Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Numbers and Notes -- Useless Polling Edition

(With apologies to Meredith Wilson)

We’ve got trouble, right here in River City
With a capitol T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Polls.
We’ve got trouble, right here in River City
Reporting nonsense that’ll suck your brains like a big lack hole.

And soon your kids’ll be using words
Not good words like “tax policy” or “health care reform”
But words like “momentum” (gasp)
Or “trend lines” (gasp)
Or “margin of error” (TROUBLE)

You ever hear of FDR talking about “trend lines”?
Ever hear Ike talk about “margin of error”?
I should say not.
My friends, useless numbers are the devil’s tools.

We’re two weeks from the Iowa caucuses and over the last three days there have been three polls released in which a)each of the candidates has been first b)each has been second and c)each has been third. The media breathlessly announce the numbers like they came down on tablets from Mt. Sinai, often because they themselves sponsored the polls. And the poll they sponsored is the one treated as holy writ, debated like it really means something. In fact, they mean next to nothing. No, I’m not saying Joe Biden or Bill Richardson is going to win Iowa or come close, but the top three are not truly distinguishable by polls. Personally, I think Edwards organization (he’s organized in all 99 counties of Iowa) and experience (his people have done this before) will end up winning the day, especially in terms of delegates. Still, that’s something of a guess, and if you told me he would win the delegates and lose the popular vote to Obama, I wouldn’t dispute that.
The one thing I am hoping for is that the Hawkeyes see clearly enough to punish the Clinton campaign for the filth they have spewn. Usually, dirty tactics wait for when a candidate is in trouble, but the Clintonites see no point in waiting. Besides the silliness over Obama’s kindergarten essays – and rest assured, the Clintonites see that as probitive – they also hinted at his selling coke. That’s the way they play the game, attack first, apologize later, but leave the attack out there. I can’t prove that the John Edwards’ pregnant mistress story came from the Clinton campaign, but it has Clinton conduit Matt Drudge’s fingerprints on it and on Thanksgiving, I was wearing my Edwards button and a Clinton campaign person asked me if I would still support him when stories about his mistress hit the media in a couple of weeks. Now the Enquirer broke the story before that, so he may have gotten it from there, or it just may have been a plan they had. Of course if Edwards did have a mistress – and that would give him a Clinton connection and the kind of experience Hillary is familiar with – this would be huge. It would also have been investigated by a better source than the Enquirer by this time and confirmed by them.
We have two weeks to go, until then, the Dems will battle for every voter and the Republicans will battle for Jesus – more about them later.

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