February 6, 2008


Hillary the lesser threat to McCain (Joseph Curl, February 6, 2008, Washington Times)

Sen. John McCain, who took a major step last night toward locking down the Republican nomination, matches up in a general election far better against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton than Sen. Barack Obama, according to election strategists and pollsters.

"With Hillary Clinton, John McCain would start as a very moderate favorite," pollster Scott Rasmussen said. "McCain would have the edge among independent voters. He is viewed very favorably by independents and Senator Clinton struggles in that area."

Pollster John Zogby agreed, saying, "Obama does better against McCain than Hillary does because she is so polarizing. ... A lot of people will simply be voting against her."

The senator from Arizona beats the senator from New York in 14 of 17 head-to-head polls taken since Dec. 6, but he wins just five of 17 against the senator from Illinois over the same period. Analysts say Mrs. Clinton is so divisive that she would drive moderates and some independents to Mr. McCain.

McCain Derangement syndrome on the Right really helps him in November, because his independence plays well in the middle and makes it hard for Hillary to demonize him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2008 12:54 AM

Meanwhile over at the Corner Mark Steyn is lamenting the fact that the GOP is stuck with McCain, but the Dems have two "super-duper" candidantes, we'll get crushed in Nov. etc.

I just don't get it.

The Dems have one candidate hated by half her party, and that same candidate has what, a 40% disapproval? Which means she's got a snowball's chance in hell of even approaching 50% come Nov.

And the other is a cypher running on the slogan of "Changiness." Which means McCain will be able to define him better than he defines himself. To say nothing of his hispanic problem.

And we're going to get crushed in Nov.?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 6, 2008 1:57 AM

It will be interesting to see how the general plays out. Orrin has been so dead on with backing McCain that the halo effect may be affecting our perception. I fell for his 60-40 Nation prediction and lost a $100 bet when we lost the Senate. I won $200 on Bush, but I donated more than that to his campaign, so that was little consolation. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Posted by: Patrick H at February 6, 2008 3:04 AM

Oj has really nailed this one. Very few on our side would be so deranged as to throw away the Supreme Court, the GWOT and the RKBA just because McCain isn't exactly our first preference. Mc Cain will do just fine.

Moreover, He would have the fate of the first Bush hanging over him, should he go all "kinder and gentler" on us.

McCain rather fits the image of a reverse Manchurian Candidate--a secret American who has spent years building up an image as a "non-Bush.".

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 6, 2008 3:04 AM

Patrick, I'm afraid you misunderstood the 60-40 nation concept. Orrin didn't exactly say that we would end up with 60 GOP Senators in 2006. There will always be (moderately conservative) Dems who get elected in red states and - especially - lousy candidates on the GOP side (Macaca Allen, anyone ?) in red states. On the other hand, there are still a few GOP Senators from blue states, although I don't think these seats can be defended once the incumbent retires.

Posted by: Peter at February 6, 2008 7:12 AM

Now Lou, don't get the wahoos like Bill Quick going on the Manchurian candidate stuff, or they'll be claiming McCain was lobotomized in Hanoi for just this moment.

I agree that there is entirely too much Edvard Munching ("The Scream") going on, particularly over Obama. As Joe Biden put it, he is articulate and can give a 'flighty' speech - but that is about it. The piece OJ posted yesterday about the infants born alive and Obama's indifference was just devastating. I don't see how he survives that in a general election.

Guys like Steyn and Hewitt keep saying that Obama has the youth, the ability to raise money, and the mojo (even Mr. Zen intimated that yesterday), but if they are despairing that he is a second JFK, they are ignoring that McCain is certainly not Richard Nixon. He has a funny side (although Republicans don't see much of it), he has the experience and the 'conservative' rating (although we may not believe it), and he has the foundation and history that Obama can only dream of. Now, it will take a deft touch for McCain to spell out his "ideas", whatever they are, for what he wants to do and to put down Obama at the same time. He can't leave it to the 527s, because they will probably cross the line, and there will surely be some sort of backlash. McCain has to make the argument himself that Obama is a vapor with an extreme voting record (whether yes, no, or present). McCain also does retail politics in a way that Nixon could only dream of.

Against Hillary, nothing more need be said.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 6, 2008 7:26 AM

Actually, it was I who underestimated how long W would leave troops in Iraq. 60 depended on leaving in '03.

Posted by: oj at February 6, 2008 9:16 AM

Fear of blacks is one of the wellsprings of neoconservatism. It's hardly surprising Obama scares them.

Posted by: oj at February 6, 2008 9:59 AM

I knew we wouldn't get to 60, but I only bet we'd hold the Senate. Of course even oj was predicting a possible loss of the Senate by election day, but that was too late. I'll still be betting on McCain since I have several liberals wanting to win their money back after the last Presidential election, and I've been torturing my friends by explaining why the Dems can't win due to race, sex and demographics, but that just drives them into a frothing fury.

Posted by: Patrick H at February 6, 2008 12:11 PM

I like McCain and I think he is stronger in the general election than either HRC or Obama.

Look, HRC is a liberal woman and (more importantly) a Clinton. I really think a sizable number of Democrats and Independents don't want to return to the Clinton years. I think her negatives are too high for the rest of the country.

Obama is a very liberal black man with little experience. Unfortunately, a sizable number of people are not going to vote for him because he is black. They should vote against him because his is liberal. On the other hand, some people are going to vote for him simply because he is black.

McCain is more appealing to swing voters. I think his only weakness is that he doesn't have executive branch experience; however, neither does HRC or Obama.

Posted by: pchuck at February 6, 2008 12:16 PM

Eli's getting sacked.

Posted by: ghostcat at February 6, 2008 1:29 PM


Here's an interesting question: how much more qualified is Mitt--a one term governor who did nothing and was afraid to run for re-election--than Obama?

Posted by: oj at February 6, 2008 3:20 PM


I think Mitt's weaknesses are:

1. He is a Mormon and people won't vote for him (unfortunate but true)
2. The perception that he flip-flops. What is it with Massachusetts and flip-flops? People think Mitt will say all the right things depending on the particular group he is speaking to.
3. He gives off the perception of being too smooth by a half.

In answering your question, 4 years as governor of a mid-major state is still 4 years governor of a mid-major state.

Didn't the Dems try that line of reasoning against George W. Bush in 2000 by saying he had no "real" experience because Texas had a "weak governor system"?

Anyhow, look at presidents since FDR and I believe only JFK was a sitting senator with little or no Executive branch experience. Ford doesn't really count. And sure LBJ was a Senate Majority Leader; however, he did have at least 2 years experience as VP.

Truman - VP experience
Ike - Head of SHAEF (being a 5 star general counts)
Nixon - VP experience
Carter - Governor of Georgia
Reagan - Governor of California
Bush - VP & Head of CIA
Clinton - Governor of Arkansas
Bush - Governor of Texas

Posted by: pchuck at February 6, 2008 4:26 PM

No, W was the re-elected governor of a large state who'd passed major legislation despite Democratic control.

Posted by: oj at February 6, 2008 8:48 PM