Ardent Republicans seem to be rooting for Senator Clinton in the primary election in order to consolidate their constituents' deep-seated disdain for her in November. However, they realize that it may be formidable and charismatic Barack Obama on the ticket in the fall.
An excellent piece from Politico reveals the GOP propaganda machine's ideas on Obama's political weaknesses. Last weekend, at a RNC big donor "winter retreat" starring Karl Rove in Beverly Hills, deep-pocketed Republicans congregated to hobnob and plot to land John McCain in the Oval Office. A PowerPoint presentation made to the attendees listed five presumed pressure points for an Obama candidacy in the general election:
#1: A seeming incongruity between Obama and the mantle of commander in chief.
#2: During Obama's days in the Illinois state Senate, his "pattern of voting 'present' offers many openings to question his candidacy."
#3: There is hope for the GOP faithful that "we can be confident in a campaign about issues."
#4: "Undisciplined messaging carries great risk."
#5: "His greatest weakness is inexperience. He is not ready to be commander in chief. He is not ready to be president."
It would be too easy to look at these five Republican points of criticism and turn them against George W. Bush in 2000.
However for Obama, the inevitable racist insinuations from #1 will be ugly. Numbers 2 and 4 open the door to being labeled empty, or worse, not "decisive," a cousin to the dreaded "flip-flopper."
Numbers 3 and 5 are weak for Republicans, though. Sixty-nine percent of the country thinks we're going in the wrong direction. They don't want a continuation of Bush's policies. And #5 can be overcome by Obama's uncanny ability to rally people for change and to get out the vote with younger and more racially diverse constituencies.
It will take heavy doses of whispered slime, insinuation, and fear for the GOP to take down Barack Obama. Prepare for the onslaught. Rove and company did it successfully to McCain in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. With presumptive candidate McCain's recent unqualified praise for him, Rove and his dirty tricks will surely be in the mix again.
Will America have finally caught on?
Dan Brown is the author of The Great Expectations School.