Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Bet: It's McCain in the End

So John McCain will be the Republican candidate for president. He will face either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. My early bet is that he will beat Hillary, if she is the candidate, but that he will be beaten by Barack, if he is the candidate. I say that because people are increasingly sick of the Clintons. Not everybody, not by a long shot. But the Clinton campaigns in South Carolina and Florida provided vivid reminders of dirty old politics. Both McCain and Obama show at least the potential to be better than that. In that sense (given my previous speculation that Obama will be the candidate), I am betting that the better person will win, in both the primary and general elections. If the Democratic candidate is chosen by superdelegates, as appears increasingly likely, then I am betting that some who have committed to Clinton will find a way out. There is not a "best" candidate. Obama seems to be best at re-enfranchising the younger generation. McCain seems likely to be the best candidate for restoring confidence in the economy -- the sense, that is, that a strong hand is at the tiller. Clinton will embody issues that resonate with women. These are examples, of course; each candidate has other strengths as well. Among those various strengths, I suspect the crucial one will be the economy -- the sense of uncertainty, that is, and dread of hard times ahead. Winter will be coming in November. My early bet is that his strength will be most appreciated on Voting Day.