For conservatives, it's the end of the world as we know it. I feel fine. Let the progressive era begin.
First in this week's news: The McCain-Palin ticket is no longer competitive in the race for the Presidency. A quick consultation of the Iowa Electronic Markets or fivethirtyeight.com demonstrates that we are now looking at an Obama landslide.
What happened? Well, McCain didn't do himself any favors in Friday's debate. He peppered every answer with trivia about the USSR, Vietnam, Henry Kissinger, the KGB, and D-Day. I'm surprised he didn't mention his close relationship with Calvin Coolidge. He made himself look like a very old man, a geezer with a "You kids get off my lawn!" attitude. Obama by contrast was cool and collected, and was able to match wits with McCain on all the things McCain claimed Obama could not understand.
More trouble in Republican land. Sarah Palin's disastrous interview with Katie Couric has led to some conservatives calling for her to step down. Unfortunately, that problem is small potatoes compared to what happened today. McCain this morning decided to take credit for the coalition supporting the Wall Street bailout. Right before the bailout went down to defeat.
It's clear that voters are blaming Republicans for the stock market crash and failing economy, and the implications are dire for GOP incumbents up for reelection in five weeks. It has now become much more likely that Democrats will win the toss up Senate races in states such as North Carolina and Oregon. Furthermore, several GOP incumbents considered to be completely safe bets for reelection are now possibly endangered, including Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and Saxby Chambliss in Georgia.
But there's more to it than that. It's clear that the entire philosophy of conservatism, at least in its Reagan/Bush/neocon form, is dying fast. As NBC's Howard Fineman pointed out today, "The era of cowboy capitalism has died, largely of self-inflicted wounds. Who knows what’s coming now? I do: A new era of tight business regulation and government intervention in the markets."
They'll be plenty of time to talk about the death of conservatism after the election. Another more immediate concern this week is the ongoing trial of Senator Ted Stevens. If Stevens is convicted of failing to reports gifts in the form of renovations to his home worth $250,000, he'll undoubtedly lose his reelection bid. The case against him seems incredibly strong, but if he's somehow acquitted, he's assured of another graft-soaked term in the Senate.
Finally, I highly recommend this article from BeyondChron in San Francisco. It explains how the Senate seats most likely to flip from Republican to Democratic this year, Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire and Colorado, all happen to be in swing states that will pick the next President. The fact that Republicans in these states are dispirited gives Obama help in winning the election.