Friday, October 31, 2008

The TR: Charlie's Courage, Valium-Assisted Voting, and the Cusp of the Campaign

This is it! The five-year campaign is slogging to an end (what, you said it's only been 20 months?). We've faithfully covered every step of the way. Think about it: by the time you see the next TR, we'll have a new President-elect! So, for this momentous TR, we'll tiptoe into the media's haunted house to see who's shaking and quaking.

Forecast

Well, what else is going to rock the media world all next week but the fate of the free world? Could Johnny Boy pull it off? The electoral bean counters say it's nearly impossible. If the stars somehow align, look for man-in-the-street interviews about a stolen election and much commentary on the smears and negative ads that drove the rabble mad - and sent McC and Caribou Barbie to the White House. Hate-baiting is a risky path to victory, my Johnny O. When you pull the election into the quicksand, it's hard to get to 270 and not go under yourself. Or as they say in that real America Bible: "What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?"

The big money is on O. If it turns out to be so, the wing-nut media will scream about ACORN-stuffed ballot boxes and socialism and unsubstantiated terrorist ties. More responsible folk will be talking about Obama's incredibly well-run campaign and the real Joe (and Josephine) the Plumber's fears about the economy.

Commentators will also examine the Hispanic and women's vote. When the foreclosure crisis broke, the Latino vote (a community vulnerable to predatory loans) flocked Obama-side. You may remember, Bush's decent numbers among this demographic were needed to (sort of) carry 2000 and (definitely) 2004. O's economy talk also has moved women in a huge way.

If you're still strapped for a costume idea, you could go to your Halloween fetes as someone holding the country's worst job: Congressional Republican. With even Liddy Dole's and Gordon Smith's heads ripe for the chopping block, the Dems will significantly increase their majorities in both houses. Our new favorite lobbyist (you know who you are) says this election will change governing for 30 years.

But lest you get too cozy and complacent about the poll margins, allow us to gently advise you: Get out there and vote, Vote, VOTE! We may as well follow the Dems' lead and conclude Election 2008 with some consistency by playing it safe to the end - this election's too important. And if you suspect that there's voting impropriety or any erstwhile shigidy (as we hear them call it in Pennsylvania) going on at your polling place, do not hesitate to report it at 866-MY-VOTE-1.

Finally, here at TR Central, we've gotten so over-wrought and wild-eyed in the home stretch, that some very human news caught us completely off guard: John and Elizabeth Edwards may be breaking up. His essential decency and her grace made many of us wish they'd move into the house next door when they couldn't move to the White House. May the Edwards' privacy be somewhat sheltered as this news gets lost in the gale-force media winds waiting to embrace the coming of a new President.

The Week That Was

We're loving the new "O is anti-semitic" story line being dished out by McCain (think of Florida much?). This is just the latest unbelievable, wacky, anti-Obama story - they seem to crop up every four hours. You may check out the "homeless aunt" and Palestinian scholar Rashid Khalidi for starters. But this desperate scramble for any late-breaking surprise story shows just that - desperation.

Things have gotten so bleak that candidates are even conceding the Presidential race and campaigning on the idea of no one-party rule (for the health of our democracy, man). Jeez, is anyone playing to win anymore? Liddy's even re-cutting audio in order to present her opponent Kay Hagen as godless. Uh, wow.

Across the ideological spectrum, both sides are SERIOUSLY FREAKED over this election, requiring more hypertension medicine and mucho Xanax. One of our best Facebook friends laments that if O loses, "they'll just have to start passing out the poisoned Kool-Aid." The TR Pre-Election Psychiatric Wing understands this pain.

And what of Sarah Barracuda, you ask? She's committed the biggest of the big ROGUE campaign no no's: openly talking about her 2012 run. The Momocrats share our concern that she might appoint herself to replace Senator Stevens if he loses his bid or is expelled from the Senate. Either way, it seems that nothing we can do on Tuesday will erase Palin from the national scene. But we meet this prospect with gladness, for, with all the heavy troubles to be faced when the political theater is over, Palin-watching will be the source of much-needed satiric relief.

The Obama 30-minute, $3 million infomercial was money well spent, especially as a lead-in to the final World Series game (kept those folks in Pennsylvania riveted, we're sure). TR Central was most impressed with the stories of struggling families and retirees in Bush-Era America. O made voters take a good, hard look at their own circumstances before heading to the voting booth.

We'd like to take a moment to commend Governor Charlie Christ for doing the right thing down in Florida by extending early voting from eight to 12 hours after reports of technical difficulties. We'd also like to give a big shout out to the folks at Voter Action for successfully suing Da Man in Pennsylvania to get more paper ballots on hand at polling places.

Scorecard

Okay, it was Phillies in four. But we'll still take the credit.

Have a safe and fun Halloween night, DC-ers! See you at the recount!

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