Seven Days. Six and a half, for you easterners.
I was rehabbing my gimpy knee on the stationary bike at the gym this morning, listening to this weekend’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me podcast, and I found myself watching the closed-caption coverage of both Sarah Palin and John McCain speak from Hershey, Pennsylvania. (This was after seeing a promo on CNBC for a one-on-two interview between Maria Bartolome and Johnah McPalin. What is it with these “couples” interviews McCain and Palin are doing? It’s just weird.)
I tried not to look – really I did – but there it was, like a car fire on the shoulder of the freeway, daring me turn away.
I am a weak person. I watched.
Sarah Palin is good with a speech, but besides blaming Barack Obama for Joe the Plumber’s hard introduction to the national media (hey Sarah – your guy made him famous) and fluffing John McCain, she was little more than window dressing.
Here’s the problem, as I see it. Barack Obama’s “closing argument” is above, and it speaks to the fervent desire of most Americans to find a new path, matching that with someone who, in almost every way, represents such a path.
McCain’s argument, boiled down to its essence, is “vote for change by voting for me, because who better to change the direction of this country right away than someone who has changed positions dozens of times when its been politically expedient, and I’m not at all like that awful George Bush guy, who I fervently supported four years ago and voted with more often recently than I did early in his term, but Obama hasn’t been tested and you can’t be sure what he’s going to do, except that whatever it is, it will be socialist, but not in a saving financial institutions way but in the scary way that makes lower and middle income people better off.
“Oh, and Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and Harry Reid want to kill your puppies.”
I’m dizzy too.
At this point, I think McCain will be lucky to hang on to the Republican base. He’ll get lots of undecided independents – lots of those folks were Republicans who left the party in disgust recently, and are more aligned with him anyway – but he ain’t gonna win, unless, perhaps, he comes up with a picture of an 8-year-old Barack Obama plotting with William Ayers to bomb the Pentagon.
A closing argument presupposes the establishment of facts which support that argument, and the reason McCain can’t close is that he never made his case. He jumped from thought to thought, tactic to tactic, and tried to make Barack Obama unelectable so he’d win by default. Instead, Obama survived the onslaught and flourished, and McCain, essentially, made himself unelectable, with a little help from Sarah Palin.
This hasn’t been a good week for McCain so far, and my guess is it’s going to get worse.
And next Tuesday night, it will be over.