If you have checked in here over the past month or so you have seen me warn that Democrats and progressives should take the McCain/Palin ticket seriously. Take nothing for granted. I urged people not to laugh at Palin and pointed out that even Dan Quayle became Vice President.
But I have to say, that though the polls may still be showing the race to be tight, it feels to me like Obama is opening up the real possibility of an Electoral College rout over John McCain.
McCain didn't need to just win the debate last night, he needed to disqualify Barack Obama -- demonstrate that Obama wasn't ready and wasn't a safe choice.
McCain did his best with a flurry of "you don't understand", "that's dangerous", "very dangerous" and "naïve". But Obama was still standing -- and the guy that looked a little scary was McCain.
That is why this is beginning to feel like a rout to me. McCain would want us all to be going into the final month of the campaign having serious doubts about Barack Obama. Instead it is McCain's actions that are causing doubts to rise about McCain's own candidacy.
Picking Sarah Palin was a bold move -- I urged taking her pick seriously -- but her recent performance is raising doubts about McCain's judgment. The erratic behavior of his campaign over the past week -- suspending his campaign -- left most scratching their heads and asking what the hell was that about? Disastrous. Then in the debate last night there was John McCain ready to take anyone on -- Russia, China, North Korea, Iran -- all of them, and then turned and said Obama didn't get it. In my view McCain may have sounded more dangerous to voters as he tried so blatantly to make them think Obama wasn't a safe bet in this very "scary" world.
And can someone please explain to me how John McCain went into the debate last night not armed with the one thing that would have made him seem safe? Where was the John McCain who said, in his GOP acceptance speech in St Paul, "I hate war, its terrible beyond imagination"? Where was that guy? Because the guy that showed up seemed to want to send troops just about everywhere. Who's scary now?
And this week comes the Palin/Biden debate -- that ought to calm people's doubts and fears.
I know the polls show it is close -- but when states like Missouri, Florida and Virginia are still in the toss-up category that signals a potential Obama rout to me. And it certainly isn't the electoral map
you want to be looking at if you work for McCain at this point.
And then there is the Obama campaign -- far from erratic -- a strong candidate and the strongest campaign organization in American political history. Obama delivered last night in what should have been his toughest debate -- his campaign organization should deliver a one to three points in additional voters to the polls in get-out-the-vote operations in key states the campaign is targeting. So if these states are close in the closing days of the campaign, Obama is likely to win most of them.
It's a lifetime or two between now and election day, by no means is this thing over. Questions of polling accuracy are legitimate in my view. Things can turn on a dime and I may change my take on how things are going. But right now this thing feels like it is really starting to unravel for McCain and Obama could open up a strong electoral lead.