Monday, January 28, 2008

Kennedy Endorses Obama

Ted Kennedy has endorsed Barack Obama. Although most of the media, almost gushing over the announcement, suggests this is a very positive development for the Obama campaign, I think that on balance this may not bode well for Obama.

First, the Kennedy endorsement consolidates Obama's position as the most liberal of the two key players. Yet he was already very popular among the most liberal factions of the Democratic party. Strategically, how will this endorsement affect the votes of the suburban soccer moms and moderate Democrats? I'd suggest it will push them firmly into the Clinton camp. Also significant is that even if Obama wins the Democratic nomination it's clear that painting himself as a "left wing liberal" will not help in the general election. The Democrat is *almost certain* to get the liberal vote regardless of the candidate lineups on either the Democrat or Republican side. The key battleground in the election will be the undecided, indecisive middle of the road voters who I predict want to see balanced and moderate forces prevail. As GW Bush did in 2000, Obama has masterfully portrayed himself as a "reach across the aisle" candidate. Kennedy's endorsement will not lend much support to this assertion.

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