Political Weekly: It’s the Final Countdown

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White House Bureau Chief James Downie returns for one last column. He will, however, be covering the College Democrats’ trip this weekend to Virginia.

(Note: this column’s title meant to be followed by a voiced guitar strum, a la the 80s classic). 

Well, here’s my last column. No, please stop cheering–it makes me sad. On March 21, 2006, (two years, seven months, and one week ago) Senator Joe Biden kicked things off by announcing his campaign for president. At the time, the frontrunners in the two parties included Bill Frist, John Kerry, George Allen, and Al Gore, not to mention the 15 or so candidates who actually ended up entering the race, only to lose to the two senators whose names now occupy our ballots.

It was always expected that, without an incumbent on either side, this race would be dramatic. And yet the 2008 campaign still managed to exceed expectations, still kept our attention even in the doldrums of the never-ending primary, still held the top slot in almost every news cycle. One of two very different men ask for the chance to deal with the worst economic crisis in many, many years. All you need to do is vote. It may be a 1-in-10 million chance of making a difference, but it’s the most important thing you can do to get the country you want.

Also, if you’ve taken any time to read this column over the past eight months (whether you liked it or not), thanks. I appreciate it. And now, for one last time, the news:

Your Polls, Sir: As always, numbers are available here, here, here, and here.

The State Breakdown: How do the states shake out right now? Marc Ambinder has a good breakdown, giving Obama 291 electoral votes in states where he has the advantage, compared to McCain’s 163. Of the five states in his tossup column (Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, and Indiana), Obama has a slight advantage in the first three, while McCain has a slight advantage in the latter two. All told, that would equal 353 electoral votes for Obama, and 185 for McCain.

Is That Really Reporting?: What happens when you’re a biweekly paper, and your issue cycle will miss the election? Declare a winner early!

You Mean Corruption Hurts In An Election? Noooooo: Ted Stevens effectively lost his Senate seat late Monday when he was convicted of accepting and concealing gifts. He is the fifth sitting Senator ever to be convicted by a jury. Even the popular conservative blog RedState is urging Republicans to vote against Stevens and his partner-in-crime Don Young.

From the Fake Department of “Whoops”: After accidentally admitting he’d make a bad president, Obama undertakes a presidential internship.

Re-re-referenda: Several interesting state referenda are on state ballots in a week. Among them: a proposal to create slots for state funding in Maryland, a high-speed rail (San Francisco to LA in less than 3 hours for $10 billion), and, most importantly, gay marriage bans in three states (California, Arizona, and Florida). In Florida, the ban will probably recieve a majority of votes, but it may not reach the 60% it needs to become law. Arizona could pass a ban this time, which would negate their rejection (the only rejection of a gay marriage ban in American history) of the ban in 2004. California looked to be on its way to rejecting the ban, but recent poll movement has put support for the ban in the majority. Finally, Connecticut could join these three states later on, as the recent court decision will most likely lead to a refendum as well. The results of the various gay marriage bans could be the most tense and interesting subplot on Election Night.

Shouts & Endorsements: Christopher Buckley, William Buckley’s son and a hilarious satirist, endorsed Obama two weeks ago, and he has been writing about the flack he is catching from conservatives. Here’s the best column to start with.

Take It Away, Mr. Hertzberg: Sarah Palin has been outfitted with $150,000 worth of clothing, and her makeup person was the highest paid campaign staff member in October. Oddly, Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker actually defends Palin.

Two Wild and Crazy Guys!: Joe Biden and John Murtha lampooned on SNL.



  1. Anonymous  

    Can the column's title instead be followed by GOB Bluth doing illusions?

  2. woooo  

    prepare to get Palinated

  3. jim downie  

    you're really cool :)

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