ENPR: Obama in the Driver's Seat, but Florida and Michigan Fights Loom
Posted 03/12/2008 ET
Updated 03/12/2008 ET
Updated 03/12/2008 ET
- The principal cause for Democratic dismay and Republican hope in the presidential race is the bitterness among Democratic voters as a result of the Obama-Clinton competition. Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) has been a passionate favorite of black voters, who say they will not vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) if she "steals" the nomination. To a lesser extent, white Clinton voters are saying they could never support Obama.
- Such internal anger usually fades once the nominee is actually selected. Nevertheless, the racial nature of Democratic struggles worries party insiders. The racial divide on the Obama-Clinton dispute is widening, helped along by Geraldine Ferraro's recent comments (see below).
- Democratic leaders are still absolutely determined that the nomination will be decided before the delegates convene in Denver the last week in August. Since neither Obama nor Clinton will be able to get a majority of delegates after the primaries (even after possible re-votes in Michigan and Florida), the super-delegates must name the winner on the basis of which candidate has the momentum. Obama has the edge, but his nomination is not certain.
- Nobody absolutely rules out the possibility that Denver could become the first truly contested Democratic convention since Chicago in 1952. But it surely would be ugly, with possible credentials fights. Republicans can only pray that this happens.
- Conservative resistance to Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) as Republican nominee is predictably fading, but the McCain campaign has serious problems. It has neither a policy nor an organizational plan for a general election campaign. McCain needs to be convinced that he cannot continue with his primary election mantra.
- Obama and Clinton have joined McCain in supporting the earmark moratorium proposed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C) as a budget amendment, opposed by the Senate leadership of both parties. The "task force" of Republican senators named by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to solve the earmark problem is actually an abandonment of the issue.
- Supreme Court oral arguments on 2nd Amendment gun ownership rights also have the GOP missing the boat. The Bush Administration, reflecting the position of Justice Department career lawyers, takes an equivocal position on individual gun rights while Obama has taken a stronger pro-gun position than President Bush's official stance. The saving grace is Vice President Dick Cheney's unprecedented pro-gun intervention in his constitutional role as President of the Senate.