Cautiously Optimistic

Now that all the debates are behind us, and McCain hasn’t put a dent in Obama’s poll numbers, I’m cautiously optimistic. Not overly optimistic, but cautiously so.

I’ve realized there’s no need to be worried; more often than not, the status quo holds. Conventional wisdom is usually right.

On the other hand, I’m not giddy. There are still 19 days until the election, and that’s a long time in politics. Any number of things could happen: Osama bin Laden could issue another video message, or he could be captured; there could be a terrorist attack (not likely); the Republicans could get desperate with their push-polls and voter mailings; McCain could put out a really effective ad; Obama voters could get blocked at the polls on Election Day; voting machines could go haywire. In 2000 and 2004, we came tantalizingly close, only to be thwarted.

But Obama is currently doing better in the polls than Gore or Kerry were doing at this point in their races. It’s not even close right now; Obama is winning.

The last time I felt like this was in October 1992. All signs were pointing to a Bill Clinton victory, but I couldn’t let myself believe it would actually happen. A couple of weeks before the election, Newsweek put a picture of Bill Clinton on its cover with the words, “President Clinton?” As in, this could actually happen. It wasn’t until election night that I cheered.

So I remain cautiously optimistic. And I just want November 4 to get here. I want this to be over with. I won’t be able to take much more.

5 thoughts on “Cautiously Optimistic

  1. I hear you. I cannot wait for this to be over, and I’m actually quite relieved I’ll be on the other side of the planet on election night. I’m sure it will be on Chinese news, but not understanding a thing they say might discourage me from watching (assuming we’ll be allowed to watch TV?).

    I cannot, however, afford optimism, even cautious optimism. Not yet. There’s just too much at stake.

    Out of curiosity, what do you mean about status quo and conventional wisdom and not being worried? Do you mean you’re not worried about an upset on Election Day or you’re not worried about the implications of a McCain presidency?

    In 2000, I tried to rationalize my fears away that a Bush administration wouldn’t be so bad and that the Constitution and the democratic process would prevent him from causing too much damage before we could get rid of him in four years, and look how wrong that was.

  2. I’m with Daniel. In 2000 I was living in Europe and I spent that fall pacifying my horrified continental colleagues, telling them not to worry; yes, Bush isn’t very bright, but really, how much damage could he do? I can actually remember saying, “What’s he going to do, start a war?” Ummm…oops. Thank you Andy, we also would have accepted “Ruin the global economy” as an answer.

    I think we cannot afford to be complacent, but the indicators are very, very good, particularly when you look at the polling breakdown by state and translate that into electoral votes, as they do over at The chance of a McCain victory at this point is miniscule. I don’t think anything — short of an enormous Obama scandal — will change the dynamic. People are saying the economic crisis is “helping” Obama…but, why? Isn’t this exactly the time to turn to “experience”? Apparently the public is saying, “No, because we don’t trust the Republican brand.” The polls may tighten over the next 2.5 weeks, but Obama’s in a great place.

    And I am still waiting for all my friends who scolded me mercilessly during the primaries insisting that McCain would trot out “Barack HUSSEIN Obama” and we’d have no chance to tell me they were wrong. I mean, for Pete’s sake, Obama and McCain are statistically tied in WEST VIRGINIA. Sheesh.

  3. More specifically to my last point there, my friends who inexplicably supported Hillary Clinton. The dupes he insisted that if Obama couldn’t win Pennsylvania in the primaries, he was sunk in the general.

    Obama leads in Pennsylvania by 17.

  4. I think, in near & long term history, we’ll come to view Obama as the right man for this new era in American history: near-loss of the entire middle-class, se asian military stress not seen since WWII, and an expanding-n-prolonged stay of our forces in a multifront mideast war, not to mention the probable loss of WallSt. en masse one sunny day. We’ll see terrible new stresses on our national fabric ironically met by a wholly new type of presidency and method of governance, and will thank our lucky stars for it.

    When Americans see large portions of their income dedicated to paying only the interest on their credit cards (automatically deducted each paycheck), a loaf of bread costing six or more dollars, and the daily rationing of fuel then, and only then, will our political priorities substantively change — and Obama will be there to focus and mobilize the nation like no other president in the last one and half centuries.

    This new presidency will be considered no less than a miracle by the current and future, averting near national collapse.

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