Saturday, May 10, 2008

What do pundits do when they are in a room alone?

They wack off--It's the political season and as a news junkie I simply cannot stay still any longer.

I don't really know what the pundits on cable TV or who write for newspapers do when they are alone and I wouldn't presume to ask.  I do know what they do in public. They jerk off. They buy all sorts of things they should know better than to purchase. For instance:

The Clinton camp is trying to persuade super delegates that since Hillary Clinton does better in swing states than Barrack Obama, she would make a better candidate in November. Garbage. 
  • These votes are for the Democratic primary, not the general election and the people who don't vote for him in the primary are very likely to vote for him in November when the opposition is John McCain (who is sounding more and more like a throwback to the 19th century than a candidate of the 21st). One election has little or nothing to do with the other.
  • It is a long way in politics from May to November (isn't there a song in that?) and what is true now may not be true next Wednesday, not to mention five months from now.
Second, she says that all the tracking polls show her a better candidate against McCain. See above, about the time span. But everyone who knows anything about politics and polling know these polls are meaningless, have always been meaningless and will continue to be meaningless. They tell you nothing you need to know because while they may be a great snapshot of time today, they tell you absolutely nothing about next Wednesday. Since everyone in politics knows that, why are the Clinton people not challenged when the spew it on the pundit shows. Garbage in, garbage out.

And while we're talking about polls, I've mentioned how badly pollsters have done in this campaign, with the Zogby poll consistently distinguishing itself for missing. Mark Blumenthal, one of my favorite sources ( had a piece in the National Journal about an anonymous blogger who called North Carolina and Indiana right on the money without doing a poll and by ignoring the polls that were done. The blogger, who calls him or herself Poblano, went to the demographics, finding an unalterable pattern on how segments of the population vote and predicting the results from that. We all know that Obama's strength is in African-Americans, the young and the better educated; Clinton's strength is in working class whites and seniors. The blogger saw a pattern on how they voted and presumed that pattern would last despite all the Rev. Wrights and sniper attacks. He was exactly right in Indiana, which all the pollsters missed, and nearer to the mark in North Carolina. Even Blumenthal's poll of polls was less accurate.

The point--besides the fact you need to ignore polls in primary elections and the media wastes a lot of money that would be better spent on actually reporting news--is that this is an entirely different kind of race. People who will vote for Obama will still vote for him no matter what; and the Clinton supporters feel the same. The demographic patterns stood unshakable despite outside events. This is true for the primaries and may or may not be true in the general election. We don't know and everyone being paid great money on television to discuss the matter doesn't know either. 

Not original but: Think of Sen. Clinton as the Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." He picks a fight, slashing with his right arm. When that arm is cut off, he attacks with the left. When the left arm is hacked off, he kicks with his right leg and when that is removed he kicks with his left. Finally he is armless and legless and when Arthur declines to continue, he threatens to  "bite your legs off.")

Whack on.

1 comment:

Daro said...

Ha! Caught you blogging again!

Polling seems to be something to do while waiting for the ballot count tally. Surely Obama's gonna be Prez. (caveats) He's not as good as John Edwards but he's better than Hilary (I hope I spelled her name wrong). And everyone is better than McCain, so I'll settle for that. 43 Presidents and 43 Vice-Presidents all white male. 86 in a row from one population demographic. Amazing.

I hear rumours Edwards may be appointed AG. So who will Obama pick for VP? That's the only real twist left...