The streamers are out and the balloons are being filled; some campaign staffers have even started uncorking the champagne. "We're trying not to get ahead of ourselves, but it's hard not to be giddy," said campaign volunteer Rick Monroe. "That's why we're only celebrating at one of the more modest ranches," he said, referring to the McCain family's six house ranch outside of Phoenix. "We don't want to jinx ourselves."
That kind of guarded optimism seems to have spread throughout the entire campaign today, all the way from it's head quarters in Arizona to the staffers on the ground with Senator McCain in Hempstead N.Y., where he is readying for his final debate with his opponent, Senator Barack Obama. The event is being heralded as the final nail in the coffin for what at some points seemed like a long, arduous funeral march.
"It got tough there for a while," said McCain campaign advisor Steve Schmidt. "We actually got that bump in popularity from Palin when we first announced her, that took us all by surprise. Luckily people realized what we were up to when we got her out there and talking, so things bottomed out again."
The debate tonight is being viewed by many as the capper in the most successful Republican effort ever to alienate any possible voter with even the most minor of mental capacity. "They've essentially boiled it down to their absolute core base, what we call the Clampet Block - basically voters who are so afraid of change that most of them still use outhouses" said Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist and former McCain campaign advisor.
"In my opinion, John McCain will go down as the greatest Republican hero since Ronald Reagan," Schmidt said. "Who wanted to win this one, honestly? Over the last eight years we've decimated the economy, and even if we somehow manage to find Henry Paulson's magic bullet and pull our shit together, we've still got that billion dollar a day Iraqi quagmire and the ass raping gas prices to deal with. We've done such an amazing job with this campaign, we're going to lose so hard, none of the shit that goes down in the next eight years is going to be tied to the G.O.P. Did you hear we might lose our senate seat in Kentucky? Kentucky!"
He paused to slurp down another oyster, and toss it's shell onto his ever growing pile.
"With the heaping mess we've left the Democrats, and the unimaginable ways they'll fuck it up over the next four years, the rest of this century is going to be a cake walk for us."
Schmidt took one more look over the chanting crowd gathered at Hofstra University. The one singular McCain Palin sign holder was slowly losing her footing to the man behind her with a giant "O8" sign.
"Fuck it, I'm good at this."