Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Election

I gotta admit there’s little more to say. It’s too late to argue the case for McCain with any effectiveness to those not already on board. The polls just don’t look good, but Obama’s ground game does. He’s now pouring money into Georgia, probably more to influence the senate race than to get a few more electoral votes. I don’t know for sure that Obama will win, but I’m not going to be making any predictions, given that I’ve stopped betting or choosing against teams I really want to win. Obama has run a fine campaign, and McCain, it seems to me, has given us his best. It’s not some meltdown of the "conservative movement." The Republicans have not proven to be particularly competent for a while when it comes to governing, and this year competence gap has been pretty wide when it comes to campaigning. It goes without saying we have to honor the spirit of McCain’s "nothing is inevitable" stump speech by doing what we can to affect the outcome. Never give up, as Mac says.

To be fair or at least balanced, here are ten reasons John Podhoretz thought up that McCain might still win. They aren’t really backed up with much data, as John admits.

UPDATE: Here’s some data-based encouraging news: McCain is actually one point up in Zogby’s daily poll yesterday. I discovered that after going through all the very discouraging polls of those who’ve already voted, especially in Georgia. So maybe there’s still hope.

Discussions - 14 Comments

"It’s too late to argue the case for McCain with any effectiveness to those not already on board"
There's still time to argue the case against Obama.

After McCain wins the election, it's going to become clear that THE dominant factor in overestimating Obama's support from voters was his race.

Obama has decent speaking skills and a fine intelligence, but in the media's eyes the fact that he is black magnifies these good qualities out of all proportion. Because the media and the pollsters are wowed by Obama (the biggest factor being his race), they overestimate what the Democratic turnout will be, and this skews the polls.

There's one other way the polls are skewed. Most voters see that Obama is too radical to be President, but they are reluctant to say so because he is black. So we have some McCain voters refusing to participate, and some declining to tell the truth. It's not what's commonly called the "Bradley effect," because that presupposes racism, but it has the same effect: you've got to adjust McCain 4 or 5 points upward in every poll because his supporters just aren't spilling their souls to the same degree that Obama's are.

After McCain wins, the non-stop talk on CNN and MSNBC will be about racism, but they'll be largely wrong. Racism will not have decided the race; a rejection of Obama's liberalism will have decided the race--but Obama's race will have skewed our expectations about what the result would be.

Everyone will wonder how they missed it.

I still think there's a lot of potential for this to end in some protracted, legal mess---the numbers are probably a little closer than the polls are indicating, maybe even closer in the battleground states, and apparently there are a record number of various legal challenges being preemptively prepared. Add to this toxic brew all the real voter fraud in crucial states like Ohio and a very close finish could end ugly. Also, given that the polls have consistently been favoring Obama, and the media has been treating the lead as virtually insurmountable, a McCain victory would almost surely face legal challenges.

I'm afraid the case against Obama has been made as well as it's going to be, which is not very well. The case for divided government seems to have disappeared, despite Ivan's urging. McCain just can't stay on point. The case against Pelosi and Barney Frank is more convincing to me. There's big trouble if McCain wins narrowly, I agree. But I encourage anyone who actually wants to win fame and money by accurately predicting the outcome of this election to check the African-American early voting turnouts, which are lots greater than the poll models suggest. Right now, according to one poll, McCain is down 55-40 in Georgia among those who've actually voted. Of course his position will improve considerably on election day, but that's quite a lead to overcome. The real place of race in determining the outcome of this election is to Obama's advantage, in a way which is quite understandable and not at all corrupt.

