Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Democratic Machine Candidate Is...

Conventional wisdom is it's Senator Clinton, based on her "stature" within the party and the chips she has collected in sixteen years of national spotlight. But I think that conventional wisdom is wrong: Obama is the machine candidate. Hear me out.

Candidates for party nominations, at least the major and serious candidates, are either Machine candidates or insurgent candidates. Bill Clinton, as the leader of the supposedly centrist Democratic Leadership Council, was the insurgent candidate in 1992, and was not expected to win the nomination against the other candidates. But whoever represented the machine candidate (Tsongas the Blah, or Brown the Flake, or Hart the Absent, or whomever) was not strong enough, and Clinton won. His wife, now the junior senator from the state of New York, now wears that mantle. She may have mostly toed the party line, but she is not particularly liked by the party Machine. Too much reminder of impeachment when she stood by her man; too much reminder of bimbo erruptions, too much fear of what she might do.

Obama, however, is different. Think back to the 2004 Democratic Convention. Even before Obama made that speech that is now praised in the Kennedy-esque stratosphere, he was being touted as a possible presidential candidate at some point in the future. I distinctly remember some talking head being interviewed (though the exact name that owned that head escapes me right now) and saying that Obama was a shoe-in for senator, then as a senator from a large state for a term or two, he would eventually become a possible candidate for president. Unfortunately, the Machine didn't get the memo to Senator Obama in time, and he ran sooner than they would have wanted, giving him the appearance of being an insurgent. So they vacilated for a while, waiting for the others who might have been machine candidates to drop out, and considering the true insurgent as a possibility, then decided to throw their support to the one they had wanted in 2012 or 2016. I think the Machine lining up behind him has as much to do with his surge as does the choices of primary voters.

Well, that's my amatuer analysis. I could be wrong about this, but I think not.

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