Jun 29 2008

Obama Can’t Win In November

The calculus required for Obama to win enough votes against John McCain appears to be based on fantasy math.  There are times were things just cannot line up, no matter how much people wish they could. But Obama has to knit together a coalition which is impossible to because each side is repulsed by the other, and McCain just doesn’t represent the kind of political enemy required to push these opposing groups together. 

There is no stable policy configuration Obama can put together to win. No matter what he does he causes upheaval and loses support.  Either he appeases the far left, sending moderates to McCain, or he appeases the moderates sending the far left into a tirade, ending their support and sending moderates to McCain where they will feel more welcomed.

Just checkout the the far left’s responses to Obama’s efforts to move into a general election mode, where he has to become acceptable to moderate voters.  Each move inflames the left, creating anger and hate at moderates – which will push them to the McCain side just as the hyperventilating from the far right in 2004-2006 pushed the moderates to elect a Democrat Congress. There are three ways to lose the moderate middle and lose the election.

  1. Embrace far left policies such as destroying our ability to defend this nation by using baseless, paranoid fear mongering about invasion of privacy to stop listening in on potential terrorists in the US contacting their known terrorist masters overseas.  One of the problems the left has in their fear-mongering claims is Saddam and al-Qaeda did have connections that could have led to another 9-11 attack on the US.  But there is no evidence the NSA or FBI have misused their efforts on national security to listen in on shrill anti-war liberal dribble. Most of us reach for the ear plugs when the anti-FISA crowd wind themselves up, not the amplifier volume control.
  2. Being insulted and attacked by the far left liberals who cannot stand to see their positions take a back seat to the moderate views. Every time Obama moves to the middle he inflames those who helped him beat Hillary, thinking The Messiah would not sacrifice their wishes and views to pander for votes. When he does in fact do this, the rage coming out of the far left is enough to repulse anyone into the McCain camp.
  3. Losing all credibility on key issues by flip-flopping from his previous positions and simply becoming a weak echo of Maverick McCain’s long held views. Obama beat Hillary by becoming the new fresh face in politics, The Messiah – the man who was not a politician. On policy there was not very much difference between the two, so the election turned on the mythology of ‘change’. Now Obama’s promise of ‘change’ only reflects his pattern of changing his position on issues. He has become the quintessential politician, saying whatever he thinks the audience wants without conviction or sincerity. McCain’s reputation as the GOP maverick too willing to cross the aisle for compromised progress is legend. Obama’s credibility on this and the issues is rapidly being destroyed has he shifts positions.

Some obvious examples:

  1. FISA-NSA: Obama changed his tune on this matter to reflect the realities of the Democrat cave-in.  He moved closer to McCain’s long held positions.  This has infuriated the far left who saw their candidate dump their signature issue and given credence to the moderate position. Advantage McCain.
  2. Campaign Finance Reform: Obama pledged to use public campaign money, then abandoned his pledge when he saw all the money coming in. McCain’s maverick persona was built on his position on campaign control and limiting free speech. Obama actually moved further from McCain on this issue, and looks very Bush-like in his race for money.  If campaign reform is your thing, now there is only McCain to lead your cause.
  3. Second Amendment/Gun Control: Obama flip-flopped on this key liberal issue as well, moving into McCain’s shadow on the now settled issue. This was another case of infuriating the left and scaring the moderates, who support the Supreme Court decision.  Advantage McCain.
  4. NAFTA, Death Penalty, etc: There have been increasing numbers of areas where Obama has tried to  become McCain-light. This Chicago Sun Times piece from a lefty really spells out the dynamics at work and how Obama’s moves are shattering his support, not cementing it:
  5. Obama has risen like a rocket through this election season because he has looked, sounded and operated differently. But in the last two weeks, he has lost altitude as he gets closer and closer to taking possession of the real presidential seal, not just the embarrassing facsimile launched by his overconfident staff.

    A pattern is becoming clear.

    NAFTA: Turns out his earlier expressions of opposition were “overheated.” More conciliatory vocabulary is now employed about Canada and Mexico.

    Death penalty reform: Supreme Court conservatives, in the minority last week, argued it’s OK to execute child rapists. Obama, the Illinois death penalty reformer, sees their point.

    Warrantless wiretaps: They’re suddenly not looking so bad.

    Flag pins: Looking better.

    It’s time for Obama to stop yapping about being a community activist and go back to acting like one. This nation is awash in guns. And despite the Supreme Court majority’s myopic notion of the Second Amendment and its Revolutionary War rhetoric of “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,” the only militias in our streets today are run by drug-dealing gang-bangers.

    I need to note that 95+% of gun owners and gun users are responsible and law-abiding. If guns were the problem, given the numbers in the hands of US citizens, we would see something more like Iraq under al-Qaeda rule than we see in Virginia – a concealed carry state with very harsh penalties for misusing the right to bear arms.

