After all the buildup and media frenzy over the Vice-Presidential debate, what event on Thursday will end up having more significance for the election, now just 33 days away: Sarah Palin's ability to exceed possibly the lowest expectations ever set for a candidate, or the McCain campaign's decision to abandon Michigan?
I say Michigan. Press reports suggest that the declining economy, which has hit Michigan harder than most states, convinced McCain's campaign strategists that their chances for swinging the state red are minimal. Friday's first economic indicator data point of the day just reinforces the point.
Nonfarm payrolls, which are calculated by a survey of establishments, tumbled 159,000 in September, the Labor Department said Friday, the sharpest decline since March 2003.
The unemployment rate remained at 6.1 percent.
I submit that one reason why the snap polls on CNN and CBS showed Joe Biden winning the debate handily is that no matter how well Sarah Palin memorized her talking points, her message just isn't what Americans in a flailing economy want to hear. At least twice, Palin told us how a McCain/Palin administration would get the government "out of the way" of the American people. But what voters appear to want to hear in Michigan in the fall of 2008 is how government is going to help them, not how it is part of the problem.