Mark Charalambous, June 8, 2008
Last year at the start of the presidential campaigns I correctly predicted John McCain would emerge as the Republican candidate; furthermore, that he would be elected as our next president. This was way back, before the Huckabee “surge,” when media pundits had already written McCain’s political obituary. To be fair, I also predicted that the Democratic Party candidate would be someone other than Clinton, Obama and Edwards.
McCain would win the nomination because all the other candidates had inherent deficits rendering them unacceptable to major segments of their party. McCain would win not so much because of his positives, but because on the balance he would be the only viable candidate without uncorrectable deficits.
|When one thinks of the phrase “Commander in Chief,” a pear-shaped woman in a pants-suit doesn’t come to mind. Any female candidate for President is a long shot at best — let alone a Wellesley-educated feminist — regardless of the media spin anointing Hillary the presumptive nominee at the start of the campaigns.|
However, I did not expect the sound and fury that erupted from conservative pundits opposing McCain. It’s possible that if Limbaugh, Hannity, Severin & Co. had realized earlier that McCain would be the people’s favorite, they would have unleashed their reprehensible attacks earlier (my personal favorite: “He’s wrong on torture...”), and might possibly have derailed his campaign. Thankfully, they lacked the foresight. Radio talk-show host Jay Severin, who never hesitates to remind his listeners of his vast political experience and God-like knowledge, declared McCain’s campaign dead in the water several times. Bear in mind, this is the same “genius” who predicted that the 2004 election would be determined by the “undecideds,” the soccer-moms et al, and implied in no uncertain terms that anyone who thought otherwise was an incompetent fool.
With respect to the Democrats, there was virtually universal agreement that after two terms of The Imbecile in the White House, the election would be theirs to lose. How then, could they nominate one of the top three, all clearly beatable candidates?
There has never been a female President. Ergo, no woman candidate can be perceived as “presidential,” assuming a rational interpretation of the word. When one thinks of the phrase “Commander in Chief,” a pear-shaped woman in a pants-suit doesn’t come to mind. Any female candidate for President is a long shot at best — let alone a Wellesley-educated feminist — regardless of the media spin anointing Hillary the presumptive nominee at the start of the campaigns.
Barack Obama, also by definition not “presidential” by virtue of being African-American, could overcome this, I thought, as America is essentially now a multi-racial society, and the electorate will not insist on a white president. America is, indeed, “ready” for an African-American president. This was demonstrated on the very first day of the campaign season proper by the overwhelmingly white voters of Iowa.
|In much the same manner as Bill Clinton claimed to be the first black president, Edwards at one point attempted to sell himself as the first “woman” president by trying to out-female Hillary on women’s issues and pushing his cancer-stricken wife into the limelight.|
However, the color that makes Obama a long shot is not black, but green. He suffers from too thin a resume to be electable. At least this was my reasoning at the time.
Edwards was also unelectable for reasons which should be obvious. There is only one person — possibly two if we grant him rights of matrimonial immunity, so to speak — who views this man as presidential. In much the same manner as Bill Clinton claimed to be the first black president, Edwards at one point attempted to sell himself as the first “woman” president by trying to out-female Hillary on women’s issues and pushing his cancer-stricken wife into the limelight. After abandoning his failing campaign when it became clear voters would not buy “President John Edwards” in any guise, he later fantasized about being the king or queen-maker by coyly holding back on his endorsement.
The man clearly lives in a fantasy world. He even graciously took it upon himself to announce that he would not accept the position of Vice President, apparently to spare Barack Obama any embarrassment should he have wanted him as his running-mate.
Essentially, I could not believe the Democratic Party movers-and-shakers would be so stupid as to throw away the presidency in a political climate where everything favored a Republican trouncing. On this I was wrong.
At this point, now that we have the presidential contenders, I make my prediction for McCain’s Vice-President pick: Mitt Romney.
The most important issue in the coming election will be the economy. By November, millions of Americans will have paid their first heating bill. Every American will have by then have gotten used to unrelenting sticker shock on everything from plane tickets to parsley. The economy will be first on everyone’s mind when they make their choices on November 2.
|Obama’s biggest electability problem now is a very simple one: patriotism. In the long run, Americans who will be wrestling with their decision on Election Day will ultimately not choose for President someone whose patriotism and love of country is questionable.|
McCain is perceived as weak, if not ignorant, on economic issues. He could pick a running-mate to help him regionally with one or more of the swing states in the election, or one to shore up a particular demographic, such as choosing Huckabee to get the blessing of the Christian Right. But I believe (and hope) he will recognize where the biggest electoral bang for the buck will come from: picking a nominee whose strong suit is the economy and business.