A must read don't believe the media hype! I didn't write this I copied it. After a long and careful consideration of all the implications and possible consequences of my actions today, I have decided to go through with this in the hope that our country can indeed be guided into the right direction. First, a little personal backgroundÉ I am a female grad student in my 20's, and a registered Democrat. During the primaries, I was a campaign worker for the Clinton candidacy. I believed in her and still do, staying all the way to the bitter end. And believe me, it was bitter. The snippets you've heard from various media outlets only grazed the surface. There was no love between the Clinton and Obama campaigns, and these feelings extended all the way to the top. Hillary was no dope though, and knew that any endorsement of Obama must appear to be a full-fledged one. She did this out of political survival. As a part of his overall effort to extend an olive branch to the Clinton camp and her supporters, Obama took on a few Hillary staff members into his campaign. I was one such worker. Though I was still bitterly loyal to Hillary, I still held out hope that he would choose her as VP. In fact, there was a consensus among us transplants that in the end, he HAD to choose her. It was the only logical choice. I also was committed to the Democratic cause and without much of a second thought, transferred my allegiance to Senator Obama. I'm going to let you in on a few secrets here, and this is not because I enjoy the gossip or the attention directed my way. I'm doing this because I doubt much of you know the true weaknesses of Obama. Another reason for my doing this is that I am lost faith in this campaign, and feel that this choice has been forced on many people in this country. Put simply, you are being manipulated. That was and is our job Ð to manipulate you (the electorate) and the media (we already had them months ago). Our goal is to create chaos with the other side, not hope. I've come to the realization (as the campaign already has) that if this comes to the issues, Barack Obama doesn't have a chance. His only chance is to foster disorganization, chaos, despair, and a sense of inevitability among the Republicans. It has worked up until now. Joe the Plumber has put the focus on the issues again, and this scares us more than anything. Being in a position to know these things, I will rate what the Obama campaign already knows are their weak links from the most important on down. 1 Ð Hillary voters. Internal polling suggests that at best, we are taking 70-75% of these voters. Other estimates are as low as 60% in some areas Ð particularly Ohio and western PA. My biggest problem with this campaign's strategy was the decision NOT to offer Hillary the VP slot. She was ready and able to take this on, and would have campaigned enthusiastically for it. This selection would have also brought virtually all of her supporters into the fold, and the Obama campaign knew it. Though I have no way of knowing this for certain, and I do admit that I am relying on internal gossip, Senator Obama actually went against the advice of his top advisors. They wanted him to choose her, but the only significant opposition to this within the campaign came from Barack and Michelle Obama. In short, he let personal feelings take precedence over what was the most logical thing to do. Biden, by the way, has been a disaster inside the campaign. Everyone cringes whenever he gives an interview, and he creates so many headaches as the campaign has to stay on their toes in order to disseminate information and spin whatever it was he was trying to say. 2 Ð Sarah Palin. Don't believe what the media is telling you about how horrible a choice she was. Again, our internal polling suggest that though she has had a minimal impact on pulling disaffected Hillary Democrats to McCain, she has done wonders in mobilizing the base for McCain. Another thing Ð we were completely taken by surprise with her pick. In my capacity in the research department, I looked into the backgrounds of Leiberman, Romney, Pawlenty and Ridge, and prepared briefs. I don't mind bragging that we had pretty good stuff on all of them. With Leiberman, the plan was to paint him as an erratic old-timer who didn't have a clue as to what he was doing (pretty much a clone of McCain). In Romney, we had him pegged as an evil capitalist who cut jobs. Pawlenty was going to get the "Quayle treatment", or more precisely: a pretty face, with no valid experience. Tom Ridge was going to be used to provide a direct link from McCain to Bush. As you can see, we were quite enamored of all of them. Then the unexpected happened Ð Sarah Palin. We had no clue as to how to handle her, and bungled it from the start. Though through our misinformation networks, we have successfully taken some of the shine off. But let there be no doubt. She remains a major obstacle. She has singlehanded solidified "soft" Republican support, mobilized the McCain ground game, and has even had some appeal to independents and Hillary voters. This is what our internal polling confirms. 3 Ð Obama's radical connections. Standards operating procedure has been to cry "racism" whenever one of these has been brought up. We even have a detailed strategy ready to go should McCain ever bring Rev. Wright up. Though by themselves they are of minimal worth, taken together, Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Pfelger, and now, Rashid Khalili, are exactly what the campaign does not need. The more focus on them, the more this election becomes a referendum on Obama. The campaign strategy from the very beginning was to make this election a referendum on Bush. Strategists have been banging their head on how successfully McCain has distanced himself from Bush. This has worked, and right now the tide is in his favor. People are taking a new look at Barack Obama, and our experience when this happens tells us this is not good news at all. When they take a look at him, one or more of these names are bound to be brought up. McCain has wisely not harped on this in recent weeks and let voters decide for themselves. This was a trap we set for him, and he never fully took the bait. Senator Obama openly dared him to bring up Ayers. This was not due to machismo on the part of Obama, but actually due to campaign strategy. Though McCain's reference to Ayers fell flat in the last debate, people in the Obama campaign were actually disappointed that he didn't follow through on it more and getting into it. Our focus groups found this out: When McCain brings these connections up, voters are turned off to him. They'd rather take this into consideration themselves, and when this happens, our numbers begin to tank. 4 Ð The Bradley Effect. Don't believe these polls for a second. I just went over our numbers and found that we have next to no chance in the following states: Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire and Nevada. Ohio leans heavily to McCain, but is too close to call it for him. Virginia, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa are the true "toss up states". The only two of these the campaign feels "confident" in are Iowa and New Mexico. The reason for such polling discrepancy is the Bradley Effect, and this is a subject of much discussion in the campaign. In general, we tend to take a -10 point percentage in allowing for this, and are not comfortable until the polls give us a spread well over this mark. This is why we are still campaigning in Virginia and Pennsylvania! This is why Ohio is such a desperate hope for us! What truly bothers this campaign is the fact that some pollsters get up to an 80% "refuse to respond" result. You can't possibly include these into the polls. The truth is, people are afraid to let people know who they are voting for. The vast majority of these respondents are McCain supporters. Obama is the "hip" choice, and we all know it.

