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I have so many thoughts in re Election 2008 that they are gridlocked at the intersections of my mind.

Allow me to begin the process of untangling in short and simple stokes.

First of all, is the Grand Old Party over?

Of course not. This is lunacy.

Nothing has proven more resilient in American political history than the two-party system.

Was it over for the Democrats after McGovern? After Carter and Mondale?

Was it over for the Democrats after the Congressional scandals of the 1990s?

Was it over for the Republicans after Richard Nixon? After Bob Dole won only 18 states in 1996?

Why is it never over? Because parties are peopled by human beings who have good intentions but are fatally flawed. The Democrats will overreach, eventually--and the GOP will be there to correct at some point.

As I have said previously, I am rooting for Obama to succeed. His success will be my success. But his success depends on a wise and careful reading of the political realities of the present. If he leans too far left, he is finished. But my sense is that he understands the necessity of pragmatic and cautious governance in this moment of national exigency.

If he is as smart as I think he is, we are going to see an administration wholly unlike any previous presidency. Four years from now, eight years from now, we may well be talking about a completely new version of political philosophy with roots in traditional American liberalism, but with a generous portion of American cultural conservatism. This potential hybrid might inaugurate an Era of Obama--but, even if it is flawlessly launched, this new way will ultimately falter. When it does, a loyal opposition, fine-tuned and re-examined, will offer a needed alternative.

The Day of the GOP is not over. Without a doubt, it may be cloudy right now. But our history indicates that storms come and go, and the sun and moon remain consistent points of reference. End of the GOP? Not likely.

02/11: Joe the Biden

As this campaign comes to a close, I direct you to an amusing piece on the Democratic nominee for veep in TIME Magazine: "Hidin' Biden." The article reveals that Joe Biden has become even less accessible to the press than Sarah Palin, with the Obama handlers counting the days and doing their best to sit on the gaffe-prone Senator until the clock runs out.

You will remember my utter disbelief when Obama tapped "Joe the Biden" as his number two.

Back then, in a post entitled "Biden? Really?" I wrote:

Why haven't we seen more Joe Biden dust-ups over the years? For the simple reason that no one really pays him much attention. Not so anymore. From now until 4 November, the world will be following him around and scrutinizing his every word. Not good for Camp Obama. Sure, the mainstream PrObama press will give him a pass whenever possible, but the conservative media will push and press every chance they get. My guess is that Biden will give them plenty of chances. These guys are likely to be putting out fires almost continually.

While events have proven the foundation of my assertion essentially correct, you will notice that none of his thoroughly predicted mischief made an impact on the election. None of it mattered. Why?

Simple: the fix was in.

When I predicted that his "penchant for injudicious statements" would prove embarrassing to Barack Obama, I had not gotten my mind around the fact that the prObama press corps was determined to shout down and/or not cover anything detrimental to their candidate.

As for Biden and the press and the future, we will see what the next eight years brings. My sense is that Biden cannot be contained or ignored for that long of a period. My suspicion is that we will get a lot of laughs out of Joe the Biden in the years to come.

One More Thing in that vein: once the election is over, and the need to cover for Biden recedes, we may well have another Alexander Throttlebottom on our hands.
I am on record, extensively, assuring all of you that Barack Obama will win the presidency this coming Tuesday. Having said that, many of us will remember that I spent most of last January explaining how John McCain could not win the Republican nomination. My record as a prophet is not one of 100 percent accuracy--but I keep slinging.

Polls seem to be tightening--what is really happening?

1. Cold Feet. We have spent approximately one week with Barack Obama as president-elect. That is, we have bought into the idea in our own minds that this international man of mystery is going to be our next chief executive. This week we are experiencing buyer's remorse. A lot of voters are suddenly unsure. No truer emotion in the human condition than cold feet.

"This is what I want. This is what I have to have. I will die if I don't get it." Then, once we own it: "Oh no, what was I thinking. This was a big mistake."

But, in this case, we have not really done it yet. We can still back out. Will we?

2. Media backlash. A lot of stories this past week (accompanied with unimpeachable statistical evidence) acknowledging the unprecedented media bias during this canvass (even the media seem to be feeling a bit sheepish about it). Even without the stats, we know it in our bones when the fix is in.

Moreover, Americans are not big fans of the media. Natural Question: why are these guys willing to lie, obfuscate, and run interference for this candidate? Is it really in our interest to hand this election over to the prObama press corps? Suddenly, we've got a bad feeling about all of this.

3. America loves an underdog. Gotta love that Johnny McCain. He does not know the meaning of quit. Do you believe in miracles?

4. John McCain finally found an issue and a symbol. Joe the Plumber. We are finally on GOP turf. We win elections in this country on three issues: small government, taxes, and cultural populism. "Spreading the wealth around" gave us an opening. The feeding frenzy on Joe was offensive and disturbing. The "redistribution" stuff was more gas on the fire. And now the ever-shifting definition of rich ($250K, $200K, $150K, $120K) is probably innocent enough--but, nevertheless, devastating. This undisciplined message reminds us that whatever number the Democrats have in mind is whimsical and not subject to any accountability. If they take control of the White House and improve their numbers in Congress, the Democrats can literally do anything they want.

5. Sarah Palin. No matter how many talking heads in the media assert that Sarah Palin was a big mistake--she continues to hammer home her points in an appealing way. She weathered her nadir a few weeks ago--when Tina Feylin almost stole her soul. But, since then, she has won a vice presidential debate, gone toe-to-toe with the cast of SNL, taken to the offensive again, and continued to thrill the heartland.

Bottom Line: Johnny McCain is on a roll. Will it be enough to come all the way back? I continue to say no--but nobody knows anything--and nobody more so than I. But this seems to me like too far to come in too short of a time. McCain needs another week or two to pull off this comeback. I suspect this is a last gasp of a dying campaign. But, then again, who knows?

One great thing about this being a close election, however, is that it may give pause to Obama. If he wins a squeaker, perhaps the unexpected close call will remind him that this is a center-right nation. Overreach on the part of a Democratic majority guarantees a devastating defeat at some point in the future.

One Last Thought: if things are getting tight, should we expect one last "November Surprise" directed at McCain-Palin? I suppose tonight would be the absolute last chance for any devastating revelations.