Friday, February 29, 2008

Battle for the Republican Vote in Texas

While John McCain mounts an effort to woo the conservative base in Texas, Barack Obama's reaching out to "Obamacans" - Republicans who might cross over to vote for the charismatic Democratic frontrunner.

Here's the
Dallas Morning News on McCain's outreach:

John McCain was on a mission Thursday in Texas – consolidate the Republican base and frame the November election on his terms.

Far ahead of rival Mike Huckabee in delegates and the polls, Mr. McCain has taken advantage of the lack of meaningful primary competition to highlight the differences between himself and the eventual Democratic nominee.

And while he mentioned both Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton by name, his sharpest criticism was aimed at the Illinois senator in what sounded like a rehearsal for the general election campaign.

"Senator Obama has, according to the National Journal, the most liberal record in the U.S. Senate," said Mr. McCain, who took his three-day Texas swing Thursday to a town hall meeting at Texas Instruments Inc.

In a twist on the current campaign narrative, the 71-year-old opened a new line of attack – accusing Mr. Obama of dwelling on the past while he is focused on the future.

Of Mr. Obama's criticism that America should never have gone to war against Iraq, Mr. McCain said: "That's history, that's the past."

"What we should be talking about is what we're going to be doing now," he told 600 workers gathered in a large manufacturing hall festooned with flags and orange Texas Instruments banners.
The Washinton Wire has the background on Obama's crossover appeal to Lone Star Republicans:

MSNBC’s Alex Johnson looks at looks at a secret weapon for Sen. Barack Obama in Texas: Republicans who say they’re going to cross over to vote for him in the Democratic primary. Obama, Johnson notes, often says in his speeches that Republicans come up to him and whisper that they are supporting him. “If the latest polling data are to be believed, those Republicans aren’t whispering in Texas, where 195 of the 228 delegates the state will send to the Democratic National Convention will be chosen in a primary and caucuses Tuesday,” Johnson writes. “As many as a tenth of the Texans voting in the Democratic contests could be Republicans, and overwhelmingly they favor Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, the polls show.” Some, he says, genuinely like Obama; some dislike Sen. Hillary Clinton so much they’ll vote for another Democrat next Tuesday just to stop her.

Also commenting on Obama’s ties to Republicans,
The Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne takes a look at the similarities between Obama and Ronald Reagan. Both were criticized by opposing campaigns that charged that the candidates had nothing more than oratory skills. Both faced concerns about their ability to handle foreign policy. Both endured complaints that they wouldn’t achieve bipartisanship - Obama will reveal himself as a “big, bad liberal” and Reagan as a right-wing extremist. But the electorate wanted a change in 1980 and they took a risk to achieve it. And they’re doing it again this year. “Now is the time to go for broke, to challenge not only the ruling party but also the governing ideas of the previous political era and the political coalition that allowed them to dominate public life,” Dionne writes.
Will those same Republicans now looking to Obama in the Texas primary stick with him in November, assuming he's the nominee?

Obama Republicans... today's Reagan Democrats?

Doesn't have to same ring to it.