Friday, 1 February 2008

OBAMA VS. CLINTON: THE MOTHER OF ALL BATTLES? (Take 6)

ON THE RUN TO ‘SUPPA DUPPA TUESDAY’

It has been a little while since my last take on this battle and, gosh, what an awful lot happened since! Here’s some of it:

WHEN THE NAME OF THE GAME BECAME BILLARY

When I started this series at the outset of this primary’s campaign, I was particularly interested in observing how race and gender would play out among the Democrats’ electorate. A number of episodes since have illustrated just how important these two sociological categories are in the wider Democratic campaign against the Republicans, but none has proven my gut instinct so close to reality on the ground as the one when Bill Clinton entered his wife’s campaign playing the ‘race card’ right, left and center, and race politics threatened to ruin everything for everyone.

Apparently, the ‘Billary’ strategy was to play the race card in such a way as to force Obama into a ‘black corner’ thus prompting the white electorate to vote Hillary as a backlash to any Obama wins in black majority states. The Obama camp aptly rose to the challenge (as evidenced by Barack’s victory speech in South Carolina) and much has been made of it all and related events in the conventional media and the blogosphere. There is, however, an angle of the “double bill” made up by the Clinton couple that makes me ask: what on earth was the husband doing trying to overtake the wife’s campaign? Isn’t she supposed to demonstrate that a woman is capable of winning on her own merits? Anyway, apparently they have since tried to mend their ways and cut their losses, because…

ENTER TED KENNEDY…

On the strength of his win in South Carolina, Barack Obama managed to get Senator Ted Kennedy’s endorsement, adding to the ranks of a number of democratic heavyweights who have been declaring their support for him. However, as cheerful as this is for the Obama camp, it raises some concerns about the extent to which Kennedy’s support might actually work against him. And this is because an important mass of Obama’s supporters is composed of people, especially young people, who are genuinely vying for “a change they can believe in” and don’t particularly favour the continued dominance of political dynasties in the White House, directly or indirectly, be they Republican (Bush) or Democrat (Kennedy).
In any event, there are more pressing concerns for the Democrats at the moment.

… AND THE REPUBLICANS

It would be ill-advised for anyone to take anything for granted in this campaign and, obviously, both Hillary and Obama, as front-runners in the Democratic camp, have to measure their strengths against the Republican heavyweights. On that side, John McCain is currently on the lead, having received soon after his (not too comfortable) win in Florida, the important endorsements of Schwarzenegger and Giuliani (just a note on this: as it can be gathered from one of my comments on ‘take 2’ of this series, as many other observers, I had placed more weight on Giuliani’s candidacy then it turned out to show. Nevertheless, my gut feeling is telling me that he might again take the frontline alongside McCain, as the Republican candidate for the Vice-Presidency).

… AND THE ECONOMY!

However, I wouldn’t, at least at this stage, completely rule out Mitt Romney’s chances – after all, McCain himself said that his win in Florida was “nothing to brag about”. And this simply because the economy has come creeping into this campaign like ‘its nobody’s business’ and neither camp can afford to ignore it – fears of a depression, brought about mainly by dodgy deals in the sub-prime mortgage market and a too thinly spread federal budget over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been bringing Keynesian Economics back from the dead, amidst calls by some (apparently including Obama...) for the return of "Reaganomics". This has forced the Bush administration to come up with such drastic measures as ‘stimulus packages’ in the form of tax cuts and transfers and attempts to balance the budget mainly through a clampdown on funding ‘earmarks’, with the FED successively performing the most dramatic cuts in interest rates in more than two decades, while the dollar reaches all time lows against the euro.

In this context, Mitt Romney’s background in economic management may play a role in the outcome of the Republican campaign. After all, he won Michigan – a state which today represents the face of American economic decline – and it could be expected, not just because it's his home state but perhaps also because of it, that ‘if he made it there, he can make it anywhere’, unlike Rudy Giuliani who, through a fatally misguided campaign strategy (by placing all his eggs on the Florida basket), didn’t even manage to give himself the chance to try, let alone make, it at home in New York, or John McCain, whose weight as a war hero rests to be measured against his economic management credentials, which are virtually none.

There is, however, an interesting statement by McCain that seems to say quite a lot about what's to come: "I am not running for the American presidency to be someone but to do something!" Well, surely he is not running to be the "first female president", or the "first black president" of the US of A...

It is against this wider background that the battle Obama vs. Clinton has to be measured up in the most immediate future…

So, let’s wait and see what ‘Suppa Duppa Tuesday’ brings.


[P.S.: YOU CAN READ ABOUT "THE ECONOMICS OF BARACK OBAMA" HERE]

ON THE RUN TO ‘SUPPA DUPPA TUESDAY’

It has been a little while since my last take on this battle and, gosh, what an awful lot happened since! Here’s some of it:

WHEN THE NAME OF THE GAME BECAME BILLARY

When I started this series at the outset of this primary’s campaign, I was particularly interested in observing how race and gender would play out among the Democrats’ electorate. A number of episodes since have illustrated just how important these two sociological categories are in the wider Democratic campaign against the Republicans, but none has proven my gut instinct so close to reality on the ground as the one when Bill Clinton entered his wife’s campaign playing the ‘race card’ right, left and center, and race politics threatened to ruin everything for everyone.

