Saturday, September 27, 2008

It was a little hard to watch last night. I was so worried Obama was going to mess up in some way. I didn't like the way he talked about the Russia-Georgia thing.

But really, he didn't mess up, I don't think. He seemed reasonable, studied, and authoritative. I think his deep, sonorous voice is the essence of his charisma. I think he quite possibly won some people over in the debate. Voting for a young black guy that says we've been doing everything wrong for the last eight years is a pretty scary thing for a swing voter. But I think if anyone can make them feel more secure, it's Obama.

Especially because McCain doesn't come accross too well. I actually think he sounded more sane than he has acted over the past few weeks, and that might help him. But my first impression was that his suit was too big, and that he seems unable to lift his arms.

Were Palin a more formidable candidate, this might not hurt him so much. But people are really beginning to get a little scared of her. That Couric interview was , ooo, woooof. Couric isn't exactly tough, but Palin couldn't even handle it. It would take a pretty nimble politician to dance around the dissonance between McCain's occasional populist rhetoric and his actual record. She's not that sophisticated that way. It's not just that she doesn't have experience in national affairs -she's never had an interest in it and it shows. I've never met a foreign head of state either, and I'm younger than she is (a little), but I think I could project a more reassuring image than that.

I think McCain's peaked - and Palin may get a little bounceback from that VP debate if she exceeds low expectations and Biden gaffes, but it's going to be tough for McCain to make up ground. But there's still the fear of black people out there that could be unpredictable, and there is still all the caging and purging of the voter rolls, and finally the electronic voting tabulation that undoubtedly will be tilted in McCain's favor in several states. Obama needs a sizable lead, and the press, historically, is not going to want to let that happen because it takes the suspense out.

What Obama has going for him is that the mainstream punditry is like McCain's jilted lover. They were deeply in love with him, and now they feel wronged. In their collective stupidity, they feel he has betrayed them, even though it was really their own shortsightedness and weak sense of journalistic ethics that did them in. And those things are very much still in play. They may start to feel sorry for McCain, and want to even this thing out.

But the people are starting to sit up a little. I really like how the bailout got derailed. I think the politicians were emboldened by enough of their constituents saying 'No'. That's the way things should happen. The press didn't really help - the people did that on their own.

At this stage in the election, a little fear will go a long way. In 2000, Gore made a late push, and when Bushs' DUI came out, people started getting a little scared of him, and Gore made a pretty historic popular vote victory when the polls indicated he was behind. In 2004, people were still very scared of 9/11, and they were scared of a Democrat being in charge. But there were plenty of reasons to be scared of Bush too, and I think Kerry's major mistake was that he didn't attack Bush's character hard enough. If he had, he could have set himself up as the safe choice. In the convention, he instructed everyone not to attack Bush's character. Despite cutting and effective criticisms of Bush's policy, in the last debate, he got all magnaminous and said that Bush was a good father and a good person in the end. I think that made it close enough for them to steal.

In the fear game, Obama starts at a disadvantage, being a Democrat and being young (and even younger looking) and, of course, being the first black candidate. But as the campaign goes on, it is he and Biden that are reassuring, and McCain and Palin that seem unstable and anxiety causing. Most peoples' minds are made up at this point, but I see Obama with a distinct advantage. Bank failures are scary, and I don't see how McCain gains any credibility on the economy.


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