Friday, October 24, 2008

Goodbye Candidates (update)

I was looking back over a few things that I wrote about the election earlier this year and one of my previous posts caught my eye. I thought that I'd share that post again here for new readers and old. I find my thoughts from May to be interesting, especially given how this campaign has progressed:
Last week [early May 2008, just before Indiana's primary], I heard an interview with Indiana's Governor Mitch Daniels. He commented on how exciting it was to have the Presidential candidates paying attention to Indiana and Hoosier voters. But, he noted wistfully, as soon as the primary was over, that would be the last that Indiana would see of Presidential candidates. Well, the primary is over. Sen. Clinton won by a pretty thin margin. And off she goes to West Virginia; Sen. Obama had already left for North Carolina (and then, I presume, on to West Virginia). Unfortunately, because Indiana is widely regarded as a "red state" (I don't think that Indiana has voted for the Democratic candidate since before the Mayflower...), Gov. Daniels' prediction is sure to come true. It was fun while it lasted.

Of course, there is one possibility for us to see the candidates again: If Indiana's Democratic voters speak loudly enough (I'm not sure if that only means "raise lots of money" or not) in support of the eventual candidate and in support of local Democratic candidates (in particular, the Democratic candidate for Governor), then it remains possible (though a remote and highly unlikely possibility) of Indiana being thought of as "in play". Yes, Indiana has a reputation for voting Republican; but let's don't forget that Indiana had a Democratic governor for four terms and has often had at least one Democratic Senator. And over 1,000,000 votes were cast for the two Democratic Presidential candidates yesterday (yeah, I know some were crossover votes). So anything is possible.

What? Where do the rules say that wishful thinking is prohibited?

Come November, if gas prices are still high (I heard a prediction Tuesday afternoon that suggested that by next spring gas prices might be close to $7 per gallon), if Hoosiers are still dying in Iraq, if jobs are still vanishing, if the Supreme Court continues to eat away at our civil liberties (did you hear about the 98 year old nun who couldn't vote yesterday because she didn't have a valid photo ID?), if Hoosiers continue to be unable to afford healthcare and drugs, if John McCain continues to suggest that it would be acceptable for American troops to stay in Iraq for 100 years, if more people continue to recognize the threat of global warming, if ... well, you get the idea. Come November, anything is possible.

That may be wishful thinking, but then isn't "hope" part of the American dream?

Apparently wishful thinking can pay off from time to time. The fact that I've had a chance to see Sen. Obama twice this month, that Gov. Palin is about to make her second visit to Indiana, that Sen. McCain has had to pull advertising money out of other states to advertise in Indiana, and that national pundits and pollsters are actually focusing on Indiana as a new "battleground" state means that those hopes that I expressed back in May have materialized. I didn't anticipate a global economic meltdown or Sarah Palin (or Tina Fey), but my wish that Indiana might be in play, much to even my own surprise, has turned out to be true. Wow!

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