Friday, October 03, 2008

THURSDAY NIGHT

So, the Cubs are making me throw up in my mouth right now. Four errors in a playoff game is just bizarre. Sadly, because I am a Cub fan deep, deep down, all I can do is hope and suffer. If this were the Bulls or Bears, I could be disgusted with the play and move on. With the Cubs it hurts much deeper down. So, now I root for a huge comeback, and I hope and pray they avoid a sweep (again).

On to the debate last night. I know a lot of lefties who were sure that Palin would be an absolute train wreck. They pictured an entire debate like this, where Governor Palin literally could not name a single magazine or newspaper that she read, or this, where she can only name one Supreme Court decision that she disagrees with* (Roe v. Wade, of all cases, sheesh). They were wrong. Palin did not get elected governor of Alaska because she was a complete moron who could not answer a question. Watch the answer at 5:08 here. It is a good answer. It is political and coherent. That should have been the expectation.

So, did Palin meet that expectation? It is hard for me to say that she did. First, Palin's "say it ain't so, Joe" is another example of that campaign failing to connect with any popular culture after 1980 or so. "Say it ain't so, Joe" is in our lexicon because a young baseball fan allegedly said it to Shoeless Joe Jackson (!) after the 1919 World Series. McCain may remember that, but most of the rest of us don't. She then segued to "there you go again," which is a rip off of Reagan hammering Carter in 1980. In other words, her most memorable line was a double riff off of material 28 or more years old. This is not sending a "change" message to people who know the history of this line, and was not, in my opinion, well enough delivered to resonate with people who do not know the history. In other words, it seems to have resonated with Reagan Republicans.

Otherwise, in the parts I saw, Palin didn't do anything wrong, but she did not do anything that would really help either. At one point I was ignoring Palin's talk and just contemplating that sometimes it looks like Palin is doing a Tina Fey imitation, instead of vice versa. For God's sake, it's October 3, and McCain is abandoning Michigan to Obama. They simply do not have time to play "don't screw it up" ball. Check out this page, particularly the FAQ to see where McCain appears to stand. Today he is badly trailing in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Iowa. He is trailing pretty substantially in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and Colorado. Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri appear to be in play. If McCain is spending time shoring up Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri, he literally is not able to get to 270 electoral college votes.

Frankly, it is not clear what McCain's path to 270 is. In fact, it kind of seems like McCain has been trying to win the national vote, rather than win the right combination of the individual state elections to be president. Why else has he been in Iowa in the last week? For the down-ticket Republicans? They'd probably prefer for him to lock Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida up and ride the good news to higher popularity than have a rally in Iowa, where he seems destined to lose. Meanwhile, the Obama team has done to McCain what they did to Clinton. Understand the rules of the election game, and play to the rules. It is starting to look like the result will be the same.

* The interesting this about this answer is not that Roe is the only case she knows she disagrees with. The interesting thing is that she says she believes that there is an inherent right of privacy in the Constitution, but that states should define the scope of that right (at least with respect to abortion). Presumably she does not think that the same sort of bifurcation should be employed with respect to the right to bear arms. Or does she? Wouldn't that be interesting? How about the right to free exercise of religion? Free speech? Trial by jury? Why aren't people picking up on that? That's really a big deal. Stupid pundits.

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