Sunday, October 12, 2008

Losers: McCain Struggles to Hold South

I think this is what is known as losing a campaign; regardless of the noise and media attention generated by the Republican ticket, the facts point down: they are losing, and sinking fast.

Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin are scheduled to roll into Virginia on Monday in a bid to stop the Republican ticket's slide in the state and thwart what once was unthinkable: fractures in the "Solid South," the backbone of successful Republican presidential politics for four decades.

What Nixon wrought and Reagan exploited, wahat Bush 1 and Bush 2 rode, is gone, lipstick and all.

Fueled by demographic shifts, rising doubts about the direction of the country, perceived missteps by Sen. McCain and a voter-registration push by the Obama campaign that has helped add a net of 310,000 new, mostly younger voters, the Democratic ticket increasingly appears positioned to win Virginia and make critical inroads across the South. A CNN/Time Inc. poll released Wednesday shows Sen. Obama has opened a nine-point lead on Sen. McCain in Virginia.

The organizing derided by Palin is a central fact in Obama's success: organize at the grass-roots level, get the votes and the numbers, and win. McCain and the Republicans took much for granted, beginning with the assumption that simply because Nixon and Reagan won the votes in Virginia and other Suthern outposts they could count on such numbers to favor them, continuing with the idea that using code words ("terrorist" and "not winning in Iraq") would shift voting patterns based on deeper issues, inclusing a national economy in the toilet.

While much attention has focused on Midwestern battlegrounds such as Ohio, Sen. Obama's campaign has pressed for a deathblow below the Mason-Dixon line: In the week ended Oct. 4, Sen. Obama outspent Sen. McCain's campaign by 8-to-1 in North Carolina, 3-to-1 in Florida and 3-to-1 in Virginia.

Obama might even get the blue-hair vote. Florida might just put him over the top.

The McCain-Palin travails in the South mirror troubles the Republican ticket has faced around the country. A series of polls show them falling behind, or just running even, in a number of swing states that President George W. Bush carried in 2004, from Colorado to Indiana to Missouri. A series of national polls released during the weekend showed Sen. Obama with leads ranging from six to 11 percentage points.

In different economic times the crap that Palin is spouting might have worked, but these are not times when people can ignore politics for nonsense such as a 1960s radical and abortion rules.

Sen. McCain's slippage follows a particularly rough couple of weeks for his campaign. The financial crisis has made the economy the election's central issue -- one on which surveys show voters trust Sen. Obama more. Gov. Palin faced a weekend of critical news coverage following an Alaska legislative report concluding that she violated state ethics laws, following an abuse-of-power probe concerning a state trooper once married to her sister.

These are a couple of bozoes that are going down in flames -- thank goodness.

The changes in Prince William County reflect a major shift in many of the burgeoning suburbs of northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, the state's two most populous regions. Prince William, once a rural outpost of older, ex-military whites, is rapidly becoming an affluent Washington suburb of young families, Hispanics and Asians who are more open to Democratic policies.

They are so busy pandering to the evangelical reactonaries that they are mis-connecting with what would otherwise be their actual base of voters.

Such as: Karen Krivo, a 41-year-old mother of two from the town of Haymarket, is part of the change. A registered Republican, she says she will vote for Sen. Obama in support of his economic proposals. Ms. Krivo began volunteering in the Obama campaign's Manassas office in September. "I identify with the conservative values of the Republican Party, but I can admit that my party's policies have gotten us here," Ms. Krivo says. "I was let down."

They're spouting off about a 1960s radical while 401K Savings plans have lost 66% of their values. They are talking about abortion while people are afraid of losing jobs, houses and the last vestiges of economic security.

... local surrogates in Virginia unleashed more-shrill attacks. Sen. McCain's younger brother, Joe, 65, told supporters at a rally in Loudon County, a key northern Virginia battleground, that areas of the state where Obama has stronger support are "communist country." Mr. McCain, a former newspaper reporter and Navy petty officer, later apologized for the statement.

Such desperate tactics are backfiring, and are wholly ineffective with others than the fringe fanatics that still think that a pitbull with lipstick belong within a country mile pf having access to the nuclear code.

A southwest Virginia newspaper published a column late last month written by the chairman of Sen. McCain's Buchanan County campaign that was laced with racially tinged wisecracks: suggesting an Obama administration would respond to a terrorist threat by learning to speak Arabic, "raise taxes to pay for free drugs for Obama's inner-city political base" and replace the 50 stars on the U.S. flag with the Islamic symbol of a star and crescent.

Who but jerks and people who think Klansmen (or should it be Kalns-people) are patriotic would respond to that crap?

Still, the reality, what counts, is: The political fundamentals in Virginia are also tightening contests in other southern states, such as North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.

Such numbers as these count: In North Carolina, Sen. Obama had surged five points during the past month and overtaken Sen. McCain as of Oct. 6, according to an average of polls compiled by RealClear Politics, whose Web site aggregates poll findings. Another poll showed Gov. Palin's approval ratings in the state plummeting 11 points during the past three weeks. Newly registered Democrats in the state outnumber Republican registrants by 6-to-1. Blacks and Hispanics made up half of the nearly 400,000 new voters.

5 points in the lead NC is a virtual tie; Palin losing 11 points in 3 weeks is quite significant: she spouts the sort of nonsense and hatred that the Nixon-Reagan-Bush crowd would expect to have an impact, and it ain't; 400 thousand new voters who will, it is safe to assume, overwhelmingly favour Obama are significant numbers.

Even in states where Sen. Obama's chances of outright winning remain doubtful, his decision to continue campaigning in many of them is narrowing Sen. McCain's leads and bolstering the prospects of Democrats in down-ticket races for governorships and the U.S. Senate.

Another part of the calculus. As are these numbers: In early balloting in Georgia, African-Americans made up 39% of more than 369,000 voters, despite constituting only 29% of the electorate. Partly powered by African-American votes, Jim Martin, the once long-shot Democratic challenger to Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, has pulled from 15 points behind to a dead heat in recent polling. Sen. Obama himself has closed Sen. McCain's double-digit lead in Georgia to seven points. Former Mississippi Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove now trails just two points behind Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, who was appointed to the seat this year after Sen. Trent Lott resigned.

What used to be solid conservative seats such as Lott's are now up in the air. Ditto with schmuck Chambliss, a benefactor of the attacks on Max Cleland, as I recall. The whole Bush team is a big bunch of slimeballs, and their upswing is ending in a potfull of disaster. W and Poppy Buch might not feel the sting, and really wont, considering their money and stupidity and oblivion, but their age is over, thank goodness.

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