May 29, 2008

Obama as the Rovian 51% candidate

David Axelrod has built Barack Obama's campaign around the old 1968 Nixon slogan of "Bring Us Together," rhetorically running against Karl Rove's central idea that you only need 51 percent to win.

The funny thing is, of course, that Obama will likely wind up winning with just 51% over Hillary Clinton. In Presidential primary campaigns, the leader normally pulls away due to the bandwagon effect, but Obama has been content to eke out the narrowest victory in recent primary history. He hasn't done a thing to reach out substantively to white voters worried about his long track record as a racial activist.

Obama tried to lie and bloviate his way out of his first Rev. Wright jam, so Wright went on his little media tour to set the record straight, finally getting Obama to defriend him by saying Obama's "a politician." Moreover, Obama has refused to compromise on any race-related issue. So, he's stuck at 51%.

But, guess what? Karl Rove was right. You only need 51%.

And Axelrod/Obama know it's really not hard to get 51% with these opponents. It's not like Germany in 1914, where they've got to beat France and Russia (plus any of their friends who tag along). Obama isn't running against FDR and Reagan, he's running against a proven screw-up in HillaryCare and the elderly Arizona Jones.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

21 comments:

testing99 said...

Except Obama has been gaffe-a-day with alienating white voters.

He's likely to lose by ten points or more to McCain. Yeah, it's Mav. But heck NIXON beat McGovern, and Nixon had the personality of a toad. While McGovern was an actual bonafide war hero.

Obama will lose because there are not enough rich white yuppies, Blacks, and college kids to win. He's alienated everyone else, and part of Rove's calculations is that policies and candidates can't be inclusive.

FDR's coalition was about pretty much everyone except some very conservative businessmen. That's no longer possible Steve. The whole point of Obama's candidacy is that yuppies HATE HATE HATE the white working/middle class. Because they are so much cooler and hipper. Same with college kids. It's "So Long White Boy."

You can't make a franchise that will pull in yuppies and working people. It's either Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. Attract the Dunkin crowd, you chase away the Starbucks crowd and vice-versa.

Rove gets a lot of flack, but he won two Presidential elections with the weakest candidate in memory, up against the best that Soros and other money men in the Dem Party could hire.

Obama's problem is that he and Axelrod confuse the crowded nature of the limited number of Apple Computer stores with broad popularity. Sure they're always crowded, but Apple has only 5% of the market, while HP has something like 40%. Even though HPs are sold in boring old office supply stores without hip/cool clerks and stores and pulsing music.

Just today Obama's other spiritual advisor was on YouTube screaming at Whites for "white privilege" if they have 401Ks or houses or jobs. Some (white) Chicago Catholic Priest named Pfelger. All McCain has to do is not lose. He doesn't have to be George Patton, he's not up against Rommel. He can be Bradley up against the last bits of the Hitler Youth.

Someone correct my demos, but aren't there twice as many seniors as people 17-26? Aren't their votes (unlike marketing preferences) just as much important? Aren't they extraordinarly sensitive to crime and soft-on-crime candidates like Obama?

Baby Bust. Demos matter.

Ian said...

It's taken me a while to realize that Obama's promise is not to bridge the racial/cultural gap in America, but to bridge the racial/cultural gap in the *Democratic Party*. He brings together [Ivy League, technologically savvy, environmentalist, post-gender, gay-friendly, Utopian, Stuff-White-People-Like whiteness] with [angry, tribal, militant, charismatic blackness]. I think that the proposed covenant has never has actually promised to include (except in the most superficial rhetorical sense) the various aspects of American society that make up the Republican party (economic conservatives, Christians, Joe sixpack, libertarians, etc) ...

Udolpho said...

Just wait for Obama to turn on white people when he gets his first taste of real criticism. Will be a sordid spectacle.

Anonymous said...

"his first taste of real criticism"

It depends on whether this happens, but you're right: The democrats have been typically hysterical about the "racist" Hillary Clinton, but the extended dem primary has only kept the dogs at bay. IF (big IF) the 527s and PACs go to work on Obama, he'll be finished faster than a tinpan of Jiffy Pop at an A-bomb demonstration.

simon newman said...

