First she’s up. Then she’s down. Now Gov. Gregoire is back on top again in the latest SurveyUSA poll. And as Darryl has pointed out, Washington isn’t the only state that has seen a similar pattern in its gubernatorial race in the weeks following the national conventions.
Darryl attributes Rossi’s recent rise to a now fading “Republican Awakening;” others have dubbed it a “Palin Surge.” But I think it’s starting to look more like a “Republican Bubble,” and as we’re repeatedly reminded, often quite painfully, bubbles have a tendency to pop.
At least, that’s what it looks like according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll which finds Obama up nationally by a 52% to 43% margin, an 11-point swing from McCain’s 49-47 lead in the days following the Republican convention. Pop!
And what has led to such a dramatic swing in public opinion?
Just 9 percent of those surveyed rated the economy as good or excellent, the first time that number has been in single digits since the days just before the 1992 election. Just 14 percent said the country is heading in the right direction, equaling the record low on that question in polls dating back to 1973.
More voters trust Obama to deal with the economy, and he currently has a big edge as the candidate who is more in tune with the economic problems Americans now face. He also has a double-digit advantage on handling the current problems on Wall Street, and as a result, there has been a rise in his overall support.
McCain’s initial reaction to the financial meltdown was both baffling and befuddled, leading even conservative columnist George Will to question whether the senator has a temperament suited to the presidency. And McCain’s ham-fisted effort to pound a tenuous connection between Barack Obama and failed mortgage giant Fannie Mae’s former CEO Franklin Raines (apparently, they’re both black) is about to blow up in his face, with news that McCain’s own campaign manager has been on Freddie Mac’s payroll through the end of last month!
Since 2006, the federally sponsored mortgage giant Freddie Mac has paid at least $345,000 to the lobbying and consulting firm of John McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement.
Freddie Mac had previously paid an advocacy group run by Davis, called the Homeownership Alliance, $30,000 a month until the end of 2005, when that group was dissolved. That relationship was the subject of a New York Times story Monday, which drew angry denunciations from the McCain campaign. McCain and his aides have vehemently objected to suggestions that Davis has ties to Freddie Mac—an especially sensitive issue given that the Republican presidential candidate has blamed “the lobbyists, politicians and bureaucrats” for the mortgage crisis that recently prompted the Bush administration to take over both Freddie Mac and its companion, Fannie Mae, and put them under federal conservatorship.
But neither the Times story—nor the McCain campaign—revealed that Davis’s lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, based in Washington, D.C., continued to receive $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac until last month—long after the Homeownership Alliance had been terminated. The two sources, who requested anonymity discussing sensitive information, told NEWSWEEK that Davis himself approached Freddie Mac in 2006 and asked for a new consulting arrangement that would allow his firm to continue to be paid. The arrangement was approved by Hollis McLoughlin, Freddie Mac’s senior vice president for external relations, because “he [Davis] was John McCain’s campaign manager and it was felt you couldn’t say no,” said one of the sources.
Huh. I guess McCain should have talked to Davis before angrily denying that he had anything to do with Freddie Mac.
When asked about his own campaign manager’s associations with the mortgage giants, McCain, in an interview with CNBC on Sunday night, said that Davis “has had nothing to do” with the Homeownship Alliance since it disbanded and “I’ll be glad to have his record examined by anybody who wants to look at it.”
Or maybe, McCain and Davis were just plain lying?
Davis, in a conference call arranged by the McCain campaign Monday, said, “It’s been over three years since there’s been any activity in this area and since I had any contact with those folks.”
You know, except for his consulting firm cashing their checks. (Only in DC would being paid for doing nothing be advertised as evidence of ethical absolution.)
Many have attributed the recent Republican Bubble to Sarah Palin, whose nomination undoubtedly energized the far-right Republican base, but I’d worried that much of the bounce was due to the surprising success of McCain’s facially ridiculous attempt to rebrand himself as a Beltway outsider dedicated to bringing sweeping change to our nation’s capital. Well, if so, that success now appears to have been momentary.
As one of the Senate’s most fervent free traders and deregulators, McCain’s fingerprints are all over this financial mess, and he has surrounded himself with lobbyists who have enriched themselves on behalf of many of the failed companies now seeking a trillion dollar taxpayer funded bailout. It is hard to imagine how the coverage gets any better for McCain from now through the election.
Meanwhile, one of Obama’s greatest weaknesses during the primary—the notion that he was a usurper with untested loyalties going up against a party stalwart like Hillary Clinton—may prove to be a great strength with independent voters trying to sort out who they can best trust to handle this crisis while protecting the interests of average Americans. Perhaps I underestimate the power of images, but I just don’t think that ads showing that both Obama and Raines are black, and that they may have met each other once or twice, are enough to convince voters to pin the blame on the donkey.