AS I LOOK OUT AT THE SEA OF OBAMA SIGNS in my neighborhood and in the neighborhoods I drive through each day in the Twin Cities, I get the same sinking feeling I get every four years. Once again, my vote for the Republican presidential ticket will be for naught. Don't get me wrong. Unlike Al Gore, I'm not down on the winner-take-all rules of the Electoral College process. In close elections, I think it's the best way to give presidents -- especially new presidents -- some momentum and leverage when they start their terms. ¶ But being a Minnesota Republican in a presidential election year is a little like being a Cubs fan. OK, not that bad. The last time Minnesota's 10 electoral votes went to a Republican candidate was in 1972. The Cubs haven't won the World Series since 1908. My guess is voting for Nixon in '72 put such a bad taste in Minnesotans' mouths that we're still not over it 36 years later. ¶ In virtually every poll, Barack Obama is up by 10 points in Minnesota. As a conservative, I've never trusted the Star Tribune's poll, but even the more conservative polls have John McCain behind. I was hoping things would start turning around when my candidate held rallies in Lakeville, but the only national press McCain received was the video of him ripping the microphone from that crazy woman who thinks Obama is an Arab. ¶ So, why do I beat my head against the wall even though our 10 electoral votes are probably heading Obama's way? Here's why: In every speech and in all three debates, Obama has continued to assert that 95 percent of households will receive a tax cut. But this is not truthful, because 30 percent of American households don't pay income taxes. What he's really promising is a redistribution check (welfare) from the government. So why doesn't he just call it that?

He's being extremely disingenuous with his language, and the press has given him a free pass.

According to our government, the top 1 percent of household earners currently pays 25 percent of all taxes. This is the segment Obama is really after, because it's the most ripe for more tax revenues. You may disagree with supply-side economics, but facts are facts. The more you tax, the slower the economy grows. It's been proven time and again and, given the latest economic news, the very worst thing you can do to our economy is increase taxes. Obama calls it a fairness issue, but his plan will hurt job growth.

Obama's stance on abortion is one of the most radical in Congress. No one believes Roe vs. Wade will be overturned anytime soon, but in the case of partial birth abortion and parent notification, Main Street Americans and most Minnesotans believe there should be some restrictions to protect the unborn. At every opportunity, Obama has voted with the radical left. As president, his ability to appoint judges who share this philosophy is downright scary.

When the chips were down in Iraq, when the presidential panel recommended its exit plan and when everyone assumed Iraq was lost, McCain was a lone voice of support for the surge. This shows character, wisdom and a willingness to do the right thing even when the polls are against it. And thank God we supported the surge. Here are the facts: Iraq would be in utter chaos and the world would be very dangerous world today if Obama had had his way and if we had pulled back. He continues to assert that the surge failed, despite the reality of Iraq's growing stability.

Has the press given Obama and Joe Biden a free ride? Yes, but a passionate and compelling statesman should be able to rise above the press and make the case to the American people. Reagan was no friend of the press, but his ability to articulate conservative principles and inspire optimism is what made the Republican Party successful.

There is no doubt that economic realities have put the incumbent party in a no-win situation. But the frustration from the right is due in part to the fact our candidate has gone Bob Dole on us and has done a lousy job clearly communicating why he's the better candidate and why his conservative principles are needed now more than ever. McCain has nothing to lose. He needs to return to his happy warrior roots and do his best to close the gap. As Yogi Berra observed, it's not over until it's over. We're down to the final weeks of this marathon, and I'm tired of looking at Obama signs.

Jim Triggs, Edina, is a sales and marketing executive.