Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We often use the word "like" when we mean prefer. I preferred John McCain, but Icannot say I liked him. In fact, I did not like him very much at all from the first time I met him privately in person.
Does anyone doubt that Barack Obama was more likeable than the strident and intense Hillary Clinton or the grumpy and testy McCain. You can disagree with Obama on issues, and even wonder about his dubious past associations, but it is damn near impossible not to like him. It also extends to his family. They look like a magazine advertisement for Better Homes and Gardens.
One of the reasons Obama could score high on the likeability scale is that he is a non-scary black guy. This is the reason those other black presidential candidates -- Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Shirley Chisholm -- did not fare so well. Can you imagine ... President Jesse Jackson? It would be a cross between Halloween and April Fool's Day.
Then there is that smile. Obama has the best presidential smile since Dwight Eisenhower – who was so likeable that his campaign slogan was simply "I like Ike." Ike was the first president to make the smile a political asset. Most of his predecessors posed for portraits or photographs with haughty seriousness. I mean ... have you ever seen a smile on Thomas Jefferson or a clear look at George Washington's fabled wooden teeth? I recall a photo of Abraham Lincoln with a slight grin, and Franklin Roosevelt sometimes held his fancy cigarette holder clenched between his upturned lips, but grins don't count. You have to show teeth.
If you project the likeability factor across the political spectrum, you can see why the GOP took a drubbing. Can you name the Republicans who are just plain likeable? Oh sure, Ronald Reagan, but he's dead. (But can you ever forget that smile?) Issues/shmissues. If the GOP hopes to do better next time, they need to find likeable candidates with big ear-to-ear smiles.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Is anybody there?
Does anybody care?
Does anybody see what I see?
He then continues to sing of his vision of a free America.
Those of you who believe in the basic conservative values, and who have looked to the Republican Party to represent your cause, must share the feelings of John Adams at this moment. I sure do.
The GOP leadership abandoned our values for a cheap imitation of the Democrat big government agenda. Instead if offering an alternative to the historically oppressive and failed policies of statism, the party of Lincoln and Reagan has offered up an inferior brand. Lyndon Johnson's butter and guns policy that ravaged our economy for a score of years was revisited with avengence in the Bush adminsitration -- running the national debt through the stratosphere. The appitite of Republican legislators for earmarked pork was on par with any liberal Democrat. Under the weight of reckless greed, the economy tanked. The conservative standard bearers all fell in the primaries -- essentially removing the conservative agenda from the general election. Yes! McCain was too much like a Bush third term.
In this campaign season, the Democrats offered the people a better life, and the hope of a rescue from the ravages of an economy mismanaged by the Republicans’ abandonment of conservative monetary and fiscal policies. The fact that the Democrats were only offering a stronger dose of the same toxic snake oil did not matter. I looked like change … and gave hope. They offered something. The Republicans offered nothing.
In times of fear, it is not uncommon for people to surrender freedom for a sense of security, false as it maybe. We have seen this in times of war -- Lincoln suspends habeas corpus, Roosevelt inters innocent Japanese-Americans and Bush signs the falsely named Patriot Act. This is equally true in times of economic fear. Against every warning and admonition of the Founding Fathers, we entrust government to take care of us.
With the Democrats in full control of our national government, we can expect to see the creeping plague of socialism spreading further in the body politic. Even before the election, and with the compliance of thoughtless Republican leadership, we have seen the banks partially nationalized. Almost a trillion taxpayer dollars appropriated to take control of the national economic tiller from the steady hand of the free market – ergo the people – in favor of the oppressive hand of a government cabal.
In this election, the Democrats claimed the credit for rescuing the people from a burning house, never to reveal that they were the arsonists who set the blaze originally. The witless Republicans willingly provided some of the fuel in a moment of irrationality.
In listening to the excuses and rationalizations of so many GOP leaders, one has to conclude that nothing has been learned. Some see resurrection through the same failed policies of the past. Many call on the party to be even more like the Democrats, and further abandon the conservative principles. For their own self interest, they arrogantly point the finger of blame at those of us who prefer an alternative to the Democrats’ liberal tax, spend and control policies – not the poor quality imitation.
