Monday, November 03, 2008

checklist for the final two days

For all of us to do in these last two days:

1. VOTE! If you didn't vote early, make sure your Tuesday starts off at a polling place. DO NOT BE SUCKERED INTO SITTING ON THE SIDELINES!

2. Turn off the major news media. They aren't going to cover anything worthwhile, so invested are they in the outcome of the election. This could also be a handy tip for life over the next 5 years in this country.

3. Don't believe the exit poll results. They'll seep their way into non-major news outlets, making sure that there is saturation coverage of Obama's unbelievable support in the exit polls. Instead, spend a good chunk of Tuesday late-afternoon and early evening with your family, enjoying the peace and freedom of our current country. That is, of course, assuming that you've already voted; if not, YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO GET TO THE BOOTH!

4. Don't expect anything to be decided on Tuesday night. As long as the GOP has the right resources in the right places, I wouldn't be surprised to hear of several state-level challenges to the results. As one Mr. Hugh Hewitt made the case in the last general election, "if it ain't close, they can't cheat". Despite the fact that he hasn't revisited that mantra much this year, we're all hoping that this one is close--which, of course, means they can cheat. If that happens, my hope is that the GOP isn't caught flat-footed. I bought a new book this weekend, and I expect to spend much of Tuesday night with my nose buried in it.

5. Pray. Not so much for one candidate or the other, but rather just for our continued way of life. Democracy truly is inspired governance--but it requires the electorate to hold their leaders accountable. I have no doubt that key trait of democracy hangs in the balance in this election, and I fear that an Obama election may foretell an end to accountability. Two groups of people can keep that from happening: Obama himself; or the voters who can keep him from taking the White House. I have seen nothing from Obama to make me believe that he welcomes honest accounting for his actions, so I put my hope in the voters to keep him from the Presidency until such time as he lays all such rational fears to rest.

ELECTION SUMMARY: What an interesting election! On one hand, we have a total newcomer to the political scene who perfectly crafted a winning strategy. Despite some pretty remarkable soundbites that likely have Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt turning over in their graves, we're on the verge of coronating this man-of-no-accomplishments to a statistically significant victory. His opponent, a long-time public servant with a long list of accomplishments that helps stress his across-the-aisle credibility, was totally confounding as a candidate, only really figuring out a good message once all the cameras were turned off.

Ultimately, I think that however this election turns out, it should be seen as a referendum on the loser. If Obama wins, no small part of it will be because McCain ran a horrible campaign. His debate performances were awful, as it sometimes seemed that he had 30 things he wanted to say, but just ended up saying nothing. . .incoherently, at that. I'll never forget his "rousing" endorsement of Palin at the 3rd debate--it was embarrassing. The fact that it took Joe Wurzelbacher to help McCain find the right words to properly address Obama's tax plan is inexcusable. And with all the clips that have come out this last week of Obama interviews given in the very recent past, I think it's safe to say that McCain's oppo research team should never find a job in politics again. Now I will be kind and state the obvious: McCain was working with a severe handicap this year, being a member of the "party in power" while the economic sky was falling. What's that, you say? The Dems are in charge of Congress right now? Where did you hear that?. . .because it certainly wasn't from McCain, who never fought hard enough to get rid of the "McSame" label. McCain: a great American. . .and a lousy candidate.

However, IF McCain wins, I think it will be exactly because Obama is an even worse candidate THIS CYCLE. Great, great campaign--horrible candidate. Listen, I really do think that Obama will have a place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue someday--I just don't think he's ready today. If he doesn't win, it will be PRECISELY because the right amount of voters feel the exact same way. He needs to let go of not just the Chicago political machine, but also of all the baggage he accumulated while rising through that machine. He doesn't need them anymore--he will win election to the Senate and maybe even to the Governorship based on his own starpower for as long as he wants. And he can certainly use those extra years of seasoning to build a resume to end any questions about his past or about the substance of his spine. Take on the Chicago machine, Senator, and you might even win my vote.

In the workplace, a worker who spent more time lobbying for promotion than actually working would not be well-liked or trusted among his co-workers. Since most of the electorate is "co-workers", Obama's power-hunt may very well put him into the electoral penalty box. It would not spell the end of his political career, not by any stretch--it would just mean that Americans were acting naturally suspicious of anybody who was trying to bully their way through the system. There's a reason we've never elected such a neophyte to the position of President, you know--and that very natural cynicism is as American as apple pie. The question is this: is Obama's strategy, crafted to get beyond this exact cynicism by flooding the rolls with voters that are usually happy to play by-stander, enough to deliver him the victory?

We'll find out Wednesday.

Or maybe we won't. No, let me change that: we probably won't.

Which, by the way, is exactly why the GOP needs to keep a little money in reserve for post-election ads. Whatever the result is, one thing that cannot be allowed to slip from the voter's minds is ACORN and the OH state government (they of the "SecState doesn't have to keep the election fair" and the "research into the records of public figures" fame). Ads that show how perfectly pathetic the Dems in charge were during these episodes will help lay the foundation for an anti-Decmocrat move in 2010.


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