Saturday, January 26, 2008

From a town called ...

Caroline Kennedy said it best, though I'm uncomfortable with comparing the current Democratic frontrunner to JFK, who has come to embody far more than just his political vision. I also find it incredibly ironic that Barack Obama is essentially running on one of Bill Clinton's campaign themes from '92.

The nominees do, after all, have to smile onstage with their former opponents come August and September, respectively. I love primaries for exactly this reason. As I've said before, they're like family holiday gatherings to determine who gets to carve the turkey or pass out the presents. (On a related tangent, as a child I would convince a different sister each year that she passed out the Christmas presents the year before and that it was my turn. But that obviously wouldn't work in Denver or St. Paul...) At any rate, the local and state-level primaries are definitely more fun, but at least with the national races more people have opinions. In theory. And if starting a conversation about sex or religion is too difficult or taboo, there's always the latest primary development to chat about with strangers. (Again, in theory... at the end of the day people with strong opinions don't always vote. Here's to hoping we can beat the high estimated 64% turnout from the last presidential cycle. Woot.)

I've been nerdily scrutinizing the disaggregated data from every primary's exit polls (both Dem and Rep), but still, it's the "moveable middle" that determines close elections -- the swing voters, the moderate conservatives, the more conservative liberals, the independents. Caro really did say it best -- at least on the Blue side, the ideas behind the policy proposals aren't vastly, hugely, unbridgeably different. It comes down to messaging, and though I'm pretty cynical about partisan politics, one message resonates with me and the other doesn't.

The Red side is so much more fascinating! And alarming, of course. But most rollercoasters are...

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