I keep remembering, when one side or the other tries to tell me, "It's over," that neither Senator John McCain nor Senator Barack Obama was supposed to be his party's nominee this year.
Now, it's the economy and the expected collapse of the Palin bubble that's going to sink McCain.
Except that I don't think--as momentous as the economic news is--that the election is going to turn on the bailout.
1) Most Americans don't understand what's happening, and the tax bill for all this will not hit until well after November.
2) Both candidates are now living on borrowed time, because both of them know that the major decisions will be made by Dubya before either gets into office, but that the resulting recession is going to tar the President who is actually in office when it really hits. So within the next two weeks you are going to see both McCain and Obama looking to bring other issues back to the forefront--because neither of them can make a meaningful promise about fixing this situation after January. McCain will bring back the culture wars as hard as he can; Obama will concentrate on his middle-class tax cut agenda. How either of these issues plays nationwide is far less important than how they play in 8 key battleground states.
3) The debates are not going to allow either campaign to score a knock-out, not McCain-Obama or Biden-Palin. Joe Biden will hit her, but he will overtalk himself right back out of it. Obama is simply not a good debater, and the millions tuning in will be primarily those people just now starting to pay serious attention. Both candidates will lie their asses off and get called on it.
Here are the things I look to see in the next six weeks:
1) The Democrats rolling over regarding the Libertarian ballot challenge in Texas, because the Dems weren't going to win the Lone Star State under any conditions (20% chance).
2) McCain moves in to try and make the typical useless GOP play to put California in play by sending Palin there to unite with the anti-gay marriage folks (20% chance).
3) Obama announcing cabinet level appointments, to include Bill Clinton as UN Ambassador, and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (40% chance).
4) McCain making a similar move to shore up his libertarian and fiscal conservative base by suggesting he'd make Ron Paul Secretary of the Treasury (30% chance).
My point: you haven't seen the last surprise in this campaign by a long shot.
And nobody knows just how many people will actually go into a voting booth and, when nobody's watching, not find it within themselves to vote for an African-American.
For awhile I thought we were ready for a post-racial election. Now I'm no longer sure.