Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Clinton Comeback??

Last night was a saving grace for Clinton and the media has shifted its discourse overnight. However, early estimates show that she only cut into Obama's lead by 4 delegates. That means she needs to make up another 150 with only 611 left. More troubling is her turn to the negative; which appears to be a quadrennial Democratic habit to internally mar their own candidates. Last week, Clinton mocked Obama's message of hope and change -- showing her own cynicism and commitment to backing the status quo. This cynicism became even more apparent with her latest ads in Texas showing a child in bed and the old message of fear that seems to be all many Democrats have to offer.

As to McCain, I am very troubled by a tendency of the media and many democrats I know to assume he would govern from the middle. There was a point in his career when he was a renegade on some issues, but his current discourse seems to put him squarely in conservative quarters. To point:

1) He claims he will make Bush's tax cuts permanent, going against his own votes against those tax cuts at the time.
2) His position on Iraq seems almost delusional. He's happy to keep up there for a 100 years (in his own words) and continues to claim we are winning the "war."
3) After being a champion of campaign finance reform, he seems to have broken his own law to get extra money for his campaign at a crucial moment that all but guaranteed him the nomination.
4) He is essentially conservative on most social issues and will probably be in a position to elect a number of supreme court justices if he wins the election.
5) Conservatives will most likely unite behind him now and come out in large numbers, particularly if they face Hillary (or maybe even Obama, as a Black man). Democrats must be vigilant if they want to win what once looked like an easy victory.

One hopes democrats and independents will wake up to the facade that McCain is presenting to the public and recognize that there is more to leadership than a presumptive (and increasingly questionable) incantation to "integrity." One also hopes the media can put aside what has been a general reverence for Senator McCain to actually cover the issues and his questionable shift to conservatism in recent years. At least a boy can dream . . .