Friends, I come before you (figuratively speaking) to share my fears.
I’m afraid 2004 will repeat itself.
Before I get to the specific fear, let me lay out a little history for you. The first presidential election I was eligible to participate in was the 1992 election. What a time to be a registered Democrat, eh? Although the Democratic hegemony in the Florida Legislature was coming to a court ordered end, we were about to break in a Democrat in the big house for the first time in 12 years. Clinton spoke a good game, and as a junior at UF (the hotbed of Florida liberalism north of Lake Okeechobee), I got to see him do his spiel on the Reitz Union lawn with a few thousand of my fellow class ditchers. Those were heady times, but they didn’t last. Two years later I remember the commute to my first full time job after graduation (which I hated), listening to the reports on NPR about the death of universal health care legislation, followed a few months later by the dread, “Contract with America.”
I was a Gore guy in my college days, but I was hoping for Bradley in 2000. You know how that turned out.
I was an Edwards guy in 2004, and I was pulling for him again in ’08. You know how both of those turned out.
My second choice is Obama, but you’re smart enough to see my patern. I’m afraid my touch is only midas in Bizzaro World.
Now let’s move on to why I’m really afraid. It seems there’s a good chance the election will be McCain v Clinton. Obama still has a chance… a really good one, but the concept of superdelegates makes me very nervous (not to mention extremely cynical about the status of democracy in America – though I suppose it’s no worse than the status of democracy in America at any other time in our history – and I’m talking to you, smoke filled room!). I’m doing a lot of hemming and hawing here, and I suppose your probably ready for me to spell it out (if your still reading, that is). My fear is that McCain is the smart choice for the GOP, and Clinton is the worst. My fear is that McCain’s strength – based on his performances in primaries where independents can vote – is independent voters. The partisan GOP faithful are a lock for McCain, especially if Clinton is running – no matter what the big fat idiot says. If McCain’s inexplicable allure with independents can hold (despite his enthusiasm for a hundred years war in the middle east), he’s got as good a chance as any Republican to win the general.
So now the question is, who’s going to excite the base? Who’s going to get their party faithful out in numbers? Clinton’s got that history thing on her side which is good for more than a few votes, but there are a lot of folks that don’t see Clinton as a whole lot better than McCain on foreign policy issues, which hurts a bit. I figure those are a wash. And McCain? It’s well documented that the religious right HATE him, and this might be one of those times when hate REALLY isn’t too strong a word. On the other hand, I’m not sure those same folks would vote for Clinton if Jesus was her VP.
So the trick is, how does McCain get conservative voters to the polls… to pick him as the “lesser of the damned?”
I give you the defense of marriage amendment in Florida.
Hell, if it worked in ’04, why can’t it work again?
I don’t know what kind of shenanigans the GOP are up to in other states, but if this election goes like the last few, you just know Florida is going to be important.
So maybe McCain wouldn’t be so bad, right? He’s been referred to as the greenest GOP candidate, and he’s got a reputation as a GOP maverick for good reason. Still, calling him the greenest Republican seems a bit like calling me the smartest fuck-up in the room. There was a good piece on McCain on Salon this week, which seems to make a few pretty good points on why his Presidency would be a darker pigment on the color wheel.
Ah well. The nice thing about being wrong about politics is that I could be wrong about this too.