2008 Presidential Campaign Analysis

This post from Malstrom is absolutely the best thought out and insightful analysis of this presidential election campaign i have ever read. It is long but all great.

On polls and political analysis:
One thing that is very different about this election is the omnipresence of polls and how polls are the axis around all political analysis is conducted. This has never been the case in previous elections. Real political analysts (meaning not hacks or unprofessional pundits), use historical trends, demagraphical data, and other ‘truths’ of past elections. Much of this cannot be translated into a chart or graph. It is a myth that analysis is done via math or graphs or computer models. The original economists, for example, used only words and essays. Political analysis is not about math. Political analysis is about people. To analyze politics, you must be able to analyze people. In other words, the poet and novelist becomes the political analyst, not the mathematician and software engineer. Politics is all about people.

On what drives conservatives to vote:
One of the reasons why Democrats lost the elections of 2002, 2004, and won in 2006 so handily is the appearance (and disappearance) of the phenomenon I refer to as ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’. Conservatives are generally apathetic and have been lately about their candidates. While Bush was a Republican, he was not a conservative. He was conservative on a few things, the things that mattered most to conservatives (foreign policy, judges, taxes), but Bush has no interest in the conservative movement and doesn’t want to ‘lead’ it unlike Reagan. So conservative support for Republican candidates have been very soft (as illustrated in 2006). But if a Democrat or the legacy media (who conservatives believe are the same) insult or attack conservatives or what they believe, the result is ‘broken glass conservatives’ meaning the apathetic, soft Republican (or Democrat) conservative suddenly turns enraged and will literally walk over ‘broken glass’, if need be, to vote. ‘Broken glass conservatives’ phenomenons are all easily prevented if someone had some sense. An example of a ‘broken class conservative’ scenario would be Congressman Murtha (twice) declaring western Pennslyvania as ‘racists’. Remember, Murth’s district is mostly Democrat, and they know about Murtha’s shenanigans (the idea of ‘he’s a crook, but he is OUR crook’). But conservative Democrats took the insult personally and, out of the blue, Murtha’s safe seat suddenly becomes competitive . In 2004, the ‘broken glass conservatives’ were generated by, what conservatives felt, media bias in that veterans who served with Kerry were never had the spotlight shown (which they resorted to their own ads which became the ‘SwiftBoat Ads’) as well as Dan Rather and the forged memos.

In 2008, there are more phenomenons of the ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ than I have ever seen…

-Conservatives believe the media has been outrageously fawning over Obama and doing everything it can to protect him. This has enraged them even more than in 2004.

-Obama’s comment of people in rural areas were nothing more than ‘bitter clingers’ who cling to guns and religion have caused lingering outrage at him. This comment, alone, is one reason why Pennslyvania turned on him.

-The Bail-Out Bill enraged many and was when conservatives finally abandoned Bush. But Bush is not on the ticket anymore so that doesn’t matter. Rather, the enragement is aimed at Pelosi and Reid, the leaders of the House and Senate.

-Media treatment of Sarah Palin generated many ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ and even overlapped to the Hillary Clinton supporters.

-Joe the Plumber. At first, Joe the Plumber recieved much amusement and delight of the electorate since it was funny to watch the presidential candidates refer to some citizen and even talk directly to ‘him’ on the camera. After the debate, naturally the press put up photos of the ‘conversation’ between Joe and Obama in amusement as well (amusement in how this citizen somehow ended up as the topic in the third debate). Then, Obama and Biden mocked joe the Plumber and said plumbers could never earn $250,000, and this followed with news came out about Joe’s salary, his marriage, his driver’s license, his taxes, his lack of a plumber’s license, and him ultimately being fired by the plumbing union. This enraged people like I have never seen before. Joe the Plumber became the ‘John Galt’ icon. I heard stories of visible Obama supporters being rattled by this such as SoCal voters peeling off their bumper stickers and uprooting their Obama signs.

-Socialism. People who are over 50, who either fled a socialist country or was in the military to help liberate socialist countries, find the thought of any presidential candidate, even ‘warm’ on the ideas of socialism, to be deemed ‘unelectable’ and are outraged it took to the Joe the Plumber incident to discover what, they believe, Obama’s true motives are.

On why McCain will win PA:
Pennslyvania has been grossly misreported on this election cycle. During the Democrat primary, union bosses approached Hillary Clinton and said, “Promise us you will not put Obama as your Veep and you will have our support.” The moment Obama become the nominee was when he lost Pennslyvania. Obama has been spending money like a drunken sailor in the state, blasting the state full of advertising, but it isn’t working. The famous Philly machine won’t be at Obama’s disposal as the governor, Rendell, is a Clinton supporter , and he has been hinting at Pennslyvania going red by the mysterious leak of the Obama internal campaign poll of PA being +2 a couple of weeks ago and publicly asking Obama to come back to the state as well as saying that things are ‘tightening’ there. The evidence that PA is going red should be with how the safe Democrat seats are becoming suddenly competitive. Rendell is a Democrat and doesn’t want to lose house seats which is another reason to ask Obama to come back.

