Every liberal I know in DC is busy warning every other liberal I know in DC that liberals are too overconfident of our chances in November, direly issuing statements about John McCain’s strengths as a candidate and Barack Obama’s fatal weaknesses. John Judis has always led the charge of pessimism, but near as I can tell the alleged overconfident attitude doesn’t have any adherents, and the “everyone is being overconfident” view is actually universal and utterly dominant.
I’ll stand up for overconfidence. Elections are mostly determined by the fundamentals, and the fundamentals are against McCain. On top of that, Democrats have the more charismatic nominee. I look at national polling that shows Obama in a 45–45 tie with McCain, which is a very bad result for a de facto incumbent, and a terrible result for someone facing such a favorable campaign dynamic. We are, right now, at this very moment, witnessing the peak of McCain’s electoral stock — a time when Hillary Clinton is beating up Obama on a daily basis, and virtually no Americans have been exposed to the Democrats’ anti-McCain messaging. Anything can happen, in principle, but if someone forced you to make an even odds bet on the outcome of this election, I don’t think there can be any serious debate about what the smart play is.