I voted yesterday in Waco, Texas. In addition to the six or seven generic retired regulars I generally see when I cast my ballot during early voting, I also encountered (literally) scores of citizens seemingly unfamiliar with the venue and/or the system but, nevertheless, gleeful and anxious to participate in the carnival atmosphere. These were young people (likely college students) and many African Americans of all ages.

FYI: I arrived approximately ten minutes after the Elections Office opened for business. There were probably ten Obama supporters outside on the periphery of the parking lot enthusiastically waving signs for their candidate. There were no Republican counterparts.

What lesson do I draw from this scene? This election is over. While I don't think it possible that Barack Obama will take Texas--I look for him to do surprisingly well here. More importantly, look for a lot trouble down-ticket for Republicans (if not in Texas, in a lot of other surprising places).

Why is Obama going to do so well?

1. Give him some credit. He is an amazingly gifted candidate.

2. This is a very bad year for Republicans.

--Why so bad? Because Republicans ran a lousy war. Give Petraeus, Crocker, and Gates credit for saving our asses--but we were in a mess directly connected to Bush administration malfeasance.

--Why so bad? Because Republicans ran a lousy economy. We are ten trillion dollars in debt. We are TEN TRILLION DOLLARS in debt!!! We are $10,000,000,000,000.00 in debt. Forget about all the explanatory noise--Republicans did not lift a finger during their six years in control of Washington to place us on a path to economic sanity.

--Why so bad? Because the Republicans ran a lousy PR campaign. Some of the above could have been justified with the right amount of sincerity and finesse. But it wasn't.

3. Media Manipulation.

As Mark Salter complained the other day, the political reporters in this campaign have covered 2008 with a "thumb on the scale." They are fully invested in an Obama victory, and they are "blunting attacks against Obama even before the candidate can articulate a defense." These guys are in the tank to an extent unprecedented in modern American politics (for comparison sake, see the Washington Globe's coverage of Andrew Jackson circa 1832).

What do I mean? Some examples:

Candidate for president, Barack Obama, the forty-seven year-old, half-term senator from Illinois, is imminently qualified to transform America and the world. On the other hand, candidate for vice president, the forty-four year-old, half-term governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, is an embarrassment to all right-thinking citizens and proof that John McCain cannot be trusted.

Joe Biden (in reality, the most prolific human gaffe machine since Norm Crosby) is an eloquent and wise statesman of renown, who provides additional depth and understanding to the already exceptionally brilliant former editor of the Harvard Law Review--as if he needed such buttressing. On the other hand, Sarah Palin (who, in reality, has had one bad taped interview with an unfriendly edit) is the tongue-tied airhead with a penchant for mentioning beauty pageants and keeps saying, "I can see Russia from my house."

Barack Obama is his own man and a healer, likely to transcend the cruel racial and partisan divides that afflict our nation, distributing (not to be confused with re-distributing) love and friendship to all Americans. This is the dawning of the age of Obama.

John McCain is Bush redux, incapable of bucking his odious party and slavishly loyal to the discredited Republican orthodoxy. He was not always this way--and this is the tragic part of our tale-- but he sold his soul to the Devil (Karl Rove--who is, in fact, acting as the silent mastermind to his current campaign) in order to gain the presidency at any cost and quench his fierce and blinding ambition.

Barack Obama is the tax reformer who wants to ease the burden on 95 percent of Americans. Believe him. He could not say something like that if it were not true. John McCain, on the other hand, is erratic and consumed by his contempt for our young champion. Sadly, the erstwhile Maverick and operator of the once storied straight-talk express will say anything to get elected. This is all very dishonorable.

And so it goes. I could go on--but what's the point?

Okie Gardener: steak dinner in Cowtown? You're on. If you win, bring the kids and new members of the family. I will gladly pony up for a feast if you are right.