Chuck Spinney makes another call (updated)

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Six weeks ago, at the peak of the post-GOP convention bubble of enthusiasm about Sarah Palin, when John McCain was ahead in tracking polls and Barack Obama was buffeted by "Muslim" and "celebrity" and "elitist" attacks, Chuck Spinney, the former defense analyst, made a call that looks very good in retrospect. He said, in part:

"I am beginning to sense that McCain's behavior is destroying himself and that Obama has the good sense or instinct to take a deep step back and let McCain dig a hole so deep he can not get out....I have this vague sense that Obama's goal (maybe instinct is a better word) may be to create an atmosphere (perhaps by looking weak, inter alia)  that encourages McCain to reinforce this self destructive behavior and thereby make his hypocrisy obvious to a majority of the undecided voters."

 His full dispatch is quoted here. An earlier, very prescient call during the Obama-Hillary Clinton showdown in the primaries is here.

Here is his latest judgment, in an email:

How much do you want to bet the Sarah Palin won't replace Ted Stevens after being induced to run in a special election by "popular demand"?

I have learned not to bet against Chuck. This possibility is indeed interesting.

Update: As many readers have politely pointed out, this scenario depends on Stevens being re-elected one week from now, and then leaving or being forced from his seat to open a vacancy. The "being re-elected" part seems increasingly unlikely. Still, Spinney made the right, timely calls in the previous cases!


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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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