Obama’s race to lose

Pitfalls the Democratic contender must avoid to win

Illustration By robert armstrong

I’ll admit it. Sen. Barack Obama almost had me. Mainly, it was the principled stand he took against the Iraq war during the California presidential primary debate last February. It’s one thing for also-ran progressive candidate Dennis Kucinich to speak out against the war, but quite another for Obama, who at the time was in the process of securing his status as Democratic Party front-runner. He seemed genuine, and the fact that he had opposed the war from the beginning added authenticity to his statements.

But Barack Obama will not end the war in Iraq. He has no answer for the calamitous economic downturn that grows deeper with every passing day. He will not wean the United States off Middle Eastern oil. In fact, Obama will deliver on almost none of the promises he made in his acceptance speech in Denver last Thursday.

However, if he continues to play his cards right, he will be the next president of the United States.


Sen. John McCain is insane.

How else to explain McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin, the little-known governor of Alaska, for his running mate? No foreign-policy experience, but hell, she looks pretty and eats moose meat. That’s going to siphon off Hillary voters?


Think about it this way: If 72-year-old McCain should die in office, the person with her finger on the button will be the runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant.

Wouldn’t you really prefer Miss Alaska to the person who finished second?

Oh, and did I mention Palin is the target of an ethics investigation?

McCain’s selection is a political gaffe of the first magnitude, and I fully expect it to be righted by the time you read this. If Palin remains on the ticket, McCain is toast. Not that I wouldn’t mind buttering up old John and washing him down with the morning coffee. But damnit, I want a contest, not more fiber!

Should McCain replace Palin with devious turncoat Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman, we’d have a better battle on our hands. Lieberman could prove to be the perfect foil to Obama’s V.P. pick, Sen. Joe “We’re All Zionists” Biden, and at least some Hillary supporters might actually go for a McCain/Lieberman ticket. Moreover, McCain and Lieberman’s records as two of the strongest supporters of Israel in Congress could be used to challenge Obama’s shifting stances on issues in the Middle East.

At any rate, no matter who Obama and Biden face off with in November, there are three major pitfalls the pair must avoid.

No. 1: In the presidential debates, Obama will obviously slice McCain to ribbons—that’s the problem. Should undecided voters realize Obama’s opponent has spent a good portion of his life eating off aluminum cookware, McCain could pick up a sizeable sympathy vote. To counter the wouldn’t-it-be-nice-if-he-got-to-be-president-before-he-goes-totally-senile effect, Obama must gently nudge his opponent along when he fails to finish a thought. In McCain’s case, that’ll take a lot of nudging. Is Obama up to it?

No. 2: Don’t even kid yourself, no matter how many times the business pages tell you it’s nearing the bottom, the U.S. economy has fallen down a deep, dark well with no end in sight. Having a running mate who can shoot and dress the small rodents we’ll all be eating in the near future could be a major plus. That’s particularly true if the consumer credit market collapses before the election and the Feds move in with yet another multibillion-dollar taxpayer funded bailout of corporations who, like Joe Biden, reside in Delaware, the nearest thing to the Cayman Islands in the United States.

No. 3: Like one of those Transformers, Obama’s principled stand against the Iraq war and the Bush administration’s bellicose foreign policy has since morphed into a chest-thumping robot that does a passable impression of Dick Cheney when it comes to the wars the United States is currently ginning up in Iran and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Here, just listen to this excerpt from his acceptance speech:

“I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.”

So, we’ll build up the military so we can launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran, even though Iran is in full compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s guidelines for developing commercial nuclear power? To curb Russian aggression against the dictatorship Georgia, even though the United States-trained-and-equipped Georgian army started the conflict?

Parse the sentence any way you like, but to me it sounds an awful lot like Obama is willing to go to war based on fabricated evidence.

This is change?

Let’s hope not. Because if either one of these conflicts erupts before the election, given McCain’s combat credentials, it’ll become a wide-open race. Obama will have to talk tough, and we’ve seen where tough talk gets us. It won’t matter who wins. Yeah, let’s hope Obama doesn’t really mean what he says. But then, that’s all Obama really brings to the table.