Conservatism did not fail in this election because it was never on the ballot. What failed was mock liberalism offered up by a second rate party with a philosophically corrupted leadership. The old guard has become the very old guard.
Conservatives lack an effective political vehicle to offer the alternative to liberal Democrat “big brother” government. We must either take over the Republican Party or find a new platform … a new party. One of the other – but not the divisiveness of trying to do both.
I think the party of Lincoln and Reagan is the best means for many reasons, but we cannot allow the America of John Adams to be lost by the additional incompetence of even conservative leaders and believers. If we blame the Republican leaders for discarding our conservative values and policies, and surrending the election to the Democrats, then we must look at the failure of the conservative leaders within the party to keep the GOP agenda on the right rightward course.
Newt Gingrich mobilized a nation behind a positive conservative platform in his "Contract with America." Ronald Reagan was super salesman of conservaitve ideology. Where are those kind of leaders now? Perhaps it is good that the current GOP establishment has been decimated by the Democrat sweep. There now is a vacuum. It will be filled by either the clones of the vanquished Republican establishment, or the political descendents of John Adams and Ronald Reagan. The future of America rests in the balance.
I wonder … does any one see what I see?
Saturday, November 08, 2008
If President Obama puts in a major effort, as he said he would and I have no doubt he will, then the odds change dramatically. When this decision is made next year, Obama will be at the peak of popularity as an international leader and personality. Other heads-of-state, who would have no reason to support the American bid under war-monger Bush or his look-alike successor, can be persuaded to gain points with the new leader of the free world by supporting the Olympic bid through their representative on the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
With ties to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Obama is arguably the most international President we have since our English-bred founders. Most certainly, a number of national representatives on the liberal leaning IOC will find it appealing to indirectly endorse the election of America’s first African-American (with an Arabic name, no less) to hold the Oval Office. The OIC will like the image of President Barack Obama cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremonies.
Obama helps the Chicago bid in other ways. Chicago’s shortcomings in infrastructure will be quickly corrected by an infusion of federal dollars. If Obama removes U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the rising tide of indictments would likely crest before reaching the fifth floor of City Hall. Political leadership in Chicago will again be “stable.”
While any President may want the Olympics, Obama has the strongest motivation to put this higher up on his priority list. No only will he be lobbying on behalf of his country, but for the benefit of his home town – and the political machine that got him where he is today.
Another Obama advantage is taming the civic wolves. A lot of civic organizations, largely minority groups led by local community organizers, have already fired warnings across the bow of the local Olympic support committee. Civil unrest is never attractive to the IOC. Once their beloved Obama endorses the plan, these voices of opposition will fall silent.
From no chance, Obama, in my view, has transformed Chicago into the city to beat for the Olympics.
Sure, he has appeared on a few interview programs and taken the podium at some press conferences, but for a guy in his position, he has maintained a surprisingly low profile -- at least before Election Day. That is the Axelrod style.
As political consultants in the same Chicago political arena for many years, but on opposite ends of the political spectrum, I have had modest association with him on various campaign trials. I have known him, and of him, since he was a reporter. We have been counterpoints on any number of talk shows. Can’t say I know him well personally, but I do know him professionally.
David is probably the most determined and aggressive political guru in America, but he has almost no desire to be a celebrity in his own right. He keeps his total focus on his clients, and he has impressive ones – Mayor Daley, Bill Clinton and a number of leading Democrat candidates across the country. He does not confuse celebrity with success, as many political advisors do.
I would argue against anyone who says that Barack Obama could have made it to the White House without David. Frankly, without David, I think Obama would still be a community-based activist. Don’t get me wrong. Obama is brilliant, articulate and ambitious, and he brings a lot of natural candidate talent to the table -- but so do a lot of other people.
