Saturday, February 09, 2008

Obama Vs Clinton

So, the republican race is more or less settled in favour of McCain, the democrats still have to fight it out. Given the proportional allocation of their votes and many people still can't make up their minds between Hilary and Barack Obama, it is going to be a long hard fight - possibly going all the way to the democratic convention at Denver in August. The Economist feels this will help the republicans, who will be able to launch their national campaign as early as May. Of course, after the disaster of the Bush years, this election is the Democrat's to lose. However, in some cases, the race still looks exceptionally tight.

CNN reports that Hilary and McCain is almost neck-and-neck on opinion polls. The difference is within the margin of error in each of the polls. However, Barack Obama, when pitted against McCain, has a considerable lead, and all things remaining the same, he can win the presidency for the Democrats.

Of course, things can change and it will. Obama will have to solidify his campaign when he takes it to the national level. He has to plug the gaps in his experience. When pitted against McCain, he will surely look 'light' and needs to project a team, which will add value.

In fact, looking from that angle, it will be interesting to see how these three leading candidates project their team. They all have weaknesses to cover.

Take McCain for example. He is light on economy, too liberal and over 70 years [and was on life support a few months' back]. So, his choice of running mate can turn out to be crucial. He says he is talking to Mitt Romney about uniting the party. They will surely make a good combination.

Hilary Clinton is too divisive a figure, and it will be good for her to take someone as a running mate who has broad bi-partisan appeal. The leading candidate on that count is Barack Obama himself, but he has future ahead of him and he may not want any part of another Clinton presidency. I can visualize him making another Kennedy-esque statement: 'If I fail to win the Presidency, I can assure you that I shall not run for the Vice-President. I shall return to the United States Senate..' Ms. Clinton therefore has to get an old-hand, possibly someone from the Clinton team, but it is difficult to think of someone who can add significant value to her candidature. Al Gore's name popped to my mind: but making him a perpetual Vice President is a bit too harsh on poor Al.

Barack Obama has a lot of choice, in contrast. The prime reason is that he is new, and he has bi-partisan appeal. One appealing choice is Colin Powell, yes, indeed, the much respected General and George Bush's first Secretary of State, who recently stated that he would support a democratic candidate if he thinks that person will serve the best interests of the country, and also praised Barack Obama in the same interview. Barack Obama will do well to project a team in the next phase of the race, which will show him to be more ready and launch a national campaign by stealth ahead of Mrs. Clinton.

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