Archive for October, 2008

two for two

And on a lighter note, yet still slightly political.

So this afternoon I was in the gym at work, doing my usual thing on the elliptical machine. The machine I was on faced one of the mirrored walls, affording me a good view of the gym’s entrance. In walks a group of people, the obvious center of which is a very tall and extremely good-looking man. I mean, male-model gorgeous — just ridiculous. Perfectly coiffed hair, tailored shirt, penetrating eyes, excellent cheekbones. Of course, I immediately start trying to make eye contact when I realize…

…it’s our goddamn mayor. And he’s done it to me again.

just call me doctor buzzkill

Assuming the following:

— The Bradley Effect is real, and that the problems of Democrats over-polling in 2000 and 2004 have not been fixed; so Obama is over-polling by some statistically significant amount, let’s say at least 2 percentage points.

— That “undecided” voters will break strongly Republican, just like they did in 2000 and 2004.

Based on‘s current polling data, that means that the actual electoral map we’re facing down right now looks something like this:

…which is McCain 284, Obama 254. (It’s also basically 2004’s results, except with the Democrats picking up New Mexico and Iowa, while the Republicans pick up Minnesota.) Consider that my “hope I’m wrong” prediction.

T-minus 6 days. This nonsense can’t be over fast enough.


Note to self: try to avoid completely pissing off Jon Stewart and the rest of the Daily Show writers. Because, um, ouch.

Watch in order for full effect:

you have got to be kidding me

There are twenty-two ballot measures up for approval on the San Francisco city ballot for 2008.


And then another twelve state ballot questions, for a grand total of 34.

This is no way to run a polity.

and while I’m ranting about politics

If you happen to be reading this on sunday evening, now would be an awesome time to throw some money at the “No On Prop 8” campaign. A gentleman by the name of Steve Bing is running a $1 Million challenge grant, and if you donate before midnight tonight, he’ll match your entire donation, so your dollars are doubled. Click here to donate. (Edit: fixed the link, sorry!)

If the challenge is over by the time you read this, you can and should should still donate at the main site. $5, $20, anything: this is going to be nail-bitingly close, and every little bit helps.

Chickens, and the counting thereof.

A lot of my friends seem to be in a good mood lately. For the life of me, I don’t understand why.

I think it’s because they’ve been looking at some pretty pictures that seem to show that Obama has a lock on this race.

At the risk of being a bit of a buzzkill, let me gently say to all of you: this is complete bullshit. The lesson of 2000 was that national vote counts don’t elect a president: electoral votes do. The lesson of both 2000 and 2004 was that major media polling is completely broken and that the Democratic Party’s internal polling is in even worse shape — and there has been no evidence offered by anyone yet to suggest that either of those two things have been fixed.

On November 4th 2004, I attended a celebratory ball in NYC thrown by Billionaires for Bush. They rented out a huge nightclub in tribeca, and lots of famous faces were there, whooping it up. And I will never forget that at 10pm, a fearful-looking Howard Dean came out on stage, to huge applause, to thank us for our support and urge us to stay just a little bit longer, saying “I really thought we’d have this wrapped up by now.”

We caught a cab home at 11. We all know how that worked out the next morning.

Here’s the problem: all of the rosy scenarios of Obama walking away with this election hinge on the prediction, based on polling numbers, that he’s going to take several and quite possibly all of the following states:

North Carolina

I can only say: pull the other one. Seriously.

It’s instructive — very instructive — to look at’s 2004 results for each of those states. Let’s take as a particularly pertinent example Virginia, which some people are starting to call a safe Obama state. Here’s the problem:

The stars represent the actual 2004 vote counts. Note carefully here: for pretty much the entire election season, Bush polled at just a smidge over 50%. Kerry bounced around a little bit more, but for most of September and October was in theory within striking distance at around 47%. The actual results on election day? A blowout: Bush 54% vs Kerry 46%.

The same pattern holds true for most of the other states in that list: Kerry over-polled, Bush under-polled. It was even worse in other states: in West Virginia, Bush’s 2004 poll numbers never once topped 51%, but when the votes were counted he crushed Kerry, 56 to 44.

The only two states where there’s not really a “pattern” to be discerned are Ohio and Florida, but the take-away from both 2000 and 2004 is that the GOP simply has those two states wired for sound, and that in the event of a dead heat, McCain will be declared the winner by hook or crook.

(And seriously: North Carolina? I would love to be proven wrong here, but until such time as I actually see pigs on the wing, I will continue to believe that they do not fly, lipstick or no.)

Give OH, FL, NC and VA back to McCain — and I’ll risk embarrassment here by predicting that he gets at least two and most likely three of them — and neither candidate will have an electoral majority: this race will suddenly hinge on Colorado, New Mexico and Missouri.

Feel lucky?

Obama has a very good chance of winning this election, but this is so far from a lock that it’s not even funny. If once again we wake up on November 5th with a bad hangover, no decided winner and a murder of lawyers circling around the Supreme Court, I won’t be in the slightest bit surprised.

a teaspoon of bile helps the nyquil go down

And what have we learned in the last week, kids?

1. If you are a “libertarian”, or a “fiscal conservative”, or just a “person who likes it when budget numbers bear some passing relationship to reality” and you thought that you had a voice in the Republican Party… surprise! Your quaint opinion was neither desired nor needed. Moral hazard? A road to whatdom? Limited government? Creative destruction? Yeah, fuck all that noise: some of Hank Paulson’s buddies were facing having to drive their own cars this year. When we said “free” markets, we didn’t mean crazy.

2. If you are a “progressive” or an “leftist” or just a “person who thinks that maybe the government shouldn’t hand over uncountable (and unaccountable) billions of dollars to people who are already rich” and you thought you had a voice in the Democratic Party… surprise! Nobody gave a shit about your perspective. Universal health care? Education reform? Funding for city infrastructure? A fully funded EEOC? Sorry, we needed that money to keep Citicorp and Morgan Stanley in business. Tough break kid, maybe next century.

3. If you thought that between the two groups of people mentioned above there was potentially a large enough voting bloc in congress to stop a bill that was at once a complete disaster from a Chicago-school economic perspective and also one of the most brilliant instances of robbing from everybody to pay to the rich in the history of the entire world… surprise! There’s not many of you at all, actually. How embarrassing.

In a sane world, this would be the beginning of an epochal re-alignment in American party politics. Everyone who voted “no” on this monstrosity would immediately join a new party, let’s call it for the sake of argument the “For The Love Of God Don’t Do Completely Insane Shit” party. Everyone else would be in the “OMG FREE PONIES!!!11” party. Except that’s too depressing a thought to contemplate, since based on the roll call, the Ponytarians have at least a 2-to-1 advantage. And by the way, whatever happens on November 4th, one of them is going to be President.

Sleep well, America.