Pennslyvania is not a New England state, it is a mid-atlantic state. It is mostly a rural state. Obama likely thought Philly and Pittsburgh would be enough to carry the state (Obama is relying on cities to swing entire states his way). But Kerry could barely hold the state even with the Philly machine and the Democrat base on his side. And McCain and Palin are far more popular, campaign wise, than Bush and Cheney were in 2004.

Obama does not have the Democrat base solidified behind him. In states that massively swung to Clinton, such as Pennslyvania, a sizable number of Hillary Clinton supporters are voting for McCain under the banner of ‘Party Unity My Ass’ or ‘PUMA’s. In McCain Campaign offices throughout Pennslyvania, manning their phone banks, are DEMOCRATS which voted for Hillary Clinton. An unholy alliance has developed between senators McCain and Clinton. Both are friends to one another. Both have a framed picture of the other in their offices. The PUMA story is the biggest one not being told about in this election.

On Palin political appeal.
Palin is appealing to conservatives due to the ‘fire in the belly’ where she is expressing what conservatives want, what they wished their conservative politicians would say and fight back against, in their perception, is a hostile media to them. Palin does not articulate conservative philosophy in her speeches as she appears more populist. Palin is not a female Reagan, but a Truman in a skirt. I’ve been reading much on Truman lately, and I’ve been struck with the similarities. Truman was an ardent outdoorsman, one from a small town and related extremely well with the rural population. Taft, among others, thought Truman was below them and kept referring to him as ‘filth’ and a ‘redneck’. Famously, Truman alone believed he would win his election when everyone else said he wouldn’t and traveled across the country visiting various farms and other small towns. The reporters traveling with Truman noticed that everywhere he went, there were large crowds. The electorate referred to Truman more by his first name, ‘Harry’, with the common phrase of ‘Give em Hell, Harry!’ Truman was not a wordsmith, but he had a fire in his belly and, most of all, his speeches held warmth. At every stop, Truman praised the rural people there and often talked about something in the locality. Truman, by his biographers, is most remembered for his constant energy, how his appearance was always ‘fresh’, how he always looked ‘rested’, and appeared in high spirits most of the time. Truman was constantly made fun of by his rural pronounciation and his non-intellectual demeanor by the press, yet those things endeared him to the rural electorate. In all my life, I have never seen a Vice Presidential nominee out-pull the Presidential nominee or steal his spotlight. Win or lose, Palin will likely have a long shelf life.

On Palin and the Republican Reformation:
McCain’s choice of Palin and push against ‘Socialism’, since the nominee is head of the political party, has swung the party back into the control of the conservatives rather than Republicans. Most of these ‘Republicans’ tend to reside in the Washington loop, and have been there since Reagan, while others are ‘moderates’. The Obama Campaign with its psych-ops of ‘landslide’ polls, have made conservatives giddy in that it is flushing out the Washington Republicans and moderates from the party. For example, Colin Powell, who is pro-choice and for affirmative action, who appeared to be Republican mostly as Reagan made him a four star general, Bush the Elder put him in charge of the Joint Chief, and Bush the Younger put him as Secretary as State, is now forever blacklisted after endorsing Obama. George Will, longtime columnist who has been in Washington for a long time, wrote against the Iraq War (which already put him on thin ice), but now he will be flushed out. Peggy Noonan, long time Washington person since the Reagan years, is now flushed out. Parker, ditto. From the conservative side, they are celebrating as they consider these Republicans to been in Washington too long and are no longer connected to the people. The point is that Palin has become a Conservative Touchstone that, like a wave, has flowed through the party and is revealing who is and who is not a conservative. And these non-conservatives will not be well recieved anymore. (In the case of women, such as Peggy Noonan, I suspect some old fashioned female jealousy going on as well. Remember, Pelosi wanted Hillary Clinton to lose because she wouldn’t be the dominant female in Washington anymore. This might seem strange to guys, but only women exist in women’s world.)

On the campaign.
It is said that at the end of a presidential campaign, the candidate who is campaigning on the enemy’s turf in the final days becomes president. The stories that say “Obama is campaigning in final days in Bush states’ is getting it wrong, of course. Obama has no choice but to campaign in Bush states since there is no other way for him to get to 270. McCain can lose some Bush states and still win. In political analysis, novices measure the election by states. Experts do it by counties. The counties McCain and Palin are visiting, be it Pennslyvania or even Ohio, are democrat counties meaning they went for Kerry the other time. Obama keeps staying in safe urban areas and other Democrat strongholds. Obama’s strategy doesn’t appear aggressive to me (he appears to be getting angry, even emotionally melting down. Such as when he got angry when trick-or-treating. Even today, he gave McCain the middle finger). When we look at the candidates themselves, we see McCain confident and laughing and Obama… being a little theatrical (”I will change the world!”). OK, candidate comparison is a matter of opinion. But there is a tradition that the campaign in the lead tends to share their internal poll numbers in the closing of an election. I’m hearing much about internal McCain polling, however, this might be the campaign’s way to provide an alternative to the way off public polls.

Again, please read it all.

HT: Strata-Sphere

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