- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 26, 2007


What part of “anyone but Hillary” Clinton do Democrats not understand? The surest and best path for Democrats to defeat conservatives in 2008 is to elect Sen. Barack Obama as their nominee. Mr. Obama is leading in Iowa, and the race is now a dead heat in New Hampshire and South Carolina. In response, the Clinton camp has insisted that Mr. Obama is not electable by the general population. They maintain that his opinions are too liberal, that Republicans will use the issue of his past drug use against him and that he has insufficient experience. Yet this negative approach has thus far failed to resonate with Democratic voters.

Moreover, it is Mrs. Clinton, not Mr. Obama, who cannot be elected. In last week’s Fox 5-The Washington Times-Rasmussen Reports poll, 40 percent of Americans state they will vote to prevent Mrs. Clinton from becoming president. She gets the largest “anti-vote” of any candidate in both parties: 64 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of third-party or independent voters, and 17 percent of Democrats insist they will vote against her. Hence, the Clinton camp’s recent attempt to malign Mr. Obama as unelectable is pure farce. It is like telling Democrats to be afraid of a toy pistol while ignoring a bazooka which is being aimed at them. In a general campaign, Republicans will go nuclear against Mrs. Clinton.

Barring the nomination of Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic Party is poised to capture the White House in 2008. This is mostly because there is no Republican candidate on the horizon who can unite the right. Thus, any Democrat but Mrs. Clinton, can peel away enough conservative, Republican and independent voters to win the next election.

Once Mr. Obama secures the Democratic nomination, he will enter the general election with the liberal base highly mobilized. With a running mate who has good foreign-policy credentials, he can convince moderates that he will be effective in international affairs. Also, Democrats generally attract 88 percent of the black vote: Mr. Obama may make even greater inroads as these voters embrace the prospect of electing America’s first black president. Finally, he will capture the two vital swing-voter groups: women and Hispanics.

Mr. Obama need only rely on Oprah Winfrey to capture the majority of the female vote. He will secure an even larger segment of female voters by suggesting policies — as Mrs. Clinton does — which directly affect female interests. By contrast, leading Republicans have ignored women’s issues. Moreover, many Hispanics, who were essential to the election of George Bush in both 2000 and 2004, have turned away from the Republican Party: Hispanics are repulsed by the anti-immigrant rhetoric which resulted from the failed immigration bill. The majority of women and Hispanics will therefore gravitate to Sen. Obama’s corner.

Furthermore, Mr. Obama can tap into the division within the Republican Party. As the Wall Street Journal has reported, some businesses are recoiling at the enforcement of anti-illegal immigration laws. Hence, the GOP’s anti-immigrant platform will secure the allegiance of one part of their usual constituency while alienating some members of the business sector who would otherwise vote for the GOP.

Also, if Democrats nominate Mr. Obama rather than Mrs. Clinton, conservative dissatisfaction re-emerges as a major campaign factor. There will be many conservatives and Republicans who will vote for a Democrat as a means of giving their own leaders a black eye: This will be payback to the Republicans for the previous abandonment of conservative principles on key issues. And woe to the Republicans if the nominee is chosen at the expense of the evangelical conservative base: If Rudy Giuliani wins the GOP nomination, evangelicals have stated they will vote for Mr. Obama rather than pull the lever for a thrice-married man.

Mr. Obama also has personality traits which have widespread appeal. The gentle, mild-mannered leader is a devoted family man, a sincere and consistent politician, an eloquent idealist — and a pal of the much-loved, much-admired, Oprah. He is perceived by many on the right as a breath of fresh air, as one who will spare us an ugly campaign season and potentially an even uglier four years after that.

The secret among conservatives is that many are rooting for Mr. Obama — and many will even vote for him in a general election no matter how liberal he is. Why? He will be heroic for defeating Hillary; he is authentic, and he is likeable even in disagreement.

In essence, all the stars are aligned in favor of a remarkable American story: Barack Obama’s historic march from Iowa straight into the White House in Washington, D.C. If only Democrats had enough sense to get Hillary Clinton out of his way.

Grace Vuoto is executive director of the Edmund Burke Institute for American Renewal. The opinions expressed are her own.

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