10.20.2008

DON'T PANIC

BY CINCINNATUS

As Election Day rapidly approaches, the media and the Obama campaign continue to frantically beat us over the head with their prediction: Obama’s got this thing in the bag. Indeed, polls continue to show Obama with a lead over McCain, ranging from 10 points to as little as 4 points. These same polls offer a similarly gloomy Electoral College map. Obama netted another huge sponsor on Sunday: General Colin Powell. He has shattered the record for presidential fund raising contributions, pulling in a staggering $150 million, and he’s spending it as fast as he’s making it. These mountainous obstacles are daunting, I know, and things may look bleak. But take heart: Obama hasn’t been elected president yet, and as John McCain rightly declared in his Convention speech, “nothing is inevitable here.”

The press has embarrassed themselves more times that they would care to remember by forecasting a winner, only to be overridden when the electorate (read: peasantry) had the audacity to disagree. The most recent example would be when they called the New Hampshire primary for Barack Obama, only to get a Hillary Clinton victory crammed down their throats by the voters. And that “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline still stands as a monument to the media’s insatiable thirst to be the “first to call it,” usually to their own detriment.

But we have to recognize that there is another motive here, one that is just as likely to backfire on the press as the “first to call it” syndrome. There can be no doubt that the mainstream media is bought and paid for by the Obama campaign, quite literally now that Senator Obama has purchased a half-hour block of broadcast time on NBC and CBS for October 29th. It is in their interest to use their considerable influence to promote the impression of a landslide-in-the-making for their candidate, and to attempt to discourage would-be McCain supporters. They hope that by doing so they’ll suppress Republican voter turnout. And to a large extent they are succeeding, as conservative commentators like Peggy Noonan begin to jump ship one by one, engaging in a premature blame-game in their own perverse attempts to be the “first to call it.” Some contributors to this very blog have already begun to give up hope.

This scheme carries with it certain risks, however, and misjudges the target audience. Republicans have historically been better at turning out the vote than Democrats. And when the media tells a Republican voter than Barack Obama is marching to an inevitable victory, that Republican voter is going to get to the polls come hell or high water on Election Day, and he’s going to haul along three or four of his Republican friends or family members too. Because for those of us who understand the implications of an Obama administration with a complicit, liberal Congress, an Obama victory is simply unacceptable. Even Obama spokesman Bill Burton seems to understand the potential backlash and has urged the media to back off in its pompous and pontificating prognostications (that’s alliteration, kids), saying, “I don't think it's particularly helpful, and the people who are making these pronouncements are ignoring recent history that have shown very close results. This is a closely divided electorate, and we expect that nationally and in battleground states this race is going to go down to the wire."

It is also telling (and I have said it repeatedly in previous articles) that in an election year that should overwhelmingly favor Democrats, Barack Obama is only leading by the single digits in most polls. I still believe that Obama’s lead is due more to a lack of finesse and salesmanship on McCain’s part than anything else. By all rights, he should be trailing. I say that because, as rightly or wrongly angered the American public may be at the Republicans, this remains a center-right country where talk of “spreading the wealth” and engaging in diplomacy that legitimizes terrorist dictators is indigestible (see "Silent Majority"). Obama has not been able to put this thing to bed and many Americans remain unconvinced that he is the sort of change they’re looking for. Joe the Plumber is emblematic of that, and by his words and very existence he has managed to make a better case for conservative government than the unfortunately meandering McCain campaign.

So don’t give up hope people. As the eminent thinker Yogi Berra once wisely said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” But for God’s sake, get out and vote.

2 comments:

Hariolor said...

Interesting tidbit:

My aunt who lives up at the farm has Direct TV (no cable up there), and when searching for the OSU game this past saturday, I came across a channel called OBAMA. 24/7 all-Obamessiah, all-the-time.
30 minutes of prime time is impressive, but the guy's already got his own channel. I mean, really...

Ben Wheat said...

Sadly, I'll bet that channel isn't even affiliated with the Obama campaign. Probably just a subsidiary of NBC or CNN.