>OBSERVATION: President Obama? I think not.

>Okay, I will risk being made the fool. I don’t think Barack Obama can win a general election, short of some catastrophic political event or campaign stupidity that would wipe out McCain. (Hmmm! Perhaps I should not be so bold in my prediction)

Obama has a powerful message, which resonates with the Democrat voters. However, his rise to front-runner status is also due to the unique demographics and sequencing of the Democrat primaries. He gains momentum, in some measure, because the early primaries were his turf to begin with, and his brand of politicking is especially effective in caucus situations. He also gained by having the “white guys” (including Hillary) divide up the white vote.

With fully one-fifth of the democrat primary voters being African-American, Obama had a solid core of dependable votes. Oh sure, there was a lot of speculation about Clinton’s potential strength in the black community – after all, she was married to the first black president according to some agonizingly twisted logic. Bottom line, black candidates generally get 70-plus percent of the black vote. Spare me the “ethnic pride” baloney that somehow does not apply to whites. At the theory goes, blacks vote FOR a black candidate out of racial pride (a good thing). Whites vote AGAINST a black candidate out of racial prejudice (a bad thing). Forget the bogus theory. It is racism, pure and simple. I won’t even buy “reverse racism,” as if it is only reactive to a more malignant white racism. A rose … is a rose … is a rose.

Some commentators note that Obama even did well in the “southern state” of South Carolina – failing to mention that the Democrat vote in the Palmetto State is 50 percent black. The also noted that he “crushed” Clinton in the District of Colombia, Maryland and Virginia. Again the black percentage is high (overwhelming in D.C.) and the high percentage of federal bureaucrats again gave Obama, as the big government programs candidate, the edge. The more liberal states, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, are good ground for Obama. He gets Illinois by virtue of being a “favorite son.”

So, Obama is now the front runner. He is the glamour boy of the press. He is sold to the public in almost messianic fervor. Television opinionator Chis Mathews talks about the feeling that rises in his legs when he hears Obama speak. (Oh, the things we could say about that. Nope! Not going there. Too freaky.) Former hippie Senator and presidential candidate bad boy Gary Hart sees Obama as a transcendent personality. Maybe he meant “transcendental.” A lot of pundits, especially the far left variety, talk about Obama as an inevitability.

So, what shunt will side track Obama in his quest for the Oval Office? Just about everything.

While the sun shines brightly on Obama at the moment, Clinton can still wrestle him to a draw for elected delegates, and secure the nomination thanks to her fragile advantage with the so-called super delegates. Or, maybe she loses to the Illlinois senator because of the super delgates. Either way, it could be a Pyrrhic victory. Such a scenario would mean that Obama and Clinton will spend several months blooding up each other in a serious of primaries, while McCain stands outside the center ring goading them with verbal prods.

Then there is the messy convention fight should neither one of them seal the deal before the convention. Instead of the convention being a grand public relations launch for the Democrat nominee, viewers will watch a bitter credentials fight to restore the Michigan and Florida voting delegates stripped away by the national party for moving up their primaries. Debates will rage of the role of the super delegates. Should the simply endorse the candidate with the most popular votes or delegates (presumably Obama), or should the vote their prior commitments (presumably Clinton).

Obama will show his crass political undergarment by arguing for the endorsement of the super delegates based on democratic principles, while arguing to disenfranchise the Democrat voters in Michigan and Florida. It doesn’t wash.

To see the party which so sanctimoniously condemned the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, the entire state of Florida and half the people in America for allowing George Bush to “steal” the 2000 election shred their party over similar issues is the most entertaining of political theater. God invented irony for just such moments.

Obama could be what I like to call the “cotton candy” candidate. As delicious as it seems on first lick, by the time you get down to the paper cone, you discover that there really was not much there – and your sort of sick to your stomach from the sugar-only diet. Because of the uniqueness of his candidacy, a carefully crafted charisma, and a rather pleasant personality, Obama gets away with platitudes. Sure, he alludes to fixing everything from world poverty to my computer, but there is no substance, no detailed program and no legislative initiatives. Just nice words, well delivered. His campaign offers the “audacity of hope,” and audacious it is. The empty rhetoric will not hold up in the more intense evaluation of a general election campaign.

Primary election combatants tend to play by their version of the overly polite Marquise of Queensberry rules. This is partly due to the fact that it is a family feud. Underlying is always the understanding that unity is going to be needed after the victor is crowned. Also, candidates in a primary often represent similar views – offering up differences without distinctions. Once the General Election begins, the gloves come off and the contest is more like kick boxing. Obama is not tested for such a battle.

Because of the nature of the Democrat constituency, where all the candidates are slightly different hues of liberal, Obama’s extreme leftist record and rhetoric has not been challenged. “Too liberal” is not an effective Democrat campaign mantra. McCain will, no doubt, define Obama as far left as credibility will allow. Despite self claims to the contrary, issue by issue Obama is beached on the port side bank of the political mainstream.

Many of the tarnishes on Obama’s media buffed shining armour that have been minimized in the primary could become significant issues in the general election. Does the name Tony Rezko (right) come to mind? In all likelihood, his political padrone will be on trail during the campaign, and the Obama name will come up in testimony. There is a lot more to be said about Obama’s early rise in the thoroughly corrupt Chicago political machine. And said, it will be.

Another major obstacle on the road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is race. With addressing the morality of racial voting (read that “prejudice”), it is a reality. Within the Democrat party there is a pretty significant strain of racism – on both sides. Obama will receive at least 80 percent of the black vote, and that is not an outcome that can be explained by anything other than racial prejudice.

However, in the general election, a lot of those white Democrats who prefer a white candidate will be crossing over to the GOP. Since the black community is almost totally in the donkey party all the time, there is hardly a black Republican who will cross over the other way. Furthermore, blacks in the Republican party are so conservative that they will vote their philosophy a lot faster than their race. That is obvious by their very presence in the pachyderm party.

Even with the angst over McCain, those who think conservatives will let Obama be president by default (not voting) are about as silly as those Republicans who think they can appeal to the black vote based on issues. Helloooooooo! Race is the ONLY issue.

Because of party rules and skewered demographics, the Democrats are engaged in a fight between the least likely candidates to win a general election. Because the conservative vote was divided, giving the relatively unpopular McCain a plurality victory, the Republicans have all but nominated the candidate with the lesser general election appeal. This means that November will be a contest to determine who is truly the least popular of them all, with the second least popular person becoming what I predict to be a rather contoversial president.

At this moment, it appears to be McCain’s to lose. But then again, he is a Republican, a party with a long tradition of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

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