Monday, October 13, 2008

Predicting the Future

I am hit and miss with my political predictions. I used to think I was good at it, but everything went haywire the day we invaded Iraq, and then again the day we re-elected George W. Bush. Deep down, I guess I knew both were likely to happen. I just didn't want to face the depressing reflections of our country that they represented.

Lately, I did manage to predict that Palin would exceed expectations in her debate, and that she would not be giving any more interviews. I was wrong about McCain completely putting her on ice though - she's remained very active, as she is very good at getting people working up into a frenzy about traitors and terrorist-lovers. On the other side, I knew Obama would do well in the debates - the guy seems completely unflappable.

Predicting what McCain will do is a fool's errand, since McCain himself probably can't predict what McCain will do. Still, it was easy to see him going negative last week. What was not so predictable was how voters would react to it. Well, OK, the enthusiastic pitchforks and torches at his rallies were not hard to predict. But how would regular people react?

Well, the results are in, and they have surprised me, in a pleasant way. I was nervous about it because I believed the conventional wisdom: Americans say they don't like negative campaigning, but then vote for whoever is most effective at it. That's certainly how it has worked the last two cycles.

But it turns out that character assassination of your opponent during a financial crisis is a move that can backfire after all. Obama has now opened up a 10 point lead. Again, as a liberal used to sorrow and woe, this makes me nervous when there are still three weeks of mud-slinging to go.

So, the question now is, as always: What will McCain do? He's already toning down his rhetoric, since he recognizes that hate-filled rallies do not play well on TV. But I'm betting he still has something up his sleeve. I just have no idea what. I wonder if he will reveal it during the final debate on Wednesday. The previous two debates have been steady, solid affairs. Now that McCain is so far down in the polls, I'm guessing he will feel the need say or do something big and outrageous to get his mojo back.

So, my predication is that the next debate will not be boring. McCain will do something to shake things up. I just don't know what.


Tim said...

My prediction? During a tense moment in the debate when Obama is about to fall off the dais, McCain will reach out a black gloved hand to the young senator and say, "Barry, I am your father. Join me and together we can rule the country as father and son."

Oh, and Palin? She's his sister.

Dan S said...

Now *that* would be a surprise.

Who's Han Solo in this analogy?

Bush must be the emperor...