The main argument against Romney as the VP pick is the same one which doomed his presidential candidacy from the start: his religion. Christian conservatives make up a sizeable fraction of the Republican Party. To Christians, a Mormon is as much an apostate as a Muslim.
McCain himself is already damaged goods as far as the Christian Right is concerned— quite unfairly in my estimation. He is a practicing Christian, and, unlike other professed social conservatives, has always opposed abortion-on-demand and gay marriage. The antipathy of the Christian Right towards McCain has never been satisfactorily explained. I sense that there is more slander than real justification for it.
Nonetheless, it is likely that some part of the Christian Right will simply stay home on Election Day rather than vote for a Republican ticket containing McCain and a Mormon. The question becomes: can McCain afford to write off that fraction of the Republican base in the general election? The equation could be balanced like this: McCain’s loss of religious fundamentalists might be canceled by a similar loss to the other side of part of the Democratic base. Some women voters are declaring they will stay home on Election Day or vote for McCain because Hillary was entitled to the nomination, the argument being, simply: “It’s time.”
|Within the tapestry of the political experience of many African-Americans runs a thread of anti-Americanism. Until Obama’s candidacy, the inherent racism and anti-Americanism of Black Liberation Theology was ignored by the mainstream media owing to the double standards inherent in white liberal guilt.|
Political calculus involves measuring and weighing potential trade-offs. On the balance, the advantages of choosing Romney outweigh the deficits. Assuming no untimely personal medical crisis, the economy is McCain’s only substantial negative. I am not overlooking the war. Taken in the abstract, McCain’s position on the war is indeed a negative; however when considered in the light of one of his opponent’s deficits, the war alone will not prevent many anti-war voters from voting for him.
Obama’s biggest electability problem now is a very simple one: patriotism. In the long run, Americans who will be wrestling with their decision on Election Day will ultimately not choose for President someone whose patriotism and love of country is questionable.
We are, when all is said and done, a patriotic nation. This is unfortunate for Obama, a man who is a product of the African-American experience. Questions of Obama’s patriotism have been brought to light by the indelible video images of Reverend Wright. Within the tapestry of the political experience of many African-Americans runs a thread of anti-Americanism. Until Obama’s candidacy, the inherent racism and anti-Americanism of Black Liberation Theology was ignored by the mainstream media owing to the double standards inherent in white liberal guilt. Undoubtedly, Obama himself, a clearly brilliant politician, did not believe that his association with Black Liberation Theology would ever turn around to bite him because whites in the Democratic Party would always give it a pass. This was perhaps his only serious misjudgment in his own political calculus when he first began to chart his political ambitions.
When push comes to shove, Americans, including those who believe the war was a mistake, will vote for the truly, obviously, patriotic man—rather than the man who has at least the suspicion of a streak of anti-Americanism within him, and who happens to have as his wife a woman of whose anti-Americanism and even racism there is little doubt.
|As for Hillary Clinton, it is now clear what she really wants: a line in the history books that begins, “Hillary Clinton, the first woman ...”|
These deficits of Obama will outweigh McCain’s “wrong” position on the war, which has, at least for the present and assuming no new terrorist attack or new military adventures in Bush/Cheney & Co’.s waning days, receded to the background.
These deficits are so serious that they render Obama unelectable. In contrast to the past two presidential elections, with the above assumptions and McCain remaining healthy, this election will not be close. Choosing Mitt Romney would cinch the election for him. The Republicans will face a hostile Democratic Congress, but they will have at the head of the table the man that picks the next Supreme Court justices.
As for Hillary Clinton, it is now clear what she really wants: a line in the history books that begins, “Hillary Clinton, the first woman ...” The only thing left to complete that sentence is “Vice President.” Hillary will not be the Democratic nominee this time nor 2012, when she will be 65 years old. Our long national nightmare is indeed over.
However, rest assured, when the next viable female presidential candidate emerges, the rallying cry will be: “Remember Hillary!”
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Mark Charalambous is a Massachusetts resident and adjunct college instructor. He writes on social issues and is active in the Fathers Rights movement.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.