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A Barack Obama blowout scenario, boldly etched by a pundit

June 10, 2008 | 10:45 am

Among political analysts, the early story line for the Barack Obama-John McCain general election face-off has been set: Despite strong Democratic winds that the party should ride to significant gains in Congress, the presidential race -- like those in 2000 and '04 -- will be close.

Renowned sage Charlie Cook captured the prevailing view in a recent National Journal column, writing: "Considering how bleak Republicans' down-ballot prospects look, it is remarkable that they appear to have a 50-50 shot at holding on to the presidency."

But one prognosticator, Bob Beckel, begs to differ. Strongly. Indeed, Beckel is carving out a niche for himself as the leading cheerleader for a sweeping Obama victory.

Writing for RealClearPolitics.com a few weeks ago, he envisioned a scenario in which McCain "will lose by at least 50 electoral votes in November -- and possibly as many as 150."

He then walked through a list of swing states, touting Obama advantages in virtually every one.

Today, in a column on the same website, Beckel details what he sees as striking parallels between Obama's positioning in this year's campaign and that for Ronald Reagan ...

... in 1980. In that year's campaign, what looked to be a tight contest broke decisively at the end for the Republican and against the incumbent Democratic president, Jimmy Carter.

Given his prime pedigree in politics, it must be conceded that Beckel's forecasting is unlikely to make Republicans quake (or cause Democrats to start planning inauguration parties).

As is noted at the end of his columns, he managed Democrat Walter Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign. That would be the one in which Reagan, running for reelection, carried 49 states and won almost 59% of the popular vote.

-- Don Frederick 

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