The Dems went into this with a huge advantage - Iraq - and the Republicans chose a pretty weak candidate in McCain, who won't mobilise the Republican base well. Still, it does look like Obama vs McCain, President McCain, and 4 more years of Invite the World Invade the World. And McCain is a true zealot, making Bush look a moderate. Were McCain in charge today the Humanitarian Intervention US forces would already be in Burma fighting the junta's "dead enders", China would be joining Saudi in economic warfare against the US, and the Anglosphere's Gotterdamerung would be moving forward at an even faster pace.

professor said...

Here is a quick analysis of how the Democratic base will go in a general election with Obama vs McCain:

blacks (15% of population) will vote heavier than normal, but this will be partly offset by Hispanics (15% of population) who vote less than normal or even vote Republican. Asians (3% of population) will mirror Hispanics: less voting and more switching to Republicans. Most importantly, Jewish organizational, financial, and media support of the Democrat will be less intense than in the past.

Regarding age:
The increase in old white votes for McCain will be greater than the increase in college-kid votes for Obama.

Of course, one must account for who wins individual states and their associated electoral votes.

David said...

evil nc,

I like what you say here, but you sound uncomfortably like you're whistling in the dark.

We need to get old people to turn out for - holding my nose now - McCain. True. It is probably that simple.

(Btw, what in blazes is wrong with Apple computers? What is wrong generally with efficient, fast and reliable? Or were you just wearing your demographer hat there? Google "youtube the Kid from Brooklyn starbucks" - that ain't YOU, is it?)

travis said...

whole point of Obama's candidacy is that yuppies HATE HATE HATE the white working/middle class. Because they are so much cooler and hipper. Same with college kids. It's "So Long White Boy."

To be specific, upscale cultural liberals hate Bill Clinton, "Bubba", a southern good ol' boy of Scots-Irish descent.

Which raises the question as to how large is Hillary's coalition. Her base constituency is mostly comprised of older white women. The rest of her voters consists of people who are either voting against Obama or for Bill. At least that's the way I see it. The whole primary has been more about whether you are a Dem who likes or dislikes Bill Clinton and less about which of the two candidates you feel is more qualified to be president.

rightsaidfred said...

>>>>"his first taste of real criticism"

I just learned BO smokes. That right there might be a deal breaker.

Testing99 has a good analysis.

>>>>Obama's problem is that he and Axelrod confuse the crowded nature of the limited number of Apple Computer stores with broad popularity.

Exactly. I think of it as the "class B basketball" effect: we get maximally excited over our small town success, but we're not competitive in a larger world.

Martin said...

So far, McCain's campaign strategy is shaping up to be - to lay down and let Obama walk all over him.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080521/pl_nm/usa_politics_mccain_aide_dc

Anonymous said...

Testing, I can only offer my parents as examples of the problem with your theory. Retired in Florida, in their mid-seventies, they have both expressed indiffence to McCain and interest in Obama. My dad in particular, about 3 steps to the right of Hitler in my youth, has become a squishy Democrat in his dotage. He's like Grandpa Simpson-"I didn't earn it, and I don't need it, but I'm old, so gimme gimme gimme." Because they're older and Internet neophytes, they only have the reportage of the MSM to make their decisions about an relative unknown like Obama. I've managed to open their eyes somewhat, but I am in no way sure which way they will go.

I also have to take issue with your Dunkin' Donuts/Starbucks screed. I'm the Obama demographic to a tee: grad degree, suburban, reader of Pravda, excuse me, the Boston Globe, NPR listener and resident of the bluest state of all, the People's Republic of Massachusetts. I'm also as right/libertarian a person as you'll find.

But I'm also a Starbucks guy. Why? Because my coffee is always EXACTLY the way I want it, because I add the cream and (raw) sugar. It's also 10 cents cheaper than the Dunkin' Donuts, where I have to hope that the surly teenager/no habla alien makes my coffee somewhere close to the way I want!

Brutus

Concerned said...

"He hasn't done a thing to reach out substantively to white voters worried about his long track record as a racial activist."

Yes. which will kill him in the general election.

There's a rumor in the pro-Hill blogs that there's a video of Michelle Obama giving a hate-whitey rant at TUCC. I was inclined to disbelieve it, but with the latest (Michael Pfleger doing a fair imitation of Goebbels), I'm not inclined to doubt it now.

Anonymous said...

