hatred of Hillary has really led him off the deep end. This column is typical of what he has been producing. Say what you want about her, but Hillary Clinton is about as far from being a racist as you can get. She has had african americans in prominent roles in her office and campaigns for decades. And, lest we forget, she was married to our country's first black president.

    I do not accept the notion that criticizing a black candidate makes her a racist. Even Dick Morris can't believe that. Likewise, using surrogates to point out the indisputable fact that much of Obama's success lies in his skillful exploitation of liberal white guilt is not racism. It may make people uncomfortable, but the truth often has that effect.

    Does trying to appeal to downscale voters who may well harbor racist attitudes make her a racist? Clearly not. Is she making a racial plea? Again, clearly no. She is properly noting that Obama is an effete psuedo-intellectual who is woefully inexperienced, has numerous ties to despicable people and has little understanding of or affection for the common man. After all, the democrat party is supposed to be the party of the working class. Suddenly it's racist to ask for their votes?
  7. Yannis


    You know, the issue that McCain ought to pursue is not the war but national security. Maybe Obama can win if he is against war (who isn't?) but can he survive if he is shown to be the candidate you cannot trust to keep this country safe? Definitely not.
  8. I agree.

    I think he should focus on:

    1) National security.
    2) OB's inexperience.
    3) OB's judgment.

    And choose Tom Ridge VP.

    Obama, on the other hand, should and will focus on tying Mac to Bush in any way possible.
  9. Yannis



    "Obama told reporters aboard his airplane that it’s “not relevant” that he hasn’t been to Iraq since 2006 and charged that McCain was using the argument as a diversion tactic.

    “I don’t think John McCain or the Bush administration have a very strong argument to make about their foreign policy, so they’re going to try to come up with diversions or distractions and not argue the substance,” Obama said.

    “A trip is under consideration but no final plans have been made,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton on Wednesday.

    McCain has been critical of Obama for his absence from Iraq. The Republican Party even launched an online clock Wednesday showing 871 days since Obama last visited the war zone.

    McCain responded to Obama’s characterization of the invitation for a joint trip as a political stunt, saying it showed Obama’s “lack of appreciation of the importance of this issue.”

    “I don’t think that people who serve there would believe that a visit to find out the facts by a person who wants to lead the country, would be a, quote, stunt,” he said.

    In Reno, Nev., McCain asked: “Why is it that Senator Obama wants to sit down with the president of Iran but hasn’t yet sat down with General Petraeus, the leader of our troops in Iraq?”

    McCain said Obama “was driven to his position by ideology and not by the facts on the ground. And he does not have the knowledge or the experience to make the judgments. Presidents have to listen and learn. Presidents have to make judgments no matter how popular or unpopular they may be.”

    Obama said that was “just a typical sarcastic comment that doesn’t have anything to do with substance and is patently untrue, since I just saw General Petraeus when he was testifying in Washington.”


    In further evidence of buyers remorse when it comes to Barack Obama, his support within most demographic categories declined, and declined significantly in most cases, while his overall support declined overall by 2.3%.

    · Clinton increased her lead among White voters, from 10.2% (HRC: 52.6%, BHO: 42.4%) to 23.2% (HRC: 60.8%, BHO: 37.6%)
    · Clinton increased her lead among Hispanic/Latino voters, from 28.2% (HRC: 63.4%, BHO: 35.2%) to 34.0% (HRC: 66.0%, BHO: 32.0%)
    · The only major racial/ethnic category where Obama improved was among African American voters, where his lead increased, from a 67.8% (BHO: 83.0%, HRC: 15.2%) to 77.3% (BHO: 88.4%, HRC: 11.1%) Obama’s percentage increase in the overall vote from African American voters was only 1.8% (from 12.7% in February in 14.5% in March through May)
    · Clinton’s combined percentage increase in the overall vote from White and Hispanic/Latino voters was 9.1% (from a combined advantage of 10.1% to a combined advantage of 19.2%)

    Finally, over at Buck Naked Politics we have Deb Cupples sounding an alarm for Obama. “In short, the DNC’s own leadership countered its own purported goal of party unity by repeatedly alienating so many of its members.” She said the DNC has remained silent even as the following happened so that Hillary Clinton supporters have become alienated from their own party.
    1) Disenfranchising Michigan and Florida
    2) Refusing to fix Michigan and Florida
    3) Making misleading public statements about MI and FL
    4) Trying to prematurely push Hillary out of the race
    5) Urging super-delegates to end the race before all states vote

    also consider this

    ·Clinton’s support increased among Males by 6.0%,
    · Clinton’s support increased among Females by 3.1%,
    · Clinton’s support increased among White voters by 6.2%,
    · Clinton’s support increased among Hispanic/Latino voters by 2.6%,
    · Clinton’s support increased among White males by 10.8%, and
    · Clinton’s support increased among White females by 6.0%.“Buyers’ Remorse” can also be seen below as reflected in the changes in support among racial/ethnic demographic groups.

    And don’t forget this.

    · Obama’s support among men declined by 2%,
    · Obama’s support declined among women by 1.2%,
    · Obama’s support declined among White voters by 4.8%,
    · Obama’s support declined among Hispanic/Latino voters by 3.2%,
    · Obama’s support declined among White males by 6.7%, and
    · Obama’s support declined among White females by 3.6%.Clinton’s overall support, on the other hand, increased by 4.7% "