Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Election '08: Why the conventional wisdom is wrong

You'd think the so-called pundits would have given up by now. They called Giuliani "America's Mayor" and labeled him unstoppable as late as December of 2007. They called McCain's campaign DOA. They labeled Hillary's march to the nomination more of a "coronation" than an election process. When will they get sick of being wrong? When will they admit how clueless they really are about this whole thing?

The latest conventional "wisdom" coming out of this bunch is that a long, drawn-out primary campaign is bad for the Democrats. They say it lets McCain batter them undisturbed, lobbing volley after volley of attacks against them without reprisal as the Dems battle each other (just like they always do! Those self-destructive Democrats!).

What a bunch of bullshit. As a lifelong Democrat, I couldn't be more chuffed to have two strong candidates lasting so long and keeping all the attention on the Democrats. When was the last time you saw McCain debate anybody? When was the last time you saw a "Huge Day for Republicans" headline like the one above?

The longer the Democratic nomination is up for grabs, the longer the national debate stays on whose health care plan is more universal, or who is going to get our troops out of Iraq the fastest, or who is going to balance the budget first. This is a good thing. This is what the national debate should be, and the longer it goes on, the more "normal" it seems. Once McCain finally starts getting equal time in the press, it's just going to make him seem even more out of step with the mainstream than he already does. A 100 year stay for our troops in Iraq won't just sound ridiculous anymore; it'll sound psychotic. (It already does, to me.)

I'm rooting for the Democratic nominating process to go down to the wire: the convention. How cool would it be to have a convention that actually mattered again? Where ideas are debated on live national television, where the press are forced to actually cover events as they happen because there is actual news going on? Again, just more attention on the Democrats and their ideas. This would only be a problem if both candidates weren't as strong as they are. In a sense, this is like those years in football when they say the AFC title game is the "real Super Bowl". And the longer it goes on, the more meaningful it is - and the more it favors the Democrats.

One more thing. This race has energized Democratic voters. They're voting in record numbers. The pundits are openly wondering why. News flash: it's because the race is so close and so exciting. And the longer those voters stay energized and the more voters in each state feel their vote matters, the better it is for the Democrats in the general election.

Don't believe the hype. There's nothing the Republicans want more than for this race to be over so they know who they're fighting against, and so they can actually get some camera time. Republicans need an enemy and they crave attention. There's nothing the press wants more than for this race to be over so they can sit on their lazy asses and talk about how right they were. (And yes, I know what Howard Dean wants, and I don't know what the hell he's thinking.)

Real Democrats should want this to go on as long as possible. So, while I don't know what will happen tonight, I'm rooting for Hillary to at least do well enough to stay in the race. She may or may not, but it would only be good for us if she does.

(I voted for Obama.)

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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