Apparently, the ‘Billary’ strategy was to play the race card in such a way as to force Obama into a ‘black corner’ thus prompting the white electorate to vote Hillary as a backlash to any Obama wins in black majority states. The Obama camp aptly rose to the challenge (as evidenced by Barack’s victory speech in South Carolina) and much has been made of it all and related events in the conventional media and the blogosphere. There is, however, an angle of the “double bill” made up by the Clinton couple that makes me ask: what on earth was the husband doing trying to overtake the wife’s campaign? Isn’t she supposed to demonstrate that a woman is capable of winning on her own merits? Anyway, apparently they have since tried to mend their ways and cut their losses, because…

ENTER TED KENNEDY…

On the strength of his win in South Carolina, Barack Obama managed to get Senator Ted Kennedy’s endorsement, adding to the ranks of a number of democratic heavyweights who have been declaring their support for him. However, as cheerful as this is for the Obama camp, it raises some concerns about the extent to which Kennedy’s support might actually work against him. And this is because an important mass of Obama’s supporters is composed of people, especially young people, who are genuinely vying for “a change they can believe in” and don’t particularly favour the continued dominance of political dynasties in the White House, directly or indirectly, be they Republican (Bush) or Democrat (Kennedy).
In any event, there are more pressing concerns for the Democrats at the moment.

… AND THE REPUBLICANS

It would be ill-advised for anyone to take anything for granted in this campaign and, obviously, both Hillary and Obama, as front-runners in the Democratic camp, have to measure their strengths against the Republican heavyweights. On that side, John McCain is currently on the lead, having received soon after his (not too comfortable) win in Florida, the important endorsements of Schwarzenegger and Giuliani (just a note on this: as it can be gathered from one of my comments on ‘take 2’ of this series, as many other observers, I had placed more weight on Giuliani’s candidacy then it turned out to show. Nevertheless, my gut feeling is telling me that he might again take the frontline alongside McCain, as the Republican candidate for the Vice-Presidency).

… AND THE ECONOMY!

However, I wouldn’t, at least at this stage, completely rule out Mitt Romney’s chances – after all, McCain himself said that his win in Florida was “nothing to brag about”. And this simply because the economy has come creeping into this campaign like ‘its nobody’s business’ and neither camp can afford to ignore it – fears of a depression, brought about mainly by dodgy deals in the sub-prime mortgage market and a too thinly spread federal budget over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been bringing Keynesian Economics back from the dead, amidst calls by some (apparently including Obama...) for the return of "Reaganomics". This has forced the Bush administration to come up with such drastic measures as ‘stimulus packages’ in the form of tax cuts and transfers and attempts to balance the budget mainly through a clampdown on funding ‘earmarks’, with the FED successively performing the most dramatic cuts in interest rates in more than two decades, while the dollar reaches all time lows against the euro.

In this context, Mitt Romney’s background in economic management may play a role in the outcome of the Republican campaign. After all, he won Michigan – a state which today represents the face of American economic decline – and it could be expected, not just because it's his home state but perhaps also because of it, that ‘if he made it there, he can make it anywhere’, unlike Rudy Giuliani who, through a fatally misguided campaign strategy (by placing all his eggs on the Florida basket), didn’t even manage to give himself the chance to try, let alone make, it at home in New York, or John McCain, whose weight as a war hero rests to be measured against his economic management credentials, which are virtually none.

There is, however, an interesting statement by McCain that seems to say quite a lot about what's to come: "I am not running for the American presidency to be someone but to do something!" Well, surely he is not running to be the "first female president", or the "first black president" of the US of A...

It is against this wider background that the battle Obama vs. Clinton has to be measured up in the most immediate future…

So, let’s wait and see what ‘Suppa Duppa Tuesday’ brings.


[P.S.: YOU CAN READ ABOUT "THE ECONOMICS OF BARACK OBAMA" HERE]

8 comments:

Nick said...

Great sum-up!
I liked that “economy creeping like it’s nobody’s business”>>>> ah, ah,ah!
But are you still not taking bets?

Koluki said...

Thanks!
Nope. But to get you out of your misery, you can place your bet here and maybe there's someone out there willing to take it...

Nick said...

OK, here it is:

Democrats - Obama
Republican - McCain

Koluki said...

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

I’m a conventional journalist, as you bloggers call us these days, and I have to congratulate you for the analytical accuracy and the great sense of humor displayed in your takes on this race. Very good job!
As for bets, I’ll probably have a go after tomorrow’s results are all known. You see, I’d rather be on the safe side – that’s what conventional journalists do anyway :)
I’ll drop you a e-mail later.

With best regards,
T. Wyatt

Koluki said...

Hi T. Wyatt!

Welcome to this space and thanks for the comment.

Cleo. Wash D.C. said...

It is not over until it is over, I still bet on Clinton for the democrats and on McCain for the republicans.

We will see it might end tonight for the democrats or not...

Koluki said...

Hello Cleo!

It has been a while since you last graced this series with your insigths. Welcome back.
I wish the best of luck to your chosen candidates, but I'm still puzzled as to why (especially since one of your comments where you said to be already 'under the influence' of Obama, remember?) are you still betting on Clinton...