Monday, June 16, 2008

John McCain Can't Win?

I know, it is a little early. After all, Barack Obama just wrapped up his party's nod in the last week or so. But, it appears that John McCain should be doing the finishing touches on his concession speech right about now. At least that is the conclusion of many Presidential Historians.

The story has been running in Yahoo, AOL News, and many other media and the sources are made up of authorities on both the Left and the Right. On the positive side of the articles, they seem to be thoughtful and serious in the analysis. There is none of the teenager, "Obama is so cute" or "charismatic", or "the neatest thing since slice bread." It seems to be based on political realities.

From the Yahoo article: “This should be an overwhelming Democratic victory,” said Allan Lichtman, an American University presidential historian who ran in a Maryland Democratic senatorial primary in 2006. Lichtman, whose forecasting model has correctly predicted the last six presidential popular vote winners, predicts that this year, “Republicans face what have always been insurmountable historical odds.” His system gives McCain a score on par with Jimmy Carter’s in 1980.

In spite of Lichtman's history of accuracy, some of the comparisons between McCain and other failed candidates fall clearly in the realm of hyperbole. Even his comments that show McCain "on par" with Jimmy Carter is a bit too much for me. Jimmy Carter's economic performance was so bad that it helped lead a term used to describe under performing European economies to become a part of the US vernacular. "Stagflation," which is the combination of high inflation and high unemployment, became a notable part of the US economy in the 1970s. This is, after all, Bush's economy and that economy is no comparison to what Reagan inherited in 1980.

"Several," according to the article "saw Barack Obama’s prospects as the most promising for a Democrat since Roosevelt trounced Hoover in 1932." Give me a break. McCain's prospects are worse than the one for a man who had 25 percent unemployment? It is this kind of melodrama that makes it difficult to value the analysis. It is outlandish.

I believe that many of the assumptions about Obama are based on the Pre-primary Presidential candidate. Before the Rev. Wright incidences, the Michelle Obama comments, and the difficulty he has in remembering family history. I believe that if the members of his party knew in January what they know today, they would be wondering what the "First Man" would be wearing at his wife's inauguration. Most of the historians quoted and referred to in these news stories are known for a liberal bent. I think that they may be far more "optimistic" than realistic in their assessment.
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Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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