She's Tight, She's Ahead of Her Time

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There are six days left until the election. Tomorrow, Barack Obama tries to own the headlines with a 30-minute 8 p.m. ad/address/fireside chat/colon cleansing commercial. (We don't know what's in it yet.) We don't know what happens on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, but we know that they're the last days we have to listen to Obama and McCain before we spend four (or eight!) years listening to just one of them.

Marc Ambinder sums up the current McCain message—He can still win!—and provides some contrary evidence. I'll simply note again that this stuff happens every year. From November 2, 1988, in the Boston Globe:

Dukakis, accompanied by daughter Andrea yesterday because his wife is holed up in a Minneapolis hotel with the flu, delivered a highly charged speech at San Jose State.

Mixing his sensory metaphors, Dukakis said, "There's a feeling in the air and it smells like victory to me."

From October 28, 1992, in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The CNN-USA Today poll of 1,217 likely voters showed Clinton at 40 percent, Bush at 38 percent and Perot at 16 percent. With a margin of error plus or minus 3 percentage points, that added up to a dead heat. … Bush was greeted by thousands of people at a rally in Strongsville, near Cleveland.

"You know what's happening?" Bush asked. "These guys feel it slipping away from them. They know we're on the move. They know we're going forward. I feel sorry for them."

There's not an infinite supply of this stuff, but it's close. Really, only once in a generation (1984, 1972, 1964, 1936) do you have an election where the losing party doesn't bother claiming that it can still win this thing.

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  1. Dukakis said, “There’s a feeling in the air and it smells like victory to me.”

    But he was right! Just like this:

    >The Delphic oracle always gave a truthful answer, but sometimes the answer was also ambiguous. For example, King Croesus of Lydia asked whether he should fight King Cyrus of Persia or ask for terms of surrender, and the oracle replied: “If you fight, a great kingdom will fall.” Greatly encouraged, Croesus, whose army outnumbered that of Cyrus two-to-one, went to war and met Cyrus at the Battle of Thymbra (545 B.C.). A great kingdom did indeed fall that day, but it was that of Croesus. And when the Spartans asked whether Apollo would permit them to expand their domain northward, the oracle replied that they would “dance in the fields of Tegea.” This seemingly favorable answer gave the Spartans such confidence that they even took along chains for their captives. But they were defeated, and in their own chains, under whips, they went to work in the fields as farm workers. That is how the Spartans “danced” in the fields of Tegea.

  2. Is six days enough time to convince everyone to vote None of the Above?

  3. “1936”

    Actually didn’t the infamous Liberty Digest poll predict a Landon victory? Polling techniques were less sophisticated then, of course. What I don’t know is whether Landon had other sources that let him know the truth – does anyone know?

  4. Actually, we do have a general idea of what’s in it. Believe it or not, he’s going to focus on all the people he’s met over the past two years (excluding those thrown under the bus) as well as his feature-rich history of being an undistinguised state senator who’s backed by the ChicagoMachine.

    Once again: if BHO wins it will give power to people with fascistic tendencies. Things like this will happen to his opponents. And, he’ll push this plan which appears to have been lifted straight from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_movement

    P.S. Make sure and join Reason’s Libertarians for Erich Honecker Facebook group.

  5. Really, only once in a generation (1984, 1972, 1964, 1936) do you have an election where the losing party doesn’t bother claiming that it can still win this thing.

    1996? I honestly don’t remember.

  6. anarch, prophesies can always be twisted to mean what you want them to mean. Just look at the Bible and how modern Christians have twisted ancient references and thrown their own anachronistic twist onto them. Nostradamus is another example.

  7. Kurt: Neither does Bob Dole.

  8. Really, only once in a generation (1984, 1972, 1964, 1936) do you have an election where the losing party doesn’t bother claiming that it can still win this thing.

    Like others, I’m pretty sure even the worst defeats have been preceeded by staunch predictions of victory.

    This is not an exact match, because it’s about 4 weeks before the election, not one week, but for 1984:

    Oct 9, 1984 from Philly Enquirer:

    Declaring the race for president wide-open, a jubilant Walter F. Mondale yesterday urged a rally of 1,500 cheering Democrats in South Philadelphia to work hard for his candidacy in the next month to defeat President Reagan