September 29, 2008
A quick look at popularity polls in the United States suggests that the current Presidential election race is very close and could possibly ‘go either way’. But can it really? I would suggest that Obama is actually a solid 10 points behind and heading for a significant defeat.
Is the race not actually all over bar the shouting, and should we not simply get on with life and fixing the credit crunch rather than concentrating on who said what and when?
In previous years, I have made something of a habit of making election predictions, with some success I might add. Long suffering members of family, colleagues, friends and anyone unable to escape my pontifications would be subjected to a diatribe about the electioneering and spinning of stories…
I have managed to predict re-election for George W.Bush in the tightest race ever, a much reduced majority for Tony Blair and a mid-term bashing for Bush – though that took little effort. However, in this current presidential election I am already 0 for 1.
Early in 2008 I suggested that Mrs Clinton was such a tough and ruthless political operator that she would be the next president. My thinking was that she simply does not know how to lose and this would carry her through to ultimate victory. So much for that theory!
With hindsight, I am still convinced that she could have easily beaten any Republican candidate she faced. Easily. I am also convinced that an Obama / Clinton ticket would have been victorious.
Unfortunately for them both, the race for Democratic nomination became so tough and so bitter that Obama literally had to kill the Clinton campaign. This is the downside of not knowing how to lose – she also did not know when to quit.
As we have seen, the Clinton campaign gained massive support across America. She was clearly incredibly popular and would have brought many millions into voting booths nationwide. Obama’s problem is that after such a bitter fight, many of her supporters will probably not vote at all. This lack of voter turnout will be the major problem he has to overcome.
In contrast, the running mate selection of John McCain seems a little odd to say the least. Us Europeans fear that her lack of foreign policy experience will be a global catastrophe. Instead, the average American hears strong words and a no nonsense approach and approves.
The Republican trick will be to keep Palin away from interviews and debates for as long as possible. Having given an initial boost with her hockey-mom, beauty pageant, son going to Iraq story, she now needs to not be exposed to scrutiny that could highlight her lack of relevant experience for the job.
As hard as this may sound, the Republicans are already very skilled at this. As an example, I offer the current VP, Dick Cheney. How often do we see him on international news? Can the general public even remember what he looks like?
There have been jokes in the US for several years that Cheney is busy running wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from his ‘secret underground bunker’. He appears in public so rarely it seems that this may just be true.
Should Palin be able to join him for a few weeks and not make any blunders, the Republican Party will almost certainly be returned to power.
At the time of writing this in late September, the big day is between six and seven weeks away. My thoughts are now in print, my reputation is on the line and there is much that could still go right or wrong for either side.
Who do you think will win?financialguy