Saturday, September 13, 2008

Race for the White House-9/13/08

52 Days Until Election Day:

When the story of the fall campaign of 2008 is written, it may very well be entitled "About A Girl."

Since her selection two weeks ago as the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has completely dominated the tenor and momentum of the campaign. While Barack Obama had spent over a year and a half as the biggest celebrity to ever happen onto the political scene, he has now seemed to be overshadowed by Palin, and the Obama-Biden campaign, their supporters in the Democrat Party, and their allies on the blogosphere and in the mainstream media seem to be struggling with how to react to this Palin phenomenon. Polling results, both nationally and in the states, over the past week, have seen that the McCain-Palin ticket has very definitely received a significant bounce after the Republican National Convention, and while it may not be as large as the 10 point spread in Sunday's USA Today/Gallup poll, the Republicans are now believed to be in the lead at this post Labor Day point in the campaign and if Obama is to win an election that was once though to be as prone to a Democrat win as any in recent history, it may take a comeback effort. The first debate is now less than two weeks away, and that stage in the campaign will be crucial, but it is hard to see much changing from the very close race, with momentum on McCain's side, until that point.

But again, the focus this week has remained very heavily on Palin. There is simply not enough time to discuss the numerous ways she has been attacked or maligned in the past week alone, but through it all, her popularity numbers remain high and the McCain campaign continues to feel energized by what she has brought to the table. Like the hot new girl in the neighborhood, so many people just cannot seem to get her out of their minds. Barack Obama makes a reference to "putting lipstick on a pig" and loses two days off any attempt to refocus his campaign on to the issues, because he has to deny that he intended a sexist insult to Palin, who had famously mentioned lipstick on a pitbull during her Republican Convention speech. Even many of his supporters seem to be admitting that Obama is personally focusing way too much on Palin and it is a sign of perceived weakness for the number one candidate on one ticket to be spending so much time talking about the number two on another.

Joe Biden, Obama's running mate, appears to be the lost man in all of this, with the only attention being given to him seemingly coming when he makes gaffes, such as accidentally asking a man in a wheelchair to stand up or when he mused aloud that Hillary Clinton would have probably been a better choice for Obama to have made as his runningmate. There are few people who would seemingly disagree with Biden over that and some are even speculating that a late game switcheroo might even still occur.

In other Palin news, she spent two days this week speaking to Charles Gibson of ABC News, while briefly back home in Alaska, and there was much interest paid to her first interview in the
"big leagues." While she appeared slightly on edge and a little scripted in the foreign policy portion of the interview, most agree that she received passing grades for her performance, which some have described as a patronizing interrogation from a media big-shot trying to trap her in a "gotcha moment." Those who disliked Palin before the interview, likely still do, and those who like her almost surely still do. While it may not have been a flawless performance with Gibson, she still did manage to come across as self-assured and on message. Democrats have tried to press the idea that she committed several gaffes in it, but that would probably be a hard sell to make, especially since she looked more in control than Obama himself has in some interviews. Interestingly, enough polling data from late this week suggests that the American public considers her to be more experienced than Barack Obama.

This week in Presidential politics, will also be remembered for some pretty negative ads by both sides. The candidates put all that aside though on Thursday to join together in bipartisan unity to honor the 7th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, but the retreat was short lived. The McCain campaign has launched ads attacking Obama and Democrats for attacking Palin, including the "lipstick on a pig" duststorm, and when Obama had attacked McCain on education issues, the Arizona Senator's campaign was quick to respond with an ad blasting Obama for his own shortcomings on the education issue and even raised the fact that while in the Illinois State Senate, Obama was a strong supporter of a bill that called for comprehensive sex education to be taught to students beginning in Kindergarten. While Obama, his allies, and many in the media have gotten very angry at McCain for the ad, saying it is a tremendous distortion of what the intent of the bill was, that is probably the kind of cultural turf that Obama is not anxious to play on.

So, with Democrats complaining about the feeling of an election perhaps slipping away, and too much focus being paid to Palin (while they seem unable to resist taking shots at her themselves) there have been calls for Obama to take a more hard-hitting negative tone against McCain personally. On Friday, Obama launched an ad reminding voters that McCain first went to Washington in 1982 (when they factually are mistaken that disco was big) and in an apparent attempt to remind voters of his advanced age, point out that McCain is out of touch because he does not use a computer nor send emails.

Voters will have to decide whether personal internet savvy or email proficiency is a trait they really want in the next President of the United States, (one who is almost going to be prohibited from any personal computer usage by White House lawyers), perhaps Obama needs to be reminded that McCain was written about, way back in 2000, as not having it as easy as most in using a keyboard because of the brutal injuries he sustained while in the heroic service of his country. The response to Obama's newest ad through official Republican channels has not come yet, but if it does next week, the Democrats may really be sorry that this ad was ever conceived of.

Plus, with all the comparisons in the past month by Democrats of Obama to Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ (remember Pontius Pilate was a Governor), it should probably be pointed out that they did not send emails either.

These two make liberals deranged, especially the one with the glasses:


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