Monday, January 14, 2008

A party of assumption-makers

Much ado is being made over national polls that show any of the major Democratic choices defeating any Republican one. Democrats and those sympathetic to them are simply giddy over what they see as a coming easy victory in the fall. I welcome this development of Democrats believing that victory is theirs. These same people believed it in 2004 when the polls showed any Democrat beating George W. Bush by a rather hefty margin in January. In 2000, the polls actually showed the Democrats with what should have been a sizable advantage. Instead, after the election they were left whining that they didn't really lose and decrying the Constitution as "unfair" because they didn't get their way-and they sat on their laurels and assumed victory for themselves.

Democrats and liberals are terrible at making assumptions. Firstly, they assume that the American people actually buy the socialist claptrap that modern-day Democrats feed them. We collectively do not, of course-which is why the Democrats' better strategists have steered the debate away from the core issues of the Democratic Party and are making "the war" and "the economy" the issues with a very broad brush. Many Americans (including myself) disapprove of how the war has gone, and they don't like way they see the economy going. Smartly, Democrats talk in negative terms about the war and the economy, but when they begin to act on their perceived solutions, the people of the Union react very negatively.

In 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned on "change." He told the folks that the Republicans had been in power for too long and that he was going to bring them health care reform and an "economic plan." As is typical in Democratic campaigns, Clinton was long on generalities and very short on specifics. When Clinton was elected (with a little help from Ross Perot), he had a Democratic Congress and enjoyed total control over the affairs of the federal apparatus. People began to learn the details of the Clinton plan. He put his wife in control of "health care reform" and raised taxes after pledging "I will not raise taxes on the middle class to pay for these programs." In 1994, the voters essentially told Clinton that they did not appreciate his taking the country to Hell after accusing the Republicans of doing what he himself was engaging in. Bill Clinton became a successful President not because he got his way, but because a Republican Congress gave him the pieces of the puzzle to keep the country moving and he signed those pieces of the puzzle into law. He is revered among Democrats as being so great, but had the 1994 election never happened, Clinton would likely have suffered the same fate in 1996 as Jimmy Carter did in 1980. Bill Clinton was never able to enact his "plan," and the people saved him from himself. When Democrats try to enact their programs, the people have tended to balk in the modern era.

The second (and by far the greatest) mis-assumption the Democrats are making is that a majority of people are actually paying attention to Presidential politics right now. In spite of all of the hoopla over the early Primaries, most people do not vote in those contests. Voter turnout in most of these States will be under 50%, and in many cases will be well under 50%. The majority of voters will not vote at all until November, so any polls that are taken now which say that any candidate of one party is likely to beat any candidate of another party are going to be highly inaccurate. The 2004 vote hinged on many voters who did not make up their minds until a week or two before polling day.

All of these Democrats and liberals that are getting starry-eyed about their impending victory can start actually taking polls seriously after Labor Day. On November 5th, all of you might be whining again while you prepare for the inauguration of another Republican, muttering that you just don't get it because all of the generic polls said no Republican could win.



At Monday, January 14, 2008 1:01:00 PM, Blogger Matt Daley said...

Of course, the problem here is the inherent assumption that these trends will continue. The truth is that they will not. The American people are not THAT stupid -- you can only bang your head against the wall so many times before you finally learn not to do it anymore.

This is especially true with regard to your statement about primary/caucus turnout. Obviously, two states do not indicate a trend for the whole country, but it might. And the turnout in both Iowa and New Hampshire was quite large -- at record levels, in fact. Democrats, especially, seemed to be very motivated and showed up in greater numbers than Republicans.

If those numbers continue, the assumption that "January polls mean nothing for November" may no longer hold.

In other words, don't bet on voter ignorance and apathy to allow a Republican to waltz into the White House. You may very well lose that bet, especially if the Republican nominee is Mike Huckabee.

By the way, speaking of Huckabee, here's a link to a YouTube version of a Genesis music video. I won't name the song -- but it is VERY apropos for his campaign.

At Monday, January 14, 2008 2:57:00 PM, Anonymous A. Renee Daley said...

If Mike Huckabee wins the nomination (and I pray to God every night that he won't) we'll have two liberals running against each other anyway - so what choice to Republicans really have?

Vote for Obama, or Hillary - or vote for Populist, class warfare Mike Huckabee. Regardless, you're going to get stuck with some type of socialistic government.

We're back to the lesser of two evils again and we all know how well that's worked out for us the last eight years.

I'm not interested in electing or voting for a Republican Jimmy Carter. Mike Huckabee said himself he's not running for George Bush's third term. That's because he's running for Bill Clinton's.

At Wednesday, January 16, 2008 12:33:00 PM, Blogger William said...

Oh yes, you really think the GOP has a chance? The party that embodies a culture of corruption, lies, incompetence, arrogance, abuse of power, theocracy, a war on science, swiftboating, fear, bigotry and sexual perversion?

Yea, right. You must think people are really stupid.


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