Obama as the Next McGovern?
The TimesOnline says the right wing is set to attack Barack Obama s the ultimate "liberal socialist" in the mold of George McGovern.
LEADING Republicans believe they can trounce Barack Obama in the presidential election by tarring him as a shady Chicago socialist. They are increasingly confident that his campaign could collapse by the time their attack machine has finished with him.
Obama has the voting record of a “hard-left” socialist, according to [Grover]Norquist, from his time in the Illinois state legislature to the US Senate. He was recently judged by the nonpartisan National Journal to have the most liberal voting record in 2007 of any senator.
“It will be easy to portray him as even harder-left than Hillary,” said Norquist. “Hillary could lose the election, but Obama could collapse. People already know Hillary and she is not popular, but the disadvantage for Obama is that Republicans can teach people who don’t know him who he is.”
I was struck earlier by Obama's statement that the solution to the Florida primary election is to hold caucuses. Of course he would say that, since he does best in caucuses.
So say some, did George McGovern. Especially, like Obama, in red states that are unlikely to go blue in November. That's how the superdelegates came about -- so the Dems could avoid a repeat of that failed strategy.
The new blog Progressive Involvement lays this out.
McGovern, along with Congressman Don Fraser, wrote the rules which governed the 1972 campaign. Four years earlier, in 1968, the Democratic Party had blown itself up in a dispute between the established powerbrokers and the anti-war left. The "McGovern Rules" were mostly about taking power away from "the establishment." In the future, nominees would be chosen in local caucuses and state primaries.
In caucuses, cohesive goal-directed groups can have influence beyond their numbers. This makes them ideal for insurgency-type campaigns. In 1972, we McGovernites took 9 out of 10 delegates in Ellis County, Kansas--a significant achievement especially when George McGovern was not exactly representative of local sentiment among traditional Democrats.
The McGovern campaign did this in thousands of county assemblies all across the nation, particularly in what are now called "red states." Note George McGovern's "red state" victories in this map of 1972 caucuses and primaries and compare it to the states Barack Obama has won through caucuses this year. This is not surprising, of course, considering that the Obama campaign has adopted the McGovern insurgency caucus strategy, added in internet organizing and fundraising, and, what's more, rallied the same McGovern constituency.
The inference is that by winning the small red states with caucuses, but not the big blue states like California and New York, Obama is likely to repeat McGovern's blowout in the general election.
Here's a map showing states won so far by Obama and Hillary.
Any thoughts on the validity of this scenario?
Update: Comments at 200, this thread is closing.
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