The "Safe" PredictionAs The Tennessean pointed out yesterday, there is one State in which we can likely say that Barack Obama will not win in November-this one:
The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan political newsletter, has Tennessee and its 11 electoral votes in the category of "likely Republican." As such, Tennessee will probably not be a battleground state, according to Jennifer Duffy, the report's senior editor.
One can sense that Democratic county chairmen in Tennessee know that Obama doesn't have a chance outside of Nashville and Memphis:
"I'm not underestimating McCain at all, but he's going to have to drag George Bush with him like a dead carcass around everywhere he goes," he said. "It's going to be tough for him."
That kind of statement translates roughly into "we're going to drag Bush with John McCain, and it is probably not going to work in Tennessee-we're going to concentrate on the Legislature and our slim chances in the U.S. Senate race."
In no way do I think that the Tennessee Republican Party should underestimate Barack Obama's abilities as a candidate. If he is nothing else, Obama is a shrewd politician who has learned to take advantage of the situation when his opponents let their guard down and fail to plug every hole. However, I have a feeling that in the course of this campaign, information will come to light about Barack Obama that may not hurt him in other parts of the country, but will widen the gulf between his candidacy and victory in Tennessee.
Barack Obama will already have enough of a problem with the electoral math the way it is now. How will Obama's campaign look to make up the difference when some of those "likely" Republican States move into the "solid Republican column?