Thursday, July 24, 2008


In the past week or so, Barack Obama hasn't put a foot wrong, while John McCain lurches from embarrassment to embarrassment.

And what's the result? This:

McCain Makes Significant Gains in Four Key Battleground States

Republican John McCain has quickly closed the gap between himself and Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama in several key battleground states even as the Arizona senator struggles to break through the wall-to-wall coverage of Obama's trip to Europe and the Middle East this week.

McCain and Obama are in a statistical dead heat in Colorado, Michigan and Minnesota....

A month ago, Obama led McCain among Independents by anywhere from 21 points (Minnesota) to eight points (Michigan). In the most recent set of data, McCain actually outperforms Obama by three points among independents in Michigan while losing that crucial voting bloc far more narrowly in Colorado (Obama +8), Minnesota (Obama +8) and Wisconsin (Obama +9)....

Why is this happening? Well, like every presidential election since 1988, this is shaping up as a one-question referendum: Should we vote for the guy we agree with on most issues, namely the Democrat, or would that be the end of civilization as we know it because he's a weirdo with evil superpowers?

It's actually been somewhat difficult to fit Obama into that neurotic-monster template -- he's passed the has-human-feelings test (the one that tripped up Dukakis), he doesn't have excessive sexual appetites (Clinton), and he's not an alleged know-it-all-slash-compulsive-liar (Gore) or the owner of a skintight windsurfing costume (Kerry). Hell, we'd actually like to have a beer with him!

In fact, he's so likable that we're told that the fact that lots of people like him is how we can tell he's a monster. He made us love him -- we didn't want to do it! And if he continues, we'll have to destroy him -- before he destroys us with his fiendish admirability.

That's why, every time he has a run of good days on the campaign trail, what we hear from the press is: He's forcing us to cover him favorably, and to cover the other guy unfavorably. That's why he's a bad person. He has to make us stop doing that. So every wave of good stories about Obama is followed by a wave of stories from the same news organizations saying, "Good Lord, there are too many good stories about Obama!"

Therefore, he needs to screw up, and fast. In fact, he needs to screw up every week or two between now and November, or he won't get elected.

We know he's adept at getting himself out of trouble -- we saw that during the two waves of Jeremiah Wright Mania in the media -- so he can manage the risk. He needs to get himself in hot water the way he did then, because then journalists will write bad stories, and will (temporarily) stop criticizing him for making them write so many good stories, which is what's making swing voters think he's a scary monster.

Please, Barack -- make some big mistakes. Soon.

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