All told, the electoral math seems indisputable. Obama looks strong in all the blue states that backed John Kerry four years ago (including Pennsylvania, notwithstanding McCain's belief that he can win it), and that translates into 252 electoral votes; if Obama holds those and merely plucks Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado, he clears the magic 270.
McCain will be dogged in the closing days by the YouTube compilations of his facial gyrations; he looks like a hard-boiled egg with the heat in the pot turned up high. But his visuals were only half the problem. Television also requires that candidates excel at verbal communication. Obama does. McCain does not. . . .
McCain has been steadily losing support among women (four years ago, 54 percent of the electorate), and his semi-coherent Senate-speak won’t bring them back. Nor is it likely that they were charmed by McCain's apparently dismissive attitude about the importance of their health. Setting aside McCain's greatest substantive burden – his 90 percent support for George W. Bush – it seems increasingly unlikely that the American people will vote for eight years of bad TV.
-- DICK POLMAN
Has the McCain campaign made a fundamental mistake in attack politics — don't charge your opponent with something that doesn’t seem to pass the smell test beyond your base? This "socialist" charge is going to be hard for many middle-of-the-road voters to believe, particularly after Powell endorsed his candidacy. Saying Obama’s a "liberal," well there are facts to back that up. But the socialist charge feels like an over-reach, and it may be falling on deaf ears.
-- CHUCK TODD
You really have to work hard to violate Governor Palin's standards on negative campaigning.
-- BARACK OBAMA
President Bush's father didn't run the Willie Horton ad. And this President Bush, however much they may have been funded by his supporters and run with Karl Rove's tacit approval, didn't run the Swift Boat ads. These were run by independent groups. Just how "independent" we think they really are is a decent question. But even the sleaziest campaigns usually draw the line at the kind of sleaze they are wiling to run themselves under their own name.
In this case, though, the kind of toxic sludge usually run by one-off independent groups in very limited ad buys makes up virtually all of McCain's presence on TV.
Even setting aside this distinction, McCain's campaign has charted new territory in deliberate lying and appeals to racism and xenophobia.
-- STEVE BENEN
Make no mistake: At this point, it's clear that the voter fraud chimera, and its potential to keep thousands or millions of Obama voters out of the final count, is becoming the central Republican strategy for winning this election. The party doubts it can win if every legitimate vote is counted, so they aim to make sure that some of them aren’t. False allegations of voter fraud, which can serve to both intimidate voters and challenge ballots, is their means to this end.
Watch your back, Senator McCain. Because you’re likely to find more than few knives in it. One of the many reasons McCain is likely to rue the day he ever decided to gamble on Sarah Palin as his VP pick is her tendency to turn on her benefactors when she sees advantage in it. With John McCain’s electoral chances looking as likely as Angelina leaving Brad for me, his back is apparently too inviting a target.
I won’t regard an Obama victory as a disaster, though perhaps it will be. I will see it as a judgment that we conservatives brought on ourselves, and an opportunity to reform ourselves through creative thinking and action. What I don’t want any part of is the hysterical spite that’s going to find a fruitful niche on the right, just as it did in some precincts of the left during the Bush years. That crap feeds on itself, and does nobody any good.
-- RON DREHER
Liberalism is the yin to conservatism's yang. We need each other and can't make America a better place without the constant tug and pull of conflict between the two ideologies. What in many countries is a source of revolution, our war of ideas with liberalism and theirs with conservatism makes us both better. It forces us to come up with new approaches to solving problems in order to compete in the marketplace of ideas. This is a free market that Obama, no matter what his proclivities, cannot shut down.
No doubt we will be angry at many of the changes attempted by Obama. But change is what all elections are about. America stands still for no one, no ideology, no group of people. We always have one foot in the future. And if the American people choose this lurch to the left, it will be up to us to come up with the ideas and the principals to show them a better way.
After all, 2012 is just 4 short years away. And that’s the great thing about politics in America: There’s always another election.
-- RICK MORAN
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere
Cartoon by Tom Toles/Universal Press Syndicate