Republicans have struggled this election season to “energize the base”.
First, they trotted out Rudy Giuliani in drag and the base screamed “too East Coast.” Christian Conservatives didn’t think much of John McCain either remembering his comments from the 2000 race. Then Mitt Romney appeared to have the lead only to see it disappear when the base suddenly discovered he was a Mormon.
On the other hand, the base loves Mike Huckabee. So what’s wrong with him? His problem seems to be that he is the base. The unspoken rule of the Republican party is to pander to the base, not to actually elect them. That would be folly.
Huckabee turns economic conservatives off and the thought is that his belief in creationism makes him virtually unelectable.
How did John McCain end up then as the front runner? It seems that he’s the candidate that will least offend the base and is still popular with economic conservatives. No way will the base vote for someone who’s dressed in drag. No way will they vote for a Mormon.
So how then does the party hope to energize the base? Two words. Hillary Clinton.
Elizabeth Edwards got it right when she said that Hillary as the nominee would energize the base. And even if Barack Obama wins, they can try to win over the base by making fun of his name and indirectly with the threat of a black man in the White House.
But Clinton is the only candidate who a majority of Americans say they would not consider voting for. Over 50% say that they wouldn’t even consider voting for her.
Every Republican and most Independents I know hate her so much that they want to see her lose in the primaries even though a Hillary win would probably be better for them in a national election.
It’s unclear why some voters see Hillary as more electable. Maybe it’s because of the large early national lead she enjoyed. But she’s lost most of that lead? Is losing such a huge lead inspiring? The Obama campaign should be touting the mountain that they’ve climbed so far.
Hillary has made a case for being more experienced. But her “experience” lead her to write a blank check to Bush on the Iraq War. The question the Obama campaign and the media should be asking is, show me an example where your “experience” equated to solid judgement?
Marketing yourself as “experienced” is not the same as being experienced. The only fact that seems to back this up in even a perceived way is her age. If you look at the time they’ve both spent in government, it’s approximately the same. But this ploy seems to be working for her. Corporate news keeps repeating the “inexperienced” claim with little fact checking.
Very few people seem to be arguing what the facts seem to indicate: Edwards, Clinton, and Obama all seem to have about the same experience in government. Clinton has been a Senator for 8 years and has observed the Whitehouse as First Lady, Barack Obama has 3 years in the U.S. Senate and 8 years in the Illinois legislature, and John Edwards had 4 years to his resume (before he withdrew from the race).
If experience is truly the issue, it should be a simple matter for someone in the media to research their records and accomplishments and put together a side by side comparison. This would seem to me like something the public would want to know that might even sell papers for the media. Headline: Who’s the Most Experienced?
For now, I’ll leave that as a possible topic for a future post if I can find the funds for a research assistant. Or maybe I’ll write the Obama camp for a grant as they may have some money to spend.