Not Quite as the Crow Flies, McCain
Michael Ubaldi, October 26, 2008.
Who reclassified elections with death and taxes? Prophecy is, in the economics of uncertainty, that invisible hand which guides money and volition away from willing consumers. I remain as I have since before spring of this year: I will be surprised if John McCain does not win the presidency.
Past a certain point, insistence has the purpose of convincing the advocate. Barack Obama is, with his perfervid support and media sympathy, an infectious candidate; but not an unstoppable victor. Information supplied to the electorate is suspect; those confident of Obama must deal with the irony that because the press has, with growing ostentation, traded journalism for politicking, the press' reporting on its efforts to contrive a Democratic White House is in turn exaggerated.
Presidential debates, celebrated as junctures in the race track, are this season's plainest example.
John McCain spent two-thirds of the first debate building momentum until he could prod Barack Obama on his enthusiastic concept of Iranian detente and see what bromides flowed out. The Arizona senator hesitated in the second debate, more than his opponent, from indecision over ingratiating himself with the audience or treating the town hall to bloodsport. Obama, perhaps because it's been decided he can and should, did both. McCain uncovered another choice when he shook the outstretched hand of an erubescent retired chief petty officer, tracing a long line back to his Navy beginnings and going where Obama couldn't. In the third debate he spent an hour and a half pushing Obama from redoubt to redoubt, the Democrat caught telling a member of his blue-collar constituency that a proletariat is a proletariat.
And? Sponsored focus groups, polls, and pundits contradicted this and pronounced Barack Obama winner of all three debates on account of — showing up and sounding pleasant.
Unanimity to make you wilt. But there is a yawning divide between the objective and reported records. Barack Obama is not good extemporaneously; pressed, he doesn't know exactly what to say. He emits malapropisms. On the first night of the Democratic convention, appearing to his wife and children on the upstage jumbotron like Orson from Mork and Mindy, Obama stammered and tried to disentangle an inverted object and subject when his youngest daughter strayed from script. In Debate Two, his defense of strikes in Pakistan's lawless corridors began, "Now, Senator McCain suggests that somehow, you know, I'm green behind the ears and, you know, I'm just spouting off, and he's somber and responsible."
Most lack the address to speak flawlessly under pressure. But we are told that the Illinois senator's elocution is irreproachable, behind the podium or not; a "superb debater." Barack Obama took "wet behind the ears," "green around the gills," "sober" and "solemn," skewered with a line of reasoning and served up as shish kebob. You know, just spouting off. Not reported but recorded; and remembered, since it didn't match the advertisement.
Barack Obama's promotional strengths make him an unattractive executive. Word is that John McCain's tacks, right before the first debate, delivered him from electoral favor. Obama is regarded to have been equanimous then and since, thus presidential: when in fact he proposed and endorsed nothing; committed and imparted little while debating; and has maintained a "stable lead" by a) smiling, b) shrugging, c) professing innocence, d) hiding his running mate, and e) allowing his campaign to excommunicate local television stations that disrupt national uniphony by asking said running mate about economic policies. This, too, is not lost on observers.
A friend's septuagenarian friend has graced every occasional lunch over these years with the ribbing of a partisan Democrat. Bill Clinton? His good friend. George Bush? Ruined everything. Barack Obama? He . . . wasn't sure he could support the man. May have to vote Republican. Not race in question; character. That was in September, the shallow nadir of Obama's polling, so perhaps a transient reluctance; and either way unheard of in the news. Yet real, and felt by the least likely.
Similar firsthand observations convinced the American Thinker's Steven Warshawsky that Barack Obama will lose. "There are numerous websites and blogs written by Democrats touting McCain's candidacy," Warshawsky writes. "There are pro-McCain grassroots efforts being led by Democrats. And we all know friends or relatives who are Democrats, who voted for John Kerry in 2004, and who are no fans of President Bush — but who are going to vote for John McCain this year."
Obama's weak spots in the Democratic primaries foretell a slight electoral shift that would confirm John McCain as President. Virginia has taken in suburbanite workers from Washington, D.C., devotees of government's retainer party; and Tri-State retirees, who on balance do not vote Republican. So it is not John McCain's to win; but neither is it a meaningfully bellwether state. Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Indiana and North Carolina stay put. Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada turn blue, but John McCain won't need them. New Hampshire, won by Hillary Clinton in January, was visited by a certain inevitably graced campaign recently, does not poll reliably for Obama; and affirms libertarian roots by returning to its 2000 position.
Congressman Jack Murtha, who carries a large bucket of ignominy and enjoys painting people with it, called western Pennsylvanians "racist," later euphemized as "redneck." Murtha meant to be dismissive, but denizens of the Commonwealth likely take the second word as a mark of authenticity. Outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Barack Obama is not perceived as a black man; but a suit and a salesman. If rallies in the state headlining Sarah Palin are as broadly ebullient as they sound, then Obama will perform as he did in April, losing the state to his opponent — and the White House, by six electoral points.
William F. Buckley Jr. saw Jimmy Carter spend the final days of October 1976 in a state of "serenity that is the result either of fatalism, or of an objective optimism as he looks down the road to the last week." Barack Obama has abided the last six weeks in stasis. A national media and intellectual class want us terribly, so terribly, to believe it is because all has been preordained. Too terribly, so the rational mind resists that anesthetic, and votes, intrepid.
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