Monday, November 05, 2012

I Never Make Predictions...

Sure, you can get the big election picture from all kinds of places, many of them with (as people say)  a hidden agenda of some kind. But it's here that you learn tiny bits of stuff that I somehow think are revealing.
For instance, there's the matter of surrogates out speaking for the candidates. Chief among all surrogates would have to be ex-presidents, right? Bill Clinton, in fact, has been working his magic pretty hard lately, filling four speeches in a single day last week in Ohio. The guy still puts out a good speech, too. Where was Mr. Obama's predecessor. Mr. Bush? He was giving a speech, too - about investing - at a big conference held - in the Cayman Islands. I wonder what teensy fraction of the 1% his counsel was aimed at? Lots of money represented there, but not many votes.

Back on land, there's the city of Youngstown, Ohio. The place has a mixed reputation over a long period of time, but if you subscribe to the local newspaper there's somebody on your side, because the paper carries the courageous name of the Daily Vituperator. Beware, evildoers!

I think it was Yogi Berra who said "I never make predictions, especially about the future." And it's true I seldom explain what hasn't happened yet, but near Election Day, everybody becomes a pre-analyst, and so I can be one, too.
I think President Obama will squeak through this election for a second term as president. When explaining this event to their grandchildren, our children will give the short version as something like this: In order to get the nomination, Mitt Romney had to show he was to the right, or at least as far right as the group of second raters and FOX News wannabes competing against him. Then, when he tried to pivot back from the right window back into the middle of the House, he found it locked and could only look through to see Obama standing in the center with altered healthcare and  a wet wrapped body with the initials ObL.
Last week's hurricane enters in here, too. Some people just can't, or won't think it will be worth getting to vote at the polls tomorrow. That hurts turnout, and so will the haze of confusion created by Red State legislatures determined to make the electorate both as narrow and as friendly as possible.  Mitt Romney could win the popular vote.
On the other hand, since living near the Atlantic Ocean does not make you more liberal, there will be votes lost to both sides, with non-seaside voting in the Democratic-leaning northeast enough to keep those states blue. And the courts have ruled pretty heavily against the voter ID laws that have sprung up like weeds in certain swing states. Perhaps voters will show up despite these requirements that the GOP can only pretend are legal.
Here's another factor we have to file under "unintended consequences". The hurricane has actually given the president the chance to show our government in all its clunkiness, responding properly and actually cooperating with state officials like the short but round Governor Christie of New Jersey, who has said only good things about working under tough circumstances with Mr. Obama. Romney, through no fault of his own, was left to collect canned goods while pretending to not campaign. Didn't it seem odd to see guys in suits and ties loading up a truck with cans of chili and plastic water bottles?           
Finally, there's a factor that's usually overrated - endorsements. Romney got one he didn't expect. The Des Moines Register broke a forty-year string of Democratic enthusiasm to endorse Mitt, reportedly because of some little snit between its editors and the Obama camp. The Register's nod used to be a big deal in Iowa. But I've been gone for seven years now, so I can't say if it's still big.
And anyway, how does it match up against Colin Powell, who has now backed Obama twice, and the gazillionaire mayer of New York City, Mr. Bloomberg, one of only a remaining handful of real influential independents? Who does that leave? Trump? FOX News? Pat Robertson? Billy Graham? I'm running away from that group as fast as possible, and that goes double for reptiles like Huckabee, Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins and any number of oddly rich evangelical pros. The Mormons, thankfully, don't make any endorsements.
I can't predict every state, though I know a couple of people who do exactly that. Let's just call it Obama with 280 or so in the Electoral College. Close, but a unanimous decision.    


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