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If John McCain pulls an upset, the world may gain one more grocery bagger

October 31, 2008 |  9:14 pm

After Tuesday, one way or the other, some pollsters and pundits will have some explaining to do.

It may be those who conducted surveys showing the presidential race tightening to a virtual dead heat in recent days.

Or it may be those in the larger group whose polls have shown Barack Obama comfortably ahead of John McCain, and whose focus has been on not whether the Democrat will win but by how much.

Charlie Cook, long one of Washington's most venerated political wonks, belongs firmly in the latter category.  In his latest column for the National Journal, he opines that McCain "probably can't win without divine intervention." In a tease to his subscription-only newsletter, he writes, "Since early September this race has shifted rather dramatically in Obama's favor. ... At this stage, the most relevant question would seem to be: 'How big will the train wreck be for the Republican Party up and down the ballot in November.' "

But let's give Cook this -- if need be, he's prepared to eat crow, big time.

During a Friday evening appearance on MSNBC, he had this to say about how he would come to grips with a McCain come-from-behind victory: "I'm going to be asking, 'Paper or plastic.' Or, 'Do you want fries with that.' "

Others might similarly need to contemplate a career change.

-- Don Frederick