"I'd hate to have us responsible for putting Obie in the big house," wrote Ken Davenport in reaction to a top analyst's prediction that Colorado may become the Florida of 2008. My reply to Ken was that I think the forecast by Stuart Rothenberg is spot on. If McCain wins the entire south, the entire midwest except the five upper states that Obama will probably take (MN, IA, MI, IL, WI), and the entire west except the coast (which Obama has in the bag) and except Colorado and NM, that will get McCain to 265 electoral votes. 270 are needed to win. McCain has to hold on to Florida, Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and Nevada, plus take either Colorado or New Mexico to win. He will probably lose NM, leaving Colorado as the swing state. Think back over all the chicanery, all the back-stabbing by "moderates" against normal, healthy, courageous people just like Sarah Palin, all the missed opportunity, all the perfidious leadership, all the adultery, all the lying, all the other general moral confusion, and all the spinelessness and lack of any kind of consistent conviction or character by Republicans in Colorado over the last 10 years - all of it done because they thought nobody was watching, nobody could hold them accountable because they were rich and influential and famous, it would help their short-term political prospects and not really harm anything, they told themselves, even as it turned the political complexion of Colorado's legislature, governor's mansion, and congressional delegation exactly upside-down in terms of party composition and virtually destroyed GOP spirit and cohesion throughout the state. Now the White House and the political fortunes of the nation and, by extension, the world could ride on the ability of the Colorado GOP to hold the state for the GOP presidential candidate.
This is what Reagan meant when he said that character is built by a thousand little decisions made every day when nobody is watching and nobody is holding you accountable. The future fortunes of political parties and nations, to say nothing of families and individuals and eventually the entire world, ride on the choices of individual men and women, especially those holding government power, to know and do what is right in the present, even when nobody's watching and even when everybody is watching and it's not popular.