Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ten Things to Keep You Up At Night

I've tried, Lord how I've tried, to be optimistic in the face of these new polls - certainly there is much to take hope in, not the least of which are these two basic truths: 1) Obama himself doesn't seem overly concerned; and 2) we still have the debates ahead of us, which could change the game all over again...


Without even breaking a sweat, here are ten things to be truly worried about, in no particular order:

1. Reverend Wright. The Republicans haven't used him yet. Not once. Think that will last, especially if they can keep it close into mid-October? And making matters worse, the good Reverend seems to be loosening his lips again....

2. Palin. She's not going away. The more we find out about her, the more certain of us will dislike her, intensely, and the more certain others of us will flock to her. There's no doubt, she's involved in quite a few scandals, she's very possibly a pathological liar (how many times is she gonna say she told Congress thanks but no thanks on the bridge after we all know she's lying about it?), and she's farther right than most people even know. To me, she's a lot like Nixon in 1952, and we all know what happened after the Checkers speech. (It only took 22 years after that embarrassment for Nixon to finally get off the stage....) Palin's no Eagleton, she's not going away - she's a star, and we all better get used to that, no matter what happens on November 4.

3. Hillary. Not entirely getting with the program. Her reluctance to take Sarah Palin on head-on is not a good sign. The news on the white women in the latest polls is discouraging in the extreme -- Hillary was supposed to be their savior. If Palin has stolen that from her, she better do a lot better than 'No way, no how, no McCain, no Palin.' She better attack, head-on, the Republicans' utter cynicism in placing this under-qualified woman on the ticket, and Palin's own record, such as it is, which is so counter to everything HRC claims to stand for.

4. The Bradley Effect. We still don't really know -- we've never had a Black candidate before -- exactly how American voters will respond when they get in that voting booth and have to pull the lever for a Black man. Let's not act like the polls are reliable on that point.

5. The newness factor. Obama is no longer new. Palin is. Those who just want change for change's sake, from a very superficial point of view, have a different way to feel about the election now. Leaving issues aside, it feels a helluva lot fresher and more fun to vote for Palin than Biden.

6. The Republicans will do anything to win. John McCain is a man of supreme ambition. (I am nearly finished with his autobiography, and will be reviewing it soon in full on this site -- but I have never read anyone who thinks and talks more about the nature of ambition than John McCain. As the son and grandson of two supremely successful military men, he felt himself under extreme pressure his entire life to measure up, and writes freely about these pressures.) It is not a stretch, at all, to say that John McCain (unlike, say, Bob Dole) will do anything to win this election. Those of us who think the Palin pick is the lowest blow, that a man of alleged honor and respect for the office he seeks could go no further in demonstrating his absence of moral scruples, are well advised to remember the Jolson Rule: you ain't seen nothin' yet.

7. Fear of Real Change. As ghastly as the last eight years have been, most voters are healthy; most voters have families who love them; most voters know, or think they know, that they live in the best nation on Earth. We've had 219 years of White Men as Presidents. Maybe a crazy, unnecessary war, its resulting free fall in our national reputation, and an economy in complete disarray are really not enough to get us the Change We Need, especially when it comes from a Black guy.

8. Joe Biden. Mr. Open-Mouth-Insert-Foot hasn't really been pressed yet, but he came close when he called Sarah Palin 'good looking' the other day. The man's just slightly unhinged, and it seems likely that before November 4, he will say at least one thing that will have pundits scrambling and falling all over themselves with glee.

9. The Press. For one thing, they are not doing the investigating of Sarah Palin that they should be. For another, they love a good story, and it's an awfully good story if McCain - the POW, counted out last summer, the old maverick - and Palin - the woman, ex-sportscaster, five kids blah blah. -- win. Not better than Obama, necessarily, but darn good. And also, and most damningly, the Press has this 'the Republicans say this, the Democrats say this' mentality, so that even those among them who who strive for "objectivity" will usually present a story that presents some kind of false "balance," even when the Republicans are distorting the truth ('bridge to Nowhere') and the Democrats aren't. What's more, a lot of them will bend over backwards to prove that they are NOT members of the "liberal elite" and so pretend that all distortions are equal, when in fact they are not. Basically, they're chickenshit.

10. An International Incident. It shouldn't be this way, but it is -- at times of crisis, we will rally around the flag, and that usually means Republicans. And this guy was a war hero. Do you really think when fighting breaks out in Somewhereistan that Americans won't turn to John McCain?

If all of that is not keeping you up at night, what are you taking?


Anonymous said...

Enough with the shtetl Democrat mentality, please. I don't know what it is about you Northeast liberals, but good Lord you cower from a fight, which is why your candidates never win the Presidency. Here are some things to think about:

1. Do you think anything that's happening Obama didn't expect? Thus far, he has been three steps ahead of everyone else and he's won with strategies no one understood until after the fact. I have NO reason to think that it will be different this fall.

2. Polls have a very difficult time measuring new registrants. I don't need to tell you how many new people we've registered.

3. Ed Koch alone may win us Florida.

4. Do you think there's any way the Palin bubble won't burst? Seriously? And she's not winning over independents. She's energizing the fanatic base, which will push independents further our way.

5. McCain's numbers right now may reflect a bounce, but they also reflect, I think, a high water mark.

6. There's no changing the economy in two months, and that's what this one's about: the economy.

7. The only time I will worry is if our boy does lousy in the debates.

Nick said...

Yes, Obama may have expected a lot of it - though I doubt he expected the Sarah Palin phenomenon... You and I think the election is about economy and change. But America may well decide it's about personalities... and if so, I'd have felt a lot better if the Old Coot had chosen, well, anyone else....