Monday, September 08, 2008

The MacGuffin

In order to flesh out a thriller he was making, Alfred Hitchcock employed what he called a "macguffin". A pointless, useless piece that advanced the narrative but in the end had little to nothing to do with the actual movie.

The classic example? The maltese falcon from the eponymous movie, where the real mystery is a) who killed Sam Spade's partner and b) will Spade and Brigid fall in love and what will Spade do to keep her out of jail? The bird is a distraction.

Come the MacGuffin for the 2008 election: Sarah Palin.

Undoubtedly, it was Palin's selection, along with her speech at the RNC, that catapulted McCain from also-ran into a temporary front runner status.

Said status will likely be crowed about by right wingers until, well, McCain crashed back to earth, which will likely happen a bit after this week's commemoration of Bush's greatest failure.

It will be interesting to see how Barack Obama ties Bush into 9/11. Clearly, he can't do it ON 9/11, but he can remind people about the August 6th PDB and the failure of "imagination" taht Condi Rice spoke of.

Now, back to the MacGuffin: Palin's boomlet is nothing more than that. A skyrocket that has burst and dazzled, but ultimately will fizzle out into burnt embers and the stale smell of gunpowder. Like Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland, California, there is no "there" there.

The pitfalls of trotting out your one trick pony is, indeed, the one trick becomes wearing and fast. You can't accuse Palin of fresh ideas, since she trots out the same tired bromides that Republicans have foisted for thirty years and failed with for the past eight.

So if it seems that it's no longer "McCain/Palin '08," it's because the Republicans are in a position where they have to milk her for all she's worth right now, in the hopes they can extend a lead going into October, when the surprises start to come down. After all, she's wholly responsible for this bounce, particularly amongst men.

It won't work. Palin doesn't have the gravitas to carry the election on her own, she can't bear her boobs on TV, and McCain's own appeal has drawn a blank among the electorate. All it will truly take to bury Palin in this election cycle is the revelation that she is nothing but "politics as usual" despite her reformer act.

Obama needs to focus on Bush, to draw the extension that McCain will just be a third term, and hammer away at that theme. This same poll indicated that fully 66% of voters are concerned that the Republican ticket will merely extend the Bush agenda another four years. That's an easy swing of 10% back to Obama as the fall unfolds, as we can assume that all 46% of his support in the polls feel this way.

Yea, he's four points behind, but that was to be expected after the RNC and in fact, I'm surprised the bounce was not higher.

In 2000, for example, heading into the DNC, Bush held an overwhelming 55-39 lead over Gore. After the DNC, Gore pulled even, 47-47. McCain swapped just five and a half points.

So while it's not great news for Obama at this early stage, it's not bad news. Fret not, liberals. We will win this thing yet.

UPDATE: The stoopid! It burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrns!

(I'm feeling the love from Memeorandum. Go show them some more.)