Friday, February 8, 2008

Maybe Running Obama Is Wise

Having ranted about the foolishness of running Obama, I'm just going to give the other point of view some consideration. In fairness, there may be some widsom to running him as well.

The Republican system for "winning" elections doesn't consist solely or even primarily of putting dishonest individuals in key election-specific positions. That's really just a support effort to their broader tactic of getting out the vote. Tom Frank documented how this works; essentially the party chooses policy decisions that please big business, and chooses rhetoric which motivates economically disadvantaged and poorly educated Christians, which is an extremely large voting bloc. Then big business contributes cash, and economically disadvantaged, poorly educated Christians contribute staggering amounts of volunteer time in very large numbers.

Currently, this coalition isn't holding together as well as it has in the past. I'd like to think that the economically disadvantaged, poorly educated Christians have started to wake up and realize that a party which gives you rhetoric but not policy isn't really on your side, they're just saying things you want to hear. However, whether that inevitable moment has arrived yet for the Republicans or not, they haven't been able to engage the evangelical Christians this election, and the current Republican front-runner is a man who has severly criticized evangelical Christians in the Republican party, yet recently reversed his position, and said quite bluntly that he's doing it because they get out the vote:

RUSSERT: But, Senator, when you were on here in 2000, I asked you about Jerry Falwell, and this is what you said:

MCCAIN (clip, 3/5/00): Gov. Bush swung far to the right and sought out the base support of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Those aren’t the ideas that I think are good for the Republican Party.

RUSSERT: Do you think that Jerry Falwell’s ideas are now good for the Republican Party?

MCCAIN: I believe that the “Christian Right” has a major role to play in the Republican Party. One reason is because they’re so active and their followers are.

Under circumstances like this, it could be incredibly useful if the Democrats were somehow to come up with a candidate who can get out the vote in record numbers.

I still think we need to attack the problem of voter fraud head-on, and that failing to do so is just pathetic, cowardly bullshit, and I still massively preferred Edwards' policies to Obama's, but there's a lot to be said for somebody who can get out the vote.