The 1976 presidential election between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter need in a dead heat. Time Magazine printed two covers, one announcing Carter's victory which was used, the other a "He Did It!" headline to go with the Ford upset win at the end.
Carter won by a nose, of course, and we have Iran on the brink possessing nuclear weapons as a result. But Republicans dismayed by the last week's trend in the polls towards Obama should recall that (1) that trend reversed already and is down to four points in the most recent Gallup tracking poll, and (2) the 34 days ahead are an eternity in politics.
Jimmy Carter closed his convention with a 33 point lead in 1976.
Ford's disastrous debate in which he declared Poland "free" occurred on October 6!
The electorate then was angry at Ford for pardoning Nixon and worried about a stagnant economy and the Georgia governor's inexperience. And still the race ended effectively tied. Carter took 23 states with 297 electoral votes, while Ford won 27 states and 240.
There are huge differences at work today though: Obama is not a conventional Democrat but from the far left edge of his party. Jimmy Carter had served in the Navy and had executive experience as a governor. Obama served as a community organizer and his only executiv eexperince comes from hispartnership with Bill Ayers at Chicago's Annenberg Challenge.
The Dems supporting Carter in 1976 were representatives of the party of JFK and Truman. Obama is bringing with him the forces of Kos and Michael Moore, and is partnered with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
John McCain has a wind in his face, but he had a much stronger one blowing at him a year ago when his campaign was broke and all but dead. McCain was given a gift by Nancy Pelosi on Monday when the House Speaker let her election season mask slip and let rip with a snarl that startled even her allies in the House and signaled that the would be Triumvers of Obama, Reid and Pelosi will not be reaching across the aisle if Obama makes it to 1600.
Four points down with 34 days and three debates to go against the hardest left nominee in history. If you had told John McCain that was his choice last summer, he'd have taken it in a second, and with very good reason.