At the beginning of this election campaign back in early 2007 the general consensus was that since there was no V.P. running on the GOP ticket, the natural incumbent candidate would naturally be Hillary Clinton. As a result, it was thought that she would have an easy time through the Democratic primary; easily casting aside a young, inexperienced, one-term senator and a washed-up, old hat (John Edwards). While it would be the Republicans in an all out brawl taking their race to the convention.
Well, it turns out that conventional wisdom was off, way off. The GOP resolved itself fairly quickly and bloodless (despite whatever ridiculous reason Huck has for staying in), a result I largely attribute to Rudy Giuliani’s worst run campaign in the history of Earth.
Whereas the Democrats are embroiled in a big mess of a fight that to many appears to be clearing up with Barack Obama the apparent front runner. There are many pundits and bloggers out there today, following another big Obama win in Wisconsin, who are saying that Obama has it all but locked up and the Clinton’s are done. Those statements may be a bit premature.
We now have two weeks before the next set of primaries occur when Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont vote. There is a lot than can happen between now and then. First off, if there is one thing we all have learned is to never say the Clinton’s are dead, until they are dead. Second, three of the states appear to favor Hillary over Barack, one of them is a push.
The RCP averages for Texas and Ohio, the two big prizes, have Hillary with a fairly comfortable lead in Ohio and a small lead in Texas. Considering the momentum Barack has had for the last month and the near god-like following he has, it is amazing Hillary continues to do as well as she has. These next two weeks are huge for her and if she manages them right and keeps Bill on a leash she may come out March 4th alive and well.
Certainly the two smaller states, Vermont and Rhode Island, would logically be Hillary states. While this is far from guaranteed (Barack won Connecticut), those would be two nice wins, but Hillary desperately needs at least a split in the big two. Both Texas and Ohio seem like a more natural Hillary fit. My impression of Ohio is that it is a good cross-section of America with people of all backgrounds and a pretty educated populace. My guess is that Ohio voters are more apt to vote on issues and pragmatism than on emotion. If this is the case, Hillary would be the choice due to her (seemingly) more moderate positions and her somewhat (though questionable) better qualifications, not to mention the Clinton machine behind her.
Texas is harder to judge. I could see this being a very friendly Obama state, especially in east Texas where there are more black voters. However, it seems that hispanics are breaking for Hillary and if they break in a large section towards her, it could give her the election. Ultimately, east Texas will go for Barack, west Texas for Hillary (including San Antonio) with Houston and Dallas largely split, but I thing (as of now) Houston will go for Barack and Dallas too close to call.
The wildcard is this two week break. The Clinton’s will be ruthless. They will throw everything at Barack to try to bring him down. If Barack bites and tries to get into a mud war with Hillary, it could be to his demise. Barack has created this scary and troubling god-like following by appearing to rise above the traditional rancor and backbiting common in campaigns. No person in the history of American politics (I’m exaggerating) has gone further while saying nothing than Barack Obama. His support is almost purely an emotional support and emotions are fickle and change with the wind. If he gets himself muddy and stoops to the Clinton’s level, he could lose that fire and his bubble may burst.
The things that undecided voters need to consider as they decide between the two are electability, who will be the best for the country, and can you imagine what their Presidency will amount to.
I am not a Democrat and will not vote for either in the general election, so allow me as a Republican to answer these questions from my perspective. First, Hillary is going to have the toughest time being elected. Not only is she despised by half of the population from the get-go, if she ends up pulling out the nomination, she will have done it in some manner that will deeply alienate many true Obama supporters. I would not be the least bit surprised if many of those voters, just to spite Hillary, voted for McCain; many democrats view him as a strong moderate Republican that they can live with.
The question of who will best for the country is difficult, but I would argue that Hillary would be. She is more moderate on the War than Obama, understands economics better, and is generally more qualified. I also think that both Obama and Hillary would do decent jobs representing the U.S. to the world.
As for imagining them as President and analyzing what kind of President they would be, I strongly give Obama the edge here (this may seem contradictory with the previous paragraph). Hillary is a bad person, her husband is a bad person. She treats people poorly and is enamored with power; she has no moral compass whatsoever. Despite her more acceptable policy stances and experience, a Hillary presidency would be one term and mediocre. She would ultimately compare with Bush-41 in the Presidential rankings. Obama on the otherhand seems to be an honorable and honest person. I think he respects the office of the Presidency and would not do anything to shame it. He has a lot of potential. His presidency will either be a big success, putting him in the top 15 all time or a huge disaster. If I were a Democrat I would take the risk with Obama.