Is Barack Obama Electable?

This started out as a reply to a friend’s email who asked the question, and despite my wanting needing to come up for air from the political waters for a day or two to avoid an early repeat of 2004 where my frustrations got the better of me and my cynicism hit new lows, it evolved into this post…

It’s a fair question that we really won’t know the answer to until it’s actually an option, but I’d say Obama is as electable as Hillary Clinton, if not a bit more so.  She’s a known entity and there’s a pretty large group of people on both sides of the divide who simply won’t vote for her, no matter who her opponent is.

I’ve got one foot in that camp myself thanks to the way she and Bill have been campaigning lately.

She’s got several old sets of baggage she’s carrying around from the 90s — failed health care proposal; NAFTA; DOMA; “don’t ask, don’t tell”; her refusal to release her sealed records from the 90s until after the election — not to mention what’s perhaps the biggest set that’s been pretty much overlooked because she’s a Clinton: she’s a woman. There are as many people in this country who won’t vote for a black man as there are who won’t vote for a woman, and if there was a way to pull back the curtain and see what’s really happening out there, I think you’d find a lot of them [not ALL of them, and not even a majority] are supporting John Edwards right now as a way to hide that bias, perhaps even from themselves.

As for the Republican contenders, they’re dealing with a seriously fractured party that doesn’t appear ready to compromise just yet. The longer Thompson and Giuliani stay in the mix, and as long as Ron Paul continues to play the reasonably well-funded Sharpton/Kucinich role, the better the Democrats’ chances are in November… as long as they don’t tear each other apart like Bill Clinton seemed intent on encouraging over the past week.

It’s ironic that he referred to nominating Obama as a “roll of the dice” when both currently leading candidates represent a significant gamble of one sort or another. I’d argue that a bet on Obama has a lot more upside than one on the Clintons, though. We pretty much know what to expect from the Clintons, while Obama offers that along with the potential for so much more.

The worst thing that can happen over the next couple of weeks is that those supporting Obama give in and vote for Clinton in the primaries due to some misguided ideas about electability. That’s exactly what gave us Kerry vs. Bush four years ago and that worked out really well, didn’t it?

Keep your head up!

ETA: I posted this as a comment on Phil West’s blog in reference to a potential Clinton/Obama ticket.

<< (As much as you think you hate Clinton/Obama, you don’t, really.)  >>

Oh but I do. I really do! Barring some amazing rationalization for it, it would be a hypocritical turn of events for Obama, especially in light of how he’s now (thankfully) pushing back against Bill, effectively calling him an outright liar on GMA this morning. It also would be the kind of imbalanced ticket with huge cracks in the seams that the Republicans would be able to drive a Hummer through leading up to November.

I said back in 2004 when I wasn’t feeling Kerry (and my disdain for the Clintons goes way beyond my relative lack of interest in him) that I rathered Bush win than settle for the incremental changes a President Kerry would deliver because the Dems clearly needed another wake up call. They got one, and Obama’s answering it while Clinton’s trying to hit the snooze button once again.

I’m still on the fence about how I’d vote in November with Clinton as the Dem nominee, regardless of who her VP is, but in that scenario Bloomberg is almost guaranteed to run and I’d definitely be leaning towards supporting him.

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