McCain and Forgotten America

One of the good things about Reverend Jeremiah Wright popping his head back into the news is that it flushes away and makes moot a question I have had attached to my election theory.  I have this idea that the stasis in this electoral fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is such that they both win the states they are supposed to, demographically speaking, and it continues on in the media’s mind as a tie until Obama wins a state he is demographically supposed to lose.  I was wondering if a hypothetical Indiana  victory qualified as such.  But I no longer have to entertain that question, thanks to Reverend Wright.  So we now go on, Clinton wins Indiana and Obama wins North Carolina.  Next Clinton gets to win West Virginia (where the issue of race is context as opposed to the subtext it is everywhere else) and Obama wins Oregon.  And we march forward from there.

Meanwhile, John McCain gets this interesting little write up from the tepid political editorial writer that is John Broder.  The up-shot is that McCain’s “Forgotten America Tour” through poverty – stricken areas shows the necessary re-jiggling of a Republican message which is broken and needs, electorally speaking, massaging.  I am not entirely sure what McCain’s “tour” gets at, in one sense it echoes in termperament the check-list stylings of George Herbert Walker Bush in 1992 with the quotation, “Message:  I care”.  But, more pointedly, David Broder does not seem to see just how well we are wandering around in circles as a country.  2000, George W Bush has “Compassionate Conservatism”, because, you know, the Republican message needs some massaging.  It is only 2004 which saw Bush (under the guidance of Rove) employ the “Base Hugging” strategy, which appealed to the requisite number of swing voters due to the appeal of “Strength” verus “Vaccilation”.  This was a curious debate which entered political discourse — “Appeal to the swing voters” versus “Appeal to the Base”, the answer to that debate is “Yes”, and thus is the dual struggle of every political candidate.  The upshoot of the 2004 election was the sudden discovery of a mass of right-wing evangelical Christians who Bush must feed, which was a balloon that swirled over the political punditry until it was punctured by public reaction over the Terri Schiavo matter.

So we come full circle from 2000 to 2004.  And, also from 1988 — when Nancy Reagan was chagrined at the implications of George H W Buh’s phrase “Kinder, Gentler America” (Kinder and Gentler than whom?), or… I don’t know, Herbert Hoover in 1928 massaging away a bit from the stern image of Calvin Coolidge.

For the life of me, I can’t quite figure out what Bob Dole was up to in 1996.  But that one probably did not matter much.  Once Bill Clinton established himself as essentially a moderate Republican, the nation wearily wandered through in a most apathetic matter that election, and Clinton was content to let his 20 point lead fritter to 7 points because Dole was not about to win.

As for Obama… oh boy do those two special House elections portend a sizable victory for him in November.  Despite the cultural problems exposed by Wright and Bitter.

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