Monday, June 30, 2008

Election 2008—the “Big Mo”

In the world of sports, momentum is a well understood concept. If you expect to win, you have to have momentum going in, and you have to sustain it throughout the game. Of course, the other team or players sometimes are successful in changing the momentum but not often. Simply put, momentum is the will to win and overcome your opponent no matter how tough the game becomes. In spite of a knee injury, Tiger Woods found a way to win the US Open. And in spite of Kobe Bryant’s best effort to rally the Lakers, Boston won the NBA championship.

This election year sports Barack Obama against John McCain in the national championship for President of the United States. And in spite of McCain’s best effort so far, Obama clearly has the momentum. He has had the momentum since first winning the Iowa primary, and spite of a couple of good runaway second and fourth quarters when Hillary won California, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania, Obama maintained the momentum by winning virtually all of the smaller states. Hillary played it to the final second, but had to graciously concede defeat. If Obama sustains the momentum throughout the election campaign, John McCain is going to end up seeing his best days behind him.

From day one, Obama has remained steadfast in his message: “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington . . . I’m asking you to believe in yours.”

That he is also running openly as a populist and a socialist would seem counter-intuitive to becoming a serious candidate, but considering how much hardship has been created for everyday working folk by capitalistic greed, McCain’s message of “pro-growth; pro-democracy” seems to be falling on deaf ears.

Recently Obama announced he would forgo public funding of his campaign and instead would rely on the individual donations of his supporters. McCain called foul, and said Obama has gone back on his word when he promised he would take federal funding for his campaign if his opponent did the same: "This is a big deal, a big deal," McCain said. "He has completely reversed himself and gone back, not on his word to me, but the commitment he made to the American people."

To McCain it is an issue of character, but to Obama it is a slam dunk of playing hard against his opponent and moving on. It would do McCain good to stop squabbling and get back to the game by giving up public funding as well.

Regardless, public funding or otherwise, McCain is going to have to play his best game by convincing the American people that he is every bit as sincere as to why he thinks he should be the next President of the United States, and I believe he is.

However, with recent failures in mortgages, rampant increases in energy, food and other goods, and stagnant wages, the Republicans are fast becoming a party that is about to be completely ostracized come November 4th. When you consider the average American who hasn’t had any significant pay increase in the last two years, you can only imagine the emotions that begin percolating when their paycheck hardly covers basic expenses. People are mad, and when people are mad, they get on that roller coaster of emotion and take a ride with whoever is promising a better deal. That is why Obama has the momentum, and John McCain doesn’t. People want change, not political principles or ideology. However, the change people might end up getting might be considerably less in their pocket then they may realize.

Carter was elected because Gerald Ford was perceived as a continued extension of Nixon’s presidency. During Carter’s presidency, we had run-away inflation, and a president who could not be decisive on anything. The Democrats are taking advantage of the perception that McCain’s presidency would be a George Bush third term—different face, yes, but business as usual.

Of course the Republicans will have only themselves to blame should McCain lose the election. George Bush has been largely ineffectual in his leadership during his second term, and perhaps has been too focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, and not enough on domestic issues here at home. His economic stimulus plan, though well-intentioned, was too little, too late. And if the housing crisis continues to worsen, and gas prices continue to spiral upward, George Bush is going to cast a huge shadow over McCain’s campaign that will make it near impossible for him to step out from under.

Regardless, Obama is not going to fold or collapse mid-way. Whatever statements made about him as inexperienced or incapable of leading this country are contrary to the image of a man who is poised and confident in his message and is skillful in his tactics. He’s on the move, and he’s going to be hard to stop—not because he is convinced he will win; but because he has envisioned himself as already won.

During the election of 1980, Bush declared he had the “Big Mo,” but Reagan, who had to tough it out a couple of times had the momentum from the beginning and was able to sustain it throughout his campaign. He won the GOP nomination and the presidency. If Obama continues to move forward as he has been, then he will be the next President of the United States.

5 comments:

rdl said...

Yes, Go Obama. Mccain would be 4 more years of Bush. and i don't believe he has any integrity(albeit a patriotic war veteran). also what do you think about his wife's credit card bill this month of 500-750K!!! i don't believe they have a clue about our pain.
sorry i couldn't resist.

S L Cunningham said...

rdl,

Good to see you see stop by. As far as not having "a clue about our pain," I couldn't agree more. CNN had a report on the middle class today, and the numbers weren't very good. If the economic situation gets any worse, I think the backlash is going to be huge.

Deborah Woehr said...

I'll never forget the Clinton/Bush campaign. Back then, everybody was sick of the Republicans and "wanted a change." This time around, it's even harder to decide whom to elect. Do I want "4 more years of Bush"? Or, do I vote for a man who, so far to me, hasn't offered anything but empty promises that sound too much like the Clinton campaign?

I agree with you about the backlash, Scot. The middle class is a hair's breath of getting wiped out by the rich and the poor.

S L Cunningham said...

Deborah

This coming election is going to be decided by passion, and that doesn't always make for the better choice. November 4th certainly is going to be interesting.

Lorna said...

You make a good argument. We'll be watching from above the 49th parallel.