Obama is a great raw product, but with many distasteful features. David is the genius who could not only package and sell Obama by highlighting and playing on his strong points, but who to make the other products unpalatable by comparison.
I never thought Obama could make it to the White House without a major crises and an inept opponent (and he got both). He has run for office four times. With more ambition than brains, he took on Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush in a Democrat primary. He didn’t win against this seasoned and savvy opponent, but he did get noticed. Lowering his sights, Obama went for the Illinois State Senate. Rather than risk a competent opponent, Obama, with the help of the fabled Chicago Democrat machine, used aggressive technical challenges -- and the cooperation of machine election officials -- to remove all his opponents form the ballot -- including the incumbent. He ran unopposed.
His jump to the U.S. Senate was a bold endeavor for a neophyte state legislator. Again, it was ambition over brains, but this time he got lucky. He signed up David Axelrod. Then he got even luckier. The hapless Illinois GOP first floundered with millionaire businessman Jack Ryan, a worthy opponent until it was revealed that he and his movie star wife (Jeri Ryan) had visited sex clubs in New York and Paris.
The Republicans, in an effort to advance their reputation as the stupid party, imported conservative gadfly Alan Keyes, a kooky black perennial presidential candidate. After only a couple undistinguished years in the Senate, Obama succumbed to the siren call of the presidency. Again it as a precocious move – challenging the all but certain nomination of Hillary Clinton. This time Obama was facing real competition, but he got lucky again. The Early primaries featured a bunch of moderate white candidates to divide up the vote – leaving Obama with a unified black/progressive core.
Once he secured the nomination, he was just another unelectable Democrat … unless … unless there was some seismic political event or the GOP opponent screwed up. Again, he was lucky. Instead of “or,” Obama got “and.” The economy tanked at just the right time – as the Republicans were experiencing the beginning of a post-election surge. AND … the Republicans offered up maverick John McCain, who proceeded to run one of the worse campaigns in American history.
But, what about David Axelrod?
NONE of this would have gotten Obama elected had it not been for the genius of Axelrod. Conversely, I am convinced David would have guided Clinton to the Oval Office had he accepted her invitation to be part of the Clinton team, as he was in the past.
No defection cost Clinton more than David Axelrod. David IS strategy. You hire him, you get the Axelrod method -- and a winning one it is. The Clinton campaign should have made him an offer he could not refuse. The decision to let him go doomed her candidacy, as it turned out.
David never believed in the conventional political wisdom that you do not respond to negative attacks. In fact, David takes the position that no attack, no matter how seemingly insignificant, should go unchallenged. Without this aggressive and effective strategy of refutation, Obama’s candidacy would have sunk early on under the weight of mini-scandals, questionable associations, a cloudy, if not shady, past and a political philosophy far too liberal for mainstream America.
Rather than allow his past to be discovered by others, like his one time opponent, Jack Ryan, Obama laid out most of it in his books. As the political jargon goes, he “inoculated” against criticism. This is classic Axelrod.
David knew that to become the President, Obama had to look and sound presidential. Orating like Jesse Jackson was a kiss of death. Obama's Harvard education and artidulation were natural tools. David created and controlled the visual and verbal imagery. He treated Obama like an actor, and he, David, would show him how to play the part of President of the United States. The clothes, the staging, the photos, the gestures, the oratory. All very carefully crafted and scripted.
Just as important as David’s craftsmanship was Obama’s willingness to stick to the script. He played the part to perfection. In an amazing turn-about, the first black candidate for the presidency actually looked, acted and sounded more presidential than the classic gray-haired white guy.
More than any consultant I know, David understands the issue of credibility. Having taught college-level course in credibility, and having invented a credibility management concept, I have always been in awe of David. He never took one of my courses, but he is a natural. He knows, that if you destroy an opponents credibility, there is nothing they can say or do to convince the public of anything.
If you look at the Obama campaign through the credibility lens, you can see how the campaign used every possible technique to strip first Hillary Clinton, then McCain, and finally the whole Republican Party, or their credibility. Every time McCain changed his mind, or said something that seemed at odds with an earlier statement, the Obama campaign trumpeted it. These “inconsistencies” were then elevated to lies. McCain lies. Palin lies. Bush lies. Lies. Lies. Lies. Republican = lies.
The success of this strategy was even more impressive since McCain came into this campaign aboard the “straight talk express.” HE was the straight talker. HE was the man good as his word. HE was the tell-it-like-it-is guy. Thanks to Axelrod, the straight talk express got derailed, and McCain limped into town with the reputation of a snake oil salesman -- or more specifically, the third term of the unpopular George Bush. With the very credibility of the Repbulican brand damaged, Obama's every word became gospel and McCain could say nothing believeable to the electorate.
David also has a great talent for generating discipline. Rarely will one see a campaign were the entire team worked so well together. Through his own example, David was able to get the team to set aside the usual political differences and prima donna attitudes and focus on two things -- candidate and message.
Wherever Axelrod lands in the coming months – White House aide, outside consultant – he will play a major role in guiding the entire Democrat ship as its guru-in-chief. He will be the strategy connection between his President, the Democrat National Committee, and the Senate and house campaign committees. He will be issuing the guidelines to the state parties and candidates. David could well be the most powerful political figure in America next to President Obama. He is the personification of the Chicago machine coming to Washington. He is Karl Rove on steroids.
Just you watch.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Some good news ... maybe? The same dogged deterimnation that will give the GOP fits in Washington, will also be felt by world leaders -- which could benefit the United States on the international stage.
More good news? For those who feared (me included) that an Obama administration would tilt more toward the Arab positions in the Middle East, take heart. With a Jewish chief-of-staff (especially this one), and possibly Penny Pritzker in the Cabinet, Obama will have the interests of Israel well represented.
Okay, I will risk being made the fool. I don’t think Barack Obama can win a general election, short of some catastrophic political event or campaign stupidity that would wipe out McCain. (Hmmm! Perhaps I should not be so bold in my prediction)
Well, Obama was the benefactor of BOTH a "catastrophic political event" and "campaign stupidity" by McCain.
As soon as the economic meltdown reached atomic levels, I surrendered to the notion that Obama was electable (see blog: President Obama? Arrrrrrgh!). In terms of "campaign stupidity," the list of examples is far too long to delineate here -- but you do not have to go much past Sarah Palin to identify self-inflicted mortal political wounds. Yes, Sarah got roughed up by a very biased press, but that still leaves a lot of room for justifiable criticism.
Given the closeness of the popular vote, I stand by my original analysis that Obama could not have been elected without both of the aforementioned conditions. Even the pollsters say the rush to Obama came at the time of the bailout. Oh yeah! The bailout. Major stupidity number two for McCain.
Having made my excuses, I will now admit that the scope of Obama’s victory was impressive. Even before the polls closed on the west coast, he was already the winner. Since I preferred his opponent without much enthusiasm, I am not overly chagrined by Obama's victory.
Outside of the black vote, it was pleasant to see that America is not nearly as racially prejudiced as those politically correct liberals like to contend.
Though he is officially an Independent, he was part of the Democrat caucus, from whence he derives his seniority and committee assignments. There were a lot of Capitol Hill donkeys braying for his ouster. However, the Dems only had a one vote majority in the Senate, so they tolerated old Joe, and let him have his chairmanships according to his seniority.
You recall ... the reason Joe is an Independent is that the Dems dumped him in their 2006 primary election, only to have him return to the ballot on his own and trounce the anointed candidate.
With the coming of the new and bigger Dem majority, the knives were out again. This was to be their one chance to punish and ostracize the renegade.
Well ... not so fast, again. With the Dems approaching a veto-proof Senate, old Joe's vote could be critical. So, do the Senate jackasses throw him overboard and give more power to the Republicans to stop legislation by filibuster? Or, do they hold their noses, swallow their pride, bite the bullet -- and whatever else they need do -- and let the errant senator keep his seniority and chairmanships?
What to do? What go do?
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
2. The late New York Senator Patrick Moynihan once advised President Richard Nixon: “If you are going to act like a Tory, speak like a Whig, and if you are going to act like a Whig, speak like a Tory.” Obama understands this concept. The Dems stole the rhetoric of the right. Middle class values. Tax cuts for most Americans. A call for individual contribution. Coming to the campaign as the most liberal senator in Washington, Obama gave speeches that could have comfortably flowed from the lips of Ronald Reagan.
3. Despite the historic breakthrough, the heated rhetoric of the campaign, and the paranoia about vote fraud, election night was remarkably devoid of controversies. It was a BIG election, with highly volatile issues, but even the television talking heads noted the absence of any vote stealing or major “machine malfunction” stories to report. By 9:00 p.m. eastern time, the nation had a President-elect. There was a gracious concession speech and an inspirational acceptance speech.
4. In a previous blog is predicted that the pollsters would be wrong as usual. Gallup gave Obama a ten point lead. The results were way outside their margin of error. And those who now claim to be correct chose a more conservative spread with Obama on top. Of course, given the margins of error, their accuracy was no better than an educated guess.
5. It is amazing how quickly the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich – the party of values, ideas and issues – has descended into a party of greed, incompetency and divisiveness.
6. In his concession speech, McCain said the GOP's poor showing was his fault. His hometown crowd considerately shouted their disagreement with that assessment. However ... he was right. It was his to lose, and he did. His sinking coatails dragged down the Repbublican brand all over America.
7. For a lot of reasons, right and wrong, Sarah Palin did not sell well to the voting public -- including a lot of conservative Republicans. The wise guys in the GOP as saying she is the future of the party, and the heir to the presidential nomination in 2012. Apparently the Repbulican wise guys have learned nothing. Why not Dick Cheney, while they're at it?
Now, don't get me wrong. Personally, I have no problem with voting in a church. I think a lot of the church/state separation stuff is nothing more than political correctness garbage.
The founders never intended religion to be banished from the public commons. They were only concerned that no one religion should become official or sanctioned.
It is just that I got a kick out of the attached photo. With the new touch-screen voting machines, the message is ironcally apt. Gads! I hope this was not a special message to pedophile priests. (Shame on me for even joking about that. Tee hee!)
On election night, the candidates respectively gave the best concession speech and acceptance speech in my memory. Had John McCain been able to articulate himself so eloquently during the campaign, he might have been more successful. If Obama lives up to the spirit of his speech, his place in history could be more than breaking the color barrier. He has the potential for true greatness.
In the months to come, the world will witness the high point of democracy as political adversaries undertake a peaceful and cordial transition of power from one party to another. More than just a change of political party, Obama led a peaceful revolution in the tradition of Reagan, Roosevelt and Lincoln.
At the core of our continuing experiment in democracy is our bipartisan efforts to make the Obama administration a success -- both by supporting its good works and opposing its mistakes. We will not all see those from the same perspective, but in a democracy, the majority is usually right.
If we cannot celebrate the victory of our candidate, we can still celebrate our system of government. So, before I go to bed on this election night, I say congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama ... and may God bless him ... and this great country.
Monday, November 03, 2008
If my side wins, it will not be as good as I hope, and if the other side wins, it will not be as bad as I fear.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
2. This bring up another point. Almost all national discussion on the Bradley Effect centers on non-blacks lying to pollsters because they don't want to sound like racists if they vote for McCain. Up until now, it has been a black and white issue. However, this year we have a new wrinkle. Little has been said about the awesome intimidation of black voters who prefer McCain. The Michigan polling shows the black side of the Bradley Effect very clearly. McCain will get black votes from those who are pro-life, pro-gun ownership. Affluent blacks have the same concerns as affluent non-blacks over taxation. If the poll shows McCain at zero, some people are lying -- and you will see it on Election Day.
3. Gallup just released a poll (Sunday evening) that gives Obama a ten point lead, 52 t0 42. Just four days earlier, Gallup called the race for Obama 49 to 47. This latest would mean that at least 5 percent of those who were voting for McCain a couple days ago changed their minds. I say "at least 5 percent" since it is likely higher to offset some undecideds who have decided for McCain in the meantime. Gallup can call it a shift, but basically, one of these polls is just ... wrong. Maybe both. We'll find out in a couple days.
4. About the same time Gallup was showing Obama breaking away in a romp, the poll that claims to have been the most accurate in 2004, the IBD/TIPP poll, claims the race is closing in with Obama's lead shrinking to 46.7 to 44.6. While Gallup has the undecideds stampeding to Obama, IBD/TIPP has them flowing to McCain. If they are right, the 8.7 percent undecides will put McCain over the top. Stay tuned.
5. They say that there maybe be around 130 million voters this election. The typlical poll registers the opinion of between 600 and 1000 of them. Using the higher figure, this means that each person being polled stands for 130,000 voters. So, when I fib and say I am voting for Obama, but I actually go in and vote for McCain, my impact on the election is a 260,000 vote difference --- the 130,000 I take away from Obama and the 130,000 I add to McCain. (If I use the 600 sampling, the impact is more than 430,0000 vote difference.) If you have a 5 percent error in the sample population (including fibbers, like me), the projected error is between 13 and 22.5 million votes.
6. Wonder why pollsters usually say an election is closing in at the end? Because you can't be wrong in predicting a close election. If you give both Obama and McCain 50 percent, with a margin of error of 4 percent, the election can go to 54 percent to 46 percent either way and the pollster will pat himself on the back for an accurate prediction. And how many presidential elections are outside the 54 to 46 range? Damn few.So ... you can see why I think polls are a bunch of hogwash.
The principal of his West Brook Middle School, Joan Broe, ignored the usual collections of witches, Draculas, Batmans, and Jokers to persecute little Jesus by sending the lad home. She said the costume offended some of the other students – the number one bogus excuse for the political correctness Gestapo. You can see from the costume, young Alex was not mocking Christ or portraying him in any way that could be construed as offensive.
I once held a Halloween party where I dressed like the Pope. No one got offended except by my lame jokes … “What you like to drink? Popes Blue Ribbon.” Or “Excuse me … need to go to the bathroom and turn some wine into water.”
But I digress …
I hope Alex will bring down a plague of locusts on Ms. Broe’s organic garden. I bet she has one. To Principal Broe, I say “pox (not pax) on you.”
As I write this, a flurry of pollsters are attempting to justify their existence by predicting the outcome.
Before we address the current numbers, there is something you should know about polls. They are all bullsh*t. Yep! They are about as accurate and scientific as newspaper horoscopes. If you think I am being too harsh, ask your self these questions.
Why do different polls taken at the same time get such widely different results? Where is the “science” in that?
Why are the results of an election often outside the “margin of error.” That should be impossible. Obviously, the margin of error is as bogus as the poll itself.
You also have to keep in mind the tricks pollsters use to allow them to claim legitimacy.
You don’t believe me? Okay. I think John McCain will win 49 to 48 with 3 percent going to other candidates. My margin of error is 4 percent. So, if McCain wins 53 to 44, I’m right. If Obama wins 52 to 45, I’m right. Check back with me on Wednesday.
Also, pollsters often claim to have missed the mark due to a major last minute change of heart by the voters. Now … ask yourself: How many people do you know who change their mind the last weekend before an election? I have been involved in elections for more than 40 years, and I find very few undecideds in the last month. Rather than say their last poll was WRONG, pollsters invent this fake phenomenon of last minute voter switches.
You see, pollsters always claim their polls are right at the time they are taken. They can do this because they are comparing them to an unknown – the REAL sentiment of the electorate.
