Monday, November 05, 2012

Last Thoughts before
Election Day

BONA FIDES. I don't know who will win. I think Romney will, but part of that thought is hope, because I continue to believe in the common sense of the American people. If you don't believe in that sense, why would you care? Why I've continually tweaked the determined pessimists. Their position is suspiciously akin to the liberals who think they know better what ordinary people need. If the pessimists are right and the majority is so dumb as to reelect this utter disaster of a president, then it will be time for new formulations. Until then, pessimism seems a lot like vanity: "I know what no one else does, and it breaks my heart that you're all so stupid. And doomed. And pathetic."

The chief spokesman for the blackest perspective among commenters has been Dirty Rotten Varmint, who lashed out a post ago thus:

Wait - because I am REALISTIC about Obama's chances of winning, which are a salient THREAT: you're accusing me of WANTING him to win?

Fuck you.

As a "pessimist" who is simply being realistic and examining factual evidence, who has consistently since 2008 expressed my deep distrust and dislike of Obama, I expect an apology, you asshole.

I'm disheartened by the fantasy-laden, wishful-thinking, anti-factual turn taken by this blog. RL, you have turned into a discredited, disreputable, DISHONEST hack. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, and many of the commenters here shamefully encourage you.

I'll come back after the election is over when perhaps you can rejoin the real world and engage in cogent, rational conversation.

I responded thus:


You want an apology? Sure. I apologize if I have misinterpreted the core of your pessimism. At some level I know you want Romney to win. At another level I think you are heavily invested in your dark view of our future.

For example, in the scorching litany of truths you recited in a recent comment, you repeated your belief that debates never change anything. This year the first debate DID change things. Romney immediately began moving toward a lead in the polls. Or had you stopped paying attention by then? Or does it just not fit into your received wisdom?

I'm not the only one feeling optimistic. Such serious political experts as Michael Barone and Jay Cost believe Romney may very well win. Are they hacks too?

I think you'd rather be right about your nightmare vision than glad of a Romney victory. You tell me I'm wrong about that. If I am, I'm sorry.

Which is the truth. But on this last day before the moment of truth, I'd add a thought or two. Polls are not facts. They are statistical arguments dressed up as facts. There are legitimate reasons for questioning them, especially when so many of the sponsoring organizations are outgrowths of political or media organizations. Yes, they might be right. But they are not necessarily right and they are certainly not facts. Accepting them at face value conforms to no definition of "realism" I know of.

Furthermore, the Instapunk blog is not about you. It's about what I care about, in this case, the United States of America, which is in serious danger from a combination of institutions hijacked by lefties and pouters on the right who sit at home rather than vote because somebody somewhere has offended them. If you're a sitter, using your own words, Fuck You.

I'm giving you a pass on the "hack" remark. You're welcome back anytime. But just a reminder. A hack is usually compensated for his advocacy. I am not. I write what I think. Period. It's called freedom.


Lake found a New York Times critical path argument that daunted him.  Obama has hundreds of ways to win in the electoral college, and Romney has less than a hundred. Lake wonders if there's any flaw in the logic. Yes. This argument has been baked in the cake for decades. Democrats have a few big states like California and New York that give them a huge head start on the Electoral College. Republicans always have to win many more states to win a presidential election. Which means Democrats can hit the magic number by picking off individual states. Hence, many more ways to win. But not all ways to win are equal. Do Republicans win presidential elections despite the apparent "ways to win" odds against them? Yes. Is Ohio usually involved in the Republican winning formula? Yes. But the truth of history is that Republicans win Ohio when they win the election, not that Republicans win elections only because they win Ohio. The Buckeye State is 19 electoral votes. That's all. Of the 270 needed for victory, 19 is a shade above 5 percent. Why do Republicans need Ohio? Because Ohio is only half part of the midwest union monolith. Apart from Indiana, Democrat union influence has been delivering states like Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa to Democrats. Pennsylvania, which is very like Ohio except for Philadelphia, is the evil twin of Ohio, a reliable Democratic checkbox. But western Pennsylvania all the way to Philly is pretty much the same as Ohio excepting Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. If Ohio amputated Cleveland and Pennsylvania amputated Philadelphia and the remainder of these two states joined, Democrats would never win the presidency.  Accidents of Electoral College geography.

But there's nothing I will say to alleviate Lake's fears about Ohio. Right now, everyone gets into the mindset he needs to withstand the suspense. For DRV it's rage. For Lake it's guarded pessimism. He's living in Connecticut. Who can fault him?


I'm going to cite age again. Which I'm well aware may be as much delusion as wisdom.  Honestly. I know that. But I remember what most of you do not. 1980. So many things are similar in terms of feel, anecdote, and news. The polls had Carter ahead of Reagan to the very end. And Reagan the candidate was in some ways even less prepossessing than Romney, because even his admirers were concerned he was too old, had missed his window. He looked old, he sounded like a voice from the past. His sheer ebullience appeared an anachronism. The press had been drumming into us for years that the presidency was no longer a doable job -- they were touting a "New Normal" in which America would have to settle for less. It's true that not even the press liked Carter, but they hated Reagan far more than they despised the micro-manager peanut farmer. Reagan's "There you go again" riposte in the one debate was reported as a folksy anachronism, not a deathblow to Carter. But there was also a lingering mideast issue about which Reagan was curiously mum and the country was disturbed: the Iran Hostage Crisis.

Why am I thinking of all this now? Carter was still smarting from the helicopter crash that doomed his hostage rescue plan, badly planned and ill supported. His policy of negotiation regardless, even to the dismissal of our friends in favor of our enemies, made him look weak. His economic record was atrocious. High unemployment, higher inflation, and a response that seemed to blame Americans rather than his own policies for what was wrong.

But that's not all. In unexpected ways, Romney is reminding me of Reagan, and Obama is reminding me of Carter. In the political cartoons, Carter kept getting smaller, until he was a kind of raisin sitting on top of issues he couldn't control. In the same way, Obama keeps getting smaller. He has no second term agenda. He has only a duffel bag full of nasty. Everything about him is permanent -- his sneer, his certainty, his sense of superiority, his sense of entitlement to the perks of office, his determination to rule around the legislative branch like an omniscient polymath. In the same way, Carter managed the schedule of the White House tennis court. Only Carter did it himself. Obama has "peeps" to do it for him. Romney on the other hand is at least physically Reaganesque. He has great hair. He is tall, obviously handsome, and somehow impervious to slime. He's not as eloquent as Reagan. But he might be a permutation of Reagan. The man on the white horse who doesn't know there's even a horse.

In recent days, Romney has equaled Obama's likeability rating, after months and months of negative ads from the Obama campaign. All that slander, swept away in a single debate.

What I remember. Three things.

1. Reagan had a more difficult wife than Romney. Ann Romney will not shut down New York City fto attend an off-Broadway play, spend millions on state dinners, or endlessly redecorate the White House. We'll prefer to protect and cherish her instead.

2. Romney has a much better Harvard education than Obama, a law degree plus a business degree. The fact that he can listen to others where Obama cannot is a proof of the difference between the executive and the community organizer. One listens. The other dictates terms.

3. Yeah. There was that afternoon of Tuesday, November, 1980. The polls closed. The networks were ready to polish off Ronald Regan once and forever. Then the returns started coming in. You cannot know what it felt like to see the major networks dying on the air as the full impact of the catastrophe hit them. One of the great moments of my life. I can remember the room, the TV, the faces, the horror on their faces, and the joy I felt at the time. Landslide for Reagan. To me, this election feels like that one.

It can happen. The polls can be wrong. Not saying they are or will be. But they can be. But if, like me, you distrust the polls, here's what you look to:

-- Nobody's reporting Obama signs. Lots of people are reporting Romney signs. What are you seeing?

-- Romney and Ryan are consistently outdrawing Obama and Biden throughout the battleground midwest, frequently 10 to 1.

-- The monstrous bias of the MSM raises legitimate questions about all polls because polls rather than issues have become headline news stories.

-- 2012 isn't like 2008 in media terms. There;'s not just an incremental change but an order of magnitude change. Corruption has run so apace that the MSM is like nothing so much as helicopter parents protecting their incompetent child from accountability for anything and everything. The list of scandals is endless. All we get is happy pats on the back from newspapers, network news, and cable apologists. Which raises even more questions about the polls. Are they trophies for showing up, a la soccer kids who don the uniform but can't kick the ball into the goal?

-- The math for Obama just doesn't add up. Not anywhere. You can't lose most of the independents and suffer declines in enthusiasm among every single one of your constituencies and still think you're going to keep from losing the 3 1/2 percent of the vote that defeated McCain last time. Worse, you can't cite win the election by confabulating  polls that show you with more energetic turnout than you had in 2008. It doesn't pass the laugh test. For one, the kids are just hooking up and doing meth, not, uh, voting. Sad for Obama. Disaster for the nation.

Math. Which includes statistics. Any of you know that only 9 percent of those contacted by polling organizations anymore agree to be polled? Way down from previous years. Imagine all the hangups. Anyone doubt that all polling organizations are struggling with how to weight land lines versus cell phones? Who's more likely to answer, and what does it say about the whole population? Anyone know that party identity listed in polls is not determined by registration or history but who answers the phone? Lots of current polls are assuming Democrat party identities beyond levels that secured Obama's victory in 2008.

Polling is politics and influence, not science.

My common answer to DRV and Lake.

Standard disclaimer. Obama could still win. Standard disclaimer. If he does, I partially blame everyone who was too superior to participate in the vote.


Yeah. Girls. All they care about is contraception and abortions. And bubbles. Because they're strictly brainless vaginas. Is this really what feminists had in mind?

Her name was Camille Paglia, yes, a lefty icon. Here's something she said:

What in the world has happened to the Democratic Party? Its passivity towards this awful takeover of our lives by a know-it-all government, as shown by the way Obama has governed by constantly going around Congress — appointing czars and one new layer of bureaucracy after another. And hardly a peep of protest from liberals. It’s like the movie of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” -- Democrats have turned into the Eloi; they’re like sheep. They hear a signal, and it’s like pre-programmed spin in their heads — they just trot like sheep in one direction. I am voting Green in protest against the systemic corruption of my party.

Who's she talking about specifically? Was that a typo? No. Obama.

I was very excited about him. I thought he was a moderate. I thought that his election would promote racial healing in the country.

It would be a tremendous transformation of attitudes. And instead: one thing after another. Not least: I consider him, now, one of the most racially divisive and polarizing figures ever. I think it's going to take years to undo the damage to relationships between the races.

Standard Disclaimer. My original plan was to show you all how to avoid confronting the news for 36 hours. Go ahead. Grapple with the news. Two days from now we'll have a country or we won't. DRV can continue demanding an apology, and I will give just as much of a fuck about that as I do now about that, win or lose.

On the other hand... thank you Lady Barbara. It's always a privilege to get an invitation from a lady. Friends of my grandmother were interned in Japan during WWII. They used the same coffee grounds for a week or two. I suspect the china made all the difference. Something few understand anymore. I'd love to serve you from my mother's Spode.

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