There are only two days left before Americans vote in what has been described as the most important presidential election in a generation (maybe two generations, or perhaps "ever" depending on which blog you’re reading at the time).
As the polls show strong leads for Obama in many states and senior members of the McCain/Palin campaign start to sling mud at each other, pro-Republican blogs are mounting a last-ditch effort to draw attention to the difficulty Obama will have keeping all of the faith that’s being placed in him.
Jennifer Rubin sees the centre Obama has captured as a fractured set of diverse interest groups who are going to be disappointed:
"He has convinced discrete groups of voters that he is an ultra-liberal and a moderate, a hawk and a dove, an advocate of the Palestinian cause and the best friend of Israel, a reformer and a party loyalist, and an Agent of Change and a bare-knuckle Chicago pol. If he is elected, a bunch of people are going to find out they were wrong. We just don’t know which ones."
But turning their backs on such bland analysis, many Republican blogs are stepping up to a whole new level of crazy.
Claudia Rossett at pajamasmedia gives us her prediction of an America governed by Barack Obama:
"Aside from a woman’s right to murder her offspring, there is nothing in this land that Senator Obama and his ilk do not wish to command and control. Indeed, not until Hillary Clinton was dispatched over the summer did the presidential frontrunner ever once embrace a centrist position. Obama has never seen a tax cut he liked or a federal program he wanted to eliminate. He is what he is: a leftist’s leftist. Today we stand on the brink of socialism."
Some authors open their articles with quotations from great thinkers or historical figures, Ms Rossett chooses to open hers with a quote from Galadriel, the highly regarded Elf Queen from The Lord of the Rings — attributed respectfully to the lady herself (rather than, say, her author J.R.R. Tolkein).
Is this true about Barack being a socialist? Sarah Palin thinks so, and she’s been saying as much, continuing a practice from throughout the campaign of going beyond John McCain’s criticisms of Obama. While the Republican campaign has been making a last ditch effort to associate the Democrats with socialism and wealth redistribution, Sarah Palin hypothesised that Obama would rewrite the constitution and appoint judges who would redistribute wealth that should have been handed over during the civil rights movement. ABC America’s Blog, Election Radar, gives a more accurate analysis of Obamas remarks alongside Palins allegations.
Of course, the problem with that information is that it comes from the mainstream media, a source which many Republican bloggers feel has given into its liberal bias and embraced Obama.
According to the Republicans writing for Gay Patriot,
"Study after study confirms what we in the ‘rightosphere’ have long supposed (and what responsible journalists have reported): the media are biased in favor of Obama. According to a recent report from the respected Center for Media and Public Affairs, ‘Comments made by sources, voters, reporters and anchors that aired on ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts over the past two months reflected positively on Obama in 65 per cent of cases, compared to 31 per cent of cases with regards to McCain.’
"The American people are beginning to take notice, with 70 per cent believing most journalists want Obama to win."
Jim Treacher sees this "clear bias" as the final sign that the mainstream media is in its death throes and can’t last long (though we suspect it may outlive McCain).
At this point in the election lead-up the poll-watching goes frantic, as campaign strategists decide where to spend their last advertising dollars and the mainstream media work out which swing states to send their (horribly left-wing) camera crews to.
Bloggers also get a lot of fodder from the polls, largely because they have the flavour of real data, but can be endlessly interpreted. But perhaps also because there’s a crossover between the mentality of the obsessive blogger and that of the tweaky, stat-crazy pollster.
Some startling polling results released last Thursday (30 October), which were duly analysed by The Raw Story, suggest that 1 in 4 Texans believes Barack Obama is a Muslim. Bad news for Obama, you might think, but not necessarily, because it turns out racists will vote for Obama too. Gawker have scrounged through press reports and found plenty-a-racists voting Obama, including one man interviewed by Philadelphia’s City Paper, who, when asked whether race would influence his vote, responded:
"Not at all — not for anybody who’s a working man paying taxes. First of all, he’s not all black. And maybe if a black person gets in there to be president, it’ll keep all the crybabies from crying discrimination."
The pièce de résistance must belong to Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun Times with this call for all racists to embrace the Obama campaign:
"What you want is Obama to become president. That would make all your dire predictions seem prescient (that means "knowing the future"). The fear that makes a person embrace Nazi ideology in the first place will be ramped up exponentially (that means "fast").
"And what would Obama do as president? He would make decisions, some good, but others bad, and think how those bad decisions will reverberate among people such as yourselves. They would be evidence, not of the missteps of one politician, but a blanket indictment of the entire Black Race. Think of it. The Thing You Fear Most, sitting in the Oval Office, greeting visitors, greeting Girl Scouts, for the love of God! … Think of what that would do for recruitment. It wouldn’t just be you and your buddy Hrolf taking videos of each other brandishing your dad’s hunting rifle in menacing poses. You could have real meetings, attract actual followers."
All this hysteria aside, if Obama wins the presidency it will be down to two factors. Firstly, everybody’s favourite vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden, who hasn’t let the truth or even his own policy get in the way of his zealous campaigning.
Sheldon Alberts of the National Post chronicled his tireless efforts in the early weeks of the campaign, when he was able to promise environmentalists in Ohio that he and Obama would end the coal industry in that state, despite the Obama campaign commiting to development of that sector.
The second factor that could result in an Obama victory, is obviously, mind control. Balloon Juice managed to unearth a 67 page, fully cited paper on Barack Obama’s use of mind control. Of course, most of the citations are to the work of television illusionists and nutters, but the document does contain some absolute gems, such as:
"Worse yet, his hypnosis probably has at least some effect on millions. Jews voting for the candidate endorsed by Iran, Hamas, Farakhan, and Khalidi should be a wake up signal that something is not Kosher."
And revelations like:
"Three of Obama’s favorite hypnotic paces are ‘that’s why I stand here tonight’, ‘now is the time’, and ‘this moment’. Just these three pacing statements are used by Obama a total of fourteen (14) times throughout this single speech."
Now we’re getting closer to the business end of the campaign, thoughts are also turning to practical matters, like electoral fraud.
Both sides are accusing the other of attempting to "steal" the election. Republicans have been screaming about the fraudulent registering of fictional voters, while the Democrats are losing sleep thinking about the huge numbers of people who will, as at every US election, arrive at the polls and be told that they aren’t registered.
But rather than seeing either the Reps or the Dems as the villains here, left-wing blogger Steve Lendman holds the not-uncommon view of the US electoral system being pretty much rotten at its core:
"In America and elsewhere, electoral fraud isn’t new nor should anyone be surprised it occurs … Both major parties share fault … voter disenfranchisement is rife; many are peremptorily stricken from the rolls; others are intimidated not to vote or are detered by various illegal practices.
"Elections are privatised; touchscreen electronic machines do our voting … computer professionals know these machines are notoriously easy to manipulate…
"Stephen Spoonamore is a self-described ‘life-long Republican’ and one of the world’s leading cyber crime experts. From a just-released October 2006 interview, he explains how the ‘structures’ of Diebold’s machines are inherently flawed, and are what he considers ‘IT junk’. Regarding the 2000 and 2004 elections, he says: "There is a very strong argument (that they were) electronically stolen, the hanging chads were just a distraction … I think (Diebold machines) are brilliantly designed … to steal elections."
There seems to be consensus on both sides of the campaign that once again we’re going to see a huge number of problems at every level of the electoral system. Non-partisan group the Election Protection Coalition has already received over 80,000 calls to its helpline.
And it’s not even polling day yet.
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