Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Long View: Why Obama Needs to Step Down (this time)

In the modern western world most everyone is concerned with what they can get now: today, tomorrow, maybe next month, but that's about as far ahead as most people think. In the political news cycle, the time seems to be compressed even more.

If Barack Obama wants to become President of the United States then he needs to step down this time around. The reasons are obvious. Should he continue on and become the Democrat nominee he will absolutely lose to John McCain. Just imagine months and months of Jeremiah Wright cursing America on ad after ad after ad. It will completely consume the television and radio airwaves. Obama will lose and he'll be forever tarred as "that black guy with the crazy pastor".

But if he were to drag out the process until the convention in late August and then politely step down, he will:

  1. Have made it exceedingly difficult for Hillary Clinton to pick up the ball and move forward with a winning campaign.
  2. Make himself look like the good guy, the loyal party member, and the patient young politician who conceded he still had some things to learn.
He can then bide his time away as a U.S. Senator. and accomplish a few important things that were missing from this campaign:
  1. Prove that he is truly someone who can reach across the aisle and work with his Republican colleagues in the Senate.
  2. Take a few steps to lessen his ultra-Liberal image so he can no longer be tarred as "the most liberal of all senators".
  3. Get someone to help out his wife, Michelle, to soften up her public image. Right now, the perception amongst any objective voter is that she is bitter and always angry; not an appealing visage for the spouse of the President.
Then in 2012 or 2016 he can examine his realistic chances and decide when to run again. For, if there's one thing America loves, it's a defeated person who comes back to fight again.

Only time will tell if Obama follows this sage advice. He's clearly a smart guy. We'll now see which wins out: his brains or his ego.


md said...

It's better for his long term prospects to lose to Hillary, especially if it comes down to the super-delegates at the convention, or in the weeks preceeding it. He would then claim that "what if" mantle from Al Gore, and if Hillary is unsuccessful against McCain, he's got the nomination in 2012 barring some catastrophe.

If she wins, then he can come back in 2016 to either succeed her or pick up the pieces. At age 46, he's got a lot of options - but quitting this race, now, would be unwise.

PelaLusa said...

Perhaps we're saying the same thing, perhaps not. I'll rephrase my thoughts: Obama must ensure he loses to Hillary by late August. For if he beats her then he will lose to McCain in November and likely by an enormous amount. That'll almost certainly end his presidential ambitions forever.

I have no specific thoughts on the precise timing of when he must engineer his own defeat.

md said...

I agree with Howard Dean that the Democrats need to resolve this asap after the last primary, which would be early June. Superdelegates should, at that point, let their votes be counted, even if it is unofficial. For the party to head into a convention without a clear idea of the winner is probably a recipe for disaster - especially since the candidates will likely continue attacking each other until then. Whether he engineers it or not, Obama's best case scenario is to appear to be unjustly treated by the party.

On the other hand, dragging this out until August gets the Democrats a lot more air time in the coming months. Provided they are able to keep it civil, and that is seeming less and less likely, they keep McCain off the air.