Sunday, October 19, 2008

Unhatched

I’m really starting to get nervous. It looks like my guy is going to win. I’m not used to this. For a long while, the skeptics asked, “Why can’t Obama close the deal?” Now Obama himself cautions against overconfidence, which is another way of saying don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Polls show Obama with more than enough electoral votes, some estimates as high as 330, a comfortable margin over the 270 needed to win. Nonetheless, remember Republican President Thomas Dewey. Democratic President Al Gore does. Possibly the earliest Presidential poll, conducted by The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian in 1824, showed Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams 335 to 169 in a local straw vote. J.Q. was inaugurated as President in 1825. It took Old Hickory another four years.

On Meet the Press, Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President. Gen. Powell has made a successful career, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as Secretary of State, by casting his lot with Republican administrations. He said Obama was in a better position to repair U.S. relations around the world. “This is the time for outreach,” he said. He supported Obama on being open to direct diplomacy to “talk to people we haven’t talked to,” including Iranian leaders. Obama “has a definite way of doing business that will serve us well,” Powell said, questioning some of McCain’s judgment during the campaign. Powell mentioned bluntly the GOP VP nominee: “I don't believe she's ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President.” Powell, who once was considered by many of us the most likely public figure to become the first African-American President, said he was “troubled” by the irrelevant personal attacks on Obama, especially false accusations that Obama is Muslim. “Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America,” Powell said. “I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine…a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture… was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery… her head on the headstone of her son's grave…. you could see the writing on the headstone…Purple Heart, Bronze Star…he died in Iraq… 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey.”

Also, an Obama rally in St Louis drew a record 100,000 people and another 75,000 in Kansas City. The campaign has announced it raised more than $150 million in September, breaking the previous record of $66 million it set in August. According to Obama’s campaign manager, 3.1 million people have contributed an average of $86 each, with students and retirees comprising the two largest groups. Obama has bought 30 minute ads on network television for the closing days before the election. He is currently airing four times as many TV ads as McCain, including in West Virginia and other traditional Republican territory.

McCain was asked by Fox News if he had considered the possibility that he might lose the election. "Oh, sure. I mean, I don't dwell on it. But look, I've had a wonderful life. I have to go back and live in Arizona, and be in the United States Senate representing them, and with a wonderful family. I'm the luckiest guy you ever interviewed," he said. "Don't feel sorry for John McCain, and John McCain will be concentrating on not feeling sorry for himself." McCain never looked less sorry for himself than at the Al Smith Dinner, laughing at all of Obama’s jokes. Maybe he was remembering how a score of Presidential elections ago New York Governor Al Smith, the first Catholic to run for President, lost to Herbert Hoover.

Copyright 2008 by William C. Cotter

1 comment:

no spring chicken said...

This reminds me of the last couple of weeks of the Democratic primary, when the numbers looked inevitable, but it still wasn't over until the magic number was reached.

I think Colin Powell's endorsement may well prove to have been a help in getting this country ready for an Obama victory.

 

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