One week from today, we the people will decide history. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
Eva Lott, who lives in Charleston, South Carolina, sent this e-mail to me: "Bill, I'm curious. If, as we've been told, George Bush is such a bad president, who are they poll numbers so close?"
Well, that's an excellent and pithy question, Eva. If not for Iraq, President Bush would win the election easily, I believe. Americans generally like the president and appreciate his work after 9/11. The economy is rebounding, and socially most Americans agree with the president's traditional values.
So Mr. Bush has a strong base of Americans who are willing to forgive the mistakes in Iraq and some other misfires because they realize every president has made errors in judgment, and they generally like the tone of the Bush administration.
No matter what happens next Tuesday, President Bush will get close to 50 percent of the vote, I predict.
Those Americans not voting for Bush fall into two categories, generally speaking. The first are liberal thinkers who want a progressive society, something that will never happen under a conservative like George W. Bush, and, secondly, millions of Americans believe the Iraq situation is so fouled up that someone new should be in charge.
"Talking Points" wants to emphasize that this election is more about President Bush than the challenger John Kerry, who remains undefined to many people. If the president wins reelection, it will be because of who he is. If he loses, it will be because of what has happened during his tenure.
Thus, Mr. Bush is really running against himself. You either believe in the man or you don't.
Now I've always been appalled at the Bush haters. There's no logic behind hating that man. He was faced with problems no other president has ever faced: a stateless enemy bent on killing Americans for no reason and an apathetic world which routinely accepts terrorism. Many nations are simply toocowardly to confront him.
So that's why, Eva, President Bush could very well win come next Tuesday. Many Americans believe in him and what he stands for. We will find out just how many... in seven days.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) is out campaigning for Republicans in his state, and, yesterday, he said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: My kids brought home a beautiful pumpkin, but, you know something, I'm going to return it because it's a Democratic pumpkin. Yes, it's true. I mean, it has this orange color of John Kerry's tan, and it has the roundness of Teddy Kennedy. So I'm going to send it back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Well, that could be ridiculous, and maybe no Thanksgiving for Arnold at Hyannisport this year. Is Teddy Kennedy round?