Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Ugly Remaining Days

It is down to the last 17 days of the election campaign. For many in this country it has seemed like this has been going on for years. I guess we could say that it has. George Bush has essentially been campaigning since he was crowned king by the Supreme Court. First term presidents always try to conduct business with an eye on the next election. And the Democrats had begun to look to this day since the votes were ordered not to be counted in Florida back in 2000.

This race is tighter than a steel drum. The remaining battleground states will be the focus of both candidates with utmost intensity. The party polling combined with tracking polls will help determine which states will be inundated with visits from the candidates as well as round the clock advertising.

By now if you haven't seen Kerry or Bush come to your state in a few weeks, if at all, you know your state has already made up its mind. If your state has been relatively advertisement free of the faces of George and John, your state is true blue or rabid red.

On the other hand if you live in Florida or Ohio, you can bet your life savings on nearly daily visits from the two candidates. The perception by the two parties are that these two states will be the key to winning the election. There are other toss-up states, such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, Michigan, Nevada and a few others, and surely the candidates and their ads will appear between now and election day. But Florida and Ohio might as well plan for the deluge.

The political ads are going to get vicious, with charges of lies and complete deceptions of the other candidates words and deeds. If you still haven't made up your mind by now (and I have to wonder what are you waiting for?) don't bother judging the candidates by the political ads, they will be distortions from both sides with very little truth to be derived out of any of the 30 seconds of smear artistry.

The last days of stump speeches in campaign rallies will be written and spoken with only one audience in mind, TV. The whole idea is to find the most fiery attack on the other candidate that will fit in nicely as a news sound bite. These sound bites are aimed mostly for the local state television they are stumping in and for the cable news channels that will allow viewers from the other battleground states to hear them as well. These stump speeches are going to get almost as ugly as the political ads.

And finally we can probably expect the "October Surprise," that penchant for some unexpected event or newly discovered information to reveal itself in these final days to possible throw the election to one of the candidates. There has been the long rumor that Osama bin Laden will suddenly be captured, in fact there is a website called Osama bin Lotto, where you can bet on which day it will happen. The expected surprise is most likely to come from the Bush team, afterall they have the power of the White House and the government to work any October magic.

There is already a conservative (97% of their campaign contributions went to Republicans this year) television broadcast company called Sinclair that has announced they have ordered the airing of a very critical "documentary" about Kerry on their chain of networks in the days before the election. They have as well denied equal access to Kerry and the FCC run by Colin Powell's son Michael has refused to get involved. I call that October Not Such a Surprise Number One.

Oh, yes, this is going to get ugly. I'm thinking of getting some body armor so that I feel safe when I go vote. I certainly would not be surprised to see the announcement of code red on the terrorist alert warning. I expect that we will be thrown some piece of fear to worry about. Have your duct tape and bottled water ready, who knows what's going to happen.


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