Sunday, November 02, 2008

Two Days to Change: GOTV

The beauty of the Obama candidacy is in the consistency of his message and the congruence of Obama with that message of a new politics. But it also leads to political ironies.

It's there in yesterday's list of younger members of prominent Republican and Democratic families supporting him. Even in the observation at Dreaming Up Daily that children are powerfully attracted to his image and his voice. Politically, in terms of this historical moment, it is summed up in a statement by yet another Reaganite, Jeffrey Hart, quoted by his political opposite, Hendrik Hertzberg at the New Yorker.

Hart lists all the ways that Republicans have lately gone astray from what used to be conservativism. Hertzberg observes: Hart is a Burkean. His disenchantment with the anti-intellectual, Christianist, and imperial-triumphalist strains of the conservative movement has been growing for some time. The Republicans under Bush have left behind fiscal responsibility and the Constitution. By plunging into Iraq, they have ignored history. By playing fundamentalist politics, they deny the life-saving possibilities of stem cell research. This and more leads Hart to his conclusion:

This analysis could be extended, but it seems clear to me that Obama is the conservative in the 2008 election. The astonishing thing is that Obama is also the liberal in the 2008 election.

There are two more days before election day. McCain and his increasingly desperate campaign are flailing aboard the Hate Talk Express. But the Obama and Democratic Party Get Out the Vote efforts are shifting into high gear. Anecdotal as well as journalistic reports continue that their efforts are large, widespread and enthusiastic, while those on McCain's behalf so far are small and spiritless.

On Saturday, Obama moved up a little more in the tracking polls. Gallup has Obama up by 10, Washington Post/ABC 53%-44%, and the Marist national poll by 7. The Washington Post political reporters conclude: "Barack Obama and the Democrats hold a commanding position two days before Tuesday's election, with the senator from Illinois leading in states whose electoral votes total nearly 300 and with his party counting on significantly expanded majorities in the House and Senate. "

Nate Silver suggests this has become a five state election, but realistically, McCain's only chance is to take Pennsylvania, and that's only the beginning of what he has to do. It's the difference between an election that is basically over between eight and nine PM Eastern, or one that goes on to 11 or midnight. And as I've said before, it could be essentially over shortly after 7, if Obama has won Indiana, Virginia and especially Florida (though I expect the networks will be very cautious about calling Florida early.) Of course this is all science fiction at this point--if the turnout is as huge as expected and polls stay open later, etc.

So it's all about GOTV now and for the hours remaining until polls close on Tuesday. It's important everywhere, but especially in Pennsylvania.

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