27 September 2008

Plavnick Family Optimism

I wanted to take a minute to point out that both Josh Marshall and Steve Benen, whose opinions I'm always interested in, liked Obama as the winner last night. I can't disagree with either of them on the points they raise. And the readers who have commented on my debate post also made excellent points as to why Obama looks the more presidential of the two, the more appealing of the two, and the more prepared to face a 21st century global politics.

I like all this commentary I'm hearing. I also think that if there's no significant movement either way, Obama wins the election.

That said, I must confess my struggle with this condition called the "Plavnick Family Optimism." This is how we affectionately refer to a certain tendency in my family to plan for the absolute worst-case scenario to arise out of any given situation. Part of this, I'm sure, comes from being a lifelong Detroit Lions fan. On the whole, I'd say being a Democrat isn't nearly as bad, but the DNC does have this bizarre ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, just like our Lions.

I'm also a paranoiac. I assume the GOP is already plotting nefarious ways to steal this election. I also assume that Democrats won't be as well prepared to prosecute offenses as the GOP will be to commit them. That's just the way it goes. The robbers are always outsmarting the cops. All this matters because, when I watch the candidates interact, I want to see the momentum build on stage. I want to see the pool of Obama voters swell beyond the margin of error. I want to know that so many votes will come in that the most cunning and conniving Republican strategists understand that there's just no way to take this one. I want those 18% of voters who are undecided to break 12%-6% in favor of Obama. Make that 14%-4%. What I'm watching for in the run-up to November 4 is the removal of a shadow of doubt.

Given the last two presidential elections, I firmly believe that a close race between these two candidates is too close. Call me overly concerned. I'm sure, and I hope, that that's the case. But I believe with all my heart that if John McCain can stay close, then he and his advisors and all the behind-the-scenes types we'll never even hear of will be working their damnedest to steal this thing. I'm afraid I won't relax until I know that's just impossible.

With that, I look at last night's performances as pretty much a draw. But a draw keeps McCain hanging in there. That's why I consider the point his, last night. All those voter suppression tactics, all the noxious robocalls, all the threats and disimmulations--those have yet to start. And if McCain stays in, and the Swiftboat campaigning and downright illegal actions that have plagued the last two elections come around again this year, then it will be a nervous night indeed on November 4.

So aside from ranting about it, what do I do to combat the dreaded PFO? Well, I'm just back from knocking on doors and registering voters. It's the perfect antidote to my worrying mind. Here's hoping that canvassing, steady debate performances, and a slim lead in the polls are enough.