Having softened up the Mountain State with the bleed over of media buys in its border neighbors, the Obama campaign now sees an opportunity to bring it back into the Democratic column by mounting a direct assault. This is bad, though not surprising news for the McCain camp. This indicates Obama (A) believes victory in West Virginia is now within reach and (B) has the resources to spare to turn it blue on the electoral map. This is troubling for McCain for several reasons. First, though Democrats enjoy a nearly two-to-one advantage over Republicans among registered voters, West Virginia is a culturally conservative, pro-military, pro-life, highly patriotic, working class state. It is populated by hard working men and women similar to those in Pennsylvania that Senator Obama condescendingly characterized as clinging to their guns and religion. That cultural conservatism along with a deep seeded fondness for former President Clinton - is the foundation on which Hillary Clinton built her primary victory; in the process handing Senator Obama his worst defeat of the primary season in a humiliating 67 to 26 percent drubbing. In addition to this, there has been a growing sense over the past two presidential cycles that the national Democratic Party and its nominees have been increasingly out-of-touch with and even economically dangerous for West Virginia. With Republicans portraying Al Gore as being anti-gun and anti-coal and John Kerry as anti-military and unpatriotic, the state voted for Bush not once, but twice. Taken in conjunction with this years Democratic primary results, conventional wisdom colored the Mountain State a strong and deep shade of red. The cultural topography and recent presidential history both strongly favor McCain. Yet, with the Real Clear Politics average placing his lead at a statistically insignificant 1.5 percent, there are ominous electoral storm clouds bearing down on the Republican nominees presidential prospects. McCain should be handily and easily winning West Virginia. It, along with Virginia, should be the frontline between the blue of the traditionally Democratic northeast and the red of the stalwartly Republican south. However, with Obama leading in the Old Dominion by 8.6 percent the eastern half of McCains southern frontline defenses has collapsed. Meanwhile, Obama is surging out of Pennsylvania with a 13.6 percent advantage while Ohio has already succumbed to the Democrats juggernaut, giving him a 3.4 percent lead over his Republican rival. Thus, West Virginia now teeters precariously on the verge of being overrun by Obamas smashing pincer movement and imminent media assault. In the electoral version of Risk that the presidential campaign has become, the blue armies of the Democrats are driving mercilessly on the collapsing red defenses of the Republicans. While Obama has ample financial resources to commit to an assault on West Virginia, McCain lacks sufficient reserves to mount anything more than a token defense of the states five electoral votes. While the McCain camp may seek to rally its troops by incorporating a brief appearance by the Senator or Governor Palin in conjunction with a stop in one of its more electorally significant neighbors, the regional and state trends suggest it will cede the high ground of the Mountain State; opting to regroup elsewhere and commit its reserves in more easily defensible and electorally significant states. That being the case, should West Virginia succumb, the fallback position for McCains southern defenses becomes Kentucky and North Carolina. Though the Republican enjoys a commanding 14.8 percent lead in the Blue Grass State, Obama has edged into a 1.2 percent advantage among Tar Heel voters. As red states begin to shift to murky purple hues, one wonders how McCain can mount a successful counteroffensive with dwindling reserves and little time and seize victory from the merciless jaws of defeat. Remember, politics is war without bloodshed, faithful readers. Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and the shells thunder across your televisions and radios.