Eleven days to go, and the presidential election outcome may be taking shape. When you see a poll that shows Democrat Barak Obama ahead of Republican John McCain by 10 points in Indiana, you begin to wonder if the full-figured lady (let’s be politically correct here) is about to sing. Indiana! Historically, that state has been as reliably Republican as any state can be. If the Republicans are struggling to hold Indiana, something is happening in a major way.
The Obama folks no doubt are slapping each other’s back because of what they see as their superior organization. The McCain folks are wringing their hands because of their sense of the biased media. Either perception is a secondary issue at best, given the economic meltdown.
That said, it’s interesting to see how each campaign has responded to adversity. Twice, under the assault of Hilary Clinton (do you remember those days?) and after the Republican national convention, Barak Obama has been confronted with his own potential meltdown. Each time, the campaign kept lumbering along with its simple message of change. That must have been difficult particularly after McCain emerged with the then new party rock star, Sarah Palin.
Contrast that with the national economic calamity and McCain’s campaign. Rather than find a message and stick to it, the organization has imploded from inconsistency and erratic positions. This approach has cost McCain dearly in the form of waning public confidence. How can we trust someone to lead if he doesn’t know where to take us? It’s been downhill from there.
Two hundred years ago, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall once said that sometimes our greatest opportunities come wrapped in our biggest problems. As the voters sort out their choices, they will react to who is seizing those opportunities better than the other.