Monday, October 13, 2008

October 13, 2008

     Presidential campaigns often seem endless.  But the days grow short, as the old song notes, when you reach September.  We're in October now;   is it over?  Probably, though of course you never know for sure.
    "Obama up by ten points...among likely voters," the Washington Post reports this morning, noting the Barack Obama leads John McCain.   The polls shows McCain with higher negative ratings than Obama and is seen as mostly attacking his opponent instead of talking about the issues voters care about. 
     An Associated Press story notes, "GOP worries about McCain's strategy.  What seems to have happened this year is not that somebody's negative politics worked better than somebody else's. Voters don't seem too upset that Barack Obama knows William Ayers, who was a bomb-throwing radical when Obama was eight.  Nor do they seem upset about McCain's casual involvement in the Keating Five scandal.  No one, after all, suggested he'd done anything illegal, only that he's shown poor judgment   And we're used to that;  you could argue we have some in the White House right now.
     This seems, instead, to be a year when the voters are driven by an issue--the tottering economy.  McCain suffers here because his party holds the White House now, his president got us into this mess.  Former House speaker Newt Gingrich told the AP, "He has to make the case that he's different from Bush and better than Obama on the economy."
     And that's hard to do.  Both men are Republicans.  McCain didn't help his case by saying a while back that the economy wasn't his best subject.
     There's one great unknown, of course.  Obama is black.  Will that make a difference?  Almost certainly.  How much?  I have no idea.  Race is an area in which polls can be misleading.  Still, three weeks to go and an Obama tide does seem to be running.
     I have, of course, been wrong about this stuff before.   

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