Real world life is kind of making me feel like Laocoon – I’m commuting to NYC, working on a major project, dealing with some fairly intense (but positive) family stuff, and trying to get caught up so I can formally launch Victory PAC. I feel kind of like King Humperdink…

So posting will be scarce until July and even though there is a lot for me to defend in comments, my ability to weigh in is going to be pretty constrained. So don’t get cocky, chris!!

I’ll leave you by inviting you to a thread on this one question. By any right, the upcoming Presidential election ought to be a Democratic blowout. The polls today aren’t leaning in that direction.

Will it be a blowout? If so why don’t the polls show it now? If not, why not?

If I get some breathing space, I’ll call a drinks event in NYC. There are a lot of bloggers and folks I’d love to meet here.

23 thoughts on “Apologies”

  1. AL, if I’m included in the latter category, let me know as I am always here in NYC and can do a fair bit of drinking.

  2. mark, I’d seriously love to meet you. If you haven’t figured out that I view people who oppose my views as a big part of my community – who else will I learn from? – you will!!


  3. AL:

    I don’t think there’s any reason to conclude that the elections will be a blowout in either direction, although that doesn’t mean they won’t be. The Dems are feeling confident because they believe they’ve won the argument over Iraq, and can’t see how that won’t translate into a blowout in their favor. I think this is pure wishful thinking, fueled in part by the fact that MSM is touting the same narrative… and the Democrats pretty much have always seen eye to eye with MSM. Why would they not conclude they’re headed for a blowout, against those dishonest stupid Republicans? Who’d vote for those guys??

    My take is based upon some of Sam Huntington’s insights about the American electorate, and a tendency to completely flip between party dominance about every thirty to fifty years or so. If that cycle makes sense it’s way too early for the Democrats to take over, and their naivete about what the electorate will do is a sign of the fact that they’ve learned their lessons imperfectly, at best. The 2004 election was an anomaly caused by a kind of perfect storm of scandals by some classic Republican foolishness, but I don’t see it as the permanent shift… yet. Nancy and Harry’s approval numbers are even lower than Bush’s. Moreover, I suspect that a lot of the disapproval of Bush is actually coming from his right. Even many of the neocons I know have quit defending him, and feel betrayed by his execution of what was a worthy strategy. And, of course, he’s on the wrong side of his own party on immigration.

    That said, I don’t see any of the Republican Presidential candidates as particularly strong. We’ve got high hopes for Thompson, but his dalliance makes his candidacy high risk. By the time he actually starts running will people be fed up? Or are they being effectively tantalized now? The longer he waits the more he’ll have to prove, and the greater will be the expectations.

    I think Americans still want to win, and they still want someone telling them they can. Even for those who’ve given up on Iraq there’s an uneasiness about just throwing in the towel. So there’s also that.

    But basically I think the expectations of a big Democrat win probably represent a leap to judgment that may not be born out by events. Even if Iraq isn’t going particularly well, the expectation of a blowout isn’t well founded. It’s a matter of who we define as the Devil, and whether we’re willing to leave without finishing him off. Our attention spans are short, so we need a candidate who can remind us.

  4. Incidentally, any chance of getting down to Princeton? There might even be some interest in an informal get-together at the Madison Program, though that’s probably wishful thinking on my part. Certainly dinner is in the offing.

  5. Will it be a blowout? If so why don’t the polls show it now? If not, why not?

    a) Because the Democrats are still running against George W Bush and he won’t be on the ballot in 2008.

    b) Because while Democrats may be emboldened by the POTUS’ low job approval numbers, the approval numbers of the branch of government they now control and their leaders are even lower.

    c) Because they’ve confused public dissatisfaction with the Iraq campaign in the War (based on what the public sees of it on the MSM) as a sign that the public will support their efforts to cut off funding for the troops and/or give the enemy a timetable for how long they have to hold on until we cut and run.

    d) All of the above.

  6. I’ll play.

    _Will it be a blowout?_

    No, the basic electoral college map remains virtually locked w/ too many states in which two parties are not competitive.

    _If so why don’t the polls show it now?_

    I think the polls show a high preference among voters for a Democratic candidate, but not so strong in specific head-to-head match-ups. I think this is because the Democratic preference is largely a reflection of anti-Bush sentiment that doesn’t get conveyed to the individual Republican candidates. Also, the two leading Democratic candidates might have more obvious weaknesses (Hilary = polarizing; Obama = inexperience) The Democratic candidate that appears to do best in the head-to-head match-ups, “John Edwards,”:http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/edwards_giuliani_do_best_in_general_election_match_ups does not appear likely to get the party nomination.

  7. I agree with others, I don’t think it will be a blowout. Is there anyone remotely presidential in the running yet? If so, I haven’t seen them. The person who survives the coming bloodletting the best will probably be the president, I don’t think it’s a party thing at this point.

    The democrats and republicans are by and large inexperienced, unlikable, and/or two-faced.

    Of the candidates currently available, I actually think Mitt Romney might do the best job, but he has the knack of stepping over his own feet, which will kill him over the next two years. What does fred Thomspon stand for (and what foreign experience does he have?). Edwards is a bit more experienced now then he was 4 years ago (and I’m guessing that he’s got the female vote).

    I’m still hoping bloomberg will jump in. I think he may be the most moderate (and the most independent) possible candidate. And he wouldn’t have to sell his soul to lobbyists. Bloomberg could really shake up the system.

  8. I think it is necessary to define “blow out” before any money gests laid out here and to decide whether electoral college votes or popular vote is counted. I would say anything less than a 10% difference (55-45) cannot be called a blowout.

    I disgree with PD I think the dems might barely pull out victories in several swing states, penn., fla, oh, and the elec. col. will look like more of a blow out than the pop vote., which will be 52-48.

