Bad Precedent for McCain

A new poll showing Obama with a commanding lead over Clinton nationally among Democrats and that he is perceived to be able to do better against McCain in a general. Clinton still performs better than Obama in terms of perceived readiness for the role of President–partly a measure of the (pyrrhic) success of her strategy of “experience.” Though of course she misread the electorate (which Obama did not) as wanting change over experience this round.

This poll comes out at the same time as a new CNN Texas poll showing Obama beating Hillary in one of her two self-declared firewall states. I predict that lead will hold for next Tuesday and probably will increase. He will win Texas and she will have to leave the race, whether or not she wins Ohio.

The first poll also according to NyTimes has the following:

When all voters are asked to look ahead to the general election, Mr. McCain, the likely Republican nominee, is seen as better prepared for the presidency, better able to handle an international crisis and more equipped to serve as commander in chief than either of the Democratic candidates.

And you’re thinking “uh-oh” that doesn’t sound good for the Democrats (or hooray if you’re a Republican). Except for this obvious historical fact that I have not yet heard in any of the political commentary.

Consider the following previous elections–name what they have in common:

Bill Clinton defeats George HW Bush
Bill Clinton defeats Bob Dole
George W. Bush defeats Al Gore
George W. Bush defeats John Kerry

Answer? The winner in each case did not serve in the military (no Bush not showing up for Texas Air Guard does not count) over the loser who were (3 out of 4 I know of**) decorated warriors. (HW and Dole in WWII, Gore and Kerry in Vietnam).

I have no answer as to why that is, but them’s the facts and they augur very very badly for John McCain. Particularly as he is running on his war record–and having troubles already it would seem on that very issue.

But McCain looks increasingly to me like he will be the third in a row Vietnam Vet to lose the presidency and 5th military vet overall (in succession!!!). I guess one could argue on the Vietnam Front that that was a painful time in US history and was a loss of prestige for the military and all the associations/protests of the War, but that doesn’t explain the WWII vets in the list. [That fact is trumped I suppose by the superior political skill and charisma of Clinton over his two opponents–again parallels to 2008?]

Exit Question:  Why doesn’t my WordPress spell checker know the word pyrrhic?

**Ed. Note:  I couldn’t find any information on whether Gore received any medals of honor for his military service.

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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