Saturday, October 18, 2008

Race for the White House- 10/18/08

17 Days Until Election Day

I do not want to type as much, because this will be one of those elections where years from now, I will either remember it quite well, or wish I would have forgotten it.

Wednesday featured the last Presidential debate between McCain and Obama. Not to get into details, but I was disappointed. I thought McCain was horrible both on what he needed to say substantively and how it came across on television. The whole "we should have nominated Romney" thing was very prominent on my mind and while an election is never over until it is over, I was pretty worried it was over. The snap-polls on most of the networks after the debate were exactly as how I predicted, although I was a little surprised to see much of the punditry and almost all conservative loyalists saw it differently than I did.

So, I hoped I was wrong, and lo and behold, this week has indeed shown some tightening in most of the now 80,000 daily tracking polls. Obama is still ahead, but McCain seems to have closed some ground, and the debate does not seem to have hurt him. There are still several state polls that are continuing to give Republicans heartburn, but the old axiom is that state polls seem to lag about a week behind national polls. They will be interesting to see this upcoming week.

The debate of course did feature (somewhat at least) the predicted back and forth over the William Ayers matter, but with the economy continuing to go on wild rollar coaster rides on almost a daily basis, there is a sense that it may not be as strong of an issue as it might otherwise be.

The week truly belonged to a new national sensation.... Joe the Plumber.

If John McCain wins the election, he may owe it all to the Ohio everyman, who asked Barack Obama a couple tough questions about tax policy when Obama came to his neighborhood for some retail campaining. Basically, Obama gave him a socialistic answer about "needing to spread the wealth around" and this was picked up by conservatives and later fought about back and forth in the debate.

By the next day, Joe was giving interviews and press conferences and seemed like a more articulate conservative at times than the GOP nominee himself. The Obama campaign and their allies in the media went into attack mode on Joe, digging up details about his personal life and pointing out that the questions that he asked may have been more hypothetical in nature than reality-based.

But for whatever reason, I think it could prove to be a very bad decision for Biden and Obama to both act dismissive of Joe as if he were some official McCain campaign operative. Much in the way that the third debate in 2004 was mostly remembered for John Kerry's ill advised remarks about Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, Democrats might rue the day they tried to pick on Joe the Plumber.

He had every right to ask a tough question of a candidate, even the annointed Chosen One Lord Barack (Steve) Obama... aka B.S. Obama himself. Trying to discredit a private citizen for asking a question of a politician and using the media to try to smear them is really pretty un-American. I hope it is not a preview of what we would be in for the next four years.

As readers of this blog will know, my mood has been pretty darn gloomy for the past couple weeks. I still think this election is tough and my candidate is the underdog, but I have to say, foolish as I may be, I am feeling at least a little bit more upbeat on this weekend. Americans love a comeback story and perhaps all that was needed to shake up this race was Joe the Plumber to come onto the scene and start plunging the crap out of the conventional wisdom.