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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Of Obamicans and Macacrats

By George Dienhart

IndyStar.com is reporting massive cross over voting in the Indiana primary. Is this a sign of success for Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos, a massive desertion of Republican Hoosiers to Obama, or something else? My money is on something else.

One thing that struck me about the IndyStar piece was a quote from Meghan Ward-Bopp. She said, "I'm a hardcore Republican," she said, "but it's about who I wanted in second place in case McCain doesn't make it. ... I don’t like the way this country's been run in the last 20 years. I'm sick of the dynasty (of two families) that's been running things." This taps into how voting is a personal experience, and as such cannot always be summed up by the pundits. The piece also quoted other voters as crossing over to prolong the Democrats misery. Again, a deeply personal, if not slightly twisted reason.

It is here that I must ask, what about the Obamicans and Macacrats? It is really the same pool of voters- what we are so used to calling Reagan Democrats. It is this demographic that will swing the election to the eventual winner. Obama’s supporters are constantly publicizing the Obamican- Republicans that are planning to vote for Obama. In reality, these voters were mostly independents, not Republicans. Obama is too far to the left for the vast majority of Republicans. Thus, Obamican is a misnomer. They are the same group of left leaning Democrats that the Democratic candidates traditionally court.

McDemocrats are a little different story. McCain has always done well with independents. Macacrats are security first voters and moderates. Like or not the McCain nomination has moved the party to the left. It was not a seismic shift. It was subtle- but true moderates noticed it. McCain is someone that a voter who traditionally leans slightly to the left can support- they’ll trade off issues that are not important to them for someone that will not just protect them, but also for someone who not tax them to death. McCain comes closest to this description.

This is something that McCain knows and is prepared to use. He is actually in the process of moving his campaign to the right after securing the nomination. This unprecedented move to shore up the base was made because McCain is so popular with moderates and independents. It is not something that President Bush could have done, and it is not something that Obama or Clinton can currently do. This has left the voter with three candidates- two of which are sprinting to the right, with the third floundering in past mistakes.

Candidate Obama’s past mistakes are grave. These mistakes would have sent him back to the Senate to finish his term months ago, had they happened earlier. His actions in avoiding accountability have alienated him from the right and the center- and remember, it is the center that most be one in every election. He continues to do the opposite of McCain and Clinton- he is still moving to the left. Democrats moving to the left in primary season are the traditional strategy- but this is not a traditional year. Candidate Obama has so damaged his campaign by pandering to leftist extremists that he has jeopardized what was once a sure thing nomination. He may have even destroyed any chance he has of being president.

Candidate Clinton has also embraced the moderates, by moving to the right. Her bombastic statements on Iran are only part of a strategy to shift her stance to be closer to her those of her husband. She is trying to make up for being far more liberal on social issues by pretending to be a hawk on security. This has left her with a gaping hole in her left flank. Obama has marched straight through this hole and has almost sewn up the nomination due to Clinton’s miscalculation. It was this decision that leaves the Democrats where they are today. Clinton thought she had the nomination wrapped up last summer, so she started moving to the right. The hard-core liberals in the cities and suburbs deserted here, turning in droves to Obama. This left the Democrats fragmented, and with little chance of uniting in the upcoming general election.

That last point was important. Polls show that over a third of Hillary supporters will not vote for Obama in a general election. Polls show that the same is true for Obama supporters, in that they will not vote for Clinton. These voters are the true phenomenon here. They are the true Macacrats- voters that will actually cross party lines to vote. McCain has to ensure that he does not run so far to the right as to push these voters back to which ever Democrat eventually wins.