Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Down to the Wire

Just three weeks to go!

In the few days since the long, holiday weekend began, several new fascinating items have come to light.

• More and more political observers are predicting something resembling a landslide.

• Obama now leads in three of four key bellwether counties that President George W. Bush won handily in 2000 and 2004. Each resides in a crucial battleground state through which the path to the White House has historically run — Nevada, North Carolina, and McCain’s do-or-die state, Florida (where, ironically, Obama commands the largest lead of the three by six points). McCain still leads in Colorado’s Jefferson Country, but only by a hairsbreadth. Meanwhile, the rest of Colorado continues its slide toward the Democrat. According to a myriad of authoritative polls, Obama now leads in Colorado by nine, in Michigan by 16, in Minnesota by 11, and in Wisconsin by 17! Obama is approaching a double-digit lead in Missouri, where McCain has held a solid advantage for much of the campaign. He is also edging out McCain in North Dakota.

• According to a new Post/ABC poll, only eight percent of Americans think the country is on the right track. This as more and more Americans think Obama has come across as the more collected, intelligent, steady and even more mature leader during the bailout crisis.

• The GOP is abandoning new House and Senate recruits in order to not siphon money from embattled incumbents. Facing a potential bloodbath, Democrats have shifted to triage mode. They’re even considering loaning themselves $5 million dollars to augment the depleted political coffers. This is the great, under-the-radar story of the 2008 campaign. While everyone is preoccupied with the White House, the numbers are looking increasingly catastrophic for Republican hopes in Congress.

• This weekend, half a dozen major papers endorsed Barack Obama. Not a single one endorsed John McCain.

• More and more conservative pundits are jumping ship. The son of conservative standard bearer William F. Buckley has come out for Obama. As Peggy Noonan bemoans the state of McCain’s ridiculous campaign, columnist David Brooks recently called his running mate, Governor Palin “a cancer on the Republican Party.”

• The most damming item of all, however, occurred on Friday when an independent legislative panel found that Palin, while not guilty of breaking any laws, should be cited for “dishonesty,” “abuse of power” and several ethics violations. The investigation is ongoing.

When John McCain first paraded Sarah Palin before the country, I wrote that she would either be an explosive game-changer or an explosive game-ender. As McCain’s numbers spiked after the Republican convention and the ticket finally caught traction, I urged caution. It was far too early to tell whether Sarah Palin was good for McCain or not. Did she have longevity? Conservative friends encouraged me to continue assaulting her, insisting that in doing so, I was poisoning my own well and feeding theirs.

What a difference a month and a half and a couple of disastrous interviews makes.

Sarah Palin, once the darling of the Republican Party has become more of a liability than a boon. Set loose as the Republican attack dog, Palin’s recent rallies have more in common with KKK meetings than political revelry. Barnstorming the country, Palin’s been using increasingly incendiary language to incite the GOP’s shock troops.

When she says, “Our opponent is someone who sees America…as being so imperfect, imperfect enough that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country,” she is not simply trying to jab at Obama’s perceived weaknesses, she is fear-mongering, exploiting post-9/11 anxieties by suggesting Obama is an alien who supports those who attack America. It is an accusation all the more supported by her continued endorsement of guest speakers using Obama’s full name — including his middle name “Hussein” — at her rallies. The not-so-subtle innuendo: Obama is a radical Muslim terrorist.

Republican strategists have even begun telling canvassers to remind those they speak to that Obama and Osama (love that alliteration) “both have friends that bombed the Pentagon.”

And how do the GOP party faithful respond? They cry “traitor,” “terrorist,” “off with his head,” “kill him,” and hurl racial epithets at African-American cameramen.

Palin’s actions are not only sleazy and dishonest, they are morally repugnant and perhaps even worthy of legal censure for endangering a candidate already racially vulnerable.

Still, I have to give credit where credit is due. Whether it is because he realizes his attacks are backfiring (so much for Swift Boat tactics this season!) or because he is reclaiming some part of his lost, honorable self, John McCain, of late, is hitting back at some of his own fanatical supporters.