The post seems to have disappeared but here are some thoughts on Palin and bobos inspired by STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE.

1.Bobos hate Palin because she feels no need to make the gestures needed to affirm her virtue. She clearly doesn't care what bobos think. Thats why she doesn't pretend to believe that being a community organizer is more noble than being an electrician or even a Wall Street trader. Bobos get offended by her mocking of community organizers but what they don't get is the spirit of self congratulation that is being mocked ("I could have taken a job on Wall Street but...)

2. Palin incarnates to a cartoonish degree the qualities that bobos idenitify with the "wrong kind" of white people. She doesn't just hunt, she hunts moose. She hunts wolves from a helicopter. She has five children and the last with Downs Syndrome. Bobos would usually just feel superior to someone like Palin. The problem is that Palin has gotten alot farther and accomplished alot more that those same bobos. Its like some kind of natural law is being violated. Thats why bobos are so desperate to believe that Palin is stupid and why they seized on her daughter's pregnancy with such creepy glee. For their own peace of mind, they need to slot her into the "white trash" category.

3. This explains why "base" conservatives are so protective of Palin. It is not that these conservatives are blind partisans. These same conservatives are often scorn McCain. Conservatives rally to Palin because they feel like the contempt directed at her is really aimed at themselves and their own lives. They are often correct.

4. It also partly explains the angry reaction conservative writers like David Frum get when they attack Palin. It feels like the Frums of the world are trying to score brownie points with the bobos by mocking the "wrong kind" of white people. Another example of STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE: Conservative writers who reinforce bobo prejudices against the "wrong kind" of white people.

5. Conservative supporters and conservative critics of Palin both need to get over it. Conservative critics of Palin need to understand that she is the very least of McCain's problems. If McCain had a coherent and populist economic policy, Palin would be its best advocate. And the focus on Palin's readiness to be Vice President is a mean joke when compared to the unreadiness of the bobo who is likely to be our next PRESIDENT. Don't think people fail to notice the experience double standard that is being applied to Obama and Palin. Palin supporters know that Obama's politcal experience is not much greater than Palin's, but Obama makes up for his political inexperience with bobo life experiences like foreign trips, grad school, work at a nonprofit, ect so thats okay. Palin supporters know that this is a form of class favoritism that favors bobo' prefrerred life experinces over their own. Palin supporters need to accept that she has shown limited cultural appeal and that a successful conservative politics will have to appeal beyond (but at the same time include) the white, rural and exurban base that is so enthusiastic about Palin. But people, lets leave obsessions about social class to the bobos.

A pretty lame post. I am not even sure what a 'bobo' is, but it sure works for you, since you mention it 6 times or so. And it is funny that you play the 'ressentment' card, that 'bobo's' resent Palin because of how far she has gotten. My advice would be to stop using this right-wing lingo. People see in Palin a stealth Christian-dominionist candidate much like you right-wingers see in Obama a stealth-marxist. She is of the Joel's Army types, using spiritually abusive coercion and targeting teens. McCain knows that, and used it to 'energize the base.' Dangle some neopente eye-candy and sound the dominionist dog-whistles the kids learned at their Bible based boot-camps. But it did not work.

Of course I realize I could be wrong, but I'm still quite confident that the outcome of the election will be that Obama loses because he's too liberal.

It's the forecasts of who will win (including the opinion polling) that are affected by Obama's race.

I dropped the bobo post because it got one really abusive comment--worse by far than ren's--and that would have generated more. what pete said is, as usual, on the money. I gotta admit that the McCain people's combination of throwing Sarah to the wolves unprepared and then blaming her for their own incompetence is really, really bad. She was an impetuous choice, which is not necessarily bad. But then nothing serious was done to make the choice work and highlight her virtues. I really agree with Pete on Frum's boboism, by the way

Ren, With all the talk about David Brooks on this blog, I'd have thought that you would know what a Bobo is. After all, he wrote a book called Bobos in Paradise that clearly sets forth his idea.

Are you contesting the existence or the importance of such a group?

You suggest that Bobo is just a right-wing term to put in scare quotes, and as such it is no different than the left-wing term "theocracy." It is simply a rhetorical trick that distracts from real issues. If so, I think that "Joel's Army" misses the mark. Osteen may be the least political preacher around. Kevin Phillips does not mention his name once in his book American Theocracy. Instead he (and others of his ilk) focuses on (the legacy of) Falwell, LaHaye, Robertson, Hagee, Van Impe.

If Pete is correct, there are conservative Bobos, and as with liberals they also don't like Palin. So perhaps Bobo describes something real that marks an important difference among conservatives.

Ok - I got schooled. A bobo is just a bourgeosie. My point about Palin remains. If the republicans had chosen Huckabee they would be up right now, and would still have their base. Huckabee simply does not offend the intellect the way Palin does. I liked his point about Reverend Wright, for example.

To clarify one thing. I'm not sure that David Frum attacked Palin as a way to get into the graces of elite liberals, but that is how many base conservatives took it. Kathleen Parker has been much worse. There are merits to both the pro and the anti sides of the Palin debate among conservatives. I lean strongly to the pros and tend to blame the McCain campaign for most of her problems. One of the things that has embittered the debate has been the double standards that the liberal leaning media institution have applied to Palin's associations, gaffes, and experience as compared with Obama's. So it is particularly embittering to hear conservative writers lambaste Palin for her lack of experience. With their actual politcal experience being so comparable, the experience issue between Obama and Palin seems to come down to a matter of syle and lifestyle. Obama is cool and professorial. She is feisty and down to earth. He went the Ivy League track, saw the world, worked in the nonprofit sector, lived in a trendy cosmopolitan neibhorhood and hung out with interesting people (some of them terrorists, but of the cool 60s radical kind, not klansmen or anything). She lived in a small town, raised a large family, enjoyed unfashionable amusements and became part of her community's civic life. They both got into politics and did well. One thing that makes many Palin supporters furious is that Obama's life seems to many people to really prepare him for high office where her life does not. It is like many people seem to consider Obama's life choices a ticket to joining a master class and her quite decent choices as forcing her to live within a subject class. The attack on Palin (especially the early one on her family relations) seems like a way to stigmatize an entire group as "white trash" and having no role in our political leadership. The gentleness of scrutiny of Obama's past does not go unnoticed. So when Palin supporters see conservative writers who might have a different ideology than Obama, but made many of the same lifestyle choices attack Palin, its translated as a kind of class hostility.

But the Frums and Palin supporters of the world are going to have to get over it. Even together they do not make up a majority of the country or anything close to it. Life is too short to focus on these kinds of resentments. I might suggest that one of the reasons that it is so easy for different kinds of conservatives to fall out over these kinds of things is the McCain campaigns inability to articulate an agenda that could unite people.

Pete, McCain as maverick is supposed to mean he is above having an agenda. In the same way, Obama being about hope and change and other vague utopian generalities means he is also above having any agenda we ought to be worrying about. Honestly, I think McCain really HAS no agenda to articulate. I think Obama does, and I don't like it, especially as he is so careful NOT to articulate it. McCain is counting on us trusting him and (we hope) his conservative instincts.

Sarah's conservative instincts seem pretty sound, for all the reasons you mention, and that's why we like her so much.

I do wish you stop writing about "base Republicans" as it is a phrase used by erudite Democrats I know. For them, "base" is meaning "low" or "evil" or at best low-brow as they use the phrase, which latter is too close to the way you are using it for comfort.

Anyway, I think it is funny that High Conservatives tend to equate Sarah the Governor with Joe the Plumber. I mean, really....

I agree with pete on sarah and kate on "base."

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