Thursday, October 16, 2008

Debate 3: The End Is Nigh (E-19)

McCain finally, finally, at long last brought his A-game to the debate. I think he stayed about even on points. But he lost out on style, I think. His testy, angry demeanor is a really hard sell. He closes out the debate season with, at best, three draws. The news is unlikely to get any better in the next two weeks.

And now, the numbers:

From Pollster:

DEM: 313 (-7)
REP: 155 (-8)
Toss-Up: 70 (+15)

And from Intrade:

DEM: 364, 84.2% chance to win (+26 EV, +12.1%)
REP: 174, 15.6% chance to win (-26 EV, -10.9%)

I am really, really wishing I'd bought in on Obama at 48% ... The guys who did are absolutely making a killing. On the flip side, the poor slobs who bought in on McCain at his 52% peak are losing their shirts. Hopefully only virtually speaking. I'm still not sure if any real money changes hands, here.

In any case, back to the debate. Which, strictly speaking, is less of a debate than it is a weird kind of dual press conference. But that's beside the point. John McCain really came out swinging last night, making one last valiant effort to land a knockout punch head-to-head on live TV. It would have put some life back into this race if he had. He never could close the deal, though. The closest he came was with his question about Obama's background with that William Ayers. But there's not much substance there, and besides, the economy is what has people sweating bullets today, not what some washed-up ex-hippie did with his summer vacation forty years ago. (Ayers, and people like him are important. There's an internal conversation the Democrats simply have to have amongst themselves, sooner or later. But that's a rabbit I want to chase another day.)

I've said it before: the extent to which this race turns on the economy is the margin of McCain's defeat. It may not be right or fair, but that issue is simply death for the Republicans this year, all up and down the ticket. All skill is in vain when an angel pees down your rifle barrel. And there's just not enough time left to reverse the slide.

Stick a fork in him, boys.

What John McCain Must Do: Go down swinging, for the honor of the Regiment. There's not much else to do at this point.

What Barack Obama Must Do: Don't do what this guy did:

It's never too late to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Complacency kills.

The Way To Bet: If you can still find someone fool enough to take the bet, Intrade's giving an astonishing 5 to 1 in Obama's favor at this point. Barring something completely crazy happening, that's almost a sure thing.

Next update: Tuesday, October 21, the two-week mark.


Burr Deming said...

The ill-fortunes of McCain are part of a larger trend, I think.

The current decline of the Republican party is not all that mysterious.

Tim McGaha said...

That's a good observation, one I hadn't heard before. There are some things that happen after the gravitational collapse that have some bearing, too. It's not entirely true that nothing can escape a black hole. Over time, they evaporate due to Hawking radiation. This process continues, up to the point when the gravitational force is no longer enough to hold back the degeneracy pressure. Then, the whole thing explodes.

When the crazies take over a party, that's the gravitational collapse. When the moderates leave one by one, that's the evaporation. The inevitable end? The whole thing blows...

We may well see fireworks of some kind from within the Republican party, if McCain loses.