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December 07, 2007

Re: Who’s Afraid of Barack Obama?

From AlterNet: Hillary Clinton Might Be the Least Electable Democrat:

While Clinton maintains her lead in national polling among Democrats, in direct matchups against Republican presidential candidates, she consistently runs behind both Barack Obama and John Edwards.
By contrast, Obama beats every major Republican candidate: He beats McCain 45 percent to 38 percent; Guiliani 46 percent to 41 percent; Romney 46 percent to 40 percent; Huckabee 46 percent to 40 percent; and, Thompson 47 percent to 40 percent. In other words, Obama consistently runs 8 to 11 percent stronger than Clinton when matched against Republicans. To state the obvious: The Democratic presidential candidate will have to run against a Republican.

Frank Rich noted last Sunday in Who’s Afraid of Barack Obama?:

Were Mr. Obama to best Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic nomination, he may prove harder for the Republicans to rally against and defeat than the all-powerful, battle-tested Clinton machine.
...Clinton-bashing is the last shared article of faith (and last area of indisputable G.O.P. competence) that could yet unite the fractured and dispirited conservative electorate.

The Republicans know this and are so psychologically invested in refighting the Clinton wars that they’re giddy. Karl Rove’s first column for Newsweek last week, “How to Beat Hillary (Next) November,” proceeded from the premise that her nomination was a done deal. In the G.O.P. debates through last Thursday, the candidates mentioned the Clintons some 65 times. Barack Obama’s name has not been said once.
An Obama candidacy would force them to engage. Or try to. A matchup between Mr. Obama and Mr. Giuliani, who was forged in the racial crucible of New York’s police brutality nightmares of the 1990s, or between Mr. Obama and Mitt Romney, who was shaped by a religion that didn’t give blacks equal membership until 1978, would be less a clash of races than of centuries.

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