The Stakes in 2008

I have more or less figured that right-wing crossover-voting Democratic Congressmen would hamstring an Obama administration, guaranteeing that any of his significant initiatives go nowhere and forcing him into a Clintonian strategy of triangulation, centrism and micro-initiatives. But Kevin Drum intriguingly suggests that Republicans, chastened by the 2008 outcome, could have the opposite effect (“End of an Era?,” Political Animal, The Washington Monthly, 19 May 2008):

They won’t be willing to say this during a presidential campaign, but there are at least half a dozen smart Republican senators who understand this and don’t really want to go down with the ship. So even if Democrats don’t win a filibuster-proof majority in November — as they almost certainly won’t — it’s likely that there will still be enough survival-inspired GOP senators around to give Barack Obama the votes he needs to make a difference. If that’s the case, and if Obama has the courage of his convictions, his first two years could be historic.

Unfortunately for Senator Obama it’s structural factors such as this that make Senator Clinton such a tenacious foe: this year could promise a shoo-in victory for the opposition party. And as if that wasn’t a sweet enough pot, whoever gets the nomination could potentially — again for structural reasons, not cause of personal vision thing — have a historical administration. Wouldn’t you too fight tooth and nail for such an opportunity were you in Hillary Clinton’s position?

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