As one looks at the polls, the issues and the candidates, the election of 2008 resembles what poker players call a “lay-down hand.”
Two-thirds of the nation believes the Iraq war a blunder. Sixty-nine percent disapproves of President Bush. Eighty-one percent thinks America is on the wrong course.
Inflation is at 4 percent and rising. Unemployment is 5 percent and rising. Gasoline, heating oil and food prices are soaring. The dollar has lost half its values against the euro. Homes are being foreclosed upon at Depression rates. The stock market is in a swoon. And 3.5 million manufacturing jobs have vanished under Bush.
By all odds, Republican retention of the White House should be as imperiled as it was in 1932, when the hapless Herbert Hoover faced FDR.
Yet John McCain, who presides over a disconsolate party many of whose leading lights not only do not love him, they do not like him, is even money to be the next president of the United States.
What explains this?
Answer: Barack Obama, the probable nominee of the Democratic Party — his cool and pleasant demeanor aside, and his oratorical skills notwithstanding — is being steadily pushed by his own mistakes, and rivals Hillary Clinton and McCain, outside the social, cultural and ideological mainstream of American politics.
Hillary’s victory in Pennsylvania confirmed what Texas, Ohio and Florida hinted at. Barack has not closed the sale with Middle America. Moreover, he may never close the sale.
What is Barack’s problem?
Barack’s problem is social, cultural and ideological.
Increasingly, he is seen not as a man of the middle, but as radical chic, a man of the liberal and leftist elite who confides to closed-door meetings in San Francisco that folks in Pennsylvania cling to guns, Bibles and bigotries as crutches, because they cannot cope in the Global Economy and government has failed them.
He is seen as a man comfortable with friends still proud of the radical role they played planting bombs in the 1960s, a man who feels relaxed about sending his daughters on Sunday to hear the racist rants of an anti-American berserker.
And if your wife, beneficiary of a Princeton-Harvard Law education denied to 99.9 percent of the people, says she cannot recall ever being proud of America before now, folks are naturally going to be suspicious about why you dumped the American flag pin.
On the big issues of 2008 — amnesty, the hemorrhaging of American jobs, Iraq — McCain is on the same side as George Bush, whose approval rating is 28 percent. McCain can be defeated on those issues.
But if, with a little help from Hillary, McCain can paint Barack indelibly as a man of the trendy and radical left, he can win. America will have nowhere else to go.
Journalists disagree on whether immigration, Iraq or the economy will be the major issue in 2008. The real issue may be — and this is what is causing heart palpitations among Democrats — is Barack Obama one of us, or is he one of them?
Friday, April 25, 2008
Patrick J Buchanan has some things for Democrats and Barrack Obama to think about in his latest column.