John McCain has essentially abandoned a slew of states to concentrate on the slim hope of turning Pennsylvania around. Because he can't afford much ad time, he's been glutting personal appearances. But the poor guy keeps undermining himself with mind-boggling verbal slips. At least the gaffes keep him in the news. With no serious GOTV operation and no momentum, he'd otherwise slip our minds entirely.
Meanwhile, Obama is turning red states to blue as he surfs around the country on a massive wave of cash. His big ad buys and superior ground game stun the voters, then he swoops in to reprogram them en masse. Go ahead, say it: "Must. Vote. Obama!" Expect this trend to continue, as he picks up the shallow undecideds who like to vote for whomever looks poised to win.
We must all keep an eye on electoral misconduct, mishaps and mischief. The folks at Brad Blog are doing an excellent job keeping track of problems with touch-button voting. Few people have been paying attention, but just wait 'til they occur in major toss-up states and voters start grumbling about mis-recorded votes and long lines, as we're starting to see in early voting.
Hey, Ben and Jerry's is offering free ice cream for voters on election day. Ice cream in November? Hmmm. You guys don't sell coffee, do you? However this race is going to turn out, there is sure to be a new Obama flavor soon. Baracky Road?
With Conservatives needing something (anything, really) to latch onto, the prospect of beating John Murtha has suddenly become the silver chalice for the next two weeks, after the senior congressman's gaffes about the racists and "rednecks" in his district. Hey, you take what you can get, right? His opponent William Russell has been barnstorming the blogosphere and right wing media. Even if Russell doesn't come out on top, he'll have a higher profile in conservative circles for a long while.
On November 14, Lame Duck Bush will host a 20-nation summit to address the financial crisis. Will the President-Elect have to live with the decisions Bush makes at the summit? Watch for a steady news drip regarding this new G-20 event in the coming weeks.
Proposition 8, the ballot initiative to rescind marriage rights for same-sex couples in California, has been winning support in a state largely divided on gay marriage. We suspect it's because the proponents of the bill have been running ads with young people claiming to protect civil liberties through a strange stew of hipster-Nixonian-doublespeak. The scary part? So far, it's working. This might be the finest use of new media by conservatives in quite some time, and it's gonna heat up real fast.
As for the World Series, Phillies in 6!
The Week That Was
PEW's Project for Excellence in Journalism says Obama DIDN'T win the media war -- McCain just lost, badly. According to PEW's newly released study of media coverage of the 2008 campaign from September 8 through October 16, the heavy bleeding began with the economic downturn and didn't stop. No doubt Colin Powell's wounding endorsement of Obama this past Sunday just made it worse. The lesson of the day is clear: Declare war on the "elite" media at your peril.
No matter how much the wingnuts dug Rep. Michelle Bachmann's McCarthyite screed on Hardball, the blowback for her rant on anti-American activities was severe. Almost overnight, her opponent in Minnesota, the delightfully named Elwyn Tinklenberg, was flooded with donations while the RNC picked up stakes and left town. Way to go, Rep. Bachmann!
What's the best way to show your solidarity with struggling moms? Um, spend $150k on your wardrobe? (GONG!) It's all going to charity after the election, but do struggling families really need womanly-yet-assertive jacket and skirt combos to get them through a bitter winter?
Right-wing pundits haven't been much help to the Republican effort. Some say Matt Drudge has been rendered virtually irrelevant to the media narrative (citing Nickelodeon Kids Choice polls as evidence of a McCain comeback). Limbaugh isn't even skirting his racism anymore. And Michelle Malkin thinks that Joe Biden has "imploded," even though the man has to practically beg to get on p.15 of Arts and Leisure. Is this the best they can do?
Talk about turning on the heat. The far right now insists Obama not only consorts with terrorists but with Satan-lovers. Check out Fox News Political Contributor James P. Pinkerton's latest posting in the Fox Forum Report. Just in time for Halloween!
The RNC's been insisting for months that the media is biased for Obama, and now that includes Nick at Night and TV Land. Seems Opie and the Fonz want you to pull the lever (or push the button, or touch the screen, or stand in line, or whatever) for Obama. Even Al Bundy is in the tank!
See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die
We anticipated some shake-ups in the newspaper endorsement game, and, boy, were we right. Many publications that backed Bush in '04 are now on the Obama bandwagon, including the Chicago Trib, which has never ever endorsed a democratic presidential dandidate. Glad to see everyone got the memo!
See you next week.