07 September 2008

The New Democrats?

A few months back, when it became obvious that Sen John McCain would win his party’s nomination, I stumbled across a link for McCain-Palin ’08 on an internet site. I clicked and was taken to a website where some folks were running a blog based campaign to get the Alaskan Governor nominated as McCain’s VP. Democracy and the internet: perfect together. “Thanks, Al.” Then, I thought to myself-“dream on.”

Fast forward to Friday and this woman gets picked and I’m dumbfounded and I’m saying to myself, “that’s the lady from the blog!”

I immediately went to the bastion of conservatism that is Babalú and expected Henry George and Mike to be denouncing the pick, but to my surprise, they as well as most conservatives were delighted with the pick. I was shocked. Conservatives are a critical lot. Even uber McCain critic Rush Limbaugh donned the Arizona Senator “John McBrilliant.”

I don’t know too many conservatives, but the few I know love the Alaskan Governor. A few Libertarians, ditto.

My many Liberal friends were at first giddy then angry.

The lady from the great white north is a threat. And after her speech on Wednesday what I first thought to be a gimmicky pick turned real serious, real fast.

I was talking to a friend who kept arguing that Govenor Palin was even less experienced than Senator Obama. I’ve seen pundits on TV argue that since Obama has been running his Presidential campaign for over a year that he does have enough “executive” experience to compete with Palin’s.

This all may or may not be true, even academic, but the Democrats are arguing whether or not their Presidential candidate is worthy of a spot on the Republican ticket and whether he’s stronger candidate than a “girl.” Subtly, the argument has turned into whether Senator Obama is fit to be second fiddle. He’s vying for first and he’s essentially competing for fourth place in the presidential ticket experience sweepstakes.

A while back I was co-hosting Babalu’s Internet Radio show and Henry Gomez asked me which Democrat I like and who I would be voting for. As a joke, I said I would be supporting Senator McCain-the best Democrat running.

After McCain’s convention, that idea of “RINO” McCain as a Democrat doesn’t seem like much of a joke anymore. Senator McCain and Palin have taken the mantle of fighting for the little guy from the Democrats who have now taken the mantle of fighting for the State from the European social democracies.

McCain’s true and tried creed of putting country first and the people before party resonates with the little guy. His history as well as his pick of a small town mom as a running mate highlights that he means what he says. Under his leadership the Republican Party is looking to refocus its historical affinity for individual rights to “fight” for the welfare of common, working class small town Americans. This demographic, forgotten and taken for granted, has always been the bread and butter of the democratic party and constituted the vast majority of the Reagan Democrats-people who just want an opportunity to fend for themselves and get ahead through their own efforts and hard work. These are folks that are not interested in handouts but in opportunity.

The Democratic strategy is to say that a McCain presidency would be just a continuation of Bush-Cheney only it is well known that McCain has been Dubya’s Republican nemesis for eight long years.

Senator Obama, on the other side, is asking us to believe:

He is asking the traditional Democratic small town working stiff voter to believe and cling to the hope that he will make things better after he disrespected them by suggesting that what was wrong with them is that they bitterly cling to God and guns and antipathy to people who aren’t like them.

Most working class Democratic voters probably have no use for Peter Pan politics where the candidate depends on the beliefs of the would be voters in order to achieve a fairy tale promised land that will take care of the constituents. They prefer common sense.

With Palin’s pick, the Republicans are looking to rebuild a new voting coalition by appealing to the traditional Republican base and expanding the tent to include working class Democrats, women and Catholics, all early indications are is that the McCain-Palin will be able to achieve this, even if only modestly. But any amount of votes you are able to skim from swing constituencies in key battleground swing states are pure gold in a close election.

The Obama-Biden ticket continues to try to attract those that are disaffected and unhappy with the current state of affairs in the country. Given the approval rates of President Bush and the current congress, the mortgage crisis and the energy price crisis, there’s plenty of voters to attract.

The one problem with this coalition is that in order to grow it, you have to preach doom and gloom while preaching hope at the same time. This from a candidate who claims to be above the negative politics of old.

No comments: