VDH: They coulda had a contendah

posted at 10:30 am on August 7, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Victor Davis Hanson wonders when the Democrats will suffer buyer’s remorse.  He argues effectively that had Hillary Clinton shifted her campaign strategy a little earlier, the Democrats would have had a more seasoned nominee to face off against John McCain in a year that should be a Republican disaster.  Now, however, they have picked the one candidate who could gaffe his way out of the White House, and perhaps bolster Republicans around the country:

Second, many are beginning to notice how a Saint Obama talks down to them. We American yokels can’t speak French or Spanish. We eat too much. Our cars are too big, our houses either overheated or overcooled. And we don’t even put enough air in our car tires. In contrast, a lean, hip Obama promises to still the rising seas and cool down the planet, assuring adoring Germans that he is a citizen of the world.

Third, Obama knows that all doctrinaire liberals must tack rightward in the general election. But due to his inexperience, he’s doing it in far clumsier fashion than any triangulating candidate in memory. Do we know — does Obama even know? — what he really feels about drilling off our coasts, tapping the strategic petroleum reserve, NAFTA, faith-based initiatives, campaign financing, the FISA surveillance laws, town-hall debates with McCain, Iran, the surge, timetables for Iraq pullouts, gun control or capital punishment?

Fourth, Obama is proving as inept an extemporaneous speaker as he is gifted with the Teleprompter. Like most rookie senators, in news conferences and interviews, he stumbles and then makes serial gaffes — from the insignificant, like getting the number of states wrong, to the downright worrisome, such as calling for a shadow civilian aid bureaucracy to be funded like the Pentagon (which would mean $500 billion per annum).

If the polls are right, a public tired of Republicans is beginning to think an increasingly bothersome Obama would be no better — and maybe a lot worse. It is one thing to suggest to voters that they should shed their prejudices, eat less and be more cosmopolitan. But it is quite another when the sermonizer himself too easily evokes race, weekly changes his mind and often sounds like he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

Well, maybe.  After a season of Barack Obama as the nominee and his serial gaffes and contortionist flip-flops, it’s easy to forget that Hillary could have been even worse for the Democrats.  Early on, Republicans salivated at the thought of having Hillary as a fundraiser, tapping into the palpable hatred of the Clintons to fire up the base regardless of who the GOP nominated to run against her.  Thanks to the long track record of the Clintons, they had plenty of ammunition to remind people just how tawdry their first occupancy of the White House turned out to be.

Hanson’s correct about how poor a campaigner Obama turned out to be, though.  In the primaries, he started off surprisingly strong for a man who spent less than two years in national office, but he also didn’t have to endure much scrutiny from the press — because everyone assumed Hillary would win anyway.  Not until he won Super Tuesday and the rest of February did the media finally get around to asking tough questions — and he more or less fell apart.  He barely managed to hold onto the delegate lead as Hillary crushed him in the final four months of the primary campaign.

Now he’s on the stage alone, and he still cannot gain traction, even with the media returning to their fawning.  Obama attracted an all-star media entourage for his World Tour, only to find that he actually lost ground in the polls for his troubles.  He twice smeared McCain as a racist, only to backpedal when some reporters demanded evidence for the charge and found it baseless.  Obama cannot break free of his ties to radical environmentalists on energy policy at a time when Americans have become fed up with obstructionism on increasing domestic supply — a situation in which the Clintons would have long ago triangulated to the center.

Now Hillary says she wants a floor vote at the convention, to soothe the bruised feelings from the primaries and promote party unity.  Obama has to resist this, because some Democrats may already be feeling that buyer’s remorse Hanson suggests.  Rather than a show of unity, a floor vote could easily turn into a no-confidence measure for the man who has not yet wrapped up the nomination.  The only thing keeping it from turning into that is the fact that Hillary might actually be worse.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

GO HILLARY. FLOOR VOTE FLOOR VOTE.

Of course the Democrats hate voting… that’s why they left for vacation

originalpechanga on August 7, 2008 at 10:33 AM

If you smear a white man as a racist (you know, the guy with the Bangladeshi daughter) IS that racist?

originalpechanga on August 7, 2008 at 10:34 AM

1968 all over again. NICE!

ConservativePartyNow on August 7, 2008 at 10:37 AM

OK, everyone sing along!!

OOOHHHH, the wheels on the bus…Keep falling off, falling off, falling off

Oh, the wheels on the bus keep falling off, All Season long!!

Ah, a floor vote.

One can only dream

Markvike on August 7, 2008 at 10:38 AM

There is no way that Hillary could be worse than Obama. The entire nation is in peril if Obama wins. For the good of the country, I prefer Hillary as a candidate, even if this makes electing my preferred candidate, McCain, harder.

NaCly dog on August 7, 2008 at 10:38 AM

Well, people vote the other way when they feel economic troubles.

The idiot Dems are running the house and Sentate, so it’s possible that people will vote against them.

They came into office just a bit too soon to help out the Jesus of Obama.

benrand on August 7, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Ahhh, the long lasting effects of Operation Chaos.

redrock on August 7, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Now Hillary says she wants a floor vote at the convention, to soothe the bruised feelings from the primaries and promote party unity.

Obama has come out publicly and now wants all of Florida and Ohio delegates seated… he sent a letter to the credentials commitee about it.

That changes the whole dynamic. It puts Hillary withing striking distance if there is a vote… Superdelegates become even more important… and the list of Obama bought superdelegates is getting airplay on the web amongst democrats.

Most people are not really hypocrits… and the selected not elected mantra still has legs amongst Dems…

Just a question of whether the SuperDelegates are honest politicians or not (ie, honest politician is one who STAYS bought).

Romeo13 on August 7, 2008 at 10:43 AM

I can easily see Obama being thrown under his own bus by the superdelegates, if it comes to a floor vote. There isn’t enough popcorn in the world for an event like that.

Scott P on August 7, 2008 at 10:44 AM

Operation Chaos number 2.

Winebabe on August 7, 2008 at 10:44 AM

I’ve been watching this most ridiculous of political barn dances for months now, and it greatly cheers me to state, once again, that God is in charge.
God haters, please stop reading and go be brilliant on someone else’s comment.
I know that God is in charge of every molecule of our existence. I don’t worry. Think about that. I don’t worry, am not afraid, have no fear of anything. Whoever sits in the Oval office, God is in Heaven, and there is nothing to worry about.
Obama is doing so poorly that Clinton might jump back in to ‘save her party’ from the debacle of losing to McCain.
McCain is the poorest mock Conservative ever to get the Republican nomination. One of these three WILL be President.
If I had no faith in God, that would certainly be a scary proposition…but all is well, and I don’t worry. Mighty cool.

Doug on August 7, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Ewwww… new McCain add….

Most of the Senators and House Reps are Super Delegates, and they are playing Kingmaker for the Dem primary….

/cut to Nancy, and Harry, and isn’t ColdCash Jefferson a super del? Pic of him…

And simple voice over, “Do you want the failed House and Senate selecting YOUR next President?”

Romeo13 on August 7, 2008 at 10:46 AM

I can easily see Obama being thrown under his own bus by the superdelegates, if it comes to a floor vote. There isn’t enough popcorn in the world for an event like that.

Scott P on August 7, 2008 at 10:44 AM

It’s the only reason I’ll be watching the Dumbocrat Convention. The superdels might actually (probably) come to there senses.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on August 7, 2008 at 10:46 AM

I would like to see the statistics on how many are going through buyers remorse now that we have Juan as the republican candidate.

Maybe if he were to pick Gingrich for VP …

DannoJyd on August 7, 2008 at 10:48 AM

I’m going against the grain on this. Obama needs a major upside surprise to stop the bleeding. I predict he will make all the libs swoon again. He will pick Hillary Clinton as his veep. I’m thinking she is now resigned that her only chance is to wait 8 more years. I could be wrong but she would still be younger than McCain is now.

Hummer53 on August 7, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Hillary wants a convention fight and is lining up Super Delegates right now! The RAT convention is going to be big fun!

sabbott on August 7, 2008 at 10:56 AM

I’m with you, Hummer…I think Hillary has kept a low profile since June precisely so she could position herself as the Band-Aid needed by the party to stop the bleeding…she hasn’t done anything to help Obama but she hasn’t done anything to piss him off either. Obama’s other potential running mates really pale in comparison to Hillary. They are either too green themselves or too old-time Washington. I think the two camps are just trying to figure out which island they ship Bill off to until November.

rockmom on August 7, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Fourth, Obama is proving as inept an extemporaneous speaker as he is gifted with the Teleprompter

i cannot wait for the debates. obama’s propensity to literally hem and haw through his off the cuff answers to easy questions makes me think he’ll totally melt down when the maverick pounds him with tough ones.

DrW on August 7, 2008 at 11:07 AM

she is now resigned that her only chance is to wait 8 more years. I could be wrong but she would still be younger than McCain is now.

Hummer53 on August 7, 2008 at 10:49 AM

I don’t think she’d have to wait 8 years. McCain has strongly hinted that he is only interested in one term.

I also don’t think Hillary would do herself much good by agreeing to be Obama’s VP choice (even if he asked). If, as seems likely, he were to be a failure as president, then Hillary would be tainted with that failure also, if she agreed to be his VP. If, by some miracle, Obama was a success in his first term and won re-election to a second term, by the end of that term voters would undoubtedly be sick of that administration and would likely be looking to make a change — something that an 8-year VP like Hillary would not be. So hooking up with Obama looks like a lose/lose proposition for Hillary. She’s better off waiting for 2012.

AZCoyote on August 7, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Rather than a show of unity, a floor vote could easily turn into a no-confidence measure for the man who has not yet wrapped up the nomination. The only thing keeping it from turning into that is the fact that Hillary might actually be worse.

You say this as if it were a bad thing. ;-0

In case you haven’t noticed Republicans aren’t exactly salivating at the idea of a President McCain. I would suggest that buyer’s remorse is the theme of both conventions this year(still have yet to see one yard sign for either candidate).

highhopes on August 7, 2008 at 11:12 AM

I don’t think she’d have to wait 8 years. McCain has strongly hinted that he is only interested in one term.

All the more reason why his VP choice has to be somebody to the far right of his liberal agenda.

highhopes on August 7, 2008 at 11:13 AM

This shows the weakness of his Alinksy-type organizing method. Bringing together disparate groups with one or two common issues works fine if you’re anklebiting some flakcatcher in the neighborhood, but it falls waaaay short when you’re trying to convince Americans they should let you run their big, powerful nation.

PattyJ on August 7, 2008 at 11:15 AM

I wonder if anyone will ever make the case that an Obama presidency would be equally weak and ripe for crippling through opposition, culminating in a White House takeover in ’12 with a real candidate. The military culture is already changing to handle the challenges of the next 10 years, so inertia is on our side. And Obama is such a limp fish that he’ll likely do whatever he’s told will make him more popular.

spmat on August 7, 2008 at 11:19 AM

it’s easy to forget that Hillary could have been even worse for the Democrats.

.
I still think Obama is the weaker candidate. The devil (Hilary) you know is better than the devil (Obama) you don’t know (to swing voters). The good news is that Obama is not likely to win, and if Herself takes away the nomination in Denver, the minority revolt will kill her in November. Also, if she takes the VP slot and loses, she will be damaged goods in 2012, and if dems were to manage to win with her as VP, the odds of her getting POTUS decrease as well.

Think_b4_speaking on August 7, 2008 at 11:20 AM

The comments by VDH represent the best summary of what is wrong with “The One” that I have ever seen. They should be McCain commercial!

Star20 on August 7, 2008 at 11:22 AM

I smell a dem coup with the Clintons leading it.

Let the countdown to Denver begin.

swami on August 7, 2008 at 11:23 AM

If given a public forum, Hillary will prevent convention boredom. If denied a forum, watch the DNC support wane nationally. Obama: easy come, easy go.

maverick muse on August 7, 2008 at 11:23 AM

A Hillary nomination would be very dangerous now… in an attempt to make up for their thoughtcrime of not backing her, the media would instantly annoint her the “Comeback Kid” and the hosannas and rose-petal-strewing would be mind-boggling. She would be made into a very dangerous opponent for McCain.

I think we need an “Operation Prom King” to make sure the Lightweight Lightworker gets crowned.

drunyan8315 on August 7, 2008 at 11:27 AM

pass the popcorn…

D2Boston on August 7, 2008 at 11:27 AM

I wonder if anyone will ever make the case that an Obama presidency would be equally weak and ripe for crippling through opposition, culminating in a White House takeover in ‘12 with a real candidate.

Not anyone with any sense. No prominant Republican.

The only people making this case, are in the comment sections on blogs. Because it makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever.

No public figure with a reputation to protect, will make the case that it’s better for the Republicans in the long run, if Obama takes the White House and the Democrats expand their majority in the House and Senate.

That’s the military equivelent of handing over a large swath of valuable territory under your control, in the hopes that you can eventually win a war to regain it. It makes no sense.

NoDonkey on August 7, 2008 at 11:29 AM

Burn baby burn!

Akzed on August 7, 2008 at 11:31 AM

I don’t see Hillary taking the VP.

1. If McCain wins she is shoe in for donk President candidate in 2012.

2. If Obama wins it will be 4 years of very bad times and she can’t be tainted by that.

3. Billy Jeff doesn’t want to be the first President to be married to the first woman VP.

jukin on August 7, 2008 at 11:32 AM

That’s the military equivelent of handing over a large swath of valuable territory under your control, in the hopes that you can eventually win a war to regain it. It makes no sense.

Are you saying that no military unit has ever retreated, regrouped and ultimately won?

MarkTheGreat on August 7, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Are you saying that no military unit has ever retreated, regrouped and ultimately won?

No good one has unnecessarily retreated, in order to pay for the same ground twice.

Losing begets losing. If the Democrats take all three branches this fall, their fundraising and political power will go through the roof.

The GOP will be significantly weakened. Fundraising will plummet. Good candidates will stay away. Why waste your time trying to get elected, when even if you do, you’ll be in an irrelevant minority party.

Keeping the White House (at least), will keep us in the game.

NoDonkey on August 7, 2008 at 11:50 AM

As long as Hillary doesn’t become the POTUS nominee, I think McCain wins easily in November.

connertown on August 7, 2008 at 11:56 AM

I can see the carnage now. If Hillary pulls a coup, the dems can kiss the african-american vote good bye for a generation

ConservativePartyNow on August 7, 2008 at 11:58 AM

Hillary has been priming the pump with her statements over the past couple of weeks. Her comment that while she has kept her promise to raise funds for Obama, he broken his promise to raise money for her is sure to trigger a strong reaction among her supporters at the convention. The “dissing” aspect of this will light some fires in the hall in Denver.

It beggars the imagination that the Clintons went away gracefully and haven’t been planning some kind of retaliation.

in_awe on August 7, 2008 at 12:02 PM

“Now Hillary says she wants a floor vote at the convention, to soothe the bruised feelings from the primaries and promote party unity.”

Damned right ‘buyer’s remorse’ may turn things upside down. Also throw in that Hillary! is pissed because the Chosen One hasn’t help retire her campaign debt. Don’t get between a Clinton and their money.

Denver! Denver! Denver!

GarandFan on August 7, 2008 at 12:06 PM

No democrat can win without solid black support. If Hillary wins the nomination, McCain gets 100% of the black vote.

pedestrian on August 7, 2008 at 12:33 PM

OOOHHHH, the wheels on the bus…Keep falling off, falling off, falling off

Oh, the wheels on the bus keep falling off, All Season long!!Markvike on August 7, 2008 at 10:38 AM

It doesn’t need wheels; all those people he’s thrown under it can carry it.

RDuke on August 7, 2008 at 12:42 PM

No democrat can win without solid black support. If Hillary wins the nomination, McCain gets 100% of the black vote.

Or they’ll sit at home, which is even better. Might be able to pick off some House seats as well.

NoDonkey on August 7, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Any Operation Chaos delegates to the Democrat convention need to vote for Hillary, regardless of how they are pledged to vote.

If she wins the nomination, the African-american vote would stay home in droves.

The only thing that could make this election better is if there was a Republican in the general election…

Right_of_Attila on August 7, 2008 at 1:09 PM

“Victor Davis Hanson wonders when the Democrats will suffer buyer’s remorse.”

If it happens earlier than when looking at the election results come in on Nov 4, I think it will still happen after they put paid to Obama’s nomination at the end of the month.

The strongest faction in the Dem Party is the socialists/marxists. They are the loudest, the pushiest, the ones that ostracize those among them with faint or weak hearts. There aren’t enough centrists with the gumption to take coalesce and take them on.

This socialist/marxist faction also see the Republicans as soft, a weak horse, more than willing to compromise and appease to compete rather than as the faction that is willing to play above-board, be well intentioned, and civil for the common good. Owing to the people they now have in leadership positions in the party, they feel the time is right for an all out strike to achieve their philosophical goals they’ve slowly, painstakingly and disingenuously pursued for decades. They think their success is a gimme now and nothing can stop it, especially with additional good fortune of having Obama at the head of the ticket. It’s partly why you have heard so many philosophical “Freudian slips” coming from the mouths of their politicians, their acolytes and supporters.

No, the Dems will not have buyers remorse until it is too late.

Dusty on August 7, 2008 at 2:13 PM

Hillary can still get the nomination, no supers have actually cast a ballot yet. An they all see Hussein is unelectable. You know this could all be a rope a dope on Capt. Amnesty. He is all ready campaigning against the messiah, so if the dems choose the harridan he’s got a whole new ball game.

dogsoldier on August 7, 2008 at 3:09 PM

Doug on August 7, 2008 at 10:45 AM
Doug, do you remember the persecution that Paul endured? God was not only in charge, but he was the one directing Paul’s ministry and when Paul disobeyed the Holy Spirit and still went to Jerusalem, in spite of God’s three warning, he had to suffer the consequences. I agree, God is in control, but he expects us to use the brains he gave us and to stand against evil, which Obama represents.

flytier on August 7, 2008 at 3:49 PM

CHAOS!

ThePrez on August 7, 2008 at 4:14 PM

I would suggest that buyer’s remorse is the theme of both conventions this year(still have yet to see one yard sign for either candidate).

highhopes on August 7, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Maybe the parties could swap do-overs?

The GOP will be significantly weakened. Fundraising will plummet. Good candidates will stay away. Why waste your time trying to get elected, when even if you do, you’ll be in an irrelevant minority party.

NoDonkey on August 7, 2008 at 11:50 AM

Yeah, I remember well the Golden Age of Liberalism that Jimmy Carter ushered in. Nobody would even admit to being a Republican for decades after Carter’s two successful terms. How many presidential elections after Carter was elected did it take for a half-decent Republican presidential candidate to emerge? Hundreds. Maybe thousands.

And then there was Clinton. The House turned into a Democrat playground thanks to Clinton’s presidency. What did they have, about 350 Representatives?

misterpeasea on August 7, 2008 at 4:18 PM

No public figure with a reputation to protect, will make the case that it’s better for the Republicans in the long run, if Obama takes the White House and the Democrats expand their majority in the House and Senate.

Uh.. Other than 2002, opposition parties win off-year elections. And we’d be winning in this year’s Congressional races if we weren’t wasting as much time, money and energy on McCain. He’s spent the last 8 years making a name for himself on the backs of conservatives and conservative causes, and now he’s sucking up the oxygen from Congressional candidates. In the end, even if he were to maximize his position, the best he’ll manage is a squeaker, after which we will see a strengthening of the Democrat’s position in the Congress.

You say I’m suggesting a blind retreat. I’m not. I’m suggesting a gambit. Give up the presidency, take back the Congress and cripple Obama’s administration. Carter couldn’t have done what he did without a strong power-base in Congress. Neither will Obama.

McCain as President means McCain as head of the GOP, which means significant damage to conservative presence in the party. We win the ring but lose our soul. What’s worse, a McCain win means further loses in Congress during the off-year in ’10. Basically, you have the same situation Reagan was in in 1980 without a Reagan to fight a Tip O’Neal and an entrenched Democrat opposition. It’s a Pyrrhic victory. A return to the GOP under Nixon and Ford.

spmat on August 7, 2008 at 4:35 PM

If I had no faith in God, that would certainly be a scary proposition…but all is well, and I don’t worry. Mighty cool.

Doug on August 7, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Exactly. As a Republican, I welcome all faiths (or lack of one) as a fellow voter. However, when one studies conservatism, there is a clear, historical connection to the Bible and its principles that give us our soul and ultimate redemption. To delete that connection eventually makes us liberals, as they are grounded in humanistic agnosticism. To believe in God means you are not your own boss, but that’s why we relax– we are kept eternally safe by our Father. The country may go to hell, but our inheritance is secure.

I did not always believe this– it came about from many hours of studying, comparative “shopping” and critical evaluation. It was well worth effort.

leftnomore on August 7, 2008 at 5:22 PM

I can see Herself trying to steal the nomination back from Barry. It was supposed to be hers by popular acclaim, no need for all that voting nonsense. She does nothing for Barry as VP other than maybe calm down the PUMAs. She’s still divisive enough to stir up lots of hatred even running as Number 2. Barry will have to spend all his time from August watching for the blade to the back or the cut brake line or the nicotine sulfate in the coffee, etc. It is not in Herself’s vile nature to settle for the VP slot when she was obviously meant to be POTUS.

GeneSmith on August 7, 2008 at 5:30 PM

For me, the money quote in Hanson’s article was,

“In a tough year like this, Democrats could probably have defeated Republican John McCain with a flawed, but seasoned candidate like Hillary Clinton.”

Excuse me, but what on earth are conservative writers doing advising the Democratic Party about how they could do better / be more effective / win ?!!?

This is nothing short of H-U-B-R-I-S on the part of the embarassing “Doctor” Hanson…even if he thinks he is continuing “Operation Chaos” in a cool way….I consider it counterproductive and full of sickly over-confidence at the least….

Lockstein13 on August 7, 2008 at 6:12 PM

I promise not to gloat
I promise not to gloat
I promise not to gloat…!!!lol!

jerrytbg on August 7, 2008 at 9:04 PM

flytier on August 7, 2008 at 3:49 PM-as I said, God is in control of every molecule of our existence; our failures in no way confound or frustrate God. He knows our frail frame.
I think that we who are conservative carry a list around in our heads of WHY we believe that the policies of the Liberals are ‘evil’. Protecting “Abortion” is high on mine. Also their
continue use of class/racial warfare to maintain their hold on their ‘base’. No one should be treated as a criminal simply because they have achieved wealth, or lack pigment.
How many Liberals do you know that have taken a vow of poverty?

Doug on August 8, 2008 at 1:05 AM