Saturday, November 01, 2008

Gabba Gabba Hey

The day after John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, I thought the die was cast, and that contrary to being able to paint Barack Obama as the “other,” it was now the McCain/Palin ticket that would look to America as a pair of aliens.

To wit: as Obama rounds out his final week with the likes of Bill Clinton and Al Gore speaking to crowds in support of his candidacy, the stars of the McCain campaign are either manufactured, like Joe and Tito and every other name they try to pander to on a stump, or just plain freakshow.

I mean, does anyone purposely choose Victoria Jackson as their surrogate?

Saturday Night Live Hail Marys, McCain dragged his wife onto this final pre-Election episode with him, in some crazy knife-selling skit. Is this really how he goes out, as farce? With Joe Werzelbacher as “my role model”?

Palin thinks we’re at war with Iran. She doesn’t bother to put McCain’s name on signs at her campaign rallies. She’s an alien to his own campaign, making it a circus where her getting punked by a wacky radio D.J. crowds out her share of the news cycle oxygen.

Then today, McCain received the biggest freakshow endorsement of all:

Yep, manna from heaven for Obama, who rounding third into the Election can now run against McCain, Bush and Cheney:

Maureen Dowd gets it right: McCain, not his opponent, is the question mark:
But, in an odd and remarkable reversal, it is McCain who is the enigma, even though he entered the race with one of the best brands in American politics.

And it is Obama, who sashayed onto the trail two years ago as an aloof and exotic mystery man with a slim record and a strange name, now coming across as the steadier brand…

...The ultimate riddle is this: Why doesn’t McCain question why he has become a question mark?
Here’s how things really look, according to Nate Silver:
This is beginning to look like a five-state election. Those states are Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada. Essentially all relevant electoral scenarios involve some combination of these five states…

…The victory conditions for Obama involving these five states proceed something as follows:

1. Win Pennsylvania and ANY ONE of Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, or Nevada*
2. Win Ohio and EITHER Colorado OR Virginia.
3. Win Colorado AND Virginia AND Nevada.

(* Nevada produces a 269-269 tie, which would probably be resolved for Obama in the House of Representatives.)

Now, suppose you think that Colorado is already in the bag for Obama because of his large edge in early voting there. We can then simplify the victory conditions as follows:

1. Win Pennsylvania
2. Win Ohio
3. Win Virginia AND Nevada
Frank Rich, Dowd’s colleague on The New York Times op-ed page, is optimistic and explains why -- realism:
Obama doesn’t transcend race. He isn’t post-race. He is the latest chapter in the ever-unfurling American racial saga. It is an astonishing chapter. For most Americans, it seems as if Obama first came to dinner only yesterday. Should he win the White House on Tuesday, many will cheer and more than a few will cry as history moves inexorably forward.

But we are a people as practical as we are dreamy. We’ll soon remember that the country is in a deep ditch, and that we turned to the black guy not only because we hoped he would lift us up but because he looked like the strongest leader to dig us out.

Yep, pure pragmatism. Because we're being presented with a choice of a carny sideshow vs. prime-time programming.

Here's to America buying the better ticket.

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