Although I’m supporting John McCain for President in 2008, I have to admit that I’d rather see Hillary Clinton as his opponent. That’s not because I think she’d be a weaker candidate; it’s because I’d love to see that smug tin god, Barack Obama, humbled and forced to taste bitter defeat at Hillary’s hands.
Ironically, just a few months ago, I would loved to have seen Hillary beaten by Barack because she seemed to have such a sense of entitlement about the Democratic nomination. So now, the shoe is completely on the other foot.
Come to think of it, that may be Barack Obama’s only significant accomplishment: he has been the first Democrat who has ever made conservatives see any good at all in Hillary Clinton.
Additionally, in the spirit of Operation Chaos, I’d like to see the Democratic fight over the nomination be as long and bloody as possible. Moreover, believe it or not, I have developed the slightest twinge of “sympathy for the devil” since the mainstream media has started treating her like an “honorary Republican” for daring to try to defeat Obama.
So, when the MSM essentially adopts the Obama campaign’s position and argues that Hillary should get out now, even though she can still win, I feel the chivalrous urge, counter-productive though it may be, to defend her just a bit — especially since Hillary Clinton does have a very strong case to make to the Democratic superdelegates who will decide the winner of the race. What case would that be? Well…
1) Hillary’s voters are more likely to defect to McCain than Obama voters are if their candidate doesn’t get the nod. In fact, according to a Gallup poll last month, 19% of Obama voters would vote for McCain if Barack lost, but 28% of Hillary’s voters would do the same if the situation were reversed. Of course, the percentages wouldn’t turn out to be that high, but however you slice it, the conventional wisdom about Obama’s supporters being the ones that sit home or defect if he loses appears to be wrong.
2) According to a Bradley Effect happening in large swathes of the country that is making Obama’s numbers look 4-5 points higher than they are in reality. Take away that bump, especially in key states like Pennsylvania, and Obama would clearly be a weaker candidate against McCain than Hillary Clinton.
4) Hillary has beaten Obama in the large swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, and Ohio. Chances are, these states are going to decide who the winner of the 2008 election is and Hillary seems to be running stronger in all of them than Barack so far.
5) In a Republican winner take-all system, Hillary would be ahead of Obama. Granted, “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride,” but it’s still worth noting that Barack only has more delegates than Hillary because he has managed to game the Democrats’ wacky primary system.
6) Despite the fact that Obama is raising more money than Hillary, she is still out-raising McCain. Moreover, given that Hillary is beating Obama in states where he’s outspending her by a considerable margin (3 to 1 in Pennsylvania, for example), you have to question whether Obama’s fundraising prowess will turn out to be any more important than Howard’s Dean knack for raising cash was in 2004.
7) Although Hillary has a lot more baggage than Obama, she has also proven to be much more adept at dealing with scandal than Barack. Keep in mind that we’re talking about a guy who was so stunned by getting a few tough questions at an ABC debate that he cancelled his next debate in North Carolina. For all her faults, Hillary has proven that she can take the heat while Barack has looked like a bumbling wimp under fire.
8) Obama, who hasn’t even completed a single term in the Senate, comes across as unqualified when he’s up against a man with as much experience as McCain — especially if voters are worried about a 3 AM crisis. On the other hand, Hillary has completed a term in the Senate, has been re-elected, and since her husband was President, voters will give her some credit for his experience. McCain would still have an advantage over Hillary in the experience category, but many more voters would consider her to be at least qualified to do the job in the first place.
9) If Obama wins the Democratic nomination, it will only be because black voters overwhelmingly voted for him because he is black. That has been his ace in the hole so far, but it would mean nothing in a general election because black voters already break 90% towards the Democrats anyway. His other potent voting block, young voters, are notoriously unreliable. Today they may be pulling the lever for Obama, but in November, they may be too busy playing video games to show up and vote. On the other hand, Hillary’s strongest voting blocks, white women and older white voters, do show up to vote and they’re much more up for grabs in a general election than Obama’s core supporters.