Sure he started slow, but I think you really have to say, Bush did a pretty good job Thursday night. No, wait, that’s not fair. I’ll go farther. He was fantastic. Really, he did about as great a job as a human being, made in the image of the almighty God could possibly have done. And given that I think it’s safe to say that if you were watching the big show, and you were an undecided voter, and you were open to Bush and the case for his reelection, you’re gonna be swayed by what you just saw. Which means great news for Bush, right?
So where does all that leave us? Bush has now taken his best shot. He was incredible! He walked into Madison Square Garden with all the conviction and charisma of a caucasian Martin Luther King, Jr., the charm, vision, and confidence of a born again Isaac Asimov, and yes, the flawless comic timing of an older yet wiser Jeff “you might be a redneck if…” Foxworthy. Wow!
But what if, come two weeks from now, this thing is still all tied up? I ask because that’s pretty much what big-time pollster John Zogby expects. Tonight Zogby released a new poll that was taken through the course of this week — so that’s after 24/7 swift boat coverage, and during the wall-to-wall Kerry bashing. You may hear a lot on Friday about how Bush/Cheney took a big leap forward in this poll, and it’s true. They went up a few. Kerry/Edwards went down a few. And the result? Bush/Cheney is now up by all of 2 points. In a poll with a margin of error of 3.2 +/-. In other words, it’s a tie.
And in the coming weeks? Here’s what Zogby expects to see:
…the battle is now engaged. I have written before about the metaphor of the bouncing rubber ball. Take a rubber ball and bounce it as hard as you can. Then, the laws of physics take over. The President has gotten three preceding bounces — each one shorter in height and duration. I think this week is the fourth bounce of the ball: this time only into the higher forties and perhaps only lasting a week or so.
OK. So if Bush just gave the best speech of his life, and if Zogby ends up right and two weeks from now Bush/Cheney are still below 50%… what then?
To paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy: If you find yourself polling under 50% on September 15th, you might be a one-term president.