WHY McCAIN CAN STILL WIN
I am no fan of McCain, and the more I see of him the less enamored I become, but I want him to win. I am not one who believes that a few years of liberal rule will cause a massive correction and therefore we should endure it. I think there will be much to regret from an Obama presidency and it is to be avoided. Nor am I one who thinks that McCain winning will kill conservatism, which can and should stand or fall on its own merits. There will be plenty for conservatives to oppose in President McCain.
I see a number of indicators that suggest that McCain is still in this thing. (Also some very important indicators that Obama will win, such as a lead in the polls, the media's refusal to do any real reporting on him, a highly effective and disciplined campaign, a billion dollars to spend, and a willfully ignorant electorate, but that would kill the mood for the purposes of this post.)
Obama hasn't closed the sale.
There are still a lot of undecideds despite the overlong campaign and Obama's prominence in it. A lot of people (about half of those polled) continue to have doubts about him. McCain started running an ad last week that said "Just as you supposed," Obama isn't being truthful about taxes. Those are great lines to keep repeating: "Just as you supposed". . . "Who is Barack Obama?". . . "Not ready to lead". . . "Dangerous."
Obama has become the typical politician he always was.
Mr. Post-Partisan, Post-Racial is practicing the same "dirty tricks" he promised to eschew. If anyone would bother to report his rise to power in Chicago, it was marked by political dirty tricks. As for race, I don't see how you get 96% of the black vote and call yourself post-racial. I don't see how you adopt Black Liberation Theology and get away with post-racial.
Yeah, about that post-racial thing.
Voters should be reminded about Rev. Wright and how the Obamas selected Black Liberation Theology as the filter through which they see the world. Whitey should ask himself whether that is post-racial or racial. McCain still has time to haul this back out, and his campaign manager signalled yesterday that he might. It is highly relevant, although highly dangerous in an environment where just about anything you say about the black candidate is going to be portrayed as racist. The interview with Rev. Wright that I heard on XM in Feb 2007 is all anyone needs to know about Barack Obama. TWENTY YEARS OF THAT, BY CHOICE. Think about that, America. A President of the United States who thinks that "white European Christianity" is the source of all evil. Think about that.
Sarah Palin is hot.
And not just in the babely sense. She is drawing gigantic crowds with her genuine appeal, common sense, and dare I say wit. Her appeal demonstrates that conservatism is alive and well and that a lot of people won't be told by the media what to think. She will bring conservatives to the polls who are voting for her, not McCain.
Joe the Plumber struck a chord.
Joe embodies and articulates the American Dream, that if you work hard, you can make it big. It's the land of opportunity, but you have to earn it, and you can. Obama has spoken on the stump of the "American Promise," which is not just a semantic difference. If you don't work hard, or can't earn it, you deserve your fair share anyway. Joe the Plumber made manifest the key difference (not new, but not lately spoken) between conservative ideology and liberal, and indeed speaks to the core tradition of this great nation. Joe makes it okay to wave the flag again. It is never wrong for a politician to speak in terms of the American Dream. It's the correct backdrop for talking about the economy, foreign policy, education, even health care, since if doctors can't make doctor money, or if they have to pay huge malpractice premiums, expect fewer doctors, higher prices, and worse care.
What I hope people are taking away from the Joe the Plumber phenomenon is how insulated Obama has been from answering tough questions, and that in an unguarded moment he shared the horrible truth that dared not be spoken, that he is who he is, the product of all his choices and influences, not who his campaign has packaged for sale.
Biden, in an all-time knuckleheaded move, spoke the truth as well, and at length, that anti-American powers will test the anti-American president immediately upon inauguration, and that said president will not be up to the challenge(s). That is true, and important. The gaffe-o-meter was jumping yesterday. McCain caught some great breaks these past few days, as his opponents told on themselves.
The polls are tightening.
Gee, what a surprise. The polls had Kerry up comfortably at this point in the cycle. Rush and others think the polls never were accurate in the first place, that they carry Democratic bias in their methodology. Some go further to suggest that the polls are designed to sway public opinion or serve the pollsters' own ends (hard to argue in the case of the outlying Newsweek polls), and then tighten as Election Day nears, because the pollsters have their own credibility to worry about. In any event, expect to see continued tightening of the polls over the next few days. The latest Rasmussen poll thru 10/20 has Obama +4, with n=3000 likely voters, a signficantly larger sample than most and therefore more valid. I said a couple months ago that I thought Obama had peaked and could only fall in the polls. I hope to be right eventually.
The internal polling must tell a different story.
Campaign veterans say to trust your own polling. McCain's campaign has been sending the candidates to places like Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania -- states the polls and the pundits have placed in Obama's column. McCain is running ads aplenty in PA. They must have their reasons.
Lots of people don't pay attention till now, or next week, or the weekend before Election Day.
The big stories right now favor McCain. Never mind that Colin Powell was hauled out to mitigate the damage, that only confirms that McCain has the momentum presently. Powell has been on standby, waiting for a time when the Obama campaign needed to redirect the news that day.
Obama's supporters can't point to why they support him.
Because he's not Bush and because he is intelligent and well-spoken, that's all I can get out of even the most intelligent, most informed Obama supporters. His support doesn't seem to be based on anything more than his personal mystique. People who support him cannot articulate why, especially if you prohibit them from using the word Bush in their argument. A plumber called into Rusty Humphries' show last night. He said he avoids talking politics and religion with customers, but yesterday he visited four customers with Obama yard signs, and after presenting them with their bills, asked them what they like about Obama, and all they could say was hope and change. He got so exasperated that he offered to eat the fourth customer's $200 invoice if he could articulate one substantive reason why he supported Obama. The customer stared into space for several minutes and could not come up with a single cogent reason with $200 on the line. If people will think about it for more than zero seconds, won't they want more in a President than an ability to look and sound presidential? I do hope so.
Obama has always been a weak candidate.
Despite McCain's bumblings, this is the main reason I have always had a glimmer of hope: Obama is totally unqualified to be President of the United States. He has no record of accomplishment other than an ability to get elected. His character and record run afoul of American values and traditions. He has not shown leadership ability in his professional career and has not shown leadership instincts when challenged during the campaign (e.g., Georgia, the economic crisis, Saddleback). His words constantly contradict logic and his own previous words. He lacks seasoning. He lacks humor. He lacks the kind of humility than Jim Collins (Good To Great) observed in Level 5 leaders. And yet here he is. He is not a good candidate. Hillary clobbered him repeatedly, and she wasn't a good candidate either. I wish McCain were any good, and maybe he is better than I think.