Well, it's almost that time.
After 342 months of campaigning, (give or take), the billion dollar, full Broadway production of the 2008 U.S. Election Campaign hits the stage for it's one and only performance tomorrow.
Advance poll totals suggest that as many as one-third of voters have already cast their ballot, a 22% increase from last election. A sign that American voters, who have just managed to top the 50% turnout mark since 1972, have a sense of the enormity of the choice before them.
As per usual in close races, the dysfunction that seems endemic in the US electoral vote counting system may raise it's head. Problem voting machines and allegedly corrupt touch screen monitors could again make this an election result that will be fought for days or weeks to come. Well, they've only been doing this since 1789 - it takes a while to work the bugs out.
I gotta say that I am an Obama guy. Yeah, in this world where it's uber cool to be jaded and cynical I do like his whole "message of hope thang" and his campaign platform to back it up is about as 3-D as any platform a non-incumbent federal leader can have.
I am not concerned so much about the lack of experience. The one nice thing about the U.S. system is that you don't have to rely on the assorted boobs and malcontents that voters send your way to create a cabinet. Need some strengthening in the foreign policy area ? Well, the President can pick up the phone (even at 3 a.m. !) and call out to the best foreign policy people living in the U.S. and bring them on board.
The one big weakness I would say is the potential for let down. From generations of middle east leaders to Viktor Yushchenko the political landscape is littered with the crumpled banners and coloured scarves from once heroic and celebrated political figures that were going to change the world, or at very least their corner of it.
I think that Obama is smart enough to know his weaknesses and to realize the extra weight he carries as a result of both selling a campaign using the "h" word and being the first black man elected to the office. The potential for letdown is huge but if he can carry forward some of the fervour he has created in communities across the U.S. , something that seems more than just your basic election fever, he can do something great.
Whatever the outcome it has certainly been a campaign for the ages and I am looking forward to tomorrow night's final performance. See you after the final curtain call !