When a man at a recent rally told McCain he was “scared of an Obama presidency,” McCain told him he had nothing to fear.

“Senator Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States,” he said. He got only boos for his trouble.

When a woman at a recent town hall said she didn’t trust Obama because he was “an Arab,” McCain quickly cut her off.

“No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man and citizen,” he said.

McCain has pledged to be respectful from here on out. We’ll see. Will such honorability help his campaign? Probably not. But it’s good to see.

To be sure, McCain has made the comeback something of a cottage industry. Who would have thought, after the disastrous early months of his primary battle, that we’d even be discussing McCain’s chances for the White House? If McCain has proven anything, it’s not to count him out until the very end.

However, with that end now firmly in sight, does he have the time, much less the momentum to turn things around?

Reimagining himself as a scrappy fighter up against a guy who is already “measuring the drapes” for the Oval Office, and set to finally reveal a belated economic stimulus strategy, McCain’s aides are dubbing this last ditch effort, “hitting the reset button.” More like hitting the panic button others have said.

McCain is now in exactly the same place Hillary Clinton was at the end of the bitterly fought Democratic primary. If McCain had more time, he might be able to even the gap. But the fact is, while he’s down only six to eight points nationwide, those numbers are actually deceptive. They don’t indicate a fixed fissure, but rather an ever expanding chasm that grows with each new poll. McCain simply does not have the time to stop Obama’s snowballing momentum.

Though they try to sound optimistic when claiming that three weeks is plenty of time to turn things around, many conservatives continue to hope for the ever elusive, but nearly always potent October surprise.

I’m sorry guys, but we already had an October surprise. It was in September.


Anonymous Matthew Delahunt (POD) said...

Even if Obama does win the election... it is John McCain's duty to expose the true nature of Obama's style of politics:

Below is an article succintly written by Tony Blankley.

I know (and I am begrudgingly beginning to accept) a future with an Obama presidency. I believe that it is our responsibility that his past be exposed and vetted, so that we as Americans, can vote informed and responsibly.

October 15, 2008
"McCain's Next Duty Call"
By Tony Blankley

The essence of this election season couldn't be simpler. The American public is so appalled at the condition of the country (which it unfairly, but not implausibly blames on the despised President Bush) that with fate casting John McCain in the role of Bush's surrogate, a majority actually is considering voting for Sen. Obama. And when an electorate is intent on doing something, the last thing it wants to hear about are the facts. Moreover, the public's lack of interest in the facts is facilitated by the major American media's refusal to report them.

For example, as Obama has portrayed his political career as one extended beau geste to the ideal of American democracy, a slightly curious media would have thought to report on how he ran his previous elections. And those prior elections, far from being models of honest elections honestly fought, are redolent of Chicago politics at their most suspect.

Obama's first election was described recently by Martin Fletcher, a foreign correspondent for NBC News, in the British newspaper The Times (not on NBC): "Mr Obama won a seat in the state senate in 1996 by the unorthodox means of having surrogates successfully challenge the hundreds of nomination signatures that candidates submit. His Democratic rivals, including Alice Palmer, the incumbent, were all disqualified." Hmm.

Obama's election to the U.S. Senate was even more curious, as described by Gerard Baker in the Irish Independent: "Two exquisitely timed divorces smoothed the way.

"In the Democratic primary, he was a long shot. But a month before the election, his main opponent, Blair Hull, a wealthy Chicago futures trader, was forced to publish divorce papers that revealed, among other charming details, his wife's claim that he had once threatened to kill her.

"In the general election, lightning struck again. His opponent, the engaging Jack Ryan, had run a campaign as a different sort of Republican. But a few months before the election, his divorce papers revealed that, while he might have been a different sort of Republican, he was from precisely the same stable of Obama political opponents. He had, it turned out, once tried to force his former wife to go with him to sex clubs in Paris."

