Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Landslide in the making?

The polling over the past couple weeks has been very favorable to Obama. Today we have polls showing him with large leads in Michigan and New Mexico, a small but statistically significant lead in Pennsylvania, and statistically tied in Indiana (a state that usually lies outside of the Democratic calculus). Recent polling also has him looking good in Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, and Nevada (all states Kerry failed to win). Even Florida looks very much like a toss-up. Needless to say, if he wins all those states, he'll win the election in a veritable landslide compared to the squeakers of 2000 and 2004.

We're still in June, of course, and traditionally, June polling has not been a good predictor of the final result. But the "unity bounce" is real, as Democrats get over their post-primary hangover, and come to their senses on the possibility of President McCain and all that entails, notably more wars, no universal health care, more failed economic policies, and a more conservative Supreme Court.

Theoretically, this June polling is almost like a baseline for Obama. As he raises more and more money and is able to saturate the airwaves with his message, and as sharp contrasts are drawn between him and McCain (culminating in the debates), he might be able to really pull away in a lot of these swing states, and consolidate his position in the states that "lean" Dem. Theoretically.

The wild card is, of course, the possibility of a successful right-wing smear campaign, like the swiftboating of John Kerry. Given Obama's background, he appears highly vulnerable to this kind of attack, but his performance thus far gives a lot of cause for confidence. Generally, he confronts the vile bullshit head-on, and comes out of it so much the stronger.

Still, the patriotism meme is dangerous, as are the persistent questions over his religious background. I prefer to think that people who are inclined to take lapel pins seriously are people who wouldn't vote for Obama under any circumstances. Then there's the inevitable attacks on Michelle Obama, who the Republicans will attempt to portray as a bitter, anti-white radical, based on pretty much nothing (just a few weeks ago, there was frenzied discussion on anti-Obama websites about a supposed videotape of her making racially charged remarks; no such tape has materialized, and given the source and the constantly changing details, it is likely to be about as real as the fucking Easter bunny).

I'm going to give Mike Huckabee his props, because despite his political beliefs which are fundamentally different than mine, he does seem genuinely honest and an all-around nice guy. This is what he had to say about attacking Obama:

What I am saying is that we need to challenge Obama on the basis that his ideas are the wrong ones — not attacking him personally. If people spend their time repeating a bunch of internet driven drivel about his middle name (he didn’t choose his anymore than I chose mine), or his race (I do sincerely celebrate that our country has moved to a place where a person’s race doesn’t limit him from aspiring to the highest office in our land, but I just believe that due to his proposals and lack of substantive experience, he’s gone far enough — not because of his race, but because of his sincere, but misguided proposals), or his church (there are far more important reasons for us to elect Senator McCain than where Obama went to church).

Politics ought to be VERTICAL and Obama’s ideas will not take this country UP, but DOWN. I think he is a sincere and obviously a very intelligent and charismatic person. For us to deny that is foolish. Our focus should be to logically and systematically explain why ideas really do matter and why some are bad for those struggling as it is to pay the rent.

Well said. If only the Right would follow his advice. They won't, because if the election is about ideas and policy, they don't have a chance.


basil said...

Slightly off topic, but you have mentioned this fellow elsewhere.

google "larry john's strange trip" by David Weigel

I think you'll find it interesting.


basil said...

oh shoot