It had to be this way. America has been living in a racial dream world for the last forty years. The first serious black Presidental candidate has shredded the fabric of that illusion.

Blacks have low IQs, high crime rates and poor economic performance. Have you ever heard anyone discuss these undoubted facts in the popular media?

I would vote for a black man if he ran with a plan to get black violent crime under control. But we get just the opposite. Blacks continue to believe that OJ was innocent. Blacks continue to blame their kid's bad grades on the myth of the under funding of urban schools. Blacks continue to chose to be led by transparent con-men like Sharpton.

In a world where the large majority of black children are bastards our political leaders worry about gay marriage but remain silent on black marriage.

White Americans pretend that they addressing racial problems forthrightly. In fact they avoid all the major issues as being to painfull to even think about. Those are the chickens that have come home to roost.

It has to be this way. Its called a reality check.

Obama and his wife hate whitey - or at least don't like him very much. They are representative of a lot of American blacks and whites just discovering that racial bitterness is very shocking.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I'm thinking through your Axelrod/Rove comparison and as much as I'd like to buy it, I can't do so (at least, not yet).

We have to remember that Obama wasn't that popular with Blacks when he came on the scene. It was after he won Iowa and proved he could win that Black voters started to switch over to him. This was made worse by Bill Clinton's polarizing comments. I think that it was when the Clintons started to inject race and sex into the whole thing that the strategies of both sides looked more and more Rovian. Therefore, I don't quite think of Obama as a Rovian candidate in the beginning - I think he had a universal appeal based on his Blank Slate persona, and as the Blank Slate became colored, and since he had only one opponent, the results make it look like he was Rovian.

I personally think that if Hilary had come in with a Rovian attitude on day 1, she would have won the nomination. It is common knowledge by now that her strategists never worked out the implication of proportional delegation. Even worse is lesser known fact that more delegates are given to parts of the country that have voted historically for Democrats, which intensifies the effects of Black votes on the number of delegates Obama gets and reduces the effect of Hilary's popular vote advantage.

All in all, I think we need some understanding of what Axelrod acutally mapped out pre-primary to make the Rovian comparison work better.

Anonymous said...

Obama will lose because there are not enough rich white yuppies, Blacks, and college kids to win.

I think this is correct. Suburban and exurban whites will react to Obama and his tall, enraged spouse the same as if they turned a corner and bumped into Kimbo Slice. Perhaps Obama will pull in enough urban Baby Boomers--we shall see.

So, when do we get your dissection of President-elect McCain's physical and mental health?

-Senor Doug

travis said...

We have to remember that Obama wasn't that popular with Blacks when he came on the scene. It was after he won Iowa and proved he could win that Black voters started to switch over to him. This was made worse by Bill Clinton's polarizing comments. I think that it was when the Clintons started to inject race and sex into the whole thing that the strategies of both sides looked more and more Rovian.

You got the first part right; however, the second part just isn't true. As a South Carolinian, I can assure you that when there is a viable black candidate in a SC election, blacks will always vote for the black candidate. No exceptions. Everyone in South Carolina knows this and it's the reason why Republicans, who control the state legislature, and black leaders cooperated to racially gerrymander electoral districts in the state. If you doubt me, then just go to the SC Black Caucus website and take their word for it.

http://www.sclbc.org/2.html

The Obama campaign most certainly pulled a Rovain move--more like a Machiavellian move--when they pinned the inevitable racially polarized results of the South Carolina primary on the reaction to Bill Clinton's comments.

What was so outrageous about Clinton's comments?

Nothing. Clinton knows enough about southern politics not to intentionally inject race into a campaign in which his wife had the momentum, following victories in New Hampshire and Nevada.

I don't bring this up to defend Bill Clinton, who is now reaping the consequences of all the lies he has sown over the years, but I think it is important to note that the Axelrod did intentionally play the race card with the sole intent of gaining an advantage in the Dem primary, even if it will cost Obama the general election.

And, if Steve's theory is correct, why would Obama want to win the GE? Obama is the opposite of a populist; he's radical chic. I'm starting to believe the intention is for Obama to go down as a beautiful loser, perhaps positioning him as the left's version of Goldwater.

testing99 said...

David, there is nothing wrong with Apple Computers. I like them and have three. I realize, however, that much of their appeal is status-mongering. Part of their over-pricing is based on the status. You instantly announce in the cool/hip coffee shop how cool you are if you have a MacBook Pro to the cute young thing across the table.

