You would have to be a fool to try to predict the outcome of next Tuesday's election. So, let me try.
I predict that Mark Pocan will be our next congressman, that Scott McDonell will be the next county clerk, and that Fred Risser will easily win reelection.
What? You expected more?
Okay. I'm going with President Obama and Tammy Baldwin
If I was right the other day when I wrote that Hurricane Sandy could decide the outcome of the presidential race, than Obama should win. Chris Christie has certified the victory. In a disaster as massive as Sandy, a lot can go wrong that could play into the hands of the challenger. But when the Republican governor of the state hardest hit by the storm effusively praised the president, that was the end of the game.
On top of that, the most recent Marquette Law School poll gives Obama a comfortable, if not spectacular, lead in Wisconsin, a state not impacted by Sandy. Even if the national popular vote tally remains close, it's getting harder to see how Romney puts together the Electoral College numbers to win. (The Electoral College should be abolished, but that's for another day.)
What's more remarkable is Tammy Baldwin. Wisconsin is poised to elect not just its first woman U.S. Senator, but one who is openly liberal (even if she shies from the word) and gay. It tells you something about American politics that you can now safely proclaim yourself gay, but not liberal.
If she pulls this off, she will have defeated a four-term governor and quintessential Wisconsin guy.
How did she get to this point?
First, Tommy had to reinvent himself as crazy to make it through the Republican primary. It was a long way back to sanity in the general election campaign, and he didn't arrive on time.
Second, Tommy had no money after the primary, which left Tammy free to essentially swift-boat him in August and September. Just as George W. Bush beat John Kerry in August of 2004 by defining him before he defined himself, Tammy pummeled Tommy with negative ads portraying him (with at least some accuracy) as not being for us anymore. She kept true to that message with great discipline.
Third, Tommy was off his game. He's not used to running from behind and he probably expected a coronation. His frustration and anger showed. I'm not sure how much these debates mattered, but Tommy came off as a bully and an inarticulate one at that. This could not have played well with women or sensitive, New Age guys such as myself.
Of course, I could be wrong. When the Romney transition team starts work on Wednesday, and Tommy goes to Washington to measure his office windows for drapes, you can say I was dreaming.
Well, I am dreaming. But only four days out now I think there's a better than even chance that these dreams will come true.