Friday, September 5, 2008

How 'Bout One More Gunshot to Our Own Foot?

The Friday overnight tracking polls show the race tightening but not all that significantly. Fivethirtyeight has a compelling summary of the day's numbers, together with the observation that if McCain's best news cycle of the entire year is only good enough to get him within three of four points of Senator Obama, it's going to be a long eight weeks for Team Crankypants.

But hey: despair not, Republicans--I mean, after all, you've got Sarah Palin and her barn-burning speech that completely re-invigorated the right-wing base on Wednesday (and which she reportedly gave over again, essentially verbatim, for a thoroughly besotted crowd this afternoon in Wisconsin). And surely that ain't nothin'. All you gotta do, especially since you've shunted the traveling press onto a separate airplane, and then announced that nobody should care if Palin won't address the media, is keep trotting her out, stump after stump, city after city, battleground state after battleground state, to pull out the northern frontier-charm and lay 'em in the aisles--if hopefully not literally.

Except, it has just been announced, the McCain campaign has just formally and officially decided to do just the opposite: After another rousing performance today, they're pulling her from the campaign trail and sending her instead onto the fundraising circuit, where she can continue to give the same speech without fear that any of those nasty guardians-of-democracy in what we used to call the free press are ever going to call her on it, or goad her into actually answering a question, either one. It is a measure of either the depth of Team-McCain's nervousness about their new comrade, the cavernous disadvantage they've been suffering in fundraising, their continually spellbinding ability to cripple themselves with poor decision-making, or some combination of all three, that the chances are suddenly very good that you will see Sarah Palin exactly once more before election day, sitting across a conference table from Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, a separate report came out this morning showing a breathtakingly unexpected bounce... in the jobless rate in the U.S. economy; a whopping 84,000 jobs apparently disappeared forever during the month of August alone, a figure that was not surprisingly seized by Barack Obama later today as proof that we should vote for change, but also, somewhat less understandably, seized by John McCain as proof that we should vote for smaller government. And before you laugh, always remember--this stuff is only funny if it doesn't work, and for the moment at least, a lot of the cynical nonsense that the McCain people have conjured up from a whole cloth made of nothing, has.

The Key Grip notes in passing that we are entering a somewhat slower news period than even weekends are, generally, with both conventions now over and neither campaign poised to make any major announcements or shifts in strategy. As such, the stream of juicy political shenanigans will probably slow to a trickle, in advance of the big roll-out on Monday of the new National Enquirer, and its forthcoming allegations of a long-standing extramarital affair between Sarah Palin and her husband's business partner.

Until then, we'll all have to content ourselves with the news that Arlan Specter can't read a set of Senate bylaws, at least well enough to notice that the Democratic Party wrote-in a clause preventing change of majority in the event of a middle-of-term change in anyone's party identification. Too bad all that energy he's planning to invest in peeling Joe Lieberman over to the Republican side, will go to waste.

...Too bad, anyway, if you're Joe Lieberman.

Dave O'Gorman
("The Key Grip")
Gainesville, Florida

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