Nov. 4 can’t get here soon enough.
I’m writing this column before the second McCain-Obama presidential debate, exactly four weeks until Election Day. I can’t wait for it all to be over and for Barack Obama officially to be president-elect.
Back in the Spring I was certain that the winner of the Democratic primary between Obama and Hillary Clinton would be our next president. I also had high hopes that, as McCain promised, the final showdown between him and the Democrat would be a thoughtful, issues-based race.
The first part has come to fruition. Obama and Clinton waged a long, substantive and sometimes nasty battle during the primaries, and Obama emerged with a very narrow but distinct victory. Democrats came together at the convention, despite some Clinton hold-outs, and have championed the message of “Change” throughout the country.
It’s no surprise that Obama is going to win the general election.
The Bush administration has overseen wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are disasters; an economy that’s in shambles; basic American values that have been tarnished via torture, domestic spying, politicization of the U.S. Justice Department and poor treatment of returning military personnel; and ineptitude of the highest order (Katrina, billions of dollars wasted in Iraq and the financial crisis).
Republicans in Washington are responsible (mostly) for these messes, and McCain is one of them. He offers no plans or ideas that are a departure from Bush’s failures.
Obama’s main goal in the general election has been to win over undecided voters by offsetting fears of his inexperience and otherness (skin tone). He’s largely accomplished that goal, as polls now show him widening his general lead over McCain and taking control of the battleground states.
Everyone inside the campaigns must now know that Obama will win the election and become our next president. Unfortunately, the race has to play out for another month.
As Kevin Osborne points out in his Porkopolis column (page 11), the McCain campaign has decided to go down ugly. Damn the economy or the war, they’re going to slug it out in the trenches over Obama’s relationships with “rowdy” pastors and “shady” old acquaintances.
The McCain campaign unraveled after he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, a naked ploy to recruit disaffected Hillary supporters. When the financial crisis blew up and Palin imploded, McCain was exposed and embarrassed.
I keep picturing McCain as George Costanza facing an enraged Jerry Seinfeld, shrugging his shoulders and saying, “I’ve got nothing, Jerry. Nothing!”
It’s a real shame, because McCain could go down fighting on important issues. I think Obama needs to be pressed for more details on ending the wars, on health care spending and on solving the financial crisis.
Instead Obama can coast for the next month, play for a tie in debates and dodge the personal attacks while launching some counter strikes. Let’s just get it over with already.
CONTACT JOHN FOX: firstname.lastname@example.org