The voting on Non-Super-Tuesday this week settled the matter for the republicans, but only added to the dilemma of the democrats. John McCain, for all practical purposes, can take a rest now while his people work on funding and watch fellow Senators Clinton and Obama duke it out over the next 4-5 months, each explaining to all the citizens why the other is incapable of being president. Every utterance, advertisement, all printed matter, TV interviews, etc., will be parsed by the Clinton people and stored for use in the general election.
This reminds of 1988, when Al Gore brought up the "Willie Horton matter" in his presidential primary race with Michael Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts. The George Bush 41 campaign pounced like a hawk on a June-bug on that unbelievable gift from a democrat and used it to help defeat Dukakis in the November election. For his part, Dukakis didn't help himself by being filmed while riding around in that Sherman tank (or some kind of army tank), just as Obama looked kind of silly on that farm tractor the other day. Acting silly is still part of campaigning, though there seems to be less baby-kissing these days.
McCain has taken stands that conservative republicans don't like, at the same time cozying up to hyper-liberal democrats in the process. Remember McCain/Feingold? He's set a lot of conservative molars on edge with his approach to the illegal-immigrants problem, for instance, though he, like President Bush, seems to recognize the complex facets of the problem better than many if not most others. He is gradually coming around on this, especially concerning the security of the border, while having the advantage of correctly stating that Hillary Clinton was for driver-licenses for illegals before she was against them.
Obama's claim that Hillary was for the war before she was against it while he was against the war before he was against it carries no weight because Obama didn't have a vote in the Senate in either 2001 or 2002 vis-à-vis the Afghanistan and Iraq actions, respectively. The truth is that he doesn't know how he might have voted if he'd been a senator and had been given the information that everyone else had, including the president and the members of Congress. Speaking from his Illinois-Senate seat carried about as much weight as would his speaking in a 150-mph gale during a hurricane.
McCain has a good thing going in his consistent war against congressional "earmarks," the giveaways that the legislators enact in order to secure their incumbencies. His fight has been against the backdrop of democrat governance, which is based on increasing taxes – actually redistributing the wealth – to take care of everything. Neither Clinton nor Obama can successfully fight him on this, especially Clinton, whose "health-care" plan in 1993 bid fair to bankrupt the country.
The interesting thing will be the cat-fight between Clinton and Obama, as each tries to de-claw the other. Obama's people will surely make capital of the question as to whether or not the citizens want another "two-for-one" in the presidency. Would two Clintons be acceptable? It's hard to see how that would be tolerated. One remembers the fact that Hillary, un-elected by the citizenry and un-appointed to any official position by the president, sat in on Cabinet meetings. That was appalling.
Clinton also brags about visiting 80 foreign countries during her time in the White House, while not carrying any official weight and therefore having no claim to the "experience" she's always harping on. She was a tourist. Obama, of course, has virtually no foreign-affairs experience, no military experience, and has talked about "sitting down" with those who hate this country…to talk, as if he could snap his fingers and they would appear, like a genie out of a bottle. Weird!
This co-presidency thing cuts both ways, of course. One has only to watch Michelle Obama on the campaign trail to suspect that an Obama presidency might be another "two-for" thing. She is every bit as strident as Hillary Clinton and exudes the impression that Barack Obama would have to deal with her with respect to anything he might do or say. This is scary, especially in light of the fact that she hasn't had a good opinion of this country until just lately…and has said so. Patriotism is still alive and well with respect to most of the folks in this country. She may not have a "Rose-Law-Firm/Whitewater" background, as did Hillary, but she will be under a microscope in the coming days. Any enemies she's made along the way may come out of the woodwork.
McCain now has the luxury of getting his ducks in a row, planning to campaign in every state and working out his differences with the people who can make him or break him, while his opponents are stuck with fighting for support within their own family, thus causing division. In the process, they will be forced to raise more and more money, and taking a second or third or fourth shot at the contributors might get a bit old with them.
In any case, in a way the fun is just starting. By the time the conventions are held just before labor Day, the country will have been treated to a summer of fine entertainment…almost as fascinating as a long murder trial.