It's easy to flip out. Goodness knows things look crazy out there with that lipstick wearing, Hockey mom pitbull from the tundra running around like a Lifetime movie meets Annie Get Your Gun meets Yosemite Sam in stilettos.
The media, now fully distracted by her pregnant daughter, Alaska separatist husband and her love of killing animals, has forgotten things like -- there are two wars going on and that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be beyond repair or that the housing crisis and job losses remain.
No. We need the 24-hour Gov. Sarah Palin reality show. And that's what she is, "The Hills" with snow boots, a sober version of "The Anna Nicole Show."
And in this media splurge on Palin, everyone is mumbling and grumbling over the fate of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. People are wondering if there will be enough money and if pro-Obama 527 will be able to ride to Obama's aid. McCain is now leading Obama in some polls (like the crazy USA Today/Gallup Poll that has McCain up by 10 points). In other polls they're virtually tied.
So I've been hearing a lot of this:
"He blew it. He should have picked Hillary for veep!"
And a lot of that:
"He still can't get votes in rural white areas! He can't win Ohio! If he can't win Ohio he loses!"
And quite a bit of this:
(W)ith Barack Obama we get a guy with a funny name. We get a black. We get a guy who spent a lot of time on that creepy south side of Chicago. He went to a strange church where people clapped. We get a guy who somehow might even have been touched in some obscure way by Muslims. We get Michelle Obama as first lady. The picture isn't Norman Rockwell.
To ignore the fact that there is latent prejudice in the country, and this election, is not honest — and the strategists behind the Republican campaign know this. How is the best way to play it? To do so overtly would backfire.
Obama is not one of us works. This may seem benign, but it is incredibly powerful, and it is being played every day in every way. Virtually the entire Republican convention, with virtually every speech, was built around the biographies of the candidates; issues were barely discussed. What matters was: They are one of us; and Obama fits the wrong template. Subtle, but ugly. ("How and why the Republicans will win," Minnesota Post)
Now, before the Obama-maniacs start committing mass suicide over the possibility of a "Four More Wars" and moose burgers presidency, I'd like to offer some evidence that things aren't nearly as dire as they seem.
National polls don't matter.
US elections aren't determined by the popular vote. Former Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 and it didn't do a damn thing for him. What matters is the electoral college and on that map the prospects for Obama look brighter.
Political blog Wonkette crunched the state-by-state numbers and found that Obama is at a likely 243 electoral votes and John McCain is at 194. All is left are the toss up states, and Wonkette came up with several scenarios of how Obama could get to the magic number 270 with his current lead.
The safest route is still this: Kerry states + Iowa + New Mexico + Colorado. It seems doubtful that New Hampshire, a New England state, would go for any Republican in this particular election, even if WALNUTS! has won its primary twice ...
Michigan has no freaking business voting for MCCAIN, the guy who told them in January that their jobs were never coming back. And since Michigan and New Hampshire seemed like the only two possible states to lose from the Kerry coalition, well, enough of that.
Iowa seems safe ... New Mexico looks solid too ... So then Barry simply has to win Colorado ... Or he could pull off Florida ... because if you’re looking at the Pollster map, 243 + 27 = a happy number.
Or he could win Kerry states + Virginia + Iowa or Nevada or Colorado or like any other random state. Or he could lose Colorado and instead win Nevada & Montana — where Ron Paul is on the ballot!
And in case you haven’t noticed, all of the above scenarios exclude freaking Ohio. And if you had to make a bet, in a Democratic year, well…
And if that doesn't make you feel better, consider this --
Just who are they talking to for these national polls?
If your cell phone is your primary phone, not you. They're relying on land line, residential phones. Numbers listed in phone books and voters records. They're missing millions of people, especially those in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have switched to cellphone only lifestyles. People with land lines tend to be older and older people tend to be more conservative, tilting the polls in McCain's favor.
Go deep into the polling data!
Crack open a poll and you might like what you see inside. In the newly released NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll McCain leads 45-46, but the margin of error is three. The Democratic Party still has a higher favorable rating (49-40); Obama voters are still more enthusiastic (88-78); Obama is seen as more likely to bring change (55-32); And 74 percent of respondent still see McCain as closely tied to the policies of President George W. Bush.
Also if the Democrats still have the higher favorable rating there still continues to be this phenomenon --
More Democrats have registered to vote than Republicans
The Huffington Post reported that there are 11 million new Democratic voters. How do you get this McCain tie-slight lead when there are more Democrats registered to vote than Republicans?
Some polling experts say the changing state of party affiliation in the field is slow to be reflected in polls themselves. Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg told the Huffington Post that "when it comes to registration and turnout, the polls often do a very bad job of taking those [factors] into account," because newly registered voters aren't in the voter files used by firms that survey public opinion. "You could make the argument they are under-representing new registrants," she said, which would mean that the Democrats new edge would not be taken into account. ("Poll Madness: McCain Takes Lead Even As Democrats Out Register Republicans,"Huffington Post)
The Associated Press also reported that during the primary season "more than 2 million Democrats [were added] to voter rolls in the 28 states that register voters according to party affiliation. The Republicans have lost nearly 344,000 thousand voters in the same states."
Nationwide, there are about 42 million registered Democrats and about 31 million Republicans, according to statistics compiled by The Associated Press.
The Democrats have posted big gains in many competitive states, including Nevada, New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado and Florida. They have also been targeting historically Republican southern states.
Since 2006, the Democrats have added 167,000 voters in North Carolina, while the Republicans have added 36,000. (USA Today/Associated Press, "Democrats post big gains in voter registration")
Don't count Obama-Biden out for the big fight
I don't know if you've heard but there are some debate coming up between Obama and McCain, as well as Biden and Palin. This is going to be appointment television with stakes this high and both Obama and Biden stand an excellent chance of rising to the occasion (and rising their poll numbers).
Obama got a lot of debate training with Hillary Clinton as his sparing partner. They'd been jibbing and jabbing since last summer. As long as Obama gives pithy, concise and cleverly memorable answers (no Kerry-esque rambling), he could easily charm his way all over an oft flustered old man who doesn't photograph well on television. While McCain has the ability to bust out the occasional rousing sound bite, he can also be a bumbling, buzz word bombing mess.
As for Palin, despite everyone saying Sen. "Mad Dog" Joe Biden can't let it rip over her is a little silly. The woman declared herself to be a pitbull in lipstick. That's "grrl" power code for "Bring it on" and Biden should bring it. While Palin is a bright, quick study who has mastered the teleprompter, she did not spend nearly six months last year debating Hillary Clinton.
She can do her foreign policy cram lessons, but Biden doesn't just talk foreign policy, he lives it as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
So lets put down the cyanide pills and get our heads out of the ovens. All is not lost. While a win can never be guaranteed we can, as Jesse said, "keep hope alive." Palin is a mere "Trojan Moose," as described by Arianna Huffington. She's a trick to distract us from the issues that matter and from the real battle that matters. Palin isn't running for president, John McCain is. We need to keep reminding people that because last time I checked Obama's premature corpse of a campaign is still more popular than the walking corpse of John McCain.