Monday, August 25, 2008

Hillary Factor

The McCain campaign is actively reaching out to Hillary supporters, and some Hillary supporters are actively helping him:

What's a bit surprising to me is the continued divide among her supporters that has continued on even now on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. Back in March I pointed out that a "survey by the Pew Research Center found that one in four Clinton voters said they would back Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., over Obama" while pondering the ramifications of how negative the primary had become over an extended period of time on the Democratic side. With many referring to it as a 'civil war.'

Hillary for her part has pointed out that she disagrees with the ads and she has once again asked her former supporters to unite behind Obama. Something necessitated by the fact that recent polls, even after the Biden VP pick, show that Hillary supporters are still likely to back McCain by the same margins as they polled months ago. From CNN's account of its recent polling:

One key poll finding was that support for Obama is slipping among supporters of Hillary Clinton, with who Obama fought a close, sometimes bitter, campaign until conceding to her rival in early June.


According to the CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll, 66 percent of Clinton supporters -- registered Democrats who want Clinton as the nominee -- are now backing Obama. But the number is down from the 75 percent who in June said they backed Obama.

Furthermore, 27 percent of Clinton supporters now say they'll back Republican McCain -- up from 16 percent in late June.

And though Hillary is giving unity speeches to pull them back in, the Obama campaign doesn't seem to be actively trying to court them, and have almost seemed to be snubbing them, with 3AM text messages and denying any intention of considering Hillary for the VP spot.

Further, Obama's own supporters may be hurting him as many seem to hold resentment against both Hillary and her supporters, especially those who might even consider voting for McCain. The term PUMA (short for Party Unity My Ass, but also used derisively by Obama supporters in the sense of a wild cat or the derogatory 'cougar' insult often thrown at women) has become a common one among Obama supporters ranting and raving against those who are considering defection.

The net chatter lately by Obama supporters has been along the lines of 'we don't want them and we don't need them anyways.' With accusations that they're just a bunch of racists or otherwise mentally deficient. And while the West Virginia interviews of some Hillary voters may confirm this in their perspective, they seem to deny that it's possible that many of her supporters considered her more qualified and experienced, something they felt and still argue makes Obama out of his 'pay grade.'

And while they may have no problem pushing them away, McCain seems to have no problem embracing them, even if he wasn't their first or ideal pick by a long shot. A lot of conservatives can probably relate given their opposition to McCain in the primaries. As an independent I'll gladly welcome the Hillary supporters who feel they're making a better choice for their country, even if it conflicts with what their party wants. We can be baffled together on why Obama's camp would want to push them away if they really want to win in November.

-- UPDATE 3:23 PM --

A post on today linked to this article at the Chicago Sun Times:

DENVER -- A black Hillary Clinton delegate on Sunday accused state Senate President Emil Jones of calling her an "Uncle Tom."

Jones -- Barack Obama's political mentor -- denied using the racially loaded slur against Chicago political consultant Delmarie Cobb, but two aldermen who said they witnessed the Saturday night exchange back up Cobb's account.


Cobb has been a high-profile Clinton supporter, and she said she is still paying the price in the African-American community.

"If people are still making digs at the Hillary Clinton people because we supported her, that is not going to bring us on board. It makes us feel as though we're outsiders, and we're Democrats," Cobb said. "The litmus test for being black is [seen as] supporting Barack."

This kind of crap doesn't help either.

No comments: