1. Our Ralph had a couple of minor strokes that don’t seem to have had any permanent effect on him. Apparently he had one in the middle of our conference and carried on with perfect hospitality for the rest of the day. I got an email from him this morning full of vertical and horizontal Ralphism, and so his singular brain is operating the way it always has.

2. Doesn’t Sandy seem like a very friendly and even touching name for the very singular storm? (One of Springsteen’s best, early, Dylanesque songs is about a Sandy.) It’s inappropriate but unavoidable to ask whether the president’s statesmanlike reaction to all the rather unprecedented devastation will give him the slight bump he needs. Certainly CNN is all over that possibility—Obama vs. Bush (Katrina), Romney would close down or localize or privatize FEMA!, there really is global warming and look what it did! (and so Romney was wrong to mock the president concerning his promised power over the seas), and the two forceful can-do guys Barack Obama and Chris Christie have bonded!

3. I agree with Kate below that the polls might not be picking up the evangelical mobilization and turnout. I hesitate to add that evangelical vote isn’t quite what it was even four years ago.

4. I really enjoyed and learned from all the comments in the threads about the election and such. That doesn’t mean I’m any less clueless about what’s going to happen. We could get encouraged about a Romney surge in Wisconsin or Michigan. Or we could say that all the midwestern maybes will probably fall just short. All this talk about the popular vote vs. electoral vote does give people in non-battleground states a new incentive to vote.

5. I’ve gotten a couple of emails saying Pete is exactly right below on the “restrained” and only case for Romney. (If i said that in my own name I might be accused again of “Pete-o-philia.”) On the judicial activism, “religious liberty” front, he might not make things much better, but he won’t deliberately make things worse.

UPDATE: Here are the Springsteen lyrics, which include only one clunker line.

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