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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Rhetorical Enchantment

The latest, and perhaps last, gimmick of the McCain-Palin campaign is to “guarantee” victory. Here’s how John McCain put it on Meet the Press yesterday:

“I guarantee you that two weeks from now, you will see this has been a very close race, and I believe that I’m going to win it,” McCain told interim “Meet” moderator Tom Brokaw. “We’re going to do well in this campaign, my friend. We’re going to win it, and it’s going to be tight, and we’re going to be up late.”

This made a little more sense when Sarah Palin uttered the same guarantee last week. After all, she was in Beaver County, PA, home to Joe Namath, whose 1969 Super Bowl victory “guarantee” was an almost mandatory local reference.
Presumably, these candidates are trying to keep their supporters from despairing at the general signs (phony claims of “tightening race” notwithstanding) that Barack Obama is cruising towards a comfortable if not necessarily overwhelming win next Tuesday. Perhaps it will help build a floor under their vote levels and keep things respectable both at the top of and down the ballot. But there’s only so much that can be accomplished by enthusiasm and optimism. McCain-Palin supporters only get to vote once. And it’s likely there just aren’t enough of them to redeem McCain and Palin’s efforts at rhetorical enchantment.

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