Sunday, March 23, 2008

Campaign Sniping Has More Democrats Saying They'll Vote McCain If Their Candidate Loses

I have a lot of sympathy for that sub-headline on a story from ABC News: "McCain Gains from Clinton-Obama Feud - Campaign Sniping Has More Democrats Saying They'll Vote McCain If Their Candidate Loses." I am an independent and although I obviously lean a little towards Hillary, she is certainly not "my" candidate. As I have previously written here, sure, I could vote for McCain if Barack wins the Democratic nomination, but that is mostly because he has not convinced me of his centrist credentials and is far too tolerant of his left-wing supporters.

Hillary is in fact behind in delegates precisely because she does lean towards centrist and does understand the nuances of Washington and the need for compromise that frequently looks to bystanders as "dishonesty" or a "willingness to say different things to different groups" or a "willingness to say anything to win", etc. Being a centrist is very hard work. Nobody "loves" a centrist the way people in the left-wing and the right-wing love candidates that hew strictly to their party-line positions. Sure, Barack talks about reaching across divides -- something that is second-nature to Hillary -- but he offers no clues as to how he would do it without compromising on the staked-out positions of his left wing supporters.

Sad to say, but given the tone of many of Barack's supporters, he is even further from center than even McCain. That is what might "force" me to vote for McCain, not the mere fact that "my" candidate did not win the nomination.

What I do find hard to believe is the notion that hard-core left-wing Barack supporters might actually consider voting for McCain if Hillary gets the nomination. No way! They hate Hillary because she did not oppose the Iraq war (so they say) and now they would vote for the guy who pushed for the "surge" in Iraq? Really? Now there is a pig that has wings!

What I am expecting is that once the Democratic convention is over Barack will himself be "forced" to swerve hard to the right to get much closer to center in order to beat McCain who himself will be swerving hard to the left to get even closer to center.

Once both candidates are close to center, then for independents like me it simply does not matter who wins and I will simply vote for whoever seems the most committed to centrist "ideals". As long as Barack abandons his current left-wing supporters, I could in fact vote for him.

Right now, I would not be happy voting for either McCain or Barack since they are both too far from center. But we are not voting right now.

Hopefully this so-called "sniping" will wake up a lot of Democrats to the reality that if they want their party to survive and thrive they need to support "a big tent", where both centrists and liberals can feel comfortable. Centrists by nature are very tolerant, but unfortunately the hard left-wing liberals (and the hard right-wing conservatives) view that tolerance as a weakness rather than a strength. If the hard left-wing "snipers" would just tone down their extremist rhetoric then maybe the Democrats would not be facing this "my candidate or McCain" dilemma.

I have no vested interest in either party. If Barack wants my vote he will have to earn it and start talking and acting in a manner that actually appeals to me and centrists in general. He is spending far too much of his time preaching to his hard-core left-wing choir, his cult, with little effort spent appealing to us centrists.

I certainly do not want to put 100% of the blame on Barack. Hillary has resorted to a too much spinning and negativity for my personal taste, but usually only in reaction to an excess of rhetoric on the part of the Obama campaign. The simple fact is that other than youth and charm and a vague and impractical notion of "hope" and "change", Barack has nothing to offer us centrists over Hillary. I would have preferred that Hillary would have taken the high road and stayed on it, but Barack seemed too addicted to playing the Mr. Charisma card, even though even he knows that the campaign should really be about real issues and not about personality. I do have to blame him 100% for that strategic blunder, which may win him the nomination but risk losing the general election.

There is only one thing I am certain of at this stage, that in November us centrists and centrism will prevail! I am convinced that McCain will position himself as a centrist. The key uncertainty is whether Barack will remain loyal to his left-wing supporters or pull a "Hillary" and compromise and begin to toe the centrist line.

-- Jack Krupansky


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