Was Obama really the innocent beneficiary of these rare events? Anything is possible. But when a fellow deals himself two royal flushes in a row, the other players are entitled to be suspicious. Moreover, when a politician is suspected of hypocrisy, the Washington press corps usually is supercharged in its efforts to prove their suspicions. But despite the fact that these bare outlines of Obama's elections are pregnant with the implications that he has gained every office he has sought so far by underhanded and sordid means -- while posing as a Gary Cooper-like idealist in a corrupt political world -- the American media have let these extraordinary events simply pass without significant comment.

During the past few weeks, as I have been traveling extensively across the country, I have yet to find anyone (including a few reporters and producers at local news stations in Florida, California and New York) who has heard of these facts. The response when I recite the facts is always about the same. More or less: "Really? Wow!"

A few days ago, a senior McCain campaign aide was reported to have said that McCain would rather lose with dignity than win by questionable means. I hope that isn't Sen. McCain's view because the aide has it exactly backward. If the polls are reasonably accurate, three weeks of John McCain's campaigning is the only thing standing in the way of the American public making the most uninformed presidential decision since the invention of the telegraph.

John McCain has an unambiguous duty to the nation to force the public to at least be informed as to the nature and character of Sen. Obama. He needs to lay out all the accurate available information of Obama's prior alliances, affiliations and conduct both for the purpose of revealing Obama's character and Obama's radical policy disposition.

The Obama campaign has raised to a high art the technique of politically intimidating people from commenting honestly about Obama. They play the race card dishonestly, and almost the entire deck from which they deal is filled with race cards and threats of litigation. Real racism is appalling, but the act of falsely charging racism undercuts the very causes of equality and tolerance.

As courageous as John McCain's life has been to date, the next three weeks may be his most heroic. He must do his duty and alert the public despite the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" that will be shot into his back as he does so. Once he has discharged that duty -- and arranged for sufficient lawyers to protect the ballot boxes from what is likely to be an unprecedented campaign of attempted voter fraud -- Sen. McCain may be confident that his honor will be intact. And he will be ready to serve as our 44th president.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Jon C. Fibbs said...

I told anyone who would listen 9 months ago that Obama was a foregone conclusion. That he wouldn't just win the White House but that he would win it big. The only hope that the Republican party had was a Hilary Clinton nomination. They should have been doing everything in their power to push her campaign over the top.

I said all this because I have an outsider's seat with an insider's view. So none of this comes as a surprise. At all.

What I'm wondering now is this: how long is it going to be before the nation turns on Obama? The liberal "superior" mindset looks to take not only the White House, but also the House, and the Senate as well. A clean sweep. For the first time in decades the Democrats will have complete control of both the executive and the legislative branches of the U.S. government. This should be their day. An era when they can effortlessly blow through whatever policies and reforms they wish. And they will.

But here's the thing. Things are not going to get better. Far, far from it. Things are only going to get far worse. If Americans think things are bad now they have only to wait for a while for what is yet to come. Very soon the current economic "crisis" that has so gripped the nation will be seen for what it really is: the precursors to a earthquake of unprecedented proportions. Soon the Great Depression of times past will have to be renamed the Mild Depression or GDI.

All of this will happen on the Democrats watch.

Now, as surely as the sun will rise in the morning, the Democratic party will blame this all on the Republicans that came before them and to be sure some of blame does belong there. But as the years tick by and there's no end in sight, how long before the people begin to turn on their once beloved messiah and cry out 'crucify him!'?

Notice I ask when, not if that day will come. When that day does come, whatever remains of this nation will almost assuredly do what this nation does best, switch sides and vote a Republican into office. Sad really, even rats know not to keep doing the same thing over and over if you get shocked every time for your efforts. How truly pathetic.

So go on America, go vote Obama into office. The Democrat's "superior" policies and intellectual underpinnings will be of just so much comfort to you when your standing in the soup line waiting for a loaf of bread. Or go vote Republican. Same thing anyway.

2:26 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

That's what I always love about Jonathan--his optimism!

2:31 AM  

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