Larry King Live carried this headline last night: “Obama pulling ahead.” From the Politico: “Dem strategists see landslide in the making.” Rothenberg: “For Republicans, Another Blood Bath Looms on Horizon.” Nearly every poll tracking site, including FiveThirtyEight.com, Election ’08, and 270toWin all predict a greater than 90 percent likelihood Obama will win the Electoral College vote in November. I don’t mean to jinx anything, but when I gaze into my crystal 8-ball and ask who will become our next president: “All signs point to Obama.”
The rhetoric coming out of the campaigns makes it look like they may have the same polling data. McCain has gone thermo-“nucular,” while Obama’s gone thermo-nice. As I noted in a previous column, back in February McCain blasted one of his supporters for using Obama’s middle name as a slur. Well, according to CNN’s Campbell Brown, McCain surrogates have made that same slur twice in the last week. This time, his campaign responded with what I think is a lame statement from a low-level press flack about how the campaign does not “condone the inappropriate rhetoric.” Well, thank God it was just inappropriate and not racist! Oh, wait …
Meanwhile, in an appearance on Larry King Live Michelle Obama went way out of her way to stay positive about the McCain campaign — and even complimented Sarah Palin. King played a clip of Palin saying Barack “sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists,” and asked if that made Michelle mad. Her response? “I don’t watch it.” Then King asked whether Palin’s a good mother for leaving five kids at home to gallivant around the country campaigning. Michelle’s response:
“I think she provides an excellent of example of all the different roles that women can and should play,” Michelle Obama responded. “I’m a mother with kids and I’ve had a career and I’ve had to juggle. She’s doing publicly what so many women are doing on their own privately. What we’re fighting for is to make sure that all women have the choices that Sarah Palin and I have.”
What a class act.
As a matter of course, campaigns go negative when they need to tear down their opponent, and stay positive when they already have a solid lead. Think about it: The nastiest races are (usually) the closest races, and challengers get especially nasty because they have have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Looking at the polls, McCain needs to cause some major damage to Obama to have any shot at winning, and with the impact of early voting this year he needs to do it very soon.
Of course there’s still a little less than a month left before Election Day, and as I’ve learned many times before in politics, anything can happen. Right now, though, Obama’s chances look pretty darn good. If that changes I guess I’ll need to find a new 8-ball, but it’s been right before and I really hope it’s right again this time.
Colorado Independent’s blogumnist (blogger-columnist) Jeff Bridges has worked in Democratic politics for the last 10 years, serving as communications director for two congressional races in Colorado and two governors races in the Deep South. Bridges also worked as a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C., with a focus on military and small-business issues.