Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween's over, quit freaking out ( Richie's reply to Robert's "say it ain't so joe)

If John McCain wins the election, it will NOT be because of Joe the Plumber. Joe the Plumber has largely faded from the headlines, since it became very clear to all but the most deluded and devoted that his was a made-up story and he was a constructed campaign tactic. He may captivate the crowds of fans at rallies, but he has not captured the popular imagination. I was watching Morning Joe--a bipartisan show for lack of a better term--for like an hour this morning, and "Joe the Plumber" was not uttered once. I'm not sure what you've been reading/watching/listening to, but I politely but decisively disagree with your reading on this. This is an old story, and in a 24-hour news cycle, old stories die hard and fast. (On a related note, it means you have to jump on an idea early for your letters/essays to remain current and relevant).

Like I've said, now is not the time to get cocky and overconfident, since Obama could lose, but in your search for reasons, I think you're hitting all the least likely answers (i.e. Joe the Plumber, and what you perceive as a tightening of the polls that have actually remained decisively in Obama's favor).

In my humble opinion, if Obama loses, it will be for one or more of the following reasons:

1. It turned out Americans still won't vote for a black man. Cold feet at the voting booth.
2. Voter discouragement and disenfranchisement.
3. Bad polling methods across the board (very possible in such an unprecedented election).
4a. November surprise. A major national or international event.
4b. November surprise. Another Republican dirty trick. News just broke this morning that Obama has an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT aunt living in Boston. They could run with this one...it makes him seems foreigner and scarier. Maybe they've got more made up scandals ready to bring out.
5. A gaffe, or at least some one-liner that the Republicans can turn into an attack line between now and the election. Something as simple as "spread the wealth around" = socialism, which actually has had more staying power than Joe the Plumber (right-wing pundits are still pressing this socialism point, but are not pressing the "Joe the Plumber" point).
6. As superficial as this sounds, McCain/Palin could win on a 'charm' moment. Maybe McCain knocks one out of the park on SNL, or Palin holds 10 babies at once (one on the tip of each finger).

So, please continue to have a healthy level of panic and anxiety, but at the same time, don't go looking for even more reasons to freak out. The list I have provided above should be sufficient.

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