The primaries are over and Barack Obama has won and accepted his party’s nomination. But you wouldn’t know that by the months of canned advice from the right. The McLaughlin Group’s right lineup included the ubiquitous Pat Buchanan, the smart blonde Monica Crowley, and on the left, Eleanor Clift and Derek McGinty. Among the topics: The Bradley effect, presidential polling and NASA. Kennedy got credit for creating NASA from nada; Bush and Barack also spoke about NASA's future this week.
I believe it was Pat Buchanan who started: “Why hasn’t Obama closed the deal?” I wondered aloud why Pat hadn't closed his mouth. Buchanan is no Neocon. He’s an old con with a long record of fear mongering. While he has no criminal record (that we know of), his take on politics is sometimes downright criminal. So if you’ve tired of pundit Pat you're not alone. Here’s a man who makes himself at home in the most unlikely of places, including the ratings goldmine, the new Rachel Maddow Show—a fresh face who presents political satire sans snark.
It’s not that he is tiring—it’s his tired old idiom “Why can’t Obama close the deal?” Millions of Americans have seen past this hackneyed line and Obama supporters simply were not fazed by it. But it fazed the pundits, who repeated it nonstop. This idiom was fresh because of Obama’s low-flying post-Denver-convention bounce. Obama has bounced back. From June onwards, he has been in a dead heat according to all polls, both national and statewide. And in some state polls (red states) he has lagged far behind. But according to Pat and company, he had no business being so far behind. They sought to explain it away; enter the Bradley Effect.
The Bradley Effect is a racial meme begun in California after Mayor Tom Bradley lost the California governor’s race, even though he was polling double digits ahead of his opponent. This was the meme du jour, applied like actor’s pancake makeup to the Obama campaign; he’s black, and white people will lie to the pollsters to avoid appearing racist. It was only after the MSM properly bandied about the Bradley effect that it appears now, drum roll, it has been reversed. Or better, it never existed. Yes, there is a reverse-Bradley effect – who knew? The conservatives among the McLaughlin group agree—the Bradley effect never existed then and does not exist now.
We tried reading what those pundits had to say when Obama was trailing in the polls – erratic at best. But I wanted to know what conservatives would sing when Obama closed the deal. No problem, Buchanan et al have cut a new single, “The media has gone into the tank [for Obama], as I’ve never seen it before.” Pat makes a good case: given the big money, MSM fawning, populist hoopla and branding of Barack, he should be running away with the pollsters to the tune of 55%.
If the MSM is in the tank for Obama, that message has been tempered by the fact that it took months for him to shatter the coveted 50% ceiling. When exactly did he break that tie? According to the poll of polls, somewhere around the first of October. The first week in October, as everyone knows, was merely two weeks after Henry Paulson penned the 3-page bailout bill. On the Achilles' heel of his proposal—September horribilus and a market-meltdown fever not seen since the Great Depression, gripped the nation. The market and bailout debacle led to a national chorus of “It’s the economy, stupid.” And with the sinking of the stock market, so, too, fell McCain's political fortunes–look out below!
Pat panic: the fat lady sings
The “Obama has not closed the deal” idiom is on life support. It has pulled up to the last stop on the tracks. Who better to pull the cord and get off the red line than the man who started it; Here’s Pat in his own words on this weekend’s McLaughlin Group, “Obama is ahead in the money, enthusiasm, ground troops, the air game and advertising, ahead in the polls (did you say polls?), ahead in temperament, ahead in state-by-state polls.” He continued the truth parade with this little sentence: ”[I]t is really an uphill grind for McCain to win…he has to pick up every single toss-up state.” Ouch.
Obama's new poll numbers are alarming Republicans. The GOP bosses are worried that McCain will not only dismantle the Grand Old Party, but that he just might lose the state of Arizona in the deal.Powered by Sidelines