The cake is a lie.
by TCQuad, Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:43:56 AM EDT
Recently, there's been a trend to argue that Hillary should receive the nomination due to the fact that she's more electable. She, in current polling, receives far more electoral votes. The path to the election, Clinton conventional wisdom goes, is a piece of cake.
As per my title, I disagree.
Polling this far out is notoriously unreliable. Let's look at the most recent example.
John Kerry, May 29, 2004, had 327 predicted electoral votes to Bush's 211.
Hillary Clinton, May 29, 2008, has 327 predicted electoral votes to Bush, I mean, McCain's 194, with 17 tied.
The same delegate count. The same distance from the election. We all know how this played out over the months of June through the election in 2004, though.
I'm not claiming Hillary would lose or that their maps are identical. Hillary has fewer "barely" Dem states, with about the same number of possible pickups in the tied through weak GOP states. But the message remains the same: you cannot extrapolate data from this far out. It's too unreliable.
No path for any candidate is ever going to be a piece of cake. There's always going to be work involved, there's always going to be obstacles to overcome. Kerry faced character assassination from Swift Boaters and allegations of political weakness for what were presented as flip-flopping.
Hillary will face some of the same flip-flopping allegations (especially regarding the AUMF), while some of the strengths she will play up will be attacked mercilessly (her health care reform, for instance, will be portrayed as something Americans already rejected in the 90s).
Obama will face accusations of inexperience and character assassination by proxy (Wright, Rezko, that kid he was in 3rd grade with who later forgot to put his hand over his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance). His message will be characterized as being naive and dangerous for these uncertain times.
And I'm sure many more, unexpected, unforeseeable attacks will come down the line, since no amount of public exposure can predict or dissuade these attacks. Kerry was Lt. Gov of Mass from '83-'85 and has been a Senator since then. That's 20 years of public scrutiny, and still no one saw the Swift Boaters coming.
It's the Presidency of the United States.
Winning it isn't supposed to be automatic or easy.
And it never will be.