From the fever swamps of the blogosphere to the halls of academia, there is a chorus of voices who have come to the same conclusion about the presidential election: Barack Obama is going to win in November, by something resembling a landslide. DAVID PAUL KUHN -- Politico.com
So sayeth the liberal establishment.
The radical left gabbers and scriveners, such as Tom Press and Bob Cesca, are mentally becalmed in one of two political doldrums. They either remain bewildered over Barack Obama’s apparent inability to break away from the hapless John McCain in the major polls … or … they stagnate in their belief in the certainty of Obama’s election – a landslide no less. For the latter, it is neither a theory nor a dream, but a self-induced inevitability.
Their optimism is buoyed by the uncritical and ever-praising pronouncements and opining of the major news media and entertainment industry. To their fault, they fail to recognize that the applause of Hollywood and the prophecy of the pundits are no more than the returning echos of their own overly optimistic and fatally biased voices.
For all the hoopla, optimism, attempts at self-proving prophecy, and down right stupidity, one fact remains. Obama is NOT winning. Even if you take the race today, and trust the polls, the junior senator from Illinois is basically tied with the much derided and dreaded McCain. Day-by-day the candidates merely switch places within the indecisive margin of error.
If you apply past trends and a bit of common sense, the real questions are: Has Obama already lost? Is the presidential race over?
In other words, “decision ‘08” may be in the can already. The voters may already have made up their minds, and it is only for us to wait out the remainder of the campaign until they can turn their private opinions into cast ballots that can be gathered and counted.
There is a point in Bridge where the outcome of the game can be deduced even though there are several tricks to be played out. Those unfamiliar with the game may see uncertainty in the remaining plays, but seasoned bridge players see the inevitable result. We may have reached that point in the 2008 presidential campaign. While we must play out the hand through the conventions and General Election, old political bulls can foretell the results – assuming the remaining cards a played properly.
It may not appear that way on the surface. After all, Obama and McCain are running neck and neck -- usually somewhere in the mid-40s. There are, however, a number of indicators that Obama has lost the election, needing only the vote count to confirm that fact.
1. The most ominous sign is that despite Obama’s unprecedented promotional media publicity (we should not call it “news” anymore), he cannot edge over the 50 percent mark – ever. As I noted in a previous blog, Democrats generally require a substantial lead at this time in the election cycle to stave off the traditional GOP last minute surge. There is no reason to believe that the surge will not happen this year.
2. The percentage of undecideds is comparatively small. So, where those undecideds decide to come down is rather important. History tells us they are mostly going to McCain.
3. Then there is the Bradley Effect, which suggests the black candidate will not do as well among non-blacks as the polls indicates. Seems people fib to the pollsters when asked if they intend so vote for the African-American candidate. This is especially true if the pollster is black, which often is the case. More bad news for Obama.
4. While Obama has enjoyed the luxury of avoiding tough issues in the primaries, he is already seeing the negative impact of closer scrutiny. His borderline socialist platform will not fare well with the mainstream voters. His Middle East policy is in shambles. Its an unconditional pull out of Iraq, a build up in Afghanistan, and no idea what to do about Iran. Unconditional troop withdrawal is another word for surrender, and the public sees no need or desire for that. He opposes the popular public will to start drilling for oil in Yosemite Park, if necessary. His legislation to commit hundreds of billions to “solve” world hunger does not get traction with voters who see enough needs here at home.
5. Obama is also going to get roughed up for his assent through the rank and file of the notorious and corrupt Illinois political environment. His carefully erected façade as a reformer, and agent of change, is shattered by a record of go-along politics in the seedy world of the Chicago machine. While corruption is found by newspapers and the federal prosecutors under every political rock, Obama has never shown an interest in reforming his own flagrantly flawed political family. Throughout his Illinois state Senate career, he was among the most loyal supporters of the machine.
For his political advancement, Obama accepted its support, benefited from its most infamous denizens, courted its criminals as his closest comrades, doled out taxpayers’ money to friends and allies, and politically endorsed the worst of them. The local old guard is hoping for Obama’s election to rid them of the Patrick Fitzgerald, the independent, incorruptible crusading U.S. Attorney, so they can return to the more salad days of cronyism, nepotism and pay-to-play politics.
Obama’s only U.S. Senate record is the number of votes he skipped. He has been an unapologetic abuser of the controversial “earmark” tradition of doling out pork.
6. When Obama moved to solidify his base in the black community, he caused a counteraction in the non-black community. The more he became perceived as the candidate of “his” people, the more he drove the non-black constituencies into the McCain camp. The problem for Obama is that this process is ongoing -- likely to continue through Election Day. Obama’s defeat will undoubtedly bring outrage from the elements in the black community. There will be charges of racism. In truth, any group that votes up to 90 percent for a candidate based on their common ethnic ancestry has no credibility in accusing anyone of racism.
7. There is no doubt that Obama is woefully inexperienced and too far to the left for the average American voter. Whether he can supersede these deficiencies with platitudes and personality is the critical question. More likely his inexperience will be more glaring and his philosophy and platform more obviously unexceptable in the post-convention period. .
8. Despite the kissy face appearances on the dais, the schism between the Obama and Clinton camps has not been bridged – and will not be completely. Because they are Democrats, a lot of Clinton supporters stick to the party line for pollsters and public consumption. What they do in the voting booth is another matter. They know Hillary’s next best chance is 2012. An open nomination is in her best interest. While the percentage is debatable, there is no doubt that McCain will be harvesting from Hillary’s fields.
9. Then there are some interesting anecdotal indicators. Every day, AOL asks a campaign related question. Day after day, the answers weigh heavily against Obama – often by wide margins. It is not scientific, but the consistency of anti-Obama results and the spread in favor of McCain have to make you wonder. While most candidate-bashing books rarely find readership beyond the partisans and zealots, “The Case Against Obama” has soared to the number one best seller in the country. According to one report, the sale of anti-Obama message t-shirts are now outpacing the pro-Obama
All these seem to be minor phenomena, potentially moving only low single digit percentages – maybe even fractions of percentages. But, keeping in mind that we are a nation precariously divided, this election could be decided bye the slimmest of percentages.
While the Obama supporters are basing their claims of a landslide victory on the level of publicity, the smart money is betting on the only thing that counts – the voters. Obama will not win or lose on the basis of some grand consensus. Most likely, his much-touted victory will slip away almost imperceptibly over the next 80-some days. This year’s “October surprise” may be the emergence in the national polls of John McCain as the pre-emptive front-runner.