With about a month left until election day, Obama is pulling ahead, and things are pretty much over for the McCain campaign. Unless something horrific is revealed about him in the next few weeks (unlikely, but not impossible given the smokiness of some of his early biography), the fundamentals will take over, and Obama will cruise to victory.
In order to compete, McCain had to come up with something truly original. He tried that with the nomination of Sarah Palin as his running mate, but then either McCain or his campaign wouldn’t let her be herself. Whether because of irrational fear or realistic assessment, they handled Palin completely, and shielded her from the press, where she might have envigorated the Republican Party. Instead of getting the McCain of 2000 (who was at least interesting), we got the zombie of MaCain in 2008.
As it is, expect Obama’s numbers to continue to improve in the coming weeks, resulting in a likely blowout in the presidential race, and an increase in seats in both houses of Congress. Frankly, I’m not too bothered by that. The misbehavior of the Republican Party over the last few years deserves to be punished. Hopefully, they’ll go sit in the corner for a while and think about what they’ve done.
Though Obama is quite a bit further to the left than I prefer on many issues, there would potentially be things to like about his presidency. Hopefully he will listen to Austan Goolsbee on economic matters. I expect he would chart a wiser course through international waters than George Bush did.
And while I don’t really expect him to be truly antiwar, perhaps he’ll be less interested in using aggressive military force than the last two presidents did.
I’d certainly like to hear more about his plans to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. I’ve been hoping for a “moon landing” type project for a couple of years now. Some of his language has suggested just this. Hopefully he’ll be smart enough to make the incentives market driven.
And maybe, just maybe, he’ll take a look at the destructive nature of the war on drugs, and at least start a conversation about decimalization.
No matter what happens, Sarah Palin has done enough that she should exit the presidential campaign as one of the leaders of the Republican Party. While I doubt that 2012 will be her year, look for her to be on top of her party’s ticket eventually.