Flavors of Conservative Support

In a recent post I took a look at how Democrats’ adherence to conventional wisdom may just very well sink their chances at the White House in 08. According to conventional wisdom, for instance, Hillary Clinton looks like a good candidates because she has the experience, and because she’s a gifted politician and because she has the weight of the entire Democratic apparatus behind her. That little bit about how Obama does better than Hillary Clinton outside the party… that little guy? There’s no need worry about that little guy.

Or at least, there’s no need to worry about that if you want to lose what shot we have at the White House. There’s no denying it, Republicans want Hillary to win. I first grew skeptical when Charles Krauthammer of all people came to Hillary’s defense following the YouTube debate. The paranoid little neocon had failed to call Clinton any number of the patented epithets reserved among conservatives just for her. In fact, he called her the “Grizzled veteran.”

That didn’t sound like an epithet at all… It sounded like a compliment. And indeed if you searched hard and long enough you saw more of the same happening around the conservative punditry-sphere and blogosphere. But as the Politico pointed out, it’s not really hard to see why.

With Hillary Clinton picking up the nomination, all of a sudden something one would think unthinkable all of a sudden happens; the Republican candidate becomes competitive. I know I flog the next chart an awful lot, but bear with me:


The point being that on a mere trend analysis foundation, Hillary is a net terrible candidate to run up against the likes of Rudy Giuliani. But the problem is worse than that for Clinton. She actually energizes the the Republican base. Sure, there may not be a whole lot of Republicans worth voting for, but you can bet your butt that the disheartened and disillusioned Republican voters will drive down to the polls in order to make sure that Hillary is NOT voted into office.

And so it goes. Republican strategists and campaign managers are simply salivating at the prospect of Hillary winning the nomination, and it’s not simply so they can attack her. Yeah, attacking Hillary will be fun, but it will be nowhere near as fun as watching the Democratic nominee actually mobilize the GOP base with no effort.

Conversely, when you look at conservative support for Obama, you see a slightly different tale. Buried in a Friday afternoon comes this Salon report:

It was sort of like finding a Christmas tree in a cornfield. In late July and early August, Iowa Republican voters were asked to name their choice for president in a University of Iowa poll. Mitt Romney, who leads most Iowa surveys, got 22 percent of the total. Rudy Giuliani came in second with 10 percent. But third place went to a Democrat, Barack Obama, who got nearly 7 percent — more than Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Sam Brownback combined.

Indeed, just as Hillary is garnering a wave of support from conservative pundits who would primarily like to see her nominated to improve the Republican chances of winning, and also because if on the off chance she does win the White House, at least the neocons can stomach her hawkishness, Obama is garnering a very different kind of support from Republicans and moderates.

WARNING: The next link is apt to cause bouts of vertigo. Just go with it, this is all part of the country healing itself.

According to the website Republicans for Obama

RepublicansforObama.org is an organization founded by proud party members who all share one important trait— we are Americans first and Republicans second. (Even if it is a close second.) Collectively, we have campaigned, worked for, and voted Republican all our lives, but recognize that our Country needs a new kind of leader at this time. While there will always be important issues on which thoughtful Americans will disagree, there are others that cannot be up for debate— our economic prosperity and our standing in the world.

While a growing number of our elected officials and media outlets use wedge issues to purposely divide us, and answer to special interest groups at the expense of the general welfare, Senator Obama has the ability to break this trend. Senator Obama has rejected the politics of division and the win-at-all-costs attitude that has hurt our ability to move forward as a nation. While we as Republicans will not always see eye to eye with a President Obama, we know that his politics of competency and unity will lead to a stronger America.

Hmmm… No more wedge issues. Stronger America.

In fact this all goes to highlight what I’ve been trying to explain for some time now. Despite the Democratic apparatus’ unwillingness to see it, Hillary is far less electable than Obama. Obama continues to do better against hypothetical match ups, and while Hillary’s conservative support is born from a cynical attempt to pick the weakest opponent, Barack’s comes from a simple idea that maybe we don’t have to have this contest be one of the “fifty plus one” mentality.

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