For a long time, Usedcarsalesman figured Hillary Clinton probably had the '08 Presidential election "in the bag.
If, a year ago, you talked to him about Hillary's chances of winning the Presidency in 2008 his response would have sounded like the following:
"Hillary's chances? Ah, it's a done deal man. I mean that lady has probably been working on her Inauguration speech more than anything else for the last 6 years.
When she isn't on the Senate floor, she's spent every waking hour with image consultants, political consultants and even acting coaches she flew in from the West Coast.
And she's lined up legions of contributors to finance her run; when she says the word, her "war-chest" will suddenly overflow. Let's face it: Hillary has the '08 Presidency won before she ever hits the trail."
For reasons both apparent and unapparent, the success-against-all-odds campaign Usedcarsalesman saw Bill and Hillary Clinton run in 1992 didn't make an encore. Hillary, in fact, didn't even manage to win the Democratic Nomination.
Instead it was Sen. Barack Obama and running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, who won the top honors.
Now for a while Usedcarsalesman was admittedly cautious about Senator Obama and his prospect of winning the highest elected office in the land. Even after Hillary's electoral demise, Usedcarsalesman actually visualized voting for Obama as a bit of a lost cause. You know, kind of like when Usedcarsalesman voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 and for the entire Peace and Freedom Party ticket in the '06 California elections. Or even when his parents voted for John Anderson in 1980.
Usedcarsalesman figured that any way he cut it, Obama would inevitably face elect-ability problems -- Though voters in urban centers would "get their heads around" both Obama's "funny name" and the fact that he wasn't Harry Truman's identical twin, rural voters -- namely undecided ones -- would ultimately turn up their noses.
Two things, however, changed Usedcarsalesman's perspective on Sen. Obama's viability as a successful Presidential candidate:
1) The Third Presidential Debate (10/19/08, 2 weeks from the general election): Obama flat out won this contest
From a purely technical stand-point, the first two Presidential debates looked like "ties" as far as Usedcarsalesman was concerned.
Usedcarsalesman, however, really needed to see Obama win a head-to-head debate vs. McCain, before he could say: Yes, Obama is truly a viable Presidential candidate! He's now a demonstrated, fast-on-his-feet winner in a head-to-head contest vs. his chief competitor. Now no reasonable "undecided voter" is going to close his or her mind to the concept of an Obama presidency.
2) Late in 2008, Wall Street took a nauseating dive on a variety of different fronts. Additionally, oil dropped well below $100 a barrel; This translated to significantly reduced per gallon prices at the pump. The result? Undecided voters probably found themselves thinking the following:
- "A Republican has occupied the White House for the last 8 years. Wall Street appears to be on life-support. My 401k is a 1/2 scale version of its former self. The Democrats weren't in charge in front of these problems. Perhaps I should vote there way this time?"
- Or, "sure I want McCain in charge if Iraq is out of control. He's a military type so he'd probably know how to handle things there I guess. But If Iraq is still in bad shape, why is 87 Regular only $2.60 a gallon at my local LA gas station? Things must be doing better in Iraq. As such, I don't see any real reason to vote for McCain. Maybe I'll check out the Democratic candidate with the funny name who's been getting all that attention lately."
(Note: Let it be known that Usedcarsalesman could lately imagine writing a fictional "story" about an ex-U.S. President with an office in NYC who -- by tapping a list of party supporters in key Wall Street positions -- managed to orchestrate a significant institutionally-led equity sell-off along with cascade of mergers between long-struggling investment firms and more stable retail banks, all just prior to a presidential election.
He could also imagine writing a fictional "story" in which that same ex-President managed to orchestrate an oil futures sell-off in a similarly politically timely manner.
Both of this fictional President's aforementioned orchestrations were originally designed to assist his fictional wife's Presidential campaign. But with his wife no longer on the campaign trail, this fictional President settled for using said orchestrations to assist his party's front-runner instead.
If, however, the previous fictional story idea has some basis in reality, Usedcarsalesman would gladly (figuratively) salute the Ex-President and his Party's commitment to an election victory).
When all is said and done, Usedcarsalesman now strongly believes that Obama has a serious shot at winning the Presidential election tomorrow. Usedcarsalesman donated a little money to the Obama/Biden campaign a few weeks ago and he will be up bright and early to cast his vote for their ticket.