Barack Obama has pretty well proclaimed himself President, and is already building the stage for his acceptance speech in Chicago. His supporters in the media are declaring the race over. This weekend the New York Times magazine will feature an elaborate “post mortem” on John McCain’s campaign, explaining why he lost the election. Democratic pundits are already salivating over the NYT magazine’s “analysis.”
Somehow, though, this kind of talk, before any perceptible number of votes have been cast, seems almost un-American. No, wait–OMG!–we can’t say that. Rather, it seems inappropriate. The race, technically speaking, is not yet over. It’s theoretically possible that John McCain could still win.
And some polls suggest that the possibility is more than theoretical. We linked a couple of days ago to the IBD/TIPP poll, which showed a close race. According to that source, it’s gotten even closer, in effect a dead heat: 44.8%-43.7%, Obama. The IBD/TIPP poll shows McCain “surging.” Other polls, like the Associated Press’s, show a similarly close race. But still other surveys have Obama with a big lead. This year, more than most, the pollsters seem to be having a hard time figuring out how to project voting patterns and thereby weight their samples. I think this is the biggest reason for the variations in the polls; volatility in the electorate is no doubt a factor too.
On balance, I think the polls suggest a modest tide in McCain’s favor. I’m speculating here, but I suspect that in part, the McCain surge reflects a reaction against the establishment’s effort to force Barack Obama down voters’ throats. That the public’s enthusiasm for Obama is modest has been evident for quite a while. So the establishment has resorted to bullying tactics as well as one-sided news coverage to try to intimidate voters into supporting their candidate. This process has been obvious to anyone who is paying attention, and has, I think, generated a reaction.
This is the context of today’s news report of a McCain volunteer who was brutalized by an Obama supporter in Pittsburgh. The Obama fan was just a mugger who robbed the McCain volunteer at an ATM, but when he saw a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on her car, he attacked her viciously and carved a “B”–for Barack, I assume–on her face with a knife.
I don’t think for a moment that Barack Obama wants his supporters–even the muggers among them–to engage in this kind of brutality. I think he is content with financial fraud, voter fraud, and mild bullying of voters without actual physical attacks. (The physical attacks will come once the Democrats have enacted the Union Thug Empowerment Act, and they are “persuading” workers to vote for unionization.) Obama condemned this felonious assault, and I am sure his condemnation was sincere.
But I also think that a great many voters, some of them heretofore uncommitted, will see this incident as symbolic of a race in which every voter who has not jumped on the Obama bandwagon has been subject to various forms of harassment and bullying. Americans, generally speaking, don’t like to be bullied. This, as much as anything, explains why the McCain campaign still has a chance.
SCOTT adds: The McCain volunteer’s mugger story has been revealed to be a hoax.
JOHN adds: There are so many hoaxes of this sort that we shouldn’t be surprised. What’s unusual about this one is the black eye. She went farther than most “victims” are willing to go to give her story plausibility.
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