Much can happen between now and November, but after watching the debate last night, I think the election has become Obama's to lose. Palin did her job slowing the Obama/Biden, but McCain needed to win last night in his favorite "town hall" format to make up ground. He didn't. He said some good things and Obama misrepresented his leftism as usual, but the biggest thing I came away with wasn't a good line or a blatent lie, it was that Obama looked young and McCain looked old. I'm a political junkie, if that's what I came away with, I can only imagine what the average American with a 30 second political attention span thinks.
Is conservatism pretty much dead now in American politics? There was time after time last night when McCain just accepted the liberal premise of the questions and suggested big government solutions. I believe if we had a genuine conservative running who could articulate our positions and challenge the assumptions of the questioners and public at large, we'd be winning this election. Instead we have McCain letting Barry get away with calling health care a "right". If we're going to let liberals make up new rights that defy the actual concept of the "natural right" that America is based upon, what's the point of conservatives continuing to call the Republican Party home? What if McCain wins? How much better than Obama will that actually be? Sure it will put off America's participation in the slow decline of the West for another decade, but after that? Its inevitable without a strong conservative party. We'd be there right now if not for the Reagan 80's. If McCain can't challenge Obama on an issue as fundamental as the nature of rights, can we trust him to challenge Pelosi and Reid? Can we trust the Republicans in Congress? They just helped pass a decidedly nonconservative government bailout.
We need a seachange, no matter who wins this election. I feel that we've ceded back much of the ground we gained after Reagan's victory, and its our own fault. The conservative cause needs new, articulate, true believing, advocates. Neocons are valuable allies, but we've let them seize the Party, and the concept of economic libertarianism has suffered as a result. We can have thousands of bloggers and radio hosts advocating real conservatism, but until we get politicians actively promoting it to the public at large, we will continue to lose ground, even when we win.