  6. The Big One – Iraq: McCain has been a critic on the execution of the Iraq war, but a strong proponent of doing it right and not quitting until we achieve success. On this, since The Surge and Awakening and the removal of the Sadrist Mahdi Militia, Bush and McCain are inseparable. But as success upon success is racking up in Iraq, and the Iraqis themselves are starting to warn the Democrats they need to abandon their Surrendercrat positions, the every malleable Obama is planning his biggest move to date – there are signs he is going to surrender on surrendering Iraq:
  7. Recent reports and rumors have indicated that Senator Obama plans to aggressively move to the middle on Iraq in the coming months. This is a good political move for Obama, if only because he’s finally starting to recognize reality. However, it’s no surprise that he will continue to try and have it both ways: moderating his withdrawal language without giving any credit to surge/Petraeus advocates.

    There is no way Obama can gain any credibility with the moderate middle by pretending to have been John McCain all along. And surrendering Iraq is the last key issue for the far left to hang on to. To dump them on Iraq will be the end of support for Obama in that camp, and the moderates will not buy his weak version of Maverick McCain is better than the real thing.

All this moving to the center is inflaming the far left, whose reactions are unnerving the center and keeping Obama from taking off in the polls or winning over sufficient numbers of Hillary supporters. As much as they try to put the Democrat Party together again there is no way to overcome the opposing forces between the far left and the moderate-conservative center of America.  There is no common ground out there for Obama to stand on and win. While the theory is Obama should be a shoe-in to win, McCain is not the kind of scary far right GOP candidate to force the opposing forces under Obama together.  Too much repulsion exists to form the winning coalition.

Same thing happened to the GOP in 2006, when few believed it would happen (me included). McCain doesn’t face this kind of implosive forces on his side.  The far right knows we cannot afford to lose all the progress we have made to date in Iraq.  Their respect for the sacrifices of our military in Iraq, for the security of this nation, are much more powerful than any concerns over McCain.  They won’t like it, but they can see why supporting McCain is in the best interest of this country.  Given the sacrifices of others so far in Iraq, living with President McCain is a small sacrifice in the end.

Obama has no such external forcing function operating on his voter base, which seems to be spinning ever out of control.

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “Obama Can’t Win In November”

  1. kathie says:

    Obama touts his community work, to advance his thin resume. This from “American Thinker” gives some insight about his community work. Read the rest!

    So Tell Us, Sen. Obama, ‘Who Else Sent You?’
    June 29, 2008
    It was, of course, inevitable. How could any politician rise so quickly on the legendarily corrupt Chicago political scene and be as pure as Obama’s devoted followers were purporting him to be….

  2. Rick C says:

    My problem with AJ’s analysis is that I doubt most Americans are really paying attention to the campaign right now. So, as Obama moves toward the center, most of the media are not calling him on it, and by September these new positions will look like long held positions.

    So, even if the MoveOn.org crowd shrilly complains, few people will listen to them in the first place. In fact, the more shrill that gang gets, the more moderate Obama will look.

    That, in a nut shell, is my fear. American’s will think they are electing a moderate, but by the time they figure it out, he will have been in office for a year.


  3. kathie says:

    I agree Rick. He sounds sooooo good, he seems soooo normal. But when you know where he’s been and who he’s associated himself with, he is one scary dude. He may know a lot about Muslims, America haters, American traitors, black hatred of whites, but he doesn’t know the America that I love, honor, respect, and would fight for. His glass for America is half empty, and economically it’s completely empty (he hasn’t a clue). So other then force fed rhetoric, who and what is he. Will the voters care? I’m not sure.

  4. Terrye says:


    Good post, but I think you are underestimating the willingness of some hardliners on the right to abandon the GOP. Many of them are so pissed about McCain’s refusal to turn into Tancredo that they are threatening to stay home {again}. This is their favorite ploy of course. First try to bully everyone into voting for someone they want as the nominee and when that fails threaten to sit out the election.

    Yesterday McCain addressed a group of Latinos {in fact I think it was Republican Latinos} and he was not sufficiently nasty it seems. Therefor at some rightie blogs out come the long comment threads that read more like Daily Kos than a GOP blog. One guy said that unless McCain promised to shut down all our foreign bases and put those troops on the border, he would not vote for him. Like that is ever going to happen. The rest were along the lines of ugga ugga me hatum Juan McAmnesty grunt grunt.

    Honest to God, it is as if both parties have certain people in their bases who will not even attempt to have an open mind.

    So yeah, I would say that Obama is in trouble with his base, but a lot of them will come around. I am not sure the same thing can be said for the Tancredo brigade. They are so far gone you can not even have a civil debate on the subject.

  5. Terrye says:

    This is the offending comment from McCain:

    “We have to secure our borders—that’s the message,” McCain said. “But we also must proceed with a temporary worker program that is verifiable and truly temporary.”


    Now if the immigration hardliners are willing to stay home and pout and let a liberal like Obama win because McCain made a reference to a temporary guest worker program, then I wonder if maybe Obama could win.

  6. Toes192 says:

    Hay strata… Im a Repub but I think you are wrong. Have you not been watching the huuuuge crowds Obama draws?
    They will not desert him.

