Ross Mackenzie

He opposed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, lopsidedly passed by the Senate and signed by Bill Clinton. Three years later Obama was the solitary Illinois state senator opposing a measure denying early prison-release for sex offenders. Also as a state senator, he refused to take a recorded stand on bills to ban partial birth abortion — voting “present” twice.

He’s all over the place on affirmative action. On guns, too — though he has opposed (a) private possession of pistols and (b) concealed-carry laws; he believes D.C’s pistol ban (now before the Supreme Court) is constitutional. On free trade, he has favored withdrawing the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and has deplored the proposed agreement (now before Congress) expanding free trade with our closest South American ally — Colombia.

Uh huh. And what’s the fundamental question facing the Democrats?

Who can best beat John McCain?

Obama is ahead in delegates, popular vote, and states carried. Isn’t he the one?

Hard to say. He outspent Hillary 3-1 in Pennsylvania, yet lost by 10 points. Except for Illinois, he has failed to win a single big state often essential to Democratic victory — not New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Missouri, or California. Many of the states Obama took in the Democratic primaries and caucuses are states that traditionally go Republican.

What does all that say about Democratic voters?

That a lot of them don’t like smug, supercilious elitists who present as “just folks.” They didn’t like it for instance in 2004, when Howard Dean (now National Democratic chairman) said — as Kimberly Strassel has reminded in The Wall Street Journal — that “Southerners were so riveted on ‘God, guns, and gays’ that they wouldn’t acknowledge the brilliance of his plans for education or health care.” And they don’t like it now.

So if you were Howard Dean or one of his “super delegates” who — given the closeness of the Democratic contest — likely will determine the nominee, what would you do?

Worry more each day about losing to John McCain with either one of these dedicated leftie jokers — and call for another round of Chardonnay and brie.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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