Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Switching from Clinton to . . . McCain?!

January 30, 2008, 7:15 a.m.

My distinguished, brilliant and charming colleague Tung Yin explains in his blog entry today his evolution from his support of Clinton to his present declaration for McCain. Well, that's not exactly accurate. What he says is that he now prefers Obama (for whom he has enthusiasm) over Clinton -- but by so much that, if Clinton ends up being the nominee he will vote for McCain rather than her. In fairness, you ought to read exactly what he said. (And he ought to read State29, "Who Said It? Part Deux," January 30, 2008.)

Actually, it's not so much his blog entry that prompts this one of mine, but rather the comments his readers have entered. I presume, if you follow politics, you're aware of the expression "yellow dog Democrats" that comes to us from Texas and the south. They are the Democrats who are so committed to Party that they would even vote for a yellow dog if the dog was on the ballot in the Democratic column.

Anyhow, there are some yellow dog Democrats taking after Tung. I responded to them, with a comment of my own on Tung's blog, as follows:

Whatever you "yellow dog Democrats" may think of Tung's choice of McCain over Clinton in a two-way race, you do have to at least think a bit about the following:

1. Hillary Clinton started off this campaign with among the highest "negatives" of anyone in the field.

2. As one Democratic political pro put it to me nearly a year ago, "Any one of the Democrats could win in November 2008. That's not the issue. The issue is who could lose. Hillary is the one who could lose."

3. What she and her husband have done -- especially during the last few weeks -- has raised those negative numbers and turned a number of independents from neutral/maybe to outspoken hostility and opposition. During the last two or three days I have encountered a half-dozen people (who, so far as I know, have not talked to Tung) who have expressed precisely the same sentiment as he (not including the Vilsack comment, but including the switch in vote to McCain). Honestly now, haven't you?

4. My personal encounters are only anecdotal and not statistically significant. But Peter Hart's national poll, released over this last weekend, IS statistically significant. And what it shows is that Obama can beat any of the Republicans -- including, by a significant margin, McCain. It does not show Clinton beating McCain.

5. Can you imagine what the Republicans will pull out to use against the Clintons if she's the candidate -- to which I've recently been led to believe they have now added a whole new batch of material they've been accumulating for just such a day.

Stick with Hillary if you must; just be aware that you -- and the Democratic Party -- may end up paying a very heavy price indeed for doing so.
If you are a Democrat living in one of the 22 states that are voting next Tuesday you might want to reflect on these comments before casting your ballot for Hillary Clinton.

Also consider, from the Century of the Common Iowan blog:

Saturday, January 26, 2008
55%

55% is the percentage of the vote Hillary Clinton won in Michigan when no one else was on the ballot and it is the percentage of the vote that Barack Obama won in South Carolina when he actually had opponents.
P.S. and disclosure: I do not recall ever voting for a Republican for president and think it unlikely I will be doing so this year. But I will say that the recent behavior of former President Clinton has caused my assessment of his role as an ex-president to drop from "respect and admiration" to "deep disappointment, disdain and disgust."

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