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THE PIT OF MY STOMACH….Democrats sure are a bunch of nervous nellies, aren’t they? And hey — I admit that I’ve gotten up a couple of times this week with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach too. Obama’s poll lead is shrinking. The convention has been sort of a fizzle so far. The media is obsessed with the hundred or so PUMA dead enders screaming in the streets of Denver. And John McCain’s campaign of junior high school character assassination seems to be working pretty well.

But look. There’s a reason I blog with my fingers, not with the pit of my stomach, and the fundamentals of the race really haven’t changed that much. After four weeks of nonstop attacks from the McCain machine Obama is still a couple of points ahead in the polls with plenty of time left until election day. He hasn’t raised as much money as he’d hoped, but he’s still outraising McCain by a sizeable margin. Over the course of the campaign I think Joe Biden is going to be a surprisingly strong asset. In order to avoid a complete implosion in Congress the GOP is going to be forced to spend a ton of money it doesn’t have on Senate and House races. I continue to believe that Obama will start running a much tougher and more focused campaign after Labor Day. His ground operation is going to be superlative (something that doesn’t show up in the polls). And Obama is still, regardless of how McCain’s troupe of gleeful attack poodles spins it, a charismatic and appealing candidate almost oozing with good sense and good judgment.

And call me a goggle-eyed optimist (no, really, go ahead), but I still think that at some point the press is going to tire of McCain’s schtick. His slime is so patent, his pandering is so obvious, his lack of seriousness is so palpable, and his attacks are so transparent, that it just has to eventually get through to them. I’m well aware that history isn’t on my side here, but still I hope. These folks have to have a little pride, don’t they?

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