I hate Windows, use it almost never. This machine I'm typing on is a Linux laptop. But I can see Apple's demo appeal. It's a lot like Obama.

Brutus -- WSJ had an article a few months back about how Dunkin Donuts did a survey of their customers. They found that the older, blue collar crowd who were their core customers HATED anything that smacked of Starbucks hipness.

It's true you can find anecdotal exceptions, wealthy liberal McCain/Hillary supporters and blue collar white true-Obama believers. But I think enough polling in places like Ohio and PA and KY and TN and so on have established demographic breakdowns that Axelrod and Obama are confusing marketing strategies (get younger consumers to set brand preference) with voting strategies.

And Rove may be right, that the nation is so polarized demographically that there is no possibility of much beyond 51%.

Anonymous said...

Because they're older and Internet neophytes, they only have the reportage of the MSM to make their decisions about an relative unknown like Obama.

My 67-year-old conservative dad has no problem surfing the interent, but the last time I visited I noticed that the only places he had bookmarked were electronic versions of the traditional print media. Old people might be using the net, but to some degree they're only going to the same places they've been going to for years.

Anonymous said...

brutus, it's a phenomenon: my aging mother is in the same boat as your parents. the combination of an increasingly unethical MSM (more interested in shaping opinions than making accurate reports) and a growing, increasingly mentally soft aging population figures to increase the effect of MSM propaganda going forward. It's worth remembering that the shift to the dems. in 2006 occurred following an unprecedented level of (24-hour per day anti-Iraq, pro-dem) biased coverage on CNN. People seem to take for granted that the political "mood has shifted" to the democrats, as if this shift necessarily reflects thoughtful changes of opinion and not simple growth in media bias and in the "pump head" demographic (aging folks reflecting post-bypass mental sloth--a medical condition--heads full of propoganda). Prior to 2006, the electorate had always seemed to me to vote about 15 IQ pts. higher than one would have expected watching CNN, et al.

Coincident with the growing media bias/pump head demographic phenomenon, you have internet democratization of the media married to increased accuity of the Christian Zander generation (courtesy of the explosion in media following about 1975). these two opposing trends have traction in our own families.

none of the above said...

anonymous:

I'm having a hard time seeing the 2006 Democratic victories as the result of some kind of grand media conspiracy/blitz/bias. It was the same media in 2002, in 2004, and in 2006.

My guess is that the visible disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, and New Orleans, plus the huge set of scandals involving Republicans, combine to make a better explanation for the 2006 election results.

Anonymous said...

"The Obama campaign most certainly pulled a Rovain move--more like a Machiavellian move--when they pinned the inevitable racially polarized results of the South Carolina primary on the reaction to Bill Clinton's comments."

I don't see what Axelrod did that way and I'm not sure about your time-line. This is mine

1. Obama wins SC Election
2. Bill Clinton dismisses Obama's win by alluding to Jackson's successes in SC.
3. Axelrod/Obama accuses Bill of racial politics.

There was no pinning of results because the comments were after the elections were over. Clinton should have known better than to make that kind of statement because it dismissed Obama's win as being purely because Obama was Black, a statement whose veracity wasn't the issue - the problem was the intent.

It also reflected the degree to which the Clintons were not dealing realistically with the campaign terrain because they still believed that it would be over by Super Tuesday and thought such a statement could downplay Obama's win. Well, we all know what happened after Super Tuesday - Hilary got creamed because she didn't understand the importance of building a true national campaign when delegates are allocated proportionally.

Axelrod on some level had to make that statement because even if Clinton was right (and I'm not doubting he was), Obama still had to maintain the idea that he had a broad appeal and that South Carolina was an anomaly.

I still think that Obama's win looks more Rovian now that there are only two candidates and Obama lost his ability to paint himself as a Blank Slate candidate (and didn't need to anymore).

Usually, before Wright became an issue, Obama would go into just about any state, campaign there, and drive down Clinton's lead substantially. This even happened in Ohio until the Canada brouhaha was revealed. That issue and Wright's rants lost Obama his Blank Slate image and I think after that, especially with Clinton's use of a Rovian strategy late in the game, it became easy to see Obama's campaign as Rovian.

AO