I've noticed that I've not been reading the newspapers a lot lately. I used to read them all the time, I especially liked international news. But for a long time now, we've not had a paper delivered to our house, so I've been getting most of my news from TV and online. Now, I'm reasonably smart, I'm the proud possessor of a degree in History, with a minor of all things, in Political Science. By the time I realized how much I didnt like Political Science, or politics in general, I almost had enough credits for a minor, so I went ahead and got it. But I actually have almost as many credits in English Literature, and I like that a lot better. I am not an undecided voter. When it come times to pick, I know who I'll be voting for, for president, NC governor and United States Senator. Not so sure about Congressman yet. Be that as it may, my views don't matter much and I'm not about to try to change anyone else's.
I'm not completely uninformed about this election, just perhaps under informed. The last I read & heard on TV was that the pollsters consider North Carolina a toss up state. That surprises me. This is the state that sent Jesse Helms, a tad on the conservative side (big understatement) to the senate for 60 years (I exaggerate, but not by much), re-electing him the last time when he was 101 years old (if I exaggerate here, again, it isnt by much. Checking facts is pretty boring). Elizabeth Dole, a current senator, who is also a tad on the conservative side, has been in DC for about 40 years now. Democrat or Republican doesnt matter - the state is conservative. It's always been my impression that to get to the right of your typical politician in North Carolina, you'd have to drive up on the sidewalk (this analogy doesnt work too well in the UK, 'cause you all drive on the other side of the road. So just turn it around. Or maybe it does work, spacial relationships was never my strong point. Its why I can't fix anything that breaks. And it really only makes sense in countries where people tend to obey traffic laws) In this respect North Carolina is fairly typical of southern states - from Virginia to Texas, from Kentucky to Mississippi. So what the heck is North Carolina doing being considered a toss up, a state which, if the election were held now, could possibly be won by Barack Obama? Why is this state not solidly in John McCain's camp? Why is there any question? I don't know, but if John McCain has to fight for North Carolina, that does not bode well for his chances, in my opinion.
There are tons of political commercials on television right now. I'm not sure their content matters. Most of the time, they are full of half truths, things taken out of context and if anyone thinks about it, they'd like to know a little bit more, or maybe ask for some clarification, or know what the context was. For example (and please don't read anything about who I do or don't support into this), in the North Carolina senate race, Kay Hagan, democrat, is running against Elizabeth Dole, republican. One of Kay Hagan's commercials says Elizabeth Dole was rated 93rd out of 100 in effectiveness - only 7 other senators were less effective, in other words. Well, first thing that popped into my mind is, who did the rating? Why doesnt Kay Hagan tell us? If it's the ACLU, that's one thing, if its the Committee to Re-elect Republican Incumbents (I made that up) it's quite another. But, and this is a very interesting thing, why doesnt Elizabeth Dole address it? Why doesnt SHE tell us who did the rating, especially if it was someone like the ACLU? Because if it was group such as that, everybody would say, oh, ok, and that would be that. I'm not down playing the American Civil Liberties Union, we need groups like that to keep people honest, but they and Elizabeth Dole would tend to disagree on a lot of things, so if it was them or a group like them who did the rating, people would think it was politically motivated. So I, as a voter, don't understand why Kay Hagan especially, but Elizabeth Dole also, (or maybe Elizabeth Dole especially) does not tell us who did the this rating. Who said she was pretty near the bottom of the list? As far as I can tell, Elizabeth Dole hasnt addressed it, she's just let it stand, but then, I'm under informed and maybe I missed it. I could look it up, but really, who cares? I'm just using it as a point.
Ok, outside of that. In sheer numbers, there are a lot more Hagan ads that Dole ads, and a lot more Obama ads than McCain ads. I don't know how to interpret that. But one thing it does mean is that Obama, and democrats in general - at the national level, have not written off North Carolina, and that indeed is news. Elizabeth Dole is an institution, maybe she's so powerful here she doesnt need to run a lot of ads. In sheer numbers of TV ads, Barack Obama is absolutely pounding John McCain in North Carolina. What the heck is going on? I would expect very little, if any, effort from a democratic presidential nominee in North Carolina, but that is not the case. They're spending a lot of money here. Obviously they must think they have a chance to win. That is news, but I will still be surprised if Obama carries North Carolina, and if Kay Hagan defeats Elizabeth Dole. But apparently it could happen.
OK - observations while walking the dog. There are a lot of signs out on my dog walking route supporting local politicians running for local elections. I don't know a one, could not tell you a thing about them. There are exactly two signs in yards supporting the national presidential nominees, one for each. They are both on Praley street, and they are within just a couple of houses of each other. If you've ever watched Jeff Foxworthy & paid attention to the section where he shows pictures of "redneck front yards", well that's the house that has the Obama sign in front of it. Interesting. I've never seen the people who live there, but the yard is not attractive, and there's a lot of junk on the front porch (hmmm, kind of like our place till we started using freecycle), the house is older, close to the road, and just has that look. The sign for McCain/Palin is in front of a new house, a house built within the last year. This house is set well back from the road, and has a nice clean yard, though it could use some trees. Perhaps a nice little dogwood, strategically placed. Its a nice house, good sized, and completely, absolutely, with out any doubt, lacking in character. However, I'm sure it's a nicer house than what 80-90% of the people in Valdese live in. Valdese has some nice, expensive neighborhoods, don't get me wrong. But the South Avenue environs is not one of them, and this house sticks out a bit. Anyway someone in there supports John McCain, and aint afraid to let the world know.
On election night, if Obama wins a couple of New England states, like Vermont & New Hampshire, that's an omen. These are small states, but until Bill Clinton, they had gone republican for centuries. Indiana & Kentucky are the first two states to close their polling places. If either of those states go to Obama, that's a really bad omen for McCain. I don't expect it, especially not Kentucky, but you never know. If Obama wins Virginia or North Carolina, both states considered toss ups right now, I think we can turn off the TV and go to bed. Again, I'll be surprised if he does. Florida though, is another story. If McCain wins all the states he should, and then wins Florida, then Obama's in trouble.
Ok, enough of my uninformed, unscientific observations. The economy is really not good right now. What people think about that, who they think is responsible, who they think can fix it, will most likely decide who wins. I reckon.