An exercise for the politically bored

For purposes of this exercise, let me pose a working definition of the modern “miracle”. This one doesn’t require a suspension of the laws of nature, just a suspension of cynical fatalism about the future:

Miracles are those unexpected, benign rescues, turning points or transformations that seem like the answer to a prayer, but are so highly improbable that they eerily locate themselves outside the realm of mundane luck.

Political miracles are always difficult to recognize because, inevitably, lots and lots of decent minded people are earnestly praying for two utterly inconsistent outcomes. It takes the reflective distance of history and a godlike perspective to figure out which outcome was or would have been better.

In a sense, the political rise of Barack Obama was miraculous, all things considered, but his election to POTUS would not be. Recall that miracles are “so highly improbable that they eerily locate themselves outside the realm of mundane luck”. Obama’s campaign is one of those well planned, super-funded and brilliantly executed efforts that, in his case, has succeeded beyond all expectations: By any measure, Barack Obama is on the very precipice of a resounding victory. A likely outcome is not a miracle.


Given those circumstances, here is my list of the First Five Miracles:

  1. Obama, as president, defies expectations and tacks resolutely to the pro-life side of the abortion dispute, opposing – even vetoing – any newly proposed repeal of the partial birth abortion ban.
    1. Obama, as president, defies expectations and tacks resolutely to the pro-free speech side of the dispute, blocking – even vetoing – the selective application of the so called fairness doctrine to conservative talk radio.
  2. Obama, as president, defies expectations and tacks resolutely to the anti-jihad side, drawing a line in the sand against militant Iranian adventurism and Hezbollah’s terrorist agenda.

  3. Obama, as president, defies expectations and tacks resolutely to the pro-Israel side, promising to destroy any regime or terrorist subgroup that launches a deadly attack on our most steadfast ally in the Middle East.

  4. McCain comes from behind and wins the general election this Tuesday.


Anyone who attempts to predict anything of a political nature, needs to cultivate humility. To err, after all, is the lot of the amateur prophet.

I posted these predictions on September 3, 2008.


“Even exit polls aren’t perfect. Those who talk to pollsters after just having voted are more likely to be partisans. The non partisans are less inclined to talk. Recall President Bush’s win against John Kerry where network pollsters were misled during the voting to expect a democratic win.

“The overriding problem is that a significant block of voters can and do make their final decision, especially in a close race, at the last possible minute. This is particularly true when a voter is leaning to a candidate nominated by his or her same party, but harbors misgivings.

“Polls show that roughly the same number of voters in each party are firmly behind their nominee. This means that a significant number of voters in each party are up for grabs. Right now it appears that about 40% of the voters are essentially committed to Obama and 40% to McCain, plus or minus 2%. Yes, this is a crude estimate, but it means that the election will be decided by about 20% of the voters, roughly half of whom will make up their minds in the last few days, many even on the last hours, and some only in the privacy of the polling booth at the last minute.”

NOW I SAY (cautiously and humbly):

A distinct trend is in play – Obama, though still in the lead, is losing support and the gap between the two candidates is closing to within the margin of error.


“There is always movement in the last week or so of the campaign. Sometimes it merely cuts into a large lead, sometimes it reverses the outcome.

“I am now willing to make three predictions:

(1) Unless and until Obama gets a durable breakout lead (something exceeding 5%) within a couple weeks following the republican convention, this race will be a toss up in early October.

(2) If the candidates are very close (within a couple of points of each other) in the last week of October, Obama will almost certainly lose.

(3) Even if Obama is ahead by only 4 points going into the last few days of the election, Obama will lose unless somehow he is gaining momentum at that point.

“I make these predictions on the basis that Obama probably has peaked. If that assessment is true, time is his enemy.”


All of the major polls show a trend in McCain’s favor, but few of them as yet evidence a trend slope so steep that Obama’s commanding lead will likely evaporate in just 60 hours. THAT would take a miracle.

Here are my favorite three polls at the moment:


IBD TIPP OB 47.7 Mac 43.4 Undecided 8.7

ZOGBY: OB 49.1 Mac 44.1 Undecided 6.8

RASMUSSEN OB 51 Mac 46 (omits or allocates undecided)


From Zogby:

“Almost two days worth of the polling — or about half of the current sample in the three-day rolling poll of likely voters nationwide, was conducted after Obama’s 30-minute commercial aired Wednesday evening. There is no evidence it helped him, as he has dropped 1.1 points in the last two days, while McCain has gained 0.8 points during the same period.

“The three-day average holds steady, but McCain outpolled Obama today, 48% to 47%. He is beginning to cut into Obama’s lead among independents, is now leading among blue collar voters, has strengthened his lead among investors and among men, and is walloping Obama among NASCAR voters. Joe the Plumber may get his license after all. “Obama’s lead among women declined, and it looks like it is occurring because McCain is solidifying the support of conservative women, which is something we saw last time McCain picked up in the polls. If McCain has a good day tomorrow, we will eliminate Obama’s good day three days ago, and we could really see some tightening in this rolling average. But for now, hold on.”

From Rasmussen:

“Not surprisingly, the number of persuadable voters has declined sharply as Election Day draws near. Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters say they are certain they will vote for Obama and won’t change their mind. Forty-three percent (43%) say the same about McCain. Six percent (6%) have a preference for one of the major party candidates but could change their mind, 2% plan to vote for a third party option and 2% remain undecided.

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of Obama’s tax cut promise to his current lead in the polls. Thirty-one percent (31%) of voters now believe that their taxes will go down if Obama is elected. Only 11% believe that will happen if McCain wins.”


  1. During the first term of the new president, your taxes will go down and stay down.

  2. The national mediacrats will become ideologically evenhanded and non partisan.

  3. Our country will not be engaged in any major military activity.

  4. American industrial manufacturing will grow.

  5. You will be happily voting for the same candidate in the 2011 presidential election that you now favor in 2008.


Don’t worry. Be happy….


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