It’s only been a little over a week and a half since the announcement of the running mate for the Republican Party Presidential ticket and about one week since she was able to introduce herself to those who are engaged deeply in our democratic political process.
The impact this is having and the increase in enthusiasm it has generated in having an executive branch headed by Senator John McCain is completely unexpected. Crowds that greeted John McCain and Alaska Governor Sara Palin were almost ten times the size expected for each of the last four stump speech gatherings. The largest gathering was held in a hanger in Colorado Springs, Colorado with a crowd estimated at approaching 20,000 people (only 1,500 were scheduled to arrive).
For Republicans, who have felt that their agenda was going to be diluted by a “maverick” choice of a known friend of Mr. McCain’s were caught off guard when John picked a maverick and proven governmental reformist in Sarah.
While this pick and her acceptance is a good thing for Republicans, the swing in the polls can not be fully explained through one strong choice for Vice-President.
Barack Obama has a large and detailed part to play in the near 20 percentage point swing over the last couple of weeks in some key demographics. With just under sixty day left in a campaign season that has already lasted, well, for Democrats, almost eight years ... the Republicans may be on the verge of winning it all.
"We need to carry Colorado. We need to win!" he told a roaring crowd that spilled out of a hangar at the Colorado Jet Center, on the west side of the Colorado Springs Airport. /// The Colorado Springs Police Department declined to provide an estimate of the crowd size, but a campaign spokesman, Tom Kise, said 13,000 had gone through security checks. Image Credit: Rocky Mountain News
This excerpted and edited from Asia Times -
How Obama lost the election
By Spengler, Asia Times - Sep 3, 2008
DENVER - Senator Barack Obama's acceptance speech last week seemed vastly different from the stands of this city's Invesco Stadium than it did to the 40 million who saw it on television. Melancholy hung like thick smog over the reserved seats where I sat with Democratic Party staffers. The crowd, of course, cheered mechanically at the tag lines, flourished placards, and even rose for the obligatory wave around the stadium. But its mood was sour. The air carried the acrid smell of defeat, and the crowd took shallow breaths. Even the appearance of R&B great Stevie Wonder failed to get the blood pumping.
The speech itself dragged on for three-quarters of an hour. As David S Broder wrote in the Washington Post:
"[Obama's] recital of a long list of domestic promises could have been delivered by any Democratic nominee from Walter Mondale to John Kerry. There was no theme music to the speech and really no phrase or sentence that is likely to linger in the memory of any listener. The thing I never expected did in fact occur: Al Gore, the famously wooden former vice president, gave a more lively and convincing speech than Obama did."
On television, Obama's spectacle might have looked like The Ten Commandments, but inside the stadium it felt like Night of the Living Dead.
The Democrats were watching the brightest and most articulate presidential candidate they have fielded since John F Kennedy snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And this was before John McCain, in a maneuver worthy of Admiral Chester Nimitz at the Battle of Midway, turned tables on the Democrats' strategy with the choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Obama will spend the rest of his life wondering why he rejected the obvious road to victory, that is, choosing Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential nominee.
McCain's choice of vice presidential candidate made obvious after the fact what the party professionals felt in their fingertips at the stadium extravaganza yesterday: rejecting Clinton in favor of the colorless, unpopular, tangle-tongued Washington perennial Joe Biden was a statement of weakness. McCain's selection was a statement of strength. America's voters will forgive many things in a politician, including sexual misconduct, but they will not forgive weakness.
That is why McCain will win in November, and by a landslide, barring some unforeseen event. Obama is the most talented and persuasive politician of his generation, the intellectual superior of all his competitors, but a fatally insecure personality. American voters are not intellectual, but they are shrewd, like animals. They can smell insecurity, and the convention stank of it.
Biden, who won 3% of the popular vote in the Democratic presidential primary in his home state of Delaware, and 1% or less in every other contest he entered, is ballot-box poison. Obama evidently chose him to assuage critics who point to his lack of foreign policy credentials. That was a deadly error, for by appearing to concede the critics' claim that he knows little about foreign policy, Obama raised questions about whether he is qualified to be president in the first place.
Why didn't Obama choose Hillary? The most credible explanation came from veteran columnist Robert Novak May 10, who reports that Michelle Obama vetoed Hillary's candidacy. "The Democratic front-runner's wife did not comment on other rival candidates for the party's nomination, but she has been sniping at Clinton since last summer. According to Obama sources, those public utterances do not reveal the extent of her hostility," Novak wrote. If that is true, then Obama succumbed to the character weakness I described in a February 26 profile of (Obama's women reveal his secret). His peculiar dependency on an assertive and often rancorous spouse, I argued, made him vulnerable, and predicted that Obama "will destroy himself before he destroys the country".
Given Obama's defensive, even wimpy selection of a running-mate, McCain's choice was obvious. He picked the available candidate most like himself: a maverick with impeccable reform credentials, a risk-seeking commercial fisherwoman and huntress married to a marathon snowmobile racer who carries a steelworkers union card. The Democratic order of battle was to tie McCain to the Bush administration and attack McCain by attacking Bush. With Palin on the ticket, McCain has re-emerged as the maverick he really is.
The young Alaskan governor, to be sure, hasn't any business running for vice president of the United States with her thin resume. McCain and his people know this perfectly well, and that is precisely why they put her on the ticket. If Palin is unqualified to be vice president, all the less so is Obama qualified to be president.
Obama, who styled himself an agent of change, took his image for granted, and attempted to ensure himself victory by doing the cautious thing. He is trapped in a losing position, and there is nothing he can do to get out of it.
Obama, in short, is long on brains and short on guts.
Obama could have allied with the old guard, through an Obama-Clinton ticket, or he could have rejected the old guard by choosing the closest thing the Democrats had to a Sarah Palin. But fear paralyzed him, and he did neither.
In my February 26 profile, I called Obama "the political equivalent of a sociopath", without any derogatory intent.
No country's politics depends more openly on friendships than America's, yet Obama has not a single real friend, for he rose so fast that all his acquaintances become rungs on the ladder of his ascent. One human relationship crowds the others out of his life, his marriage to Michelle, a strong, assertive and very angry woman.
If Novak's report is accurate, then Michelle's anger will have lost the election for Obama, as Achilles' anger nearly killed the Greek cause in the Trojan War. But the responsibility rests not with Michelle, but with Obama. Obama's failure of nerve at the cusp of his success is consistent with my profile of the candidate, in which I predicted that he would self-destruct. It's happening faster than I expected. As I wrote last February:
It is conceivable that Barack Obama, if elected, will destroy himself before he destroys the country. Hatred is a toxic diet even for someone with as strong a stomach as Obama ... Both Obama and the American public should be very careful of what they wish for. As the horrible example of Obama's father shows, there is nothing worse for an embittered outsider manipulating the system from within than to achieve his goals.