If, after blowing a 7-0, 7th inning lead in a potential elimination game the
Devil Rays come back and win Game 6, there will still be dozens of sportswriters who will adduce the importance of “momentum” in the subsequent month.
I don’t know anything about Joe Wurzelbacher, but I just have one bit of advice. If you have anything in your past that you’re not proud of — a messy divorce, a DUI, an unpaid bill, an indiscreet comment, whatever — be prepared for it to become public knowledge. The lefty blogosphere, along with allies in the press, will see to that.
I think Dana makes two very good points here. Indeed, not only are health exceptions popular, the dismissive tone of McCain’s scare quotes were instructive in a way that (to put it mildly) isn’t going to help him among moderate women. Obama was also clever to follow-up with the Ledbetter case, which McCain was equally dismissive about. I also agree that Obama’s refusal to cede the moral ground on the abortion issue to McCain was important. It’s true that I wouldn’t be inclined to describe sex as “sacred” or to care whether a woman consulted her “religious adviser” before deciding about whether to continue her pregnancy — but I’m not the median American voter. Sending comforting signals to committed religious voters in ways that don’t compromise on substance is important.
The one thing I’d add is that McCain, as one would have expected, attempted to defend his highly unpopular “Roe should be overturned” view by saying that abortion policy should be “left in the hands of the states.” This is, of course, a complete fraud, starting with the fact that McCain has voted for every federal abortion regulation to come down the pike. An even better way to point out the contradiction would have been for Obama to challenge McCain on his position that there should be a constitutional amendment making abortion illegal in all 50 states. This would force McCain to either defend an extremely unpopular policy that makes a complete hash of his “federalism” dodge or to repudiate a position that matters to a lot of his party’s base, and I’m not sure why Democratic candidates never attack this vulnerability. But otherwise, I think Obama did very well.
Let’s say it’s mid-August 2008. You’re a nationally unknown governor from a geographically large, demographically insignificant state. You’re young and chipper, you’re overwhelmingly popular with your constituents, and you have a bright political horizon before you — a dead-lock two-term run as your state’s chief executive, perhaps looking forward to an eventual move to the US Senate or even to the US House as the state’s only representative. Your reputation as a clean-government reformer has been dented somewhat by summertime allegations that you fired a state commissioner after pressuring him to fire someone you didn’t like. But you’ve pledged to cooperate with the investigation, and — let’s be honest — even if you’re found to have abused your office, very few people are likely to hold any of this against you in 2010. Life is good.
Then let’s say you receive a surprising offer to serve as the vice presidential running mate for a very old man with a history of health problems. Fulfilling the role that traditionally suits the vice presidential nominee, you agree to be the campaign’s attack dog; though you lack the information to develop original broadsides against your opponents, you’re competent with a teleprompter and are capable of cracking wise about pit bulls and lipstick and such. You fib mightily about your record as governor; you struggle with your native tongue in media interviews; you participate in a televised debate, using occasionally-complete sentences but treating facts and figures as if they’re foreign objects to be dislodged as quickly as possible from your throat. You wink and smile. Mooseburger, hockey, maverick — drill, baby, drill. And then, as your campaign slips farther behind in the polls, you resort to portraying the other party’s candidate as a terrorist consort and as a scary (cough negro cough) man with alien values and a loathing for the country he seeks to lead.
Let’s say you do all these things while refusing to cooperate with a legislative investigation at home. You allow your running mate to send a squadron of lawyers to manage the state’s executive branch in your absence. You allow them to describe a former commission head as a backstabbing “rogue” who deserved his professional head upon a platter. You allow them to misrepresent the nature of the investigation. You allow them to portray the legislature as a birdfeeder for Obama supporters. You allow your attorney general to conduct a “fact-finding” excursion that resembles witness-tampering. And when the legislature’s report comes out, you brazenly pretend it says something it doesn’t.
You piss off a lot of people.
Given all that, it’s possible that the homecoming will be awkward.
You can smell it in the air: tonight was the unofficial end of the 2008 presidential race. For Obama it smells like victory. Meanwhile the McCain campaign is now unmistakably giving off the stench of defeat. Tonight’s debate once again proved how crucial optics and stylistic considerations are in the age of visual media. McCain did OK (not great, but OK) in terms of substance, while Obama seemed cool to the point of almost boredom. But in the end, McCain’s affect — his barely concealed rage at the indignities to which he was being subjected — killed him with the television audience, which once again gave the debate to Obama by huge margins.
Don’t be surprised if, after the next wave of polls come out between now and Sunday, the RNC starts putting money that was slated to go into the presidential race into close Senate and House races instead.
And don’t be surprised if Obama wins by a margin comparable to Reagan over Mondale, if not Nixon over McGovern and Johnson over Goldwater.
For Wingnuttia, the explanations for the disaster will be legion: McCain ran a terrible campaign, he wasn’t a real conservative, the Palin pick was ridiculous, the MSM was once again horribly horribly unfair, the Democrats made the stock market tank — in short every explanation but the real one, which is that, after a generation of success, the powers that be in the GOP have gotten sealed off in their own little fantasy world. It’s a world in which “real Americans” care deeply about things like Bill Ayers, and flag pins, and crypto-Muslim terrorists, and hockey moms, and the Incredible Success of the Surge ™, and activist courts spreading teh gay. Unfortunately “real Americans” now make up about 25% of the population, and the proportion is shrinking by the day.
President Obama — it has a nice ring to it.
If I understand John McCain’s key message, the average millionaire who benefits from GOP tax cuts is a manual laborer. Why do you all hate Joe so much? If you lie about Obama’s health care plan, the plan will really hurt him! Leave Joe alone!!!!!!!!!
…perhaps he should co-star with Lucky Ducky in an upcoming cartoon….
I think I can speak for everyone here at LGM in saying that we have, at long last, arrived at an endorsement decision. After much consideration and debate, Lawyers, Guns and Money heartily endorses Senator John Sidney McCain for the office of President of the United States, and Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President..
Ahem. Need to stay away from the ether. Consider this an open debate thread…