  9. mark:

    the elec. col. will look like more of a blow out than the pop vote., which will be 52-48.

    That will be quite a trick, because no Democrat since Lyndon Johnson has gotten more than 50% of the popular vote.

    Except for “President Carter” (50.1%) whose administration was faked by NASA.

  10. Glen:

    I think Mark meant the two-party vote. BTW, a 10% margin is equivalent to a 5% vote shift in one direction or the other. That’s because votes lost by one candidate don’t just disappear from his column, they show up in the opponent’s. Of course if there are more than two viable candidates that’s not the case.

    But to tell the truth I’ve got no idea what will happen. I just don’t think there’s any obvious evidence at this point for a blowout. Which doesn’t mean it won’t happen. If there were an mass attack on US soil by someone associated with al Qaeda could the Democrats really get any purchase with the argument that we provoked it? I think they’d be dead in the water. In fact, the only scenario that works in the favor of the Democrats is a slow bleed in Iraq, and there’s some reason to think that not even al Qaeda wants that (because we’re actually winning). Al Qaeda probably wants to push things into a regional war in the Middle East, and again that blows out the Democrats, not the Republicans.

    Well, that’s my take. The Democrats are playing a wishful thinking game, as usual. It’s now their M.O..

  11. One of the reasons I foresee a close electoral college map (again swinging on the outcomes of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania) is that I’m assuming a high probability that Clinton is the Democratic nominee. With her unfavorability ratings, I foresee a reverse Rovian strategy.

  12. PD, if the democratic nominee got all the blue states and edged out the republican nominee in swing states by the tiniest margin (due to Iraq-policy dissatisfaction), then she could end up with 325 electoral votes to her opponents 213. of course, that could be wishful thinking on my part and not a prediction i’d be willing to put a lot of money on. still, one can dream.

  13. I think a blowout at the Presidential level is at least possible, if one of the three ‘establishment’ candidates secures the Republican nomination. Republican Presidential candidates simply do not win without the support of gun owners and pro-lifers, any more than a Democrat would have a hope of winning as a Right to Work Democrat. It’s like shooting yourself in both feet before beginning a marathon.

  14. I don’t think it will be a blowout, because I think normal people/voters will reject the Cindy Sheehan’s who have taken over the Democratic Party. Since winning their majority in November, the Dem’s have NOT shown any grace or good will at all, and if anything, their Bush Derangement Syndrome has just gotten louder, more shrill and even more bitter than it was before. I’m confident that in the next year, the Democratic Party will take their marching orders from juvenile delinquents like the Kos Kids, and will be rejected by the adults of the country who simply cannot bear to be hectored any more about stupid stuff that doesn’t matter to anyone except nude bike-riding tree-huggers.

  15. I don’t see a blowout, because I don’t think Hillary Clinton needs one. She’ll go for the safest win (reverse Rove), not the biggest win.

    I think Hillary Clinton just wants to plant her backside in the best seat in the Oval Office, and she doesn’t care at all about making headlines on the way to where she wants to go. That’s what I like most about her: her down to earth side – practical, sober and professional.

    Even if she loses, I don’t think it will be trying any stupid ego stunts. On the last hour of the last day of campaigning, she’ll just be plodding along with whatever she thinks is her main chance.

  16. If Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate, that will be two sober people in the fight.

    I don’t think Mitt Romney will be a fool, I don’t think he’ll try something crazy and lose all his support. So: a loss is likely, but no blowout.

    I think Mitt Romney thinks the Republican Party is another failing company that needs a competent chief executive officer, and he’s going to rescue it.

    I think it will be hard to do it, because the great American public does not want four our eight years more of Bush. If you represent the continuation of the foreign policy legacy of George W. Bush, especially on the nation-building project in Iraq, your chances to win the next presidential election are poor.

  17. Yes, but that proceeds from the assumption that the Republican nominee is going to run on Bush’s foreign policy. That’s the assumption that Democrats are making. It is both stupid and wrong.

    Rice gave a preview of where Republicans are headed: back to TR and Ike in her speech to the Economic Club of New York, and away from liberal internationalism. She’s shrewder than a lot of people in the left blogosphere give her credit for, and she’s survived long enough to see off Rumsfeld and, for all practical purposes, Cheney.

    We’re a people who like to think that we do good works in the world. We don’t like to do good works in the world and then be told by friend and foe “f**k off”. I strongly suspect that Rice is prepping the ground for a return of the Republican Party to its roots in Palmerston: “Friends? What friends? It’s those National Interests I can understand….”

    The usual doggerel about alliances overseas and American ideals notwithstanding, I suspect in future years that appeals to go help out in Darfur from the Usual Suspects will fall on deaf ears. And rightly so. After all, nobody ever made any slick ads about the plight of the Kurds or the Marsh Arabs, now did they?

  18. #21 from section9: “Yes, but that proceeds from the assumption that the Republican nominee is going to run on Bush’s foreign policy. That’s the assumption that Democrats are making. It is both stupid and wrong.”

    I was thinking more of the Democrat nominee, who I think will be Hillary Clinton, hanging George W. Bush’s foreign policy around the neck of the Repubilican nominee like an albatross.

    There is no “to hell with them hawk” in the Republican race. There is no obvious radical break on offer.

  19. ‘I think Hillary Clinton just wants to plant her backside in the best seat in the Oval Office’

    and that’s why she won’t win in a nutshell. Americans are, for good reason, extremely leery of candidates who only want power. What’ll she do when she gets it? Play weekly poll watcher and spin like a weather-vane? Charge off in some unforeseen direction? Who knows? I doubt even she does.

    Candidates are supposed to at least pretend to have some desire to implement by being President, not just simply being President. We’ve never exactly been done well by Presidents whose ambitions end on inauguration.

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