Sunday, August 24, 2008

Convention pre-game show

The Democratic Convention in Denver starts Tuesday. Next weekend, the spotlight shifts to the Republicans when John McCain will select his VP pick just before the GOP Convention kicks off in St. Paul. Here are some observations on the current landscape.

* I believe that the McCain campaign has reached high tide. His recent ads attacking Obama have been giving him a little bump in the polls, bringing him to within a point or two of Obama in the popular vote. McCain has also done a good job of shoring up support in the red states, to the point that I can only name a couple of states that Bush carried in 2004 that Obama would be guaranteed to carry this time around. On the other hands, I haven't seen McCain making any inroads at all in the blue states.

Two reasons why I think McCain is as close now as he ever will be to Obama. First, The Democrats' Convention is likely to be a much bigger success than the Republicans'. While Obama will be appearing before upwards of 100,000 people this Thursday, the GOP Convention is likely to be more funeral than celebration, with Republicans choosing to stay away from St. Paul in large numbers. The debates begin less than two weeks after the conventions. I expect Obama will again have the edge, giving him a further boost heading into election day. The second reason why I think Obama will start pulling away is his recent decision to fight back against McCain's barrage of personal attacks. This was in evidence this week when Obama began running an attack ad against McCain pointing out that the Arizona Senator doesn't know how many houses he owns.

*Obama picks Biden. I'm satisfied with Biden. Traditionally, it's a good idea to pick a VP candidate who can serves as an attack dog, and this is job that Biden does well. Certainly he'll do it better than our last two wishy-washy VP picks, who let Dick Cheney beat them in the 2000 and 2004 debates. Biden has a few scandals, but they're too old for any one to care. Funny how that works. You would think the fact John McCain dated Cindy for most of a year while he was still married to his first wife would disqualify him in the eyes of the public, but few people care simply because the affair took place three decades ago. Did I mention that McCain is 72 years old?

*Democrats have two goals this year. The first is electing Obama, the second is electing enough Democratic Senators to break the disgraceful Republicans filibusters of the last two years that have made it nearly impossible for the Congress to accomplish much of anything.

Here's how it works. Any Senator can place a "hold" on a bill that can keep it from moving to a vote. It takes 60 "yea" votes to invoke cloture and break a filibuster. Currently, Democrats control the Senate 51-49. I would say Democrats are guaranteed to pick up five seats in November, and maybe a couple more. With 56 to 58 votes in the bag on any bill, it then just becomes a matter of siphoning off a couple of Republican votes, and Democrats can pass any bill they want to. Another important note: 2010 will also likely be a good year for electing more Democrats to the Senate, and with 60 seats or more in the hands of the good guys, the sky's the limit for doing what's needed to fix the country.

* Link of the week: This article on the resurgence of liberalism in America is music to my ears.

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