Transcript of an email exchange between Lex and me (edited to remove off-topic remarks):
Interesting day yesterday. I was hoping it would be a blowout for McCain and Obama so Hillary would be out and we could start getting ready for the general election. Instead, much remains open.
Obama had a good day though, he is very much in the race. He got Hispanic votes, contra some predictions. He may yet take down Hillary. Fingers crossed.
McCain is almost certain to be the Republican nominee. Only people who benefit from drama and controversy — the press, pollsters, political-junkie bloggers, and self-serving Republicans who insist that a Democrat would be preferable to the evil McCain — still pretend that McCain won’t be it. I wish it weren’t so but it is.
I’m surprised that Hillary hasn’t squashed Obama by now. He has a real chance to win, it appears. Too bad. So many voters are fools who vote for platitudes. Get ready for a rough ride if he is elected. Think Spain under Zapatero.
Better him than Hillary. She is cunning and dishonest and fanatical enough to do some real damage.
Obama will be ineffective if he gets in. He is a man of the Left. But the country is only a little to the left of center in its mood. As to being commander-in-chief he may learn on the job, or he may just be weak. We will know if it happens.
The more I think about it, the more I think he would be much better than Hillary, or rather much less terrible.
McCain will get it, yeah. The GOP fanatics should just calm down and smell the coffee.
The Internet breeds hysteria. Not having a TV is very helpful.
Doing a Lenten Internet fast will also be helpful.
Obama looks young but his thinking appears to be both shallow and rigid. I suspect he would be rolled by the Congress. I think that he too might do real damage. Any of the candidates might. None of them has significant executive experience. All of them have significant character flaws.
My Zapatero crack wasn’t a joke. Obama radiates weakness (so does Hillary, perhaps to a lesser degree). Either one as President would invite testing by our enemies, and if they reacted badly could weaken us greatly.
We are stuck with the candidates who are running this year.
We are also stuck with a ragingly unpopular GOP president who makes a Democrat victory virtually inevitable.
In that situation, we have Obama or Hillary, probably. Given that, looking at everything, defeating the Clintons is a national priority.
Obama will be a bad president, barring a miracle.
If the terrorists attack us, they attack us.
There are no flavors I like on the menu. Better him than Hillary. Better McCain than either of them. Not complicated.
It’ll be what it’ll be.
I’m less certain of a Democratic victory. I’m surprised at how good McCain’s numbers on Intrade are. My reading of Intrade is that nobody has a clue. I see two likely alternatives:
-One of the Democrats is eliminated, the remaining Dem’s numbers go to 60% and McCain plateaus at 40% (and loses).
-One of the Democrats is eliminated and the remaining Dem and McCain both go to around 50%.
The first scenario would falsify my theory about nobody having a clue. The second scenario would support it. If nobody has a clue, my guess is that the Republicans’ odds are better than people say they are. Look at the candidates: McCain is an ideological moderate who many Democrats could support; Obama is an open leftist; Hillary is a leftist pretending to be a moderate. When has someone as far to the Left as Obama or Hillary done well in a presidential election? It’s true that the Republicans have discredited themselves in many ways, but there is still a war and the Republicans are still broadly better on the war than the Democrats are.