Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The wisdom of Obi Wan Kenobi

Yes, I'm a Star Wars nut, but this isn't about the character. Nor is it about Ewan McGregor or the late Sir Alec Guinness. No, this is about Jim Geraghty's mentor and good friend that goes by the nickname of Obi Wan Kenobi. He has popped up again to weigh in, twice, this week with Geraghty the Indispensable. Here is the first observation from Monday:

My mentor - who goes by the nickname Obi Wan Kenobi - has reappeared again, and remains generally optimistic about McCain's chances. He felt the final debate had worked for McCain because he had finally found themes that he kept coming back to in answer after answer.

Obi-Wan particularly noted McCain's observation that Obama keeps saying he wants to "look at" drilling instead of doing it — implicitly raising the question of whether the most eloquent and melodious talker is better than a guy who actually gets things done. Even more importantly, the candidates spotlighted the clear and fundamental difference between the two on economics. Obama is clear that he will try to tax and spend his way out of a recession; McCain will cut both. Obama spoke to Joe the Plumber as if he was okay with raising taxes on those making $250,000, as if Obama presumed Joe thought he would never make $250,000.

Obi-Wan expected some sort of bump or goose for McCain after the debate, and thought we were seeing it with the Gallup poll's traditional model that had McCain only down by 2 percent. Today, that model now has Obama ahead by 5 percent. But just about
every other tracking poll has shown a narrow Obama lead, too. (The RCP average has shrunk from 8.2 percent to 5.3 percent.)

Obi Wan is wondering about the timing of the Colin Powell endorsement, too. I had figured that Powell's nod would have been a bigger help to Obama earlier in the race - recall the rumors of Powell speaking at the Democratic Convention. Obi-Wan figures this was one of the best cards Obama had left to play, and he played it in the next-to-last weekend instead of the final weekend. He wonders if internal polling prompted the Obama camp to roll out Powell a bit earlier than planned.

"McCain had a very good week," he told me. "He looked presidential at Al Smith dinner and he had everybody talking Joe the Plumber and taxes the next few days. And the debate performance may have been as big as Kennedy in '60 — that important, because the undecideds were watching."

"We have just seen the greatest economic scare since the Great Depression and everybody is looking at polls as if they are business as usual. That's crazy."

I wondered aloud whether the media's day by day coverage could push people off those gut reactions - suspicion of "spreading the wealth around," relating to Joe the Plumber, etc.

"If so, the American people aren't the American people anymore," Obi Wan responded. "Believe me, there is someone in the Obama campaign who is deathly afraid of the 'McCain pulls even or goes ahead' poll." (And in Gallup, it was within 2 percent.) "That Obama strategist knows how much depends on the whole Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel approach —.work with the media to demoralize conservatives, and keep the perception of a juggernaut going. But a day or two of a few bad polls, and that strategy backfires. The conservatives know they've still got a shot at this."

Now next to Hugh Hewitt and ourselves, Obi Wan is aware that this race is far from over, and that McCain still has a serious chance with thirteen days left to go. Captain Ed notes that the new AP poll has Obama and McCain separated by one point now. Hugh announced yesterday that the Battleground Poll shows the race in a dead heat so there's a hope on our side that McCain could very well pull this off.

But Obi Wan is right. He reiterates it to Jim Geraghty here:

Obi-Wan reappeared briefly to answer my question about why so many liberal readers get furious when I highlight polling data showing that Obama's not running away with the race...

"Why are they angry? Because their whole strategy relies on a demoralized GOP. Remember the scare they had in September?" Obi-Wan asked. "All that coronation stuff at the Democratic convention dissolved as McCain seized and held a good lead. They know how fragile things are. They need to keep the media talking about a massive GOP defeat, because all it might take is a few stories to the contrary and all of a sudden, it is mid-September again, when the rising McCain tide was lifting all boats."

I went back to look at that "scare in September."

On September 2 — when the polls were reflecting the Biden pick and the Democratic convention, but probably not yet the Palin pick of three days earlier — the RealClearPolitics average was at 49.2 percent for Obama to 42.8 percent for McCain — a 6.4 percent lead for Obama.

On September 8, five days after Palin's convention speech, the RCP average put McCain at 48.3 percent to Obama at 45.4 percent — a McCain lead of 2.9 percent.That amounts to a swing of 9.3 percent in six days.

Now, since then, Obama has turned in three debate performances that probably reassure a lot of voters, and so his lead is probably more solid than his lead on September 2. And we're basically comparing post-convention bumps; September 2 should have been one of Obama's best days, and September 8 should have been one of McCain's best days.

But that 9 percent swing does suggest that things can change in a hurry...

The point that Obi Wan makes, twice, is the strategy that the democrats are attempting to use is one which demoralizes our side. With the media constantly hyping up a variety of polls that show a significant lead for Obama, they're doing what they can to keep us: A) From going to the polls. "What's the use? McCain is going to lose anyway."; And B) To keep us from voting for the Republicans running in Congress.

The Left is determined to destroy any sort of serious unity in the party right now because if that happens they're going to lose the White House and they're not going to get those veto-proof/filibuster-proof majorities. IF they lose the White House, they're pinning their hopes on making John McCain a lame duck from day with overwhelming majorities in both Houses.

As things stand right now, if you look at the polls, the Democrats look to be standing on the edge of an electoral wave that will further minimize the Republican minorities in both Houses. But we have spoken with a couple of our contacts in Congress, and they confirm that the Democrats are seriously concerned about the down-ticket races. Take, for example, the recent polls out of Pennsylvania showing John Murtha in trouble. He handily defeated Diana Irey in 2006 by 22 points -- 61%-39%. The polls show that Bill Russel has surged, and Murtha is barely hovering at 50%. That's not good for a mainstay of the Democrat caucus in the House. Toss in the Congressional approval numbers -- now at 14% -- and we see why there's concern. In fact, we believe the biggest reason for their worry is on the financial and housing crisis, and the fact that it's been hammered home that Democrats caused the problems with their lack of oversight, and the pressure they put to mortgage lenders to give out deals to people who couldn't afford the mortgages.

What does all this mean? It means that the race for the White House is far from over, and we have a lot of hope left. Furthermore, the Congressional races aren't sealed up yet, either. That doesn't mean we don't have a tough slog ahead of us. It just means that there's a lot of optimism that can carry us through to the end.

Don't let the media take away the morale. These people clearly have their choice for president picked out, and they're riding the bandwagon with reckless abandon. The mask has slipped on the media; like their candidate of "hope" and "change," they embody the emperor that has no clothes. We know this now. This is the year where journalism dies. They know they're finished with people so that's why they're pulling out all the stops. No one buys their bull anymore. So they're going for broke and doing their level-best to make sure Obama wins, McCain loses, and the conservative movement will, hopefully in their eyes, die.

We're not going to die, and we're not going to lose. (Even if we do lose, we're not going to give up the fight.) We shouldn't give up the fight, and we won't. No matter what they do, no matter what they say, we're going out in force, and the Left is going to be surprised. They've been telling themselves the lie since 2007 that Obama will be the next president. The old adage goes that "if you repeat the lie long enough, people will believe it, and so will you." They've bought into their lies, and we haven't.

That's the point Obi Wan has made. We're not demoralized. We're united. And as long as we stay that way, we can carry the day for John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Republican Party.

Publius II


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