In Search of a Candidate

Today the Gallup organization released a poll in which Hillary Clinton scored a remarkable 52% unfavorable rating. This continues a downward trend in her ratings over recent weeks.
Meanwhile, on Monday in Milwaukee, Barack Obama embarrassed himself, beginning with the Virginia Tech murders and then declaiming on “violence” in its many manifestations; the transcript is making its way around the web:

There’s also another kind of violence though that we’re gonna have to think about. It’s not necessarily physical violence but that the violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways. Last week, the big news, obviously, had to do with Imus and the verbal violence that was directed at young women who were role models for all of us, role models for my daughter. …[T]hat’s a form of violence – it may be quiet, it may not surface to the same level of the tragedy we read about today and we mourn, but it is violence nonethesame.
We [inaudible]…. There’s the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under ’em because their job has moved to another country. They’ve lost their job, they’ve lost their pension benefits, and they’ve lost their health care and they’re having to compete against their teenage children for jobs at the local fast food place paying $7 an hour.
There is the violence of children, whose voices are not heard, in communities that are ignored. Who don’t have access to a decent education, who are surrounded by drugs and crime and a lack of hope.
So there’s a lot of different forms of violence in our society….

That sort of mushy-headedness is not going to impress the voters.
In 2004, Democratic primary voters panicked when Howard Dean imploded and fled to John Kerry, who turned out to be a weak candidate. In 2008, if Democrats come to believe that Hillary can’t win, Obama is waiting in the wings, trailing Clinton by only five points in today’s Gallup poll. But there is little evidence that Obama is ready for prime time–as a candidate, not as a fundraiser–and after him, the most viable choice appears to be John Edwards. But Edwards came across as a lightweight in 2004, most notably in his televised debate with Dick Cheney, and failed to carry his home state of North Carolina for the Democratic ticket.
It may well be that the tide of events in 2008 will favor the Democrats. In the end, that might be all that matters. Still, well-informed Democrats have to be worried about who, exactly, is going to be their nominee.
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