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I had an argument with my friend the pollster.

I told him – in no uncertain terms – Barack Obama’s a rerun of George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. And said, We’ve seen this story before. The Democrats fall in love, young people swoon, then the day after the election they wake up and find they’re the victims of a blinding case of mass hysteria – and the liberals have led the Democratic Party on one more kamikaze mission. Then I added, And on top of that Obama’s an African American. He’s got to clear a dozen hurdles a white woman or white man doesn’t even know exist to get elected. So, how can you say flat out without a doubt he’s going to win?

He’s heard me say the same thing before and got a little testy. He snapped back, You don’t get it. They (the voters) hate Bush more than they hate liberals and a lot more than they care about any racial hurdles. Look, Obama’s created a mythical beast, the Bush-McCain, as in the Bush-McCain foreign policy and the Bush-McCain war and when it comes to unpopularity that’s the rooster on top of the hen-house this election.

Now, a good pollster – like the virtuous woman in Proverbs – can put things in perspective. Especially when he (or she) is irritable. Like an old turtle I stuck my head out of my shell and took a look around and the first thing I saw was Republicans losing three special elections (in Illinois, Louisiana and Tennessee) they shouldn’t have lost in a hundred years. Then I got an email from Dick Morris about Senate races saying Democrats are winning the Democratic seats, Democrats are winning the open seats and Republicans – like Elizabeth Dole – are fighting for their lives in the Republican seats.

So my next thought was I’ve seen this before – in 1974, 1982, 1994 and 2006 – a tidal wave. Only I’ve never seen one two years in a row against the same party.

Elections, I’ve decided, have a lot in common with mystery stories. We get the facts, the characters and the corpses – but not how the story ends until the last page. Only this election the plot has an odd twist – The Mystery of 2008 isn’t about who’s going to win – McCain or Obama. The mystery (to be revealed in November) is which of the characters – ‘The Bush-McCain Monster’ or Obama ‘The Liberal Demagogue’ – voters loathe most.

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