As an amateur pundit I cannot aspire to the lack of prescience endemic in the professional punditocracy. But that doesn’t mean I can’t inflict my prognostications on a helpless public. At least in my case, I’m not inflicting myself on a million living rooms.
Anyway, here’s my take on tomorrow. I am predicting that Obama will exceed expectations, at least as reflected in the polls. My thinking is fairly simple. I’m fairly sure there are a lot of people out there like me and my wife who have been wavering between Clinton and Obama. So, not only are there a lot of folks out there who call themselves undecided, but also a lot that could switch. I’m guessing that the undecided and the waverers break in a large proportion for Obama. I’m not saying that he will necessarily get more votes than Hillary, but I am saying he will get a lot more than the polls are showing.
Maybe I’m projecting, because despite some issues I have with him, I’m leaning toward Obama at the moment. But I think that a lot of people are looking for a break with the past, and for better or worse, Hillary is part of that past. I think Bill Clinton was a good president; I think Hillary would be a good president; but I don’t want to go through another eight years of having to deal with rabid Clinton haters, and frankly, I relish the idea of getting out of the dynastic cycle into which we have blundered. There are almost 300 million people in this country and there’s no reason the president must be named Bush or Clinton.
Now, I know that legions of Obama haters could arise, but it’s not a dead certainty, and he may be positioned to blunt a lot of the worst of it. This country needs inspiration and it is not going to get that from Hillary. And I say this fully cognizant of the fact that inspiring leadership is not always great leadership. I was 13 when JFK was killed. He was my hero for years, but I now know that, while he was indeed inspiring, he was not terribly effective. It is debatable whether he could have gotten the Civil Rights Act through the Congress, not to mention the Voting Rights Act. The uninspiring LBJ did that, helped, to be sure by the wave of support for JFK’s policies created by JFK’s death. When Hillary pointed out that it took an LBJ to get those acts through Congress, she was right. Remember, in today’s political world, Barack is not Martin Luther King. He’s JFK.
But these are not the 60s, and Barack is not really JFK, and the political realities with which we must deal are not the same as then. In any event, to a great extent, tomorrow is not about what people need, but what they want. They want someone to make them feel that this can be a great country again, and we can be a great and good people, and Hillary can’t give them that.
So that’s my prediction. If I’m right, I’m a genius. If I’m wrong, well like the professional pundits I will pretend I never wrote or thought any of the above, and next week I’ll be telling you that I knew Hillary would get the undecideds and late switchers all along.