    Also, he will outspend McCain 3-4-5 to $1 when McCain gets limited to 85Mil$ at the end. Regardless of the outcome…with his donor list, he will be THE major force in Dem politics for many many years.

    As for flip-flops, as a professional airline pilot, I do not mind people changing their minds when they see the light. I am hoping that Obama [if elected] … when he gets those daily briefings will understand what is at stake in, for instance, Iraq…. and change his mind about THAT promise.

    Think of me [30 years as Cap at Continental & Saudi Arabian Airlines b4 retiring in 1998] going into a rainy, windy, low visibility landing-windshield wipers streaking the windshield & airport lights all blurred & fuzzy… having landed 10,000 times straight in the past… then…ooops… THIS TIME… at 100 feet above the ground with a descent rate of [about] 750 ft per minute… gonna hit the runway in [about] 8 SECONDS… I have to change my mind THIS PARTICULAR LANDING and go around. The ability to change one’s mind is not a bad thing.

    So, I do not mind Obama changing his mind. I hope he loses but since that is not a sure thing at all, maybe he will “grow” in office more to our liking. You may pray for that if so inclined.

  7. AJStrata says:


    The far right can stay home all day long if the moderates take their place on McCain’s side, and the liberals are so upset with Obama’s flip-flops they stay home too.

    This is exactly how the dems, running conservative centrist candidates, won Congress.

  8. robert verdi says:

    Obama can be beaten, but I am not as convinced he can’t win.

  9. crosspatch says:

    Obama is already killing our economy. His promises to increase the capital gains tax are causing people with large realized profits to sell those assets this year under the current tax laws instead of waiting and having more of their money taken away from them. That is causing an increased housing inventory, selloff of corporate assets, and a drop in the stock market that will probably accelerate as we get closer to the end of the year. All hell will probably break loose in December if Obama wins.

    Secondly. Obama promises “change”. No business is going to engage in any large scale expansion, increases in employment, or any other risky decision until they understand exactly what the new ground rules are going to be for business investment and employment. They are going to play their cards close to their chests, hoard cash and wait.

  10. MerlinOS2 says:

    The way Obama is planning to get to the White House is the same way he won the primary which was by targeting the delegate rich urban areas where his base support already was and using the net for leverage to keep the ball rolling.

    There are two groups he plans to use.

    Registering unregistered black voters….yes there are some of those still. You have to compare census projections to actual registered numbers for the variations in each state.

    The big one is the youth vote. Obama plans to gain more via the net appeal and almost a pyramid scheme method or something closer to Multi Level Marketing to get voters registered to exceed the losses for groups he will not be able to attract as traditional Dem voters or Dem leaning independents.

    He is relying on social networking sites and a thing the FaceBook creator has put together called MyBO to link up people for house meetings and such.

    Also it allows feedback to see which places have the highest participation levels for future campaign stops by Obama.

    Think the Dean usage of the net and add it up by a multiple of how he is trying to leverage it all.

    He is likely actually hoping that Hill supporters will sit home and is depending on conservatives to do the same and thus let him sneak by on the youth vote.

    His crowds create an image, but popular local bands (which are determined by the feedback in MyBO) and many in the crowd to young to even vote are glazed over and only the distant shots of the crowds usually are shown, since if a camera were to pan the crowd you would wonder if romper room just broke for recess.

  11. Terrye says:

    The thing about the youth vote is that they are notoriously unreliable. In 6 months many of them just might be into someone or something else. Some of them won’t move on of course. They will stick with Obama, but a lot of working class people will not. The people who are paying for the credit cards those kids are maxing out in campaign contributions to Obama might not be so crazy about the guy.

  12. gwood says:

    If all those who now depend on government for their well-being vote their own issues, then we are toast. It’s the public versus the private sphere, and the former has grown one-third since the last election. You must include in the above those who work in the private sector, but pay little or no taxes, they will vote to continue the status quo.

    We had the issues on our side in the last two Presidential elections, and we barely beat two of the worst candidates in history.

    A plurality of the electorate is now bought and paid for.

  13. dave m says:

    Obama can’t win – he can’t even run in November.
    He is not a natural born American citizen according to this pretty
    respectable Israeli News source:


    Is this why Hillary is still in the race?

  14. […] Strata, Obama Can’t Win In November, The Strata-Sphere, June 29, 2008. **Must […]

  15. […] A couple of weeks ago I realized Obama probably cannot win in November because the gulf between is radical base and the rest of America is too big to bridge. My premise was this: The calculus required for Obama to win enough votes against John McCain appears to be based on fantasy math. There are times were things just cannot line up, no matter how much people wish they could. But Obama has to knit together a coalition which is impossible to because each side is repulsed by the other, and McCain just doesn’t represent the kind of political enemy required to push these opposing groups together. […]

  16. […] would never win the election because he would either lose the moderate middle or liberal base. Here is what I said on june 29th: There is no stable policy configuration Obama can put together to win. No matter what he does he […]

  17. […] at the end of June I noted how it should be mathematically impossible for Obama to win. This was before the Palin […]