Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A lifelong Utah Republican comes out of the closet for Obama

It started innocently enough. While getting into a co-worker's car last December, I had to move something covered in a plastic bag off the passenger seat.

"You might be surprised by what that is," he said.

"Hillary's autobiography?" I quipped. Not for this guy, I figured, a lifelong Republican and two-time Bush supporter.

"Close." As I removed the bag, he said, "It's Barack Obama's book." He was intrigued by Obama's message, he said, so he figured he'd read it...

Yesterday, while discussing the election, he said, "This is the most exciting race that I can remember." Then he added happily, "and I think I'm going to vote for Obama."

His perspective was enlightening. No, Obama doesn't have a lot of experience, he conceded, but that is not his number one concern. Divisiveness is. George Bush made no effort to be inclusive, he said disgustedly. "I don't know if anyone can bring this country back together, but someone has to try."

As I write this, I have just finished reading a Washington Post column postulating that Obama is doomed in red states like Utah. Maybe, maybe not.


rmwarnick said...

I thought it was interesting that Hillary's campaign consultants dismissed Obama's 11 straight primary wins in "insignificant states" like Utah. They don't understand the 50-state strategy. Obama is picking up where Howard Dean left off.

Why have a close election that comes down to a relative handful of voters in Ohio or Florida? The Democrats can do better than that.

Curmudgeon said...

And if Sen. Clinton becomes the nominee, you can bet your booties that the successful "fifty state strategy" of Gov. Dean's will be dropped immediately in favor of the failed... over and over... 17 state strategy favored by Sen. Clinton's chief campaign strategists. [Though I notice that even the Ragin' Cajin' James Carville has backed off his former criticism of the 50 state strategy that delivered control of the House and Senate to the Democrats last year. Carville, at least, seems capable of learning.]

The 17 state strategy argues that Democratic presidential campaigns should not waste effort and money campaigning in traditionally red states, but instead should pour all resources into the 17 states that are traditionally blue or are highly competitive. Winning those 17 will provide just enough electoral votes to take the election.

That strategy worked so well, after all, in 2000 and 2004.

The 17 state strategy also means huge Democratic losses down ticket... for state houses, state legislatures, etc. I suspect one of the reasons Obama did so well in Utah among Democrats, at least active ones, is the realization that national party support for the state party will evaporate like rain drops on a summer pavement if Sen. Clinton gets the nod.