I consider myself an independent, but I've been voting Democratic in national elections for the past sixteen years. This week I've talked to four other "independents" who saw Sarah Palin's speech the other night. They all sent checks to Obama afterward.
One guy who spent eight years in Houston and thinks that gives him a unique view of Ms. Palin in Alaska called her and her family "trailer trash." Another guy I know claimed he was so upset by Palin's speech that he got drunk. Of course, that may have just been another excuse to break out the single malt.
In 2004 I heard the same kind of disgruntled talk from Republicans who hated Bush. They were certain the Bush years were over. But they weren't. The problem was all that anger at the administration, from people who were usually lockstep conservatives, didn't translate into votes for Democrats. It's easy to blame Nader, but I'm not sure any of those people who whined about Bush really voted. They think they're so important they probably didn't realize you actually have to do something instead of just calling Bush an asshead. Sometimes these masters of the universe types forget that you can't delegate everything. "Vote? I'll have my assistant take care of that."
After assuming incorrectly that Bush would be gone, the disgruntled Republicans watched from the safety of their McMansions as the Democrats did quite well for themselves in the 2006 midterm elections. Amazing how successful Dems can be when Ralph Nader isn't a distraction.
All those newly minted Democrats got to Washington with a mandate to end the war and change the status quo. Only from where I sit, they have spent the last two years doing absolutely NOTHING, led by the Queen of Bupkus, Nancy Pelosi, who is useless.
This year, more than ever, everything is upside down. Obama, who has an ivy league education, has been called an elitist by the Republicans. I didn't think minorities could do that. Meanwhile the Republican vice presidential nominee is a working mom, married to a union steelworker, both groups normally considered Democrats where I come from. Whatever happened to the good old days, when Democrats were the party of empathetic, understanding, working people with family values and the Republicans were rich bastards.
The people I talk to are convinced there's no way the Republicans can win this election. Based on what? Wishful thinking? Did they watch the conventions? The GOP completely crushed any Democratic momentum following Obama's speech, by announcing, the very next day, that Sarah Palin was McCain's choice for VP. Barack who? There has been nothing else but Sarah Palin on the news ever since. Plus she gave a great speech. And last night, McCain looked positively lifelike while he gave his.
Psychologically, I feel like I'm backing someone who can't win. People gravitate to winners. And I'm betting Obama lost a big chunk of undecided voters after the last couple of nights of excellent Republican speechifying. I hope that four years from now at the next conventions, the Democrats go last. How is that decided anyway? A flip of the coin?
Several pundits called McCain's decision to have a female running mate his Hail Mary pass. Unless someone's got video of Sarah Palin dancing on a pole somewhere, he scored a touchdown that put them in the lead by a couple of points.
My concern is that I'm not sure there's enough time left during the next sixty days for Obama to return the kickoff and score his own touchdown to win the game.
Unless that pole dancing video shows up.