Monday, 3 November 2008

Obama vs McCain: stick a fork in it - it's done?

When Frank Luntz called it for Obama in yesterday's News of the World, I mentally closed the book too. "I cannot foresee a scenario that John McCain is elected the President of the United States," Luntz told another source, using what Brits would call the Heseltine manner of hedged betting.
Pollsters with bigger ambitions such as Luntz (who made his name in the UK by predicting - and probably half-assisting - David Cameron's election from underdog as Tory leader) have reputations to defend. That said, John Zogby is still around and he was disastrously wrong in 2004, so it just goes to show how badly we seem to need polling, if only for conversational purposes rather than persuasive evidence of anyone's true feelings.
John Dickerson sounds a bit nervous too in the hugely pro-Obama Slate: "If he loses... it would mark the biggest collective error in the history of the media and political establishment." Apparently Springsteen opened for Obama in Cleveland last week. The Boss will be nervous too: the cheque he wrote for John Kerry through his vigorous efforts last time turned out to be a drop in the ocean.
The Slate blogger Mickey Kaus is a funny fish: he favoured Clinton for the Democrat pick, and has been trying to dampen the Obama-enthusiasms of flakier souls ever since. I was struck last week when Kaus chided the various Republicans who've endorsed Obama, for the sin of misstating McCain's actual positions ("Nor has McCain "spent the past four months running away" from his longstanding immigration position. He's spent the past two months reasserting it.") Kaus also thinks these turncoats have fallen prey to "some unstated, perhaps unconscious, pro-Obama imperative" encouraging them to depict the GOP candidate as a deteriorating disgrace.
BTW Kaus himself opposes "McCain's campaigns for illegal immigrant legalization--sorry, "comprehensive reform"" - that's not the problem - it's just all those flakes in the media from whom he defends his scrupulous distance.
Kaus also has one more try at raising the ill omen of the "Bradley effect", to wit, that the polls never favoured black businessman Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative-action drive Proposition 209 until the actual results were in - and then by some distance. "Barack Obama", says Kaus, "was one of those campaigning (in radio spots) for the respectable PC side that lost."
I don't know, and I haven't got a vote anyway. I'll finish with Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal, who employs the ringing euphonious prose voice she once loaned to President Reagan in order to say that "something new is happening in America. It is the imminent arrival of a new liberal moment." But, like Mickey Kaus, she's worried, about the prospect of "a Democratic House with a bigger, more fervent Democratic majority; a Democratic Senate with the same, and possibly with a filibuster-breaking 60 seats". And she wants us to know about a chat she had with two former U.S. senators who had tangled with McCain before yet found him a marvellous man nonetheless: "He wants to help the country." The other added, with almost an air of wonder, "He wants to make America stronger, he really does." And then they spoke, these two men who'd been bruised by him, of John McCain's honest patriotism."
One last throw then, Peggy?

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