Its that time of year again! The Democrats are meeting in Denver for their National Convention just days after Obama announced that Joe Biden was to be his running mate. I briefly watched the highlights of the first day of the convention which unsuprisingly attempted to present unity and hope but their cheers concealed a dark reality. Despite heartwarming speeches from the likes of Michelle Obama and Ted Kennedy, the reality is the Democrats are in trouble and those in the know are actually quite concerned.
The Democrats at large need to despense with that traditional Democrat quality: ignorance. They cannot ignore the fact that the polls are increasingly close at a time when the Democrats should be leagues ahead. They have a charismatic candidate, they follow a man regarded as one of the worst Presidents in history, they inherit an economy on the brink of recession, gas prcies at an all time high and an unpopular war lurking in the background. In short they have all the ingredients required in a recipe for sucess. Yet still they are unable to convince the American public and I believe this in part can be justified by one word: Clinton.
Obama’s choice of VP is questionable and his dismisal of Hillary Clinton potentially fatal. By dismissing Hillary, Obama has flown in the face of popular opinion across all Americans who believed he should have taken Clinton and her supporters more seriously. His selection of Joe Biden, far from ensuring party unity, could well push disgruntled Hillary fans right in to McCain’s open arms. And the McCain camp know it. McCain has released several new ads over the weekend intended to rile up and appeal to the roughly 28% of Clinton backers who have told pollsters they are still undecided or plan to vote for McCain this fall. One titled “Passed Over” implies that his Democratic opponent didn’t choose Clinton to be his running mate because he couldn’t handle her “truth”-telling, while another features a “proud Hillary Clinton Democrat” declaring her intention to support McCain in the fall.
Similarly the McCain Camp must be commened for their performance over the past few weeks in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. They are punching the right places and one day could well deal the knock out blow. A few weeks and months ago Obama was romping home to the White House on an unprecedented wave of international and national good will. In truth he and many of his supporters were all but picking out the White House colour scheme. Today’s polls tell a very different story. Obama is now either neck and neck or behind McCain, particularly in the swing states. The wheels are coming off the Obama bandwagon, the people want substance not speeches. This election is far from over and this convention season could prove crucial.