Sunday, October 5, 2008

How this Clintonista for Obama views the race one month before Election Day

I was completely in the bag for Hillary Clinton in the primaries, but I also am the yellowest of yellow dog Democrats: my party wanted to be with Barack Obama, and I wanted to be where my party was. In the months since I signed on to Obama's campaign, I have become convinced of his many gifts that particularly suit him to be president in these times. Naturally, I have a lot of Clintonista friends who now support Obama for president.

I have a particular Clintonista friend who intends to vote for Barack Obama, but he is lukewarm and harbors some disdain for Obama because, I think, of a lingering feeling that Obama robbed Hillary of the nomination. There is a part of him that seems to want Obama to lose, so he can say, "I told you so." It's sort of like having his cake and eating it, too. If Obama wins, he can say he was for him, which will be true. If Obama loses, he can say, "See," which also will be true. He argues to me that anything can happen, and John McCain can still win.

Of course, he's right. The universe is full of unexpected events, and something can happen that will change this race, and for this reason, we need to play the thing like we're 10 points behind. But that something totally unexpected may occur that will shift the dynamics of the race is McCain's biggest problem. It presents him with two dilemmas: (1) First, he needs an explosive situation, and (2) second, given the history of the race, there is absolutely no surety that an explosive situation would serve McCain better than it would serve Obama. The financial meltdown in the markets was a totally unexpected situation, and McCain tried to capitalize on it, and not only did he not succeed, his erratic behavior actually appears to have turned the race further in Obama's favor as people recognized Obama's cool and steady demeanor in a crisis.

Indeed, given the growing sense that McCain is constitutionally erratic and Obama is constitutionally calm, McCain's next series of Hail Mary passes might begin to look more and more, well, erratic, playing into the theme that McCain is erratic in a crisis. And let's not doubt this in the least, for a man who wants to be president so badly that he is willing to compromise his every virtue, the state of the race has become a crisis. Yesterday, Rasmussen had the race at six; Diageo Hotline, seven; Gallup Daily, eight; and Research 2000/Daily Kos, 12. Adding these polls together and weighting them by sample sizes, Obama is ahead by almost eight points. The point about Obama's lead is not just a matter of Obama being ahead by this margin, it is that except for about 10 days after the Republican convention, Obama has been ahead consistently since early June. The race is a crisis for McCain, and once again, he is responding to it by being erratic, flailing about, calling Obama a terrorist sympathizer unfit to lead. Expect John McCain to grow ever more erratic as the crisis of his failing bid for the presidency continues to mount. More and more erraticism from a guy who really just needs some Prozac as he gets a well-deserved vacation at Heaven's Gate Rest Home.

Moreover, though the final judgment is out until we have three days of polling in the tracking polls and all pre-debate data wash out of them, mounting evidence now suggests that the Biden-Palin debate persuaded a sizable number of undecideds to eschew McCain-Palin to vote for Obama-Biden, you betcha. After eight years of disastrously inexperienced leadership, Governor Palin appears to send cold chills down the spines of many Americans, doggoneit.

It is true that it is not over until it's over, and it is true that we need to work like we're 10 points down in the polls, but when an avalanche starts, there is a single snow flake that falls on just one other snow flake, and the weight of the thing begins to move greater and greater masses of snow down the mountain. We're way past the start of that one snow flake falling on another snow flake. There is an avalanche underway, and only a major event we cannot foresee is going to keep the weight of all that snow, built up after eight long and heavy years, from falling down the mountain.

Will unexpected events occur? Maybe. Perhaps I ought to say, they probably will occur. Do we have to be afraid they will work to McCain's advantage? Not so much if we do the leg work to make sure anything unexpected works to Obama's advantage. We need to work hard to make sure that everything unforeseen serves our cause and not the cause of four more years of the same disastrous policies that have created this historic opportunity for Democrats.

You see, my friend is right: anything can happen. And because anything can happen, we need to make sure that that anything works to make Barack Obama president.

P.S., dear friends, any sentence we write that uses the name, "John McCain," in it, but does not include the word, "erratic," is a missed opportunity. You betcha.


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