Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Week

One week to go, and there has been very little movement in the polls over the past 7 days. Obama seems to be ahead by 6-8 points in the national polls, and continues to run ahead by a few points in McCain must wins states like Pennsylvania (actually probably more than a few), Ohio, and Florida. Colorado may already be a lost cause, and although no one would give up on Virginia because of it historical voting, it looks like Virginia is going to be very hard to get too. (Obama seems to be making some runs in places like Montana and even Arizona, but McCain doesn’t appear to be making any similar inroads into Obama states – except, maybe, New Hampshire.)

The latest argument put forth by the McCain camp against Obama is this redistribustionist/Socialist/Marxist line. The problem is that 1) they can’t get the argument straight – the official surrogates won’t call him a Marxist or a Socialist, while the bloggers are jumping straight to Marxist or worse (Communist); 2) that redistribution of wealth is something that we have had for over a hundred years now – its called the progressive tax system, and has been supported by ever Republican president, including McCain fav Teddy Roosevelt; and 3) in an economy where tax payers are bailing out banks to the tune of a trillion dollars, and yet those banks have been paying there top executives 50 million dollars a year, a little distribution doesn’t exactly sound awful to the average voter. (Plus the time to make this argument, which is little different that the typical tax and spend argument that Republicans always make was in July and August, not with less than two weeks to go in a campaign, when many people have already made up their minds – or even voted!)

Finally, yesterday there was this brouhaha on the right about an audio/video tape from 2001, in which Obama was talking about the civil rights movement and the use of the Courts for social and economic justice. The right wingers jumped all over this, and Drudge ran headlines about how Obama thought it was a tragedy that the Supreme Court hadn’t re-distributed wealth. However, not only was that not what Obama said, he in fact said just the opposite. He said that one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement is that they focused too much on the Courts, and not enough on changing the political climate – a point that conservatives should actually agree with.

And interestingly, the conservative legal commentators [Bainbridge, Orin Kerr, David Bernstein] have not jumped on board; some have in fact been surprised by the depth of thought given by Obama to the topic. Even if they disagree with the policy aspects, few of the conservative legal thinkers could get worked up over what Obama said.

So, the Obama camp is on cruise control and the McCain camp is fighting amongst themselves. That alone should illustrate how the race stands with a week to go.