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Monday, June 18, 2007

A Democrat in '08! But not that one!

It is a paradox of the 2008 presidential race. By a wide margin, voters want a Democrat to win — yet when offered head-to-head contests of leading announced candidates, many switch allegiance to the Republican.

In an LA Times/Bloomberg poll conducted this month, this dynamic was most clearly evident with Hillary Clinton:

- Frederick Cole wants the Democratic Party to take back the White House in 2008. "Look what a mess we're in," said Cole, a nurse in Louisville, Ky. "It's time for some fresh, new-thinker ideas." Yet if his party nominates Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York for president, the 52-year-old Democrat plans to vote for her Republican opponent. "It's a personal thing," Cole said. "I don't like her. I think she's condescending and arrogant.

- "I just don't feel like she has the integrity to do the right thing," said retired service-station owner Richard James, 62, a Democrat who lives in Herriman, Utah. James wants a Democrat to win in 2008; he sees President Bush's tenure as a "shipwreck" marked by cronyism and a botched war. Yet he would vote for Giuliani over Clinton.

- To Carol Bendick, 63, a Democrat who lives in Danville, Ill., Bush is too cozy with the oil industry, and she, too, wants a Democrat to succeed him. But she would support Giuliani over Clinton. "Who wants four or eight more years of the Clintons' marital disputes, paid for by the United States, we the people? I certainly don't," said Bendick, a teacher on disability.

- Several men who prefer a Democrat for president, but not Clinton, said they were simply unwilling to support a woman. Kevin Kidd, 45, a Democrat who owns a bar in Farwell, Mich., said a female president would make the United States "look a little wimpier." "Some countries have woman presidents, and I just think it makes them look weak," he added.

Some polls also have found that in matchups with Giuliani and McCain, Clinton's top Democratic rivals — Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina — would fall short of the general backing for their party:

- Retired Pennsylvania truck inspector Earl Geer, 55, an independent, is disgusted with the Bush administration and hopes a Democrat will capture the White House. But he would pick a Republican over Edwards. "I just think he's a slick character," Geer said.

- Tom Devlin, 70, a retired steel-mill worker in Wellsville, Ohio, faults Bush for factory shutdowns and job losses in the Rust Belt, and he would rather have a Democrat as president. But he would choose McCain over Obama. "McCain has a lot more experience, and I just think he would do a better job.

Political veterans will rightfully argue that polling on general-election matchups can be highly misleading when 17 months of the campaign still lies ahead. Yet these opinions are a snapshot of the mood of the electorate at this particular moment; a picture that smart Democratic contenders will do well to address immediately.

The very idea that an "informed electorate" could make the above comments implies that they are either misinformed or being spoon fed only what they wish to hear by their favorite "media source":

- Mr.Cole, you find Hillary to be condescending and arrogant? Compared to whom, sir, George "I'm the Decider" Bush?

- Mr.James, you're a Democrat in Utah? Congrats! However, I would suggest that you discuss Rudy with a New Yorker who's lived under his rule.

- Ms.Bendick, I agree that the money spent on the Clinton witch hunt was a disgrace. That pursuit was led by the same pack of Republicans whom you would vote for rather than Hillary. And may I remind you of the cost of W's personal little war in Iraq?

- Mr. Kidd, I suggest that you join the 21st century. Do you entertain your bar patrons with "how many feminists does it take to" jokes? With all due respect, be a real man.

- Mr. Greer, you would pick the epitome of the "slick candidate" (ANY Republican today) over John Edwards? You obviously have NOT done any research on Mr.Edwards. You might want to try that rather than relying upon the talking heads for information and opinion.

- Mr. Devlin, I understand your relating to a peer. But experience brings neither qualification nor wisdom. You are an experienced steelworker; I would not vote for you as president in spite of that fact. Again with all due respect, experience and age sometimes cloud one's judgement and approach to newer and better ideas and clear vision for the future. I assume you voted in the 1960 election.

Lady and gentlemen of the Democratic presidential field, these are the thoughts of the people who will be voting for or against you in just under a year and a half. They obviously seem to have some misunderstandings about your positions, your history, your sincerity. I would strongly suggest that these are the minds that you need to be meeting with across America. Save the sound bites, save the stump speeches, save the Bush-bashing (They already agree with you on THAT issue), and tell them about YOU. You as in "you, the person". Meld with them, let them know that you really ARE one of them, rather than a stuffed shirt on TV or a canned personality peddled by right-wing talkers in the most negative way.

There's a reason why people are excited by Mike Gravel, Ron Paul, Russ Feingold, and Dennis Kucinich. I hope you've not missed that lesson entirely. . .


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Blogger Stan Matuska said...

There may be a lot of truth in that article. Deep down, we all want a Democrat to win, right Zank?
But we do have to consider very carefully who gets the nomination, for the very reason the article states.

I would like to see a woman become president; but then again, I'm not sure that right now is the best time to put a female Democratic candidate against a halfway likable male Republican. I don't know. It is Hillary Clinton. I wouldn't mind going back to the Clintonian years again, but would she win?????

title="comment permalink">June 18, 2007 11:18 PM  
Blogger Jeff Pruitt said...

Are there people out there that actually like Gravel? Feingold was my choice but he chose not to run so I'm undecided.

BUT, I sincerely doubt I would vote for Hillary in a primary. Her support for the war and her free trade agenda turned me away...

title="comment permalink">June 19, 2007 12:29 AM  
Blogger Undeniable Liberal said...

Gawd. I'll vote for Hillary if I have to. Uhhgghh.

title="comment permalink">June 19, 2007 6:33 AM  
Blogger JM said...

It's obvious that the Democrats need to draft longtime favorite "None O' DeAbove" as a candidate. Or would that be Al Gore?

title="comment permalink">June 19, 2007 11:00 AM  
Blogger Sewmouse said...

How much experience in the Presidency did GWB have before 2000?

How much experience in the Presidency did Bill Clinton have before 1990?

How much experience in the Presidency did John Kennedy have before 1960?

How much experience in the Presidency does Rush Limpbauh have that he feels qualified to disrespect my Senator by claiming he hasn't enough "experience"?

When are these folks going to stop with the politically correct BS and admit that they're afraid of Senator Obama because he's black and has an unusual name?

title="comment permalink">June 19, 2007 11:37 AM  
Blogger Robert Rouse said...

Barack Obama has an unusual name?

title="comment permalink">June 19, 2007 9:54 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

Stan - I doubt we could go wrong with any of the Dem prospects. We all have our faves, but I feel we'll coalesce around the eventual nominee.

Jeff - I'm a Feingold fan as well, but I respect his decision and will support the winner.

UL - Same here, man.

John - Gore is ONE of them. . .

Sew - You nailed it, ma'am!

Robert - Primarily to people who are against progess. . .

title="comment permalink">June 20, 2007 7:37 PM  

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