April 11, 2008


Can McCain Win Massachusetts? (Anil Adyanthaya, 4/11/08, Real Clear Politics)

Most of the time Obama is a stalwart Democrat. According to Congressional Quarterly, he has voted with his party on approximately 97% of the party-line votes that have taken place during his time in the Senate. This result should be no surprise, of course, given his National Journal ranking as the most liberal U.S. senator.

Now contrast this with McCain, who has been excoriated by other Republicans for his consistent collaboration with Democrats on highly politicized issues such as campaign finance, immigration and judicial nominees. What has led McCain to be so criticized by other Republicans - his genuine independence - is precisely what makes him so appealing to independents and preferable to Obama's facade of bipartisanship. [...]

[Mitt] Romney was a competent and respected governor and his presence on the ticket would remind Massachusetts voters of everything they do not have in their current governor Deval Patrick, whose governorship to this point has been heavy on public relations gaffes and legislative failures and light on any real accomplishment. Even better for McCain, Patrick is a key Obama adviser and Obama's political and rhetorical doppelganger. Like Obama, Patrick was a liberal unknown who used lofty words - on occasion, the exact same words Obama uses today - and the promise of change to talk his way to electoral success.

Patrick's dismal gubernatorial performance likely was another factor in Obama's poor showing in this state, as Bay Staters were justifiably skeptical of a candidate who offered hope and change with little specifics or experience to support his promises. Obama's close connection to Patrick can also explain his disappointing showings in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Both states are part of the Boston media market and thus very familiar with Patrick's struggles as governor.

So can a Republican presidential candidate win in Massachusetts? The answer seems to be yes, as John McCain appeals more strongly to the state's independent "majority" than his likely Democratic opponent Barack Obama. At the very least, the contest will be tight and Massachusetts voters will get to experience up close a competitive presidential campaign for the first time in 24 years.

...was an early warning sign.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2008 8:37 AM
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