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Two major things happened yesterday to the McShame-Spunky ticket. Their combined affects are game changers.
1. The Troopergate Report was released, and Palin was found guilty. The worst that happens to her (from what I've been able to glean, I haven't checked the enabling legislation) is that she can be censured. There's no jail time, no fine.
BUT - the State is now under court order to save ALL e-mails that Spunky, Todd, and staff used to conduct official business. This includes their yahoo accounts, and any other private e-mail accounts they may have.
2. John McShame had to say that Obama was "a good man" "a family man" to the angry mob that passed for an audience at one of his town halls.
You may think that these two things are unrelated, but they are not.
This is, as my dad taught me when I was a kid, the chickens coming home to roost.
In the spring, when McCain took the nomination, people asked me when I would start disseminating the files I have on him. The detailed ones on his adultery, his current wife's drug problem, and the legal issues related to their firing of the doctor who would no longer provide her with drugs, his temper, the Keating information. Believe me when I say, I have the files. And I said no for two reasons. First, strategically, because that information would be better off given to low information voters in October than in May. But mostly, because of one thing that McCain did for which I respect him.
Thirty years ago, John was friends with Mo Udall. After Udall got Alzheimer's, John would go to his hospital room and read to him, mostly environmental articles related to their shared passion about the environment. After Udall was so afflicted that he no longer recognized John, even when Mo no longer remembered Mo, John would go every Friday afternoon and read to him. If you think "yeah? so?" you've never done that vigil. If you have been in that position, you know what it takes.
I was still going to work against him, 100% behind my Democratic candidate (who had not yet been determined back then). But it would be on issues, and policies.
And then John selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. While she was an unknown quantity to many, I knew she was under investigation. And I had a file on her, too. And I knew that had the McShame campaign had my full file, (alluded to here) they would never have considered her for the veep slot.
This was the sign that McCain had completely morphed from the part of him that was decent and a war hero, into the part of him that was a desperate, anchorless man, descending into the kind of blind panic that would allow him to do anything, no matter how base, how ugly, how counter-productive.
The McCain campaign over the past month has been one dedicated to innuendo reading: "Obama is black, hide the white women." Everything else was code for that. John didn't understand that this would rile not the base of voters they wanted, but give voice to the racists who have been looking for someone to lead them, to allow them to vent their hatred.
So what does the McCain camp do? They cannot campaign on the economy: their positions are unworkable, and potentially illegal. They cannot campaign on energy or the environment, "drill, baby, drill" is an oil policy, not an energy policy, and it's bad for our oceans. They cannot campaign on ethics, between Troopergate, the upcoming civil suits against Sarah Palin, the CREW complaint against McCain, the oustanding FEC charges, etc.
If they continue on the racist path, they do long-term damage to the Republican Party. In addition, if they don't dial back strongly, there is the potential for legitimate criminal charges related to "incite to riot". These are state laws, and they're mostly felonies.
The Republican hoi polloi is starting to back away from the McCain campaign. Many Republicans are opposed to racism and lies: you remember, the Rockafeller Republicans. They will not happily go down for posterity as the party that legitimized re-energizing Klan-like behaviour. This is, remember, the party of Lincoln.
McCain has only two choices: risk everything and continue on the hate path, risking complete disintegration of the Republican brand, or actually campaign on the issues, and hope to best position the party for 2016.
I'm not over confident. I'll be working 3 canvasses this weekend, getting out local volunteers to GOTV on Election Day. My campaign has a plan, and I work that plan. I do NOT believe in complacency. I am a base Democrat, and therefore I have a streak of pessimism and a bleeding ulcer. But even I can see the chickens lining up, soon to march to their coop.