Columns, Opinion

RILEY: Obama’s got nothing left to hide

With fewer than three weeks to go until Election Day, the consensus seems to be that Barack Obama has this contest in the bag. Even John McCain concedes that he is several points behind in the polls. Congressional Democrats are talking about the major economic proposals they will attempt to pass as soon as Obama is elected. McCain’s claims that the media has, ‘written him off,’ and that Democrats are ‘measuring the drapes,’ do not seem that far fetched at the moment.
Unless something drastic happens, it is pretty hard to believe that McCain can stage a comeback this late in the game. It is certainly possible that there are yet-to-be-discovered skeletons in Obama’s closet that could possibly cost him the election. But what else could there be? How about a possible connection to a former terrorist who set off bombs in the United States? Well, McCain already has that to work with, but it hasn’t helped him. A former pastor who has been videotaped saying, ‘God Damn America’? Check. Maybe someone can uncover drug use in his past? Oh wait, Obama has already willingly volunteered that he used cocaine in his college years. Despite all of this, he’s done so well in the presidential race partly because voters have bought his argument that good judgment triumphs experience. How does he do it? Obama is certainly giving Ronald Reagan a run for his money for the title of the non-stick ‘Teflon’ candidate.
Last week, it was reported that Obama’s campaign had purchased a half-hour block of TV time on NBC and CBS that is set to air the week before the election.’ It appears to be an attempt to ‘seal the deal’ with voters, as Bill Clinton would say. We don’t know exactly what he plans to do with this time, but I hope it includes Tina Fey. Come on, Barack, you know you want to.
On a more realistic note, Obama will probably use this time to talk to the American people about the biggest issue of this election: the economy. For weeks I have wanted to devote a column to the economy, but there’s only one problem: I don’t know what the heck is going on!
First of all, how are we supposed to judge the state of our economy? Is it by gas prices? Five dollars per gallon was supposed to signal the end of the world, but despite gas dropping to less than $3 per gallon, we are still afraid of another Great Depression. What if we used the stock market as an indicator of where our economy is? I’m afraid this isn’t such a good idea, as the markets are a little bipolar right now. Does Monday’s gain of almost 1,000 points mean that we are in the clear? Or are we due for another record-breaking drop?
Also, I have no idea what to think about the bailout. Nobody seems to have a handle on exactly what it’s going to do for the economy. The candidates certainly aren’t giving any answers. We can laugh (and laugh and laugh) at Sarah Palin’s take on the bailout: ‘Ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy ‘-‘- oh it’s got to be about job creation, too.’
But it’s not like McCain or Obama have taken a clear stance on the issue. Neither of them wants to be caught whole heartedly endorsing something that could be a gigantic failure, so instead they stick to their talking points about making sure we are not only helping Wall Street, but ‘Main Street’ as well. I’m pretty sick of this phrase by the way, but it makes a good sound bite, and that seems to be what’s really important.
Well, just like the McCain campaign, I’m going to try and shift the conversation away from the economy since neither he nor I know what we are talking about. Here’s the good news for the Arizona senator: It really isn’t over yet.
It may be hard to fathom a McCain victory in November, but let’s not forget he was written off by the media once before in his quest for the Republican nomination. Starring in the underdog role is something McCain is comfortable with, as opposed to being a grouchy, negative campaigner.
And if you want to hear about the dangers of being overconfident, just ask the Obama campaign. In January, everyone thought that Obama had won the New Hampshire primary ‘-‘- and quite possibly the Democratic nomination. McCain has to find his voice in these last few weeks, just like Hillary Clinton briefly did by pulling off a stunning victory in New Hampshire. Though McCain might want think twice before he starts crying.

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