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Those Swing Democrats

One of my former-hippie relatives said this weekend, "I predict an Obama landslide! He'll win every state!" Although you have to take this prediction in context (he's never been right before, and is still rattled that the Dictatorship of the Proletariat never panned out), it does point to the fact that the Democrats are feeling awfully bullish at the moment. Very confident. Overly, maybe. [I should note that this particular former-hippie relative is not actually a Democrat. I think he's a Trotskyite. Or possibly an Anarcho-Syndicalist.]

Remember what Hillary said Saturday: The Dems have won only 3 of the past 10 presidential elections. The two candidates responsible for those three victories ran as centrists. Look for Obama to send out as many centrist signals as he possibly can over the next few weeks. It may annoy the Left, but annoying the Left is a rite of passage for any Democratic presidential candidate. [Watch, specifically, for the headline that says "Obama Throws the Left Under a Bus."]

One of my very plugged-in Dem-party neighbors pointed out that party afficiliation [in the boodle, L.A. lurker explains that this word means "fickle affiliation"] is running hugely in the Democrats' favor. More and more people are waking up to discover that they're Democrats. That widening gap may prefigure a huge Democratic sweep in the congressional races. But my neighbor says that Obama is only getting something like 70 percent of the Democratic vote in preference polls (I'll check this in a minute when I get out of this coffee shop and onto a better Internet connection). [OK: At Real Clear Politics you can look at the top two polls and see Democrats steamrolling the GOP in congressional races even as Obama has only a small lead over McCain nationally.] [Gallup shows small Obama lead.]

There are, potentially, a bunch of Reagan/McCain Democrats out there. McCain hopes so. That'll be where the election is decided, particularly, as Alec MacGillis pointed out the other day, in those blue-collar states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. And thus Obama will become the next president not so much by targeting independent voters or trying to steal some GOP votes, but by making sure he cleans up among what you might call the Swing Democrats.

Like I said the other day [megalomania alert: blogger quoting himself], it's a one-man race. That doesn't mean that Obama will win. Just that it's an up-or-down vote on Obama, with McCain almost irrelevant. Via the Tom Edsall piece at HuffPo (via Memeorandum) I see the same thing is being said on the Far Right:

"In reality there is only one candidate. Barack Obama. In November he will win or he will lose. John McCain is relevant only in so far as he is not Barack Obama. The Senator from Arizona is incapable of energizing his party, brings no new people to the polls, and has a personality that is best kept under wraps."

And from the Left: 'Tuesday was a very real, live in your living room display of John "Bob Dole without the charisma" McCain, and if that's how he campaigns for the rest of the election, he's doomed.'

[For political junkies: Read the last couple of graphs of the Mark Penn piece in the Times. Sounds like he's saying the candidate was ill-served by campaign leaders who squandered the money.]


Grow your own!

Interesting blog item here on white-male-punditry overload, with lots of feisty (sometimes idiotic) comments at The Nation.


Total horse-poop: "With Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller and Norman Mailer gone, Gore Vidal, 82, is the last truly legendary figure from a golden age of American literature." So says this article in The Independent (via Arts & Letters Daily). What about Roth, Updike, Morrison, Delillo, Pynchon, just to name a few off the top of my head?

But this is nice: 'Like Oscar Wilde, he is celebrated for his epigrams, most famously: "Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies." Asked whether his first romantic encounter was homosexual or heterosexual, Vidal replied that he had been "too polite to ask". '

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 9, 2008; 10:27 AM ET
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