I had a feeling of foreboding Friday, and it wasn't just Halloween. I vividly remember that this was the day in 2004 when the Osama bin Laden tape was released, and it was immediately clear it would hurt John Kerry; the question was how much. Of course many other factors played a role in his loss the following Tuesday, but he had momentum going into that last weekend, and he lost it trying to figure out how to respond.
Friday's over, but it's still hard for so many Democrats to breathe easily. Sure, the race in this last weekend is being contested on red-state turf (except for Pennsylvania and New Hampshire) but it won't be over for many of us until it's really over. The nasty GOP campaign doesn't seem to be working, but it ain't over till it's over. I talk about these closing days of the campaign in my Current video this week (text continues below.)
Why am I still nervous? I don't really think John McCain's crazy socialist charge is working, but I see it the way Michael Lind does: another kind of racial coding, all about the way Barack Obama would give your money to those people, and that could shake the white working-class people who are belatedly warming to Obama. It's such an outrageous charge: Obama was arguably a more moderate candidate than Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich during the Democratic primary; why is he the only one called a socialist? It's hard not to think it's because he's the only one who's black.
Sarah Palin continues to display her ignorance on the campaign trail, blathering about how journalists' criticisms are infringing her First Amendment rights. She's just accelerating the trend of Republicans endorsing Obama; Friday it was Reagan chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein. Even former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who still supports McCain, pronounced Palin unqualified today. She's clearly a drag on the GOP ticket, which seems to be circling the drain.
It could be a long weekend, but we'll be here with you the whole time, with breaking news and analysis of all the last-minute campaigning. Stay tuned here, and drop in at Open Salon if you find yourself wanting to cover this historic campaign yourself.