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Saturday, October 18, 2008
Can Obama Close the Sale?

If you remember, that was the question for most of the winter and spring of this year. Despite having a mathematical advantage over Hillary, Obama found himself unable to seal the deal until after the primaries were over.

Of course, eventually he became the nominee and must currently be considered the most likely next President. But are there cracks in that confident, self-assured demeanor? Over at Talk Left, Big Tent Democrat dismisses recent polling:

DKos/R2000 has Obama by 7, 50-43. This is down significantly from Obama's consistent double digit leads in this poll. Rasmussen has Obama steady - with a 5 point 50-45 lead for the fourth consecutive day. Hotline actually trends towards Obama, up 2 for a 10 point 50-40 lead, UPDATE - Hotline today - narrows to 7. IBD/TIPP has Obama by 5, 46-41. Battleground has Obama by 4.

The question is the spread now. Obama will win. The last debate did nothing significant for McCain. Downticket should be our focus now.

Translation: There's no real reason for McCain to be rallying right now, so it doesn't matter. Really? I think the fact that there's no specific reason could be quite a cause for concern for Obama partisans. Note that most of the polls have not shown Obama breaking the 50% barrier. I've talked about this a lot in the past but this is a systemic problem for the Democrats. Do you know who the last Democrat was to get 50.1% of the general election vote or better?

Lyndon Johnson, in 1964. Carter got 50.08%, and Clinton never managed 50% (partly because of Ross Perot). In that same period of time, Nixon, Reagan, Reagan, Bush I and Bush 2004 all managed better than 50%.

Meanwhile, Obama continues to show signs of arrogance:

"I want you to believe," said the candidate, clad in an open-necked shirt and barn jacket. "Not so much believe just in me but believe in yourselves. Believe in the future. Believe in the future we can build together. I'm confident together we can't fail."

There was a carnival atmosphere among the crowd of some 4,000, who almost drowned Mr Obama out as he reached his crescendo and said: "I promise you. We won't just win New Hampshire. We will win this election and, you and I together, we're going to change the country and change the world."

Oh, Lord. A barn jacket? Anybody remember Kerry in the barn jacket?

For the silly article of the day, check out this suggestion that what the GOP needs in 2012 is North American Union fruitcake Lou Dobbs:

This suggests that if Obama wins, the real political energy in the country over the next several years may come from a new populist political force. Would someone challenge Obama from the left? Unlikely. But already there are arguments from such political theorists as Michael Barone and Steve Sailer that the cheap mortgages, which led to the housing crisis, which precipitated the financial crisis, were directly related to the immigration boom. Such arguments are made-to-order for someone like CNN's Lou Dobbs, who has recently been railing against the lackluster efforts to solve the financial crisis with gusto, much as he attacks the government's failures to enforce immigration laws.

In other words, Dobbs -- or a counterpart -- is likely to be a "third party" political force to watch after November 4. That's not politics as usual. But neither is the era we're now facing.

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