We’ve always had Yellow Dog Democrats from the South and some of Pelosi’s puppies say they’re Blue Dog Democrats. But now we have Black Dog Republicans.
Their constant companions are depression and melancholy, the moods that often descended on Winston Churchill. He labeled them his “black dog.”
There are two reasons the Black Dog Republicans fell prey to a depression equal to Churchill’s. First is the constant chatter of the media, the Republican elite, and the Cassandra Republicans who are just as sure that John McCain will lose the election as they are that Sarah Palin is his ruination. The second is that a lot of people are simply so angry at the Bush administration that otherwise sensible people are transferring their anger to John McCain or falling for Barack’s baloney.
Can we all please stop whining?
To paraphrase our greatest secretary of war, you go to the polls with the candidates you have, not necessarily the candidates you want. And, though this is heresy in Washington, let’s please remember that neither pundits nor pollsters elect presidents: voters do. John McCain and Sarah Palin could yet win on November 4.
And that chance is apparently pretty good, according to the new AP-GfK poll that showed them only one point behind the Obama-Biden combo. After the last debate and the "Joe the Plumber" episode, it’s enough to return my thinking to mid-July when Republicans were suddenly 5 points ahead in the Gallup generic congressional preference poll. As I wrote then, Republicans could actually gain – not lose – strength in the House and Senate.
But let’s not be pollyannish about it either: there’s an excellent chance that Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States. By now we’ve all seen the pictures at the St. Louis Obama rally that drew a crowd of about 100,000. But it’s a chance, not a certainty. It may happen, but it need not be a self-fulfilling prophecy of the Right. And let’s not forget that whether McCain wins or loses, the Senate races are equally important.
If McCain wins, but the Democrats achieve a filibuster-proof Senate majority, American politics will be transformed almost as radically as if Obama had won. There will be no conservatives confirmed to the Supreme Court (or the lower courts), the Fairness Doctrine will be used to try to silence Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, offshore oil drilling will be banned again, and amnesty for illegal aliens will become the law of the land. And that’s just in their first month.
Right now, polls for key senate races are not encouraging. Formerly Republican seats appear to be safely in Democratic hands. Two examples show where a number of races may go. Former Gov. Jim Gilmore lags behind former Gov. Mark Warner by nearly thirty points in Virginia. The retirement of Sen. Pete Domenici in New Mexico leaves his seat a probable Democratic pickup by Tom Udall, who leads Steve Pearce by about 17 percent.
And in races that should be close, Republicans are behind. Thuggish comedian Al Franken is leading Norm Coleman by about 3% in Minnesota. Liddy Dole is lagging 7% behind Kay Hagan in North Carolina. Roger Wicker is leading by only 1% in Mississippi.
These may be reasons to be discouraged or depressed, but now is not the time to go wobbly. Some of these Senate races will not be won; but not all will be lost and it’s not totally absurd to think that some of the oldest, stalest liberals in the Senate may be sent packing. And the White House may yet be occupied by another Republican.
In the two weeks left, there are two points to make. And if we make them – not just among ourselves – but to everyone we know, Chris Matthews may stop feeling a thrill run up his leg on the night of November 4.
First is that even Joe Biden understands that his running mate is unprepared to be president in time of war.
Last weekend, Biden said, "Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking…We’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he’s going to need help . . . to stand with him. Because it’s not going to be apparent initially; it’s not going to be apparent that we’re right."
Actually, it will be apparent — especially to the aggressor — that Obama and Biden will be wrong, indecisive and ineffective in defending America. And when they are, and America is found weak and vulnerable, our enemies will be spurred to other actions against us and our allies.
Biden is right on one thing: the next president will be challenged quickly just as George W. Bush was. We should remember the incident in early 2001 when the Chinese forced a Navy reconnaissance aircraft down on Hainan Island and held the crew captive for over a week. Does anyone seriously believe Obama would do as well as Bush did?
Second, even if Barack Obama wins, Senate Republicans – if there are enough of them – can thwart almost every liberal nonsense he, Pelosi and Reid can concoct. People who don’t plan to vote because, for one reason or another, they find McCain unacceptable, need to think again. Higher Republican turnout in states such as Mississippi and Minnesota may or may not help McCain, but they can make the difference in close Senate races.
If you’re so inclined, be depressed, be melancholy. But when the Black Dog visits you, remember how Churchill dealt with it. During the war, one reporter asked him if he had gotten any sleep. Sir Winston replied that he slept quite well. The reporter, shocked, demanded how that could possibly be. And Churchill said, “I just say ‘damn everybody’ and nod off.”
Banish the black dog. Melancholy and depression are for the liberals to revel in. There is serious work to do, and little time to do it.