Our Long National Nightmare

Onyango’s Yer Uncle

Our journey begins in the White House Stenography Room, where Flack-in-Chief Jay Carney prepares to commit a Ziegler and declare a previous statement Inoperative. You can feel the tension mount as the Obama Administration is about to be shaken to its core:

Fox News’ Ed Henry asked Carney about the claim by the President’s uncle, whom Carney cut Henry off to characterize as “his father’s half-brother,” and why the discrepancy in the stories.

And there — right there — you know we’re in for a Thrilling Adventure. Maybe there exists one of those complicated exceptions where Your Father’s Half-Brother isn’t Your Uncle, but — free advice! — you probably don’t want to press that point before The Eyes of The Nation.

So what did the Putative Uncle know, and when did the White House know it?

It seems — please, sit down, dismiss the children from the room, the usual drill — he once met Barack Obama.

We know! It totally lets Kennedy off the hook for Giancana!

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At Least She Didn’t Grab Her Crotch…

“Beyonce Knowles’ flawless performance of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ at the inauguration was entirely lip-synched, Page Six has confirmed. A rep for the United States Marine Band revealed that she decided to perform to a pre-recorded track at the last minute.” [NY Post]

Let’s Do the Bump

Okay, the state polls are starting to catch up with events, so let’s have a look at the field.

The chart above is the one we’re watching most closely — it shows the electoral-vote count in states where either candidate leads by more than 5 percent. (We’re treating everything else as a statistical dead heat.) State polls aren’t released as frequently as national dailies, and this chart averages polling over the past seven days, so there’s gonna be some lag in the results.

And if you want to say that Obama drove off a cliff after the Republican convention — wait a sec.

Certainly more states are in play at the moment, which shouldn’t be unexpected. We’ll need another week, after the hysteria dies down, to see whether that’s a blip or a fact.

But what catches our attention — provisionally, it’s still early — is that McCain hasn’t made any significant gain. You’d expect the lines to cross right about now, and granted, they still might. But so far, the takeaway is that while voters aren’t certain about Obama, they don’t seem to have much stomach for the alternative.

For comparison, let’s look at 2004:

So much bobbing and weaving there, it might as well be a toss-up — nothing approaching the clarity of this year’s pattern.

And that’s one reason why we’re not freaking out yet — it’s just too soon to hit the eject button, and nothing’s yet outside our comfort zone. Circumstances may change in another week, but the only bump we’re seeing so far is a speed bump for Barry.

Electoral College Graphs 2008 [Electoral-Vote.com]

Play the Home Game!

It’s not the most sophisticated presentation, and perhaps not the most sophisticated technique, but we’re taking a liking to Electoral-vote.com — mainly because it collates state polls that we’ve had trouble finding, and provides a better daily snapshot of the race than meaningless national polls.

Currently Obama “wins” the Electoral Collage with 275 votes (270 needed), but the master count takes the polls as is, without the margin of error. More helpful is the map itself: anything white is a statistical tossup, and even the lighter reds and blues are so close they might as well be in play.

Only the strong reds and blues are locked down (for now), and those show Obama leading 165-131.

Today, anyway. Back on August 1, it was 197-97.

It’s not easy to jump to any day at will, but the site also offers a nice tracking graph, annotated with signifcant events — including, for comparison, 2004. “Reagan dies”, “Fahrenheit 9/11 opens” and “Swift boat ad” pretty much sum up that summer…

Electoral-vote.com