STRUGGLING to explain Democratic candidate Barack Obama's inability to dominate his Republican opponent John McCain in the polls, Americans have started to think about the unthinkable: the race factor.First, let me start by saying I'm one of the 80% who believes the country is going in the wrong direction.... a more liberal direction. That doesn't make me more inclined to vote for Obama since he's the candidate out of power.
Almost 80% of Americans believe their country is on the wrong track, mired in an unpopular war and burdened with a failing economy. Yet the conventional wisdom of the presidential campaign now is that it will be a referendum on Barack Obama, not a judgement on the past eight years of Republican administration.
Score this round to the Republicans, for setting the agenda.
Polls consistently show a much tighter personal contest between Senator Obama and Senator McCain than they do between the Democratic and Republican parties.
"It's the right question to ask: why doesn't Obama have a much larger lead?" University of Maryland politics professor James Gimpel said yesterday. "I think the race thing is there. It has to be."
Second, I know liberals knowledge of history consists solely of the performers at Woodstock but if we actually examine the presidential results since, oh, 1952, you will see that liberal candidates have won 51% of the popular vote exactly ONE time (Lyndon Johnson in 1964).
Liberal agendas just do not work in presidential elections. After all, our first black president, B. J. Clinton, had to run as a conservative and run against a corpse just to get a whopping 48% of the popular vote in 1996.
The liberal upside in any presidential election is probably about 51%. Meaning that a liberal has to get all of his base plus nearly all independents just to get a majority. In order to pull all of those independents, they have to run as a conservative. A truly liberal candidate who runs on a liberal platform will perform just about as well as Mike Dukakis or Walter Mondale did in their runs.
Obama made out great early on because he was an unknown and portrayed as a "new" kind of candidate.
As the public starts paying attention and witnessing his true liberal ideology, his poll numbers are starting to slide downward. In my mind, it's probably a miracle he's managed to get to 49% given his liberal message.
For those that want to make this about race, just remember he was no more black in February as he is today. Maybe the public likes corn for food instead of arugula.