Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The Clinton campaign's ongoing effort to poison Democratic voters' minds against the party's likely nominee -- not just Geraldine Ferraro's recent remarks but remarks by Gloria Steinem and others -- have made John McCain's decision on a running mate much easier. The shocking part of Ferraro's message is her assertion that Barack Obama is privileged because he's black; the rest of the message we're hearing from her and other Clinton surrogates is that he's getting away with being inexperienced because he's youthfully attractive and male.

So McCain's VP choice is simple: He ought to pick an older white woman, a Kay Bailey Hutchison or an Elizabeth Dole (or, the snarky will say, Senator Clinton herself), and urge the running mate to reach out to demographic peers who've been persuaded that a vote for Obama would be a betrayal of group solidarity.

I'll point out here that an AP exit poll of Mississippi reveals that "More than half of Clinton voters said they had a favorable opinion of McCain," while "only about a quarter of Obama voters viewed McCain favorably." Yes, I know -- there were a lot of GOP crossover voters in Mississippi and most went for Clinton, possibly out of a Limbaughesque desire to make mischief, but that's not enough to explain why a majority of Clinton supporters approve of McCain. Her repeated declarations of his suitability to be president, perhaps? Could that be why?

So McCain may as well take advantage of Clinton's coalition-building work by running with someone very much like Hillary. Who knows -- maybe we'll see McCain ads in Ms. by fall.

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