6 and 1/2 Things I Know About the 2008 Presidential Race

Yes, you’re reading this post and you realize that as a two bit political hack I might have some insider information I have gleaned from the vast amount of political resources at my beck and call to thrill, inform and mystify you in your search for the golden “political truths” out there in America. Well, during the dog days of August, when the Olympics and Mikey Phelps are dominating the news and Pat Buchanan is but a barking dog on Hardball.  Here are 6 and 1/2  things you might want to keep in mind when the CONVENTIONS start in a few weeks. They will waiver between glass half empty and glass half full so get ready and keep your beers cold and your DVR hot!

6. There has never been a black president.

There. I said it. You didn’t believe me then you remembered that J.J. the guy with the beanie from Good Times never made it. Neither did Al Sharpton. Not even Mayor of Brooklyn.  So, when you’re watching Barry get his acceptance speech in Denver, remember there are a ton of white people out there who just aren’t “comfortable” with him being president. Does that mean they are racist? No. Does that mean they have small minds controlled by a white culture bent on conformity and oppression? Maybe.  One sure thing: if there isn’t really a sea change after 8 years of Bush, then McCain gets it. If there is, then Barry gets to change American history forever.

5. John McCain has a great narrative until you get to the part about cheating on his wife and his new wife being a beer baroness who inherited all of her wealth.

Listen, Johnny M was a war hero blah blah blah just like Johnny E was the son of a mill worker and by the way is that what they do with the help at the mill? We all know the story. But as anyone thought about Johnny M as a cheater? As a guy who married to wealth? Sure, the file taxes separately, but that’s because he’s in politics and her $$$ is a liability.  Now just the other day Johnny M admitted that his breaking of one of God’s Commandments was his greatest moral failure so as to get it out in the open. Good move since those rabid dogs at MoveOn.org are probably ready to napalm all of Hotlanta, Little Rock, St. Paul and Pittsburgh with fliers detailing the thing. Maybe he gets out in front on this, maybe not.

4. Denver will LOOK and BE more fun than Minneapolis.

Listen, Democrats have more fun and look “happier” than Republicans at conventions. They have weird old people covered in buttons wandering around asking for more buttons with sickly grins on their faces.  If you didn’t already know, the people who go to conventions are “hardcore”.  Sometimes not in a good way either. People get drunk too. And protest.Punditdad went to the 2000 Democratic Convention in LA and saw Rage Against the Machine outside the night Clinton gave his speech. Do you think all those idiots (the ones who made something of themselves like Punditdad) would now have preferred to have Gore in office and maybe protesting the D’s wasn’t as cool in hindsight? But I digress.

Despite the chattering class’ wish of a brokered convention, these two will be mostly for show and an opportunity to unite the base(s) of the parties under one roof and have a great moment with the nominees on stage for that kodak moment.  All my instincts tell me that Billary and Co. will help Obama rather than hurt and that the roll call vote will be truly cathartic for people who like to scream, yell, wave, cry, jump up and down and generally pout about the all too real nature of our political system (and it’s inherent unfairness!). Hope the D’s have bought tissues by the crate.

3. Veeps don’t matter as much as the base would like.

The only think a Veep can do is harm. Unless they have a truly compelling life story about saving kittens, working with the indigent or fighting “activist judges”, most Veeps are just trying not to screw it up.  With Biden on the shortlist and Ridge apparently on the short list, I see opportunities for Biden to put his foot in his mouth and Ridge to drive the anti-choice crowd completely nuts. But at this point, whaddya going to do? The choice is made and no amount of cajoling could get Dan Quayle off the ticket despite his spelling abilities.

2. It’s NOT THAT LONG until Nov. 4th.

Listen, Obama is rolling out plans to compeletly carpet bomb many in-play states with workers, slack jawed collge dropouts hoping to be Secretary of the Inferior and generally registering every breathing mammal to vote. But this stuff takes time and the clock is rocking and rolling.  Just like the Gore election where the Bush drunk driving story dropped the weekend before, a few more days can always make the difference. Why? Because there are a phenomenal number of idgets out there who actually THINK about who to vote for. They aren’t knee jerk partisans who vote for anyone with an R or a D next to their name. Thankfully though pollsters tell me they may be extinct by 2012.

1.  Things happen.

Well duh.  You know it and I know it. But when the pollsters tell you in August what’s going on in the suburbs of Philadelphia, it’s important to remember that things happen. Whether it’s a tape from Osama Bin Laden or a nuclear reactor leak in upstate New York or an oil spill off the coast of California. Stuff happens, and depending on what it is, can be hugely influential on the race. Like Russia invading Georgia (unfortunately the wrong Georgia, the other I would have looked the other way on), tanks, machine guns, people wailing and crying usually means someone has a foriegn policy opinion and the candidate better be able to articulate it.  Punditdad personally believes that the higher the quotient of danger, tyranny, bloodshed and military activity the foriegn policy event incurs the higher the quotient of decisivness, strength, indomitable spirit and patriotism the candidate should exude. Just sayin.

1/2.  People vote for the candidate they percieve, not the candidate they want.

That’s how we got Bush. Strength, compassion, gut instincts.  Gore was percieved as a needle-meir and in some ways he is. His genuine character came through despite the best efforts of Naomi Wolf.   But did America want to slog through the debris of the Bush presidency? I don’t believe they’d vote the same way again.   This is why Obama’s fight is so tough.  Not just the color of his skin or all the vowels he has in his name, but that his recipe for change may be too dramatic, even a country thirsty for us to get back on to the golden podium of the world stage.  McCain seems to be spiraling into George Bush’s vortex of strength, but it has its dangers along with its rewards. We shall see.

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