Another trick is the “undecides.” Now place close attention. After the election, the pollsters will say that most of the “undecideds” broke for McCain. They almost always break for the Republican. You know why? Because the polls are almost always erroneously biased in favor of the Democrats. So to explain the wrong prediction, the pollsters say that the “undecideds” all went to the GOP. Again, based on my experience, there are very few “undecideds” at this stage. Those who say they are, are lying. They may tell the pollster they are undecided, but they know damn well who they are voting for. Hmmm. Maybe more Bradley Effect.
To more fully appreciate the uselessness of voting surveys, take a look at the exit polls. There are no undecideds in exit polls. If there is any validity to the “science” of polling, then these should be spot-on predictors. But noooooo! Based on exit polls, the media gave the 2004 election to Democrat John Kerry in their rush-to-judgment early reports. When the votes were counted, George Bush won by a wide margin. Even in exit polls, the science is flawed and the public fibs. I mean ... if you decided to lie about who you are going to vote for, why would you 'fess up who you did vote for?
(Die hard liberals like to say that the 2004 election was stolen, but there is no evidence that GOP shenanigans tipped the scale – and of course, they overlook the counterbalancing Democrat shenanigans. Yeah folks, the Dems are gold medalists when it comes to stealing votes. I come from Chicago, the Harvard of vote fraud.)
Now that we know opinion polls are nothing more than semi-educated manipulated guesses, let’s take a look at this year’s offerings. Since even a good guess requires reliance on past experience, we can conclude that the polls will be based on more b-s this year than usual.
There is no history to draw upon. We have never had a black candidate, a woman candidate, the oldest candidate. Never before has one candidate had such enormous financial resources. The economy has tanked. Though biased, the media has never been so determined to influence the outcome. Can they? These issues cut in all directions.
At this moment, the pollsters mostly give the election to Barack Obama. This has led liberal Democrat pundits and partisans to express optimism to the point of anticipating a blowout or landslide. Methinks this is not sound thinking.
There are some things that may not have changed in this historic year. Polls are almost always wrong, and the GOP almost always does better with the voters than the pollsters. Since polling bias is driven by media bias (the pollsters’ clients), and since the media bias is particularly acute this year, the polls maybe be much to generous to Obama than even past Democrat candidates.. If this is still the case, then this election is very close indeed. It is also true that black candidates poll better than their final vote totals – that old Bradley Effect. Will this again be the case?
The great assumption in this election is that a huge turn out the voters clamoring for Obama's promise of change. The campaign and its supporters have so idolized the candidate, that they project their rabid enthusiasm on the general public. They also site some early election exit polling as evidence of this trend – not appreciating that those lying to the pollsters last week will lie on their way out of the polling booth.
I expect there to be a Bradley Effect in this election, and it may become quite significant. I say this because the media has so glamorized Obama, and demonized John McCain, that a lot of people don’t want to wear their vote on their sleeve. Right or wrong, people worry about there cars being vandalized or windows broken for supporting such a seemingly unpopular candidate as McCain.
Hey! I’m one of them. I usually put on a bumper sticker and display a window sign for my candidate, but this year I don’t feel comfortable doing that. Keep in mind, I live in Illinois. If a pollster calls me, I will say I am voting for Obama just because I think undermining the pollsters is a patriotic duty. Now I figure, if I am doing that, there are probably a lot more like me out there. Conversely, there is little reason or evidence to suggest that Obama voters are lying to pollsters.
I recently attended a Chicago Democrat fundraiser. Sure … the speakers spoke well of Obama, but the more intimate chat around the room revealed a surprising number of white Democrats – even some office holders – who were not voting for their “favorite son.” You can bet this folks would be lying to pollsters for sure.
So … what does all this mean? For me, it means that the polls are untrustworthy in general, and more so this year. It is impossible to know who is winning this race at this moment … and I would not completely rule out a McCain/Palin victory. The theory right now is that McCain needs to win all the so-called “battleground states.” But, what if one or two of those perceived solid blue states, like Wisconsin, New Jersey, New Mexico, etc., comes in red? Remember, they are only solid blue becasue the pollsters say so.