Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Not Fair Unless You Spot Us More Points

I predicted some months ago that John McCain would lose in a 40 state landslide. My reasoning was sound--no candidate wins because voters are voting against someone else. They need to be inspired to vote for you, and John McCain inspires virtually nobody. I didn't know a single person who was jazzed about McCain's candidacy. The best reaction I got from anyone was, "I guess I'll vote for him. He's the lesser of two evils." But Sarah Palin has proved to be a complete game-changer. In my opinion, neither McCain nor his team could have been smart enough to foresee the ultimate reaction to her. They decided to poke a hole and ended up hitting a gusher. Nobody still is inspired by McCain. That remains true. But it turns out that a whole bunch of people are being inspired by Sarah Palin.

As a result, liberals are now starting to wring their hands about a possible Obama loss. One recent example that caught my eye is from that Harvard political scientist and Brookings Institution Fellow Adam McKay (perhaps better known as the director of the avant-garde art house films "Anchorman" and "Talladega Nights.") As Glenn Beck likes to say, reading this will make blood shoot out of your eyes. Writing in the Huffington Post (warning: there's some salty language in the article, despite McKay's normally patrician sensibilities), McKay sputters:
Something is not right. We have a terrific candidate and a terrific VP candidate. We're coming off the worst eight years in our country's history. Six of those eight years the Congress, White House and even the Supreme Court were controlled by the Republicans and the last two years the R's have filibustered like tantrum throwing 4-year-olds, yet we're going to elect a Republican who voted with that leadership 90% of the time and a former sportscaster who wants to teach Adam and Eve as science? That's not odd as a difference of opinion, that's logically and mathematically queer.

....So what is this house advantage the Republicans have? It's the press. There is no more fourth estate. Wait, hold on...I'm not going down some esoteric path with theories on the deregulation of the media and corporate bias and CNN versus Fox...I mean it: there is no more functioning press in this country. And without a real press the corporate and religious Republicans can lie all they want and get away with it.
One wonders what it would actually take to get Barack Obama elected if they don't feel that they can do it now. All of the major networks have been completely in his pocket for several years now (just ask Hillary Clinton's supporters), he's received almost no questioning over his questionable personal associations (like Tony Rezko and Bill Ayers), and he has an entire cable news network (MSNBC) entirely devoted to annointing him the new Messiah. And still liberals think it's not enough.

In 2004, Newsweek's Evan Thomas (a liberal; his grandfather was Socialist Party of America leader Norman Thomas) said, "The media, I think, want [John] Kerry to win...that's going to be worth maybe 15 points." Of course, Kerry still lost, and one wonders how wide the margin would have been had he not had the media doing his bidding 24/7 heading into the election. Now ask yourself this: is the media less supportive of Obama than they were of Kerry, or more?

The fact that polls are even showing this thing as close are utterly astounding. You have a clearly charismatic candidate running against a 73-year-old personality hole, at a time when the incumbent president is one of the least popular in history, with a declining economy, an unpopular war, and the entire apparatus of the mainstream media and entertainment industry behind him, and he's tied--at best.

I don't know whether it's sad or amusing, but how much more clear could it be that the reason these people don't seem to be able to win national elections is that they live in a parallel universe? In this universe, the wall to wall media worship of Obama somehow isn't pro-Obama enough, and their man would run away with it if somehow he could just get some good coverage. It couldn't be that the American people have utterly rejected, time and time again, the "progressive" vision.

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