The latest round of Senate polls don't look too good for Republicans. Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, and New Mexico look likely to flip (this doesn't include any data for Alaska). There's a split decision in Minnesota, with one poll showing Al Franken up 9, another showing Norm Coleman up 10. Oregon is now in danger, with Gordon Smith trailing for the first time. Republican incumbents don't seem to have consistently closed the sale in North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, or even Georgia. That Saxby Chambliss seat wasn't on anyone's radar just a few months ago. Frank Lautenberg is starting to pull ahead of Dick Zimmer in New Jersey, Mary Landrieu is up 13 in Louisiana. (Louisiana is supposed to be the GOP's pickup opportunity this year.)
The only good news for the GOP is that some polls still show Mitch McConnell ahead, Coleman's seat at the very least looks salvagable, Susan Collins is still safe in Maine, and New Hampshire has tightened. The Colorado race is also competitive. But a Democratic pickup of five to eight Senate seats really isn't out of the question.
Let's try to remember that this hacktastic spin came from McCain's campaign and their supporters, and Palin willingly went along in making this farcical claim on more than one occasion. It is now supposed to be evidence of journalistic misconduct to make the mistake of taking the campaign's own idiotic statements as though they were serious. Duly noted. Whenever the McCain campaign claims anything about either candidate, we should assume that it is equally nonsensical and give it no credence.
I hate to say it, but I think conservative activists have become like hometown sports fans who so desperately want their team to win that they see EVERYthing through the lens that shows their team as being the best -- and that therefore sees ANY loss or setback as the result of an unfair third party, like a bad referee, or something.
Exaggerating only slightly for effect, this was Sarah Palin's message last night, except that just written down it doesn't capture the cloyingness of the nasal "all" and the long drawn-out "o" in her "also."
"Well, awl-so-o-o [also] in Alaska, mavericks in Alaska, also, where we produce a lot of oil, also, we know that we've gotta reform Washington, also, you-betcha!"
Sorry, but if the Democratic candidate had put forth this sort of performance, we would all be yelling about how the MSM was giving that candidate a pass on their utter lack of knowledge, depth, specifics, and coherence.
Sarah Palin did fine and may have even "won" by exceeding expectations. She was likeable, she was lookable, but I don't think she was wildly persuasive on substance. It was clear that they bought into the "Let Palin be Palin" argument, because she played to her strenghts: folksiness,"adorability" as the Luntz panel guy put it, Joe Six Pack and the Hockey Moms. She displayed knowledge in areas where she was not expected to and whenever she was asked a question where Biden was clearly better informed she capably steered the conversation back to things she did know -- Alaska, personal anecdotes, energy policy, arguments about Democratic tax increases.
Joe Biden avoided putting his foot in his mouth, was well informed and crisp if occasionally to Washington-wonkish, and struck the right balance in terms of challenging Palin without bullying or patronizing her. He was a little flat in the beginning but picked up steam as he went along. But the expectations game did not favor him.