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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cruising the web

I voted yesterday. I love the location for early voting in my area. It is set at a community center and they have us walk through the woods so that we come in from the back door and can exit through the front door. I always enjoy that nature walk through the woods as eager political volunteers hand out their brochures - I love that combination of civic virtue and nature. I even shook the hand of the Democratic candidate for governor here in North Carolina, Walter Dalton, who is purportedly headed for a deep defeat. I'm not sure what it gets a gubernatorial candidate to shake a handful of hands outside an early voting site, but I was polite and didn't tell him I'd be voting against him. It always impresses me how many volunteers we get to serve at the polls. There seemed to be dozens of people there to move us along quickly. I was in and out in less than 10 minutes. There was no waiting at all and everyone was so friendly and cheerful. It always puts me in a good mood. I hope that there will be no problems in voting for those in the path of the storm and that election officials will be able to get their election machines and volunteers to work for election day. My thoughts keep going to those people suffering through this storm.

Polling is going to be even more problematical for this election. Horrors! Poll junkies like me will just have to, you know, actually wait for election day to learn what is going to happen. Eek. It reminds me of the time when the networks had to throw out all their exit polls and just report the vote counts as they came in without being able to project the winners using any exit polls. I can't remember what year that was - maybe 2002 - but I remember how the anchors on TV election night had to spin things without any news to report. This may be the same this year. Though if you want to read about what the polls say up to Hurricane Sandy, Josh Jordan has a good summary. And Guy Benson tries to make sense of Gallup's report that Romney leads 52/46 among the 15% of early voters. It's not limited to swing states so it could be that Romney's numbers are being run up in red states that don't matter so much to the outcome, but it is interesting to compare this year's poll of early voters to 2008.

With the nation watching destruction wreaked by nature, it is so disconcerting and disgusting to read of fans in San Francisco wreak their own type of destruction to celebrate the Giants win the World Series.

Now Obama is talking about having a "secretary of Business" if he wins reelection. I guess Obama forgot that we already have a Department of Commerce. Just what we need - more government interference in the economy and private business. Jonah Goldberg wonders who would be Obama's SOB.

Jonathan Last defends Nate Silver.

Forget any idea of postponing the election. Obama can't do that unilaterally, of course. Congress would have to quick pass a new law and then states would have to pass laws to comply with that change. The most that could happen is for states to extend voting hours and allow more provisional ballots. The law really is silent on the issue. When people talked about provisional plans to postpone the election in 2004 in case of a terrorist attack, Joe Biden was against it.
“I think that is the worst idea in the world,” Biden said in a 2004 interview on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” according to a transcript. “Essentially acknowledging to the whole world we think we’re going to be attacked before this happens, I think it is absolutely mindless with all due respect.”
A natural disaster is different from a terrorist attack, but we did manage to hold an election in the midst of a Civil War; I think we can do it a week after a hurricane. What might be of more benefit for Congress to do is to allocate emergency funds to send generators and perhaps poll workers to polling stations in the afflicted areas.

Jonah Goldberg wonders why there has been no feeding frenzy on Benghazi compared to the frenzy when news of George Bush's 24-year-old DUI arrest the week before the 2000 election. The media would rather talk about Richard Mourdock's attempt to explain his views on rape and abortion than talk about the accusation that sources on the ground pleaded for seven hours for support during the attack on the consulate in Benghazi and were told to sand down, yet the rest of the media are just ignoring the story. The President has told us that he ordered everything to be done to protect our people there. Well, that wasn't done. So either someone disobeyed orders or Obama lied. Shouldn't we want to find out the truth? As Goldberg writes,
This isn't an "October surprise" foisted on the media by opposition research; it's news.

This story raises precisely the sort of "big issues" the media routinely claim elections should be about. For instance, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last week that the "basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on, without having some real-time information about what's taking place." If real-time video of the attack and communications with Americans on the ground begging for assistance doesn't constitute "real-time information," what does?
If you haven't watched it yet, you should watch Pat Caddell's cri de coeur over the media's lack of coverage over the Benghazi story.
Glenn Reynolds explains why even Obama's supporters should be disappointed in him. And right on cue Richard Cohen writes in the Washington Post about how disappointed he has been in Barack Obama who seems to love himself even more than his fans do. Cohen wishes that Obama could have been a person who cared as much for the poor and downtrodden as Robert F. Kennedy did. One quibble is that Cohen writes that RFK gave his life for his opposition to the war in Vietnam. That is false. He was killed by a Palestinian militant who was angry about Robert Kennedy's support of Israel. Interesting how that fact has gotten written out of history.

I don't understand why Obama even flew to be in Florida yesterday thinking he could get a rally in ahead of the storm. Then he had to abandon those plans and fly back to D.C. because his aides feared he wouldn't be able to fly back into Washington and it would look bad for him not to be able appear as a leader during the hurricane from the nation's capital. They had all the forecasts; why did they even send him down there in the first place? Was he so determined to keep on campaigning that he was willing to risk the bad optics of flying down first and then coming back?

Are swearing grannies really what Michael Moore thinks will sway voters?

Matt Lewis explains why the public doesn't care about Romney's pivot to the center.
But as frustrating as it may be, the one consistent thing Romney's opponents have learned is that voters don't much care about your past flip so long as your current flop is in their direction. In the primary, grassroots conservatives were generally okay with him flipping to their points of view. Now, voters looking for a serious moderate are relieved to see Romney flop their way.

And the truth is that voters often go with their intuition — and at the "gut" level, Romney is a moderate. It's entirely plausible that the reason Romney is now surging — the reason he is now more likeable — is that this Mitt Romney is actually more authentic than the "severely conservative" Mitt Romney.

Either way, politicians should quit expecting voters to care about consistency (even if we agree they should care). Voters aren't like a jury sworn to weigh the evidence and then hold people accountable for past actions or inconsistencies. Instead, they are more like a committee tasked to hire someone for the future.

Expecting someone to be shocked that a politician would move to the right (or left) to win a primary, and then tack to the center, is like Casablanca's Captain Renault being shocked — SHOCKED! — to find gambling at Rick's CafĂ©.

3 comments:

elkh1 said...

Secretary of Business (SoB), what happens to his Job Council?

Jeff Vaca said...

I've been reading your blog on a daily basis for a couple of years now, as a way to challenge my own thinking and assumptions about myriad issues. So I feel bad that my first ever comment is a negative one. But as a lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants, I have to register my dismay at your words accompanying the link to the idiotic fans at the celebration following the Giants' World Series win.

Don't get me wrong, I am not defending anything that those cretins did. I would only point out that this modern day phenomenon - "fans" taking license to act like idiots when their team wins a championship - is hardly unique to San Francisco. Unfortunately, it happens in virtually every city where a team has taken the title, in any sport.

I am open to being corrected, but it sure felt to me as you were making a direct tie between "San Francisco" and irresponsible behavior in the wake of the tragedy taking place on the East Coast, as a means to make a contrast between "San Francisco" - and we all know that the city stands as one of the most liberal bastions in the country - and the rest of the country.

If that's the case, then I think you're guilty of two things I've never seen on your blog - a cheap shot, and lazy thinking.

Rick Caird said...

Jeff,

You might be over thinking this.

I expect Betsy would have made exactly the same comment if Detroit had swept the Giants because, as you point out, these victories seem to be an excuse to commit mayhem where ever the victor happens to be.

Personally, I made no association between the politics of SF and the propensity to semi riot over a World Series victory. That seems to have become universal, although, fortunately, not as violent as the soccer riots.