Wednesday, October 29, 2008


i'm half convinced that governor ed rendell is playing the mccain campaign for a bunch of fools. by any measure, PA is now a safe blue state: it hasn't gone republican in 20 years. it has more than a million more registered democrats than republicans. vice presidential candidate joe biden is from scranton. the polls show obama with a comfortable 8-15% lead. although there was a brief period in mid-september when mccain was statistically tied with obama in the state, that was during mccain's post-convention bounce, a bounce that has completely evaporated nationwide. other than that week you have to go back to april to even find mccain within the margin of error.

and yet, mccain keeps treating this like a "swing state" that he has a chance of actually winning. the main reason seems to be that mccain really has no choice. he's losing a bunch of states that went for bush in 2004 and so he'll lose the election unless he picks up a kerry state. there aren't any kerry states where it's even close right now. pennsylvania at least has a lot of electoral votes. if you're in that situation, there is some logic behind pouring all your resources into turning one state with a lot of EVs instead of spreading it around among several smaller states. the problem is that there's little sign that mccain has any realistic chance of turning PA.

which is where rendell comes in. every article i read about how much PA is in play quotes rendell raising questions whether obama is sure to win here. rendell is known for running his mouth and making stupid statements now and then. but in this case, rendell has on many different occasions made similar remarks that suggest obama's win of PA is still an open question. for example, rendell said that he's "still a little nervous" and he's told the press that mccain is whittling away at obama's lead. recently rendell got a lot of press when he publicly asked that obama come back to the state just to make sure and that obama shouldn't take PA for granted. it's been happening too often and too consistently to just be another rendell gaffe. it seems more like a talking point he is intentionally trying to hit repeatedly. but if rendell really believed that obama were in trouble here, wouldn't he be making that point privately to the campaign rather than repeating "obama is in trouble in my state" to the press?

it really looks like mccain is being played. and it seems to be working too. mccain is dumping a lot of his dwindling resources into this state, a state i really don't think he can win. i can't help but wonder if rendell isn't laughing his ass off when the microphones aren't around.