October 27, 2008:
—Campaign Silly Season—
—As we move closer to election day, television pundits tend to reach into their grab-bag of election clichés and weigh thick with prognostications, excuses and what have you. About the worst of this highly predictable behavior is the use of statistics.
You probably already are hearing things that sound like, “No candidate with an “R” in his name has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio,” or (insert state here).
Statistics such as this have been borrowed from the world of sportscasting, which has become so ridiculous at this, many viewers watch with the sound muted.
Well, Ohio of 2008 is not the Ohio of 2004 is not the Ohio of 2000. The pundits who keep repeating that are fogging the real point; if a candidate cannot offset Ohio’s 20 electoral votes, or Pennsylvania’s 21, with votes from other states, that candidate will lose. Surprise, the same can be said about every other state.
Polls in other countries show overwhelming support for Barack Obama against John McCain. Obama’s detractors in the United States, at least the right-wing ones, point to that as another reason to vote against him.
Their problem is they see foreigners interested in the American presidential race as engaging in us versus them. It isn’t.
Those who would dismiss the sentiment of foreigners are behind their own Republican Party, which recognizes the reality that we live in a global community; we cannot isolate ourselves any more. That this is so could not have been made clearer than the financial meltdown. As the United States goes, so goes the rest of the world.
So foreigners do have a vital stake in the outcome of the American presidential election. They see us as their protector, many of their governments try to operate in sync with us, and as we have seen, their entire economies are based on the health of the U.S. economy.
They have seen the United States go in an ugly direction the past 10 years, so of course they are interested in America being restored to its former status as a nation the world not only relies on, but looks up to.
They do not see McCain as offering that change, they do see Obama as offering it. He may not, saddled as he would be by straightening out the mess left by the Bush years, but they see him as more likely to do so.