That great political philosopher and New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
His words are as relevant to the 2008 presidential election as they were to the 1960 World Series. The Yankees lost that series to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the last of the ninth inning of Game Seven when the improbable hero, light-hitting Pirate second baseman Bill Mazeroski, hit the only series ending walk off home run in history to seal a 10-9 Pirates victory. The Yankees had dominated the series, outscoring their rivals 55-27, but all their runs came in their three victories, not in their four losses. Forty-eight years later, we’ve barely started the eighth inning of the 2008 presidential campaign, with less than three weeks left before voters cast their ballots on November 4. Despite the eagerness of the mainstream media to start fitting Barack Obama for his coronation robes, a clear-eyed analysis of the facts suggests that such displays of celebratory hubris are premature.
On September 17, the Zogby Poll gave Obama a two point lead (47 to 45) over John McCain. Today’s Zogby Poll gives Obama only a four point lead (48 to 44). A look at the electoral college also shows that the game is still in doubt. Today, Zogby puts 234 electoral college votes in Obama’s camp and 179 in McCain’s with 125 undecided. Of the nine states that comprise the 125 Zogby undecided, Florida, Ohio, and Indiana are all likely to fall Republican. Of the six remaining states—Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina—any combination totaling 36 would give the election to Obama. Only Pennsylvania, however, seems to be leaning to Obama. That scenario still leaves Obama 15 electoral college votes short of victory.
The real question is this—why with all these advantages has Barack Obama been unable to close the deal with the American people?
The answer is simple—the American people don’t trust Obama. This election has always been a referendum on Barack Obama—who is he and what is his vision for America? The majority of Americans simply don’t support his radically left wing, European socialist domestic agenda and, most importantly, don’t support his defeatist, un-American foreign policy. Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has it right when she describes his Iraq policy as one in which he “wants to show the white flag of surrender” just as we are on the verge of securing a hard earned victory. Senator McCain is also right in characterizing Senator Obama’s recent boasts that he would invade Pakistan in order to kill Osama Bin Laden as an amateurish insult to a valued ally.
The recent anger over the vaunted $700 billion financial bailout deal (the one that preceded the recent one week 16% drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average) shows that Main Street is fed up with both Wall Street and K Street.
This is the argument John McCain and Sarah Palin need to make over the next twenty-two days. If they make it effectively enough, if the Republican rank and file don’t throw in the towel, intimidated by the main stream media prognostications, and if the international credit and financial markets stabilize, the McCain-Palin ticket will win.
Senator Obama is extraordinarily vulnerable to charges that his policies and his friends were the primary causes of the home mortgage meltdown of 2008 and the resultant financial liquidity crisis. He himself took more money from the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac PACs in three years than any politician other than Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Committee that regulated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Dodd himself accepted a below market rate loan from Countrywide Financial, the failed mortgage company.
Former Obama adviser and current supporter Franklin Raines, who ran Fannie Mae into the ground over the four years he was in charge from 2000 to 2004, walked away with a cool $90 million. Democrat Barney Frank, a Barack Obama supporter and Chairman of the House Committee that oversaw Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, declared in 2004 that Fannie Mae was completely sound and solvent. And, of course, there are the strong ties between Obama and the corrupt politically active organization ACORN, which hired Barack Obama back in 1995 and was a significant player in forcing political pressure on banks to make bad loans. Obama’s presidential campaign has also recently hired ACORN to conduct voter registration for his campaign.
Look for Senator McCain to launch the first salvos in this attack during the debate this Wednesday, but look for his running mate, Sarah Palin, to take the argument most forcefully to the electorate. Palin, even more than McCain, can make this argument. Though McCain has been the “maverick” in the Senate, Palin is the only one of the four candidates on the two national tickets who really is Main Street, working as a city councilor, then for six years as mayor of the small city of Wasilla, Alaska, where she reduced business taxes and literally brought more jobs and businesses to Main Street.
Perhaps nothing describes the different visions of America offered by the McCain-Palin campaign and the Obama-Biden campaign than the way Sarah Palin and Barack Obama played basketball in high school. Both played on state championship basketball teams, but there the similarities ended.
“Sarah Barracuda” was the captain and defensive specialist whose job on the 1982 Alaska State Championship Wasilla Warriors was to get the ball to the two high scorers on the team. She was an important part of a highly cohesive team, every member of which knew her role. “Barry O’Bomber” was a disgruntled second stringer who saw little action on the 1979 Hawaii State Champion Punahou High School team. His individualistic style didn’t fit well into his coach’s disciplined, team-oriented style of play.
Sarah Palin is the best of Main Street America, Ronald Reagan returned in a dress with five children. Barack Obama is an exotic, self absorbed unknown, who has a history of friendships with people who don’t think much of American traditions.
The Obama campaign and his many apologists in the mainstream media can whine all they want that these charges are merely “personal attacks,” but, in fact, they are the core reason why he shouldn’t be President. I’m guessing on November 4 a lot of Bill Mazeroskis will be voting for John McCain. When the results start coming in that night, Barack Obama and the mainstream media pundits may be wishing they had paid more attention to the political wisdom of Yogi Berra.
Michael Patrick Leahy is the author of What Does Sarah Palin Believe? and What Does Barack Obama Believe?