This from a reader:
Except for one or two nights, I have been VERY optimistic about this election outcome. I think (and always have thought) Bush will get about 320 EVs, winning WI, NM, IA, possibly either MN or NJ. Right now we have a quesitonable poll out of Detroit giving him a 4-point lead in MI, too. PA is not out of reach.
However, what I find interesting is the near-unanimous view that Kerry was dead until the first debate ("Bush blew it"). Here is a kook scenario that may not be so kookie after all:
*Rove/Bush did not know "which" John Kerry would show up for debate #1. They still did not know what Iraq policy he would try to take. Therefore, I dont think they prepared, somewhat deliberately. Why bother?
*But, there is, IMHO, a more important dynamic going on. (To "buy" this you have to remember Rushs comment that Bush is not out just to win, but to destroy the Dem Party as we know it). Bush knew he was NEVER going to knock out Kerry in one debate, despite the hype. However, if he damaged him too badly in that debate, the DNC and 527s were all ready to start drawing money away from him and focusing on re-taking the senate. Given the short-sightedness of Republicans in NV, WA, IL, AR, AK, and CA in putting up weak candidates, they had a great chance. I believe Bush/Rove saw this as a real threat. How to keep Kerry "in the game" and keep the money at the "Kerry table?"
*The answer is, let him (and the media) think he won. Now, thats damn risky, but W has always been a gambler. Running "against" pro-war Dem senators in 2002 was an incredible risk, and it paid off in every single case.
*Now all the national polls have Bush back up, and most of the state polls, including OH and FL, have Bush scratching back into a lead. (I think, based on Jay Costs analysis at "The Horserace," these polls seriously undercount GOP strength, esp. in the battleground states, too).
Finally, today we have Maureen Down saying that the Dems are depressed and Julianne Malveaux admitting blacks aint gonna come out for Francois. I have thought for two weeks that the election is over, and that the internals of both camps knew it. So what is Francois doing? Hes playing to the base, the base, the base. This late in the game, hes trying to rally the base. Why? Because She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has given him the word that he must NOT have a 350 EV meltdown, lest it split the party, and She . . . needs a party upon which to run in 2008. I think the Dems KNOW they are in danger of a Whig-type collapse.