Wolcott, You Magnficent Minx, You've Done It Again!

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Vanity Fair's James Wolcott, the It's Pat! of media mavens, has managed to make cyberspace a little smaller by starting his own blog, properly titled "Everyone Likes the Smell of His Own Brain Farts" but more prosaically called James Wolcott. Here's Wooly's steel-trap take on the GOP convention:

My clinical evaluation. I don't know if Bush is going to lose the election. But I think he thinks he's going to lose. His eyes were lifeless, devoid of spark. His smiles were forced, his expressions of gratitude for the audience applause more of a mechanical pause than a transference of energy from him to the crowd and back again. When the camera cut to the audience they were doing their orchestrated bit, holding up those dopey signs, but there wasn't the ebullience you saw among the Democrats. Bush seemed to know this speech simply didn't have it, and he didn't have it in him to put it over.

More, including props to Anthony Trollope, Jean Negulesco, and Fred Sanford, here.

NEXT: Vote for Bush: He's Not Bush

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  1. Uuuu’uuuuuum Vanity Fair home of the “Lapham”… Yeah Dubyas in trouble, that’s why he’s up 52-41% of LIKELY voters in the Time poll.

  2. when they carted off the curlyhaird protestor chick during bush’s pitch to the base, he had the most assymetrical smile/frown ive ever seen on a televides human face.

    btw wolcott’s blog is terrific. hope he keeps it going.

  3. Well I wish I was in de land of cotton
    My feet stink, but Wolcott’s are rotten
    Look away, etc.

    Agreed Dubya has those annoying Bushisms, but Kerry has painted himself into a corner, and then on up into a strait jacket.
    Only Osama can bail his dumb ass out.

    Interestingly, while Dubya is verbally-challenged and Kerry isn’t, both are about equally stupid.

  4. Phil,

    Newsweek has Bush up by 11 too. Still think TIME is an outlier?

  5. Um, yes. You can actually have more than one outlier, and finding a second doesn’t negate the first. (That’s why we have best-fit lines, and why Olympic judges toss out the highest and lowest scores, and why we calculate standard deviations from the mean, etc.)

    Note also that the Newsweek poll is of registered voters, not likely voters, which tends to result in a substantially less accurate number. The job-approval and want-to-reelect numbers in that poll are more impressive, but again, RV v. LV.

  6. “that’s why he’s up 52-41% of LIKELY voters in the Time poll.”

    Yeah. Meanwhile, the polls that actually managed to correctly predict the winner of the last election have it so much closer

    Newsweek’s polls predicted that Bush would beat Gore. Time’s may have as well — I can’t find it. In fact, virtually all polls taken in late October and early November of 2000 showed that Bush would beat Gore. Look at the summaries here, for example. What NONE of them predicted — Zogby included — was that Gore would actually win the popular vote.

    You can actually have more than one outlier, and finding a second doesn’t negate the first.

    We’re discussing three polls here, in which the Time poll has Bush doing the best and Zogby has him doing the worst. That makes Time and *Zogby* the outliers, not Time and Newsweek.

    That’s why we have best-fit lines, and why Olympic judges toss out the highest and lowest scores, and why we calculate standard deviations from the mean, etc.

    Yes, and why they don’t toss out the higest and second-highest scores and keep the lowest.

    Why throw out any of the polls, though? The margins of error overlap — all THREE polls are consistent with “real” ratings of 49% for Bush and 41%-45% for Kerry among likely voters.

    And how about that — Rassmussen also has Bush beating Kerry 49 to 45.

    Note also that the Newsweek poll is of registered voters, not likely voters, which tends to result in a substantially less accurate number

    It is certainly true that polls of likely voters tend to be less accurate, but only inasmuch as they routinely overestimate the share of the vote the Democratic candidate will get. So while the Newsweek poll may be more inaccurate, it is likely to be inaccurate in Kerry’s favor.

    And one final note:

    And [Zogby]’s a lot more accurate and trustworthy than TIME.

    Zogby predicted, a few days before the 2000 election, that the race in California would be close. Gore beat Bush here by 53% to 41%. So before you strain a muscle patting Zogby on the back for the awesome of making the exact same prediction as almost every other poll in America about who the President would be, you should take some time to remember the times when Zogby has been embarassingly wrong, too.

  7. Bianco: I’m sure what was happening behind that smile/frown was pure seething. Here the man is wrapping up a four-day pitch that he can keep America safe and secure, yet he can’t even keep a few goofball interplopers from penetrating his own convention.

    (I’m not saying the interlopers actually do prove anything about national security credentials; just that these conventions are all about making images and leaving impressions. And I’m sure that piece of symbolism was certainly unwelcome.)

  8. that’s why he’s up 52-41% of LIKELY voters in the Time poll.

    Yeah. Meanwhile, the polls that actually managed to correctly predict the winner of the last election have it so much closer — around 49% – 46% on average — that “outlier” would be far too generous a word to use for the TIME poll. Zogby’s latest poll of 1,001 likely voters is 46%-44% for Bush. And he’s a lot more accurate and trustworthy than TIME.

    In fact, it’s kind of hilarious, given the constant fucking bitching about the “liberal media,” to watch over the last 24-hours as the right wing suddenly has a hard-on for one outlying poll in TIME Magazine.

  9. Zogby’s latest poll of 1,001 likely voters is 46%-44% for Bush. And he’s a lot more accurate and trustworthy than TIME.

    Both organizations showed a 9 point bounce over their previous poll. TIME went from +2 for Bush to +11; Zogby went from +7 for Kerry to +2 Bush.

    Of course, these polls were taken during the convention rather than after it; I’m still waiting for the rest of the polls to come in before drawing any conclusions.

  10. I agree Bush is lifeless, inauthentic, and full of beans. But I felt the same way about Nixon and he won 49 states. Fact is, a lot of people like Bush and what he stands for. He’s gonna beat Kerry, who stands for nothing. Me, I’ll be voting for Kerry. Because he’s Not Bush.

  11. come on, that’s funny shit…

  12. Wolly, er, ahh, Wooly seems to be in the minority about the Bush speech. I wouldn’t make book on his observations.

    Do I think GWB’s speech was a stellar performance? No. But it was a great speech for someone who is constantly beat to a bloody pulp for being a really lousy public speaker.

    And when Newsweek has Bush up by 11 it really means he’s up by 18-20. 🙂

  13. No pages were found containing “Beslan”.

  14. “Rassmussen had Bush up a single point yesterday, and a dead heat (down to the tenth of a percent) today – this, after showing a temporary bounce for Bush. Maybe I’m just a sucker for their gimmick, but I’ve been throwing in my lot with Rasmussen the whole season.”

    Is this the same Rassmussen whose final poll before the 2000 election had Bush 49, Gore 40, Nader 4?

  15. Sam I Was, the one that I’ve been hearing strangely often lately is (the Jonestown reference to) “drinking the kool-aid”.

    Brings back to me those wonderful days of the talking-points-induced “gravitas” being chirped from the elfish lips of George Stephanopolis.

  16. Gallup has been oddly out of skew with everyone else the entire season, about 7 points towards Bush.

    This page has a pretty good list of poll results, and shows Gallup polls as being in line with the others. And as this page indicates, Gallup’s results have shown Bush and Kerry in a tight race, with neither every pulling ahead for long, for at least the last four months. Bush’s lead has, until this latest poll, never exceeded 4%, while Kerry’s has reached 6%.

    So if your “7 points” claim is true, then that means that everyone else must have shown Kerry as absolutely *trouncing* Bush in the polls, by anywhere from 3 to 13 points, for months, with Bush only *just now* managing to finally achieve a tie.

    Which, of course, is silly; everybody knows that the polls have shown Bush and Kerry in a virtual dead heat. So where is this “7 points” claim coming from, and who is the “everyone else” you’re talking about?

    And one final question: if “everyone else” shows Bush doing worse than the Gallup poll does, then how is it that the Time and Newsweek polls show Bush doing better than the Gallup poll does?

  17. I thought this was where I’d find the poll whores.

  18. Rassmussen had Bush up a single point yesterday, and a dead heat (down to the tenth of a percent) today – this, after showing a temporary bounce for Bush. Maybe I’m just a sucker for their gimmick, but I’ve been throwing in my lot with Rasmussen the whole season.

    Gallup has been oddly out of skew with everyone else the entire season, about 7 points towards Bush. Prophets or dummies?

    What we’ve got here is a classic example of the press chasing down the story they want to tell. They want Bush to have a big bump from his convention, so they write about those polls showing a big bounce. BTW, remember the out-of-whack LA Times polls, that showed Kerry with a big lead? They turned out to oversample Democracts. Well, it turns out Gallup and Newsweek were oversampling Republicans.

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