Good morning on this last day before the election. And how lovely to wake up with the sun already coming up! Love that time change.
We're down to the wire and the polls appear to be tightening somewhat — but, according to statistician extraordinaire Nate Silver, the breakdown of likely outcomes still heavily favors Obama. The NYT says down-ballot Republicans are imperiled as well. Voters have a crazy way of ignoring pundits and prognosticators...but it appears that this could be what sports columnists would term a "rebuilding cycle" for the GOP. Yet to be answered: is 2010 the new 1994? Depends on the coaching (RNC, NRCC, NRSC chairmanships) and recruiting...and how delicately the Dems handle their majorities. As President Bush learned with Social Security reform in 2005, it's easy to overestimate your political capital.
But let's put that cart back where it belongs for now. Weekend developments...John McCain took an entertaining turn on SNL, hocking pork knives and "McCain Fine Gold" on QVC in the open. (Though he may have been overshadowed by Ben Affleck's hi-larious Olbermann send-up...) Elsewhere, Sarah Palin played victim to some Canadian radio pranksters pretending to be Nicolas Sarkozy and murmuring in French about clubbing baby seals. And an Obama half-aunt who is in the country illegally, living in public housing in Boston, came to light via a leak from ICE. Obama says he didn't know about her status, and the campaign has returned $260 that she donated in small increments over the course of the campaign.
On to the last full day of campaigning: Obama holds rallies in the onetime red states of Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. McCain has seven events in as many states: Florida, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona. Both candidates will appear during halftime of Monday Night Football in pre-taped satellite interviews with Chris Berman. Will he give the candidates hilarious nicknames? Will The Swami weigh in with an election prediction? (If so, will it be more accurate than his usual predictions?) Only one way to find out...
The nominees each have op-eds in this morning's Wall Street Journal. Both pieces are pretty much summations of all the same arguments we've heard over the course of the campaign. The headlines say it all: Obama's is called "The Change We Need". McCain's is "What We're Fighting For". Here's one noteworthy snippet from McCain's piece:
And I will chart a different course than the administration and Barack Obama and not spend your money just to bail out Wall Street bankers and brokers. I have a plan to protect the value of homes and get them rising again by refinancing mortgages so your neighbor won't default and further drag down the value of your house.
Obama's strategy throughout the general election has been to link McCain to Bush's policies. Here, McCain attempts to be rubber to his opponent's glue. (Yes, McCain did also vote for the bailout package, but his criticism here seems to be about how those funds are allocated. His mortgage refinancing plan, we should note, has been wildly unpopular among the fiscal conservatives in the WSJ's target audience.)
And finally, in yet another early campaign retrospective, Politico fondly looks back at what it deems the top 10 viral videos of the campaign. Will.i.am, Obama Girl, and Paris Hilton, oh my. Hey, what about 1984? Or Hillary4U&Me? Or Chuck Norris? Guess we're not counting videos about vanquished candidates. But was Terry Tate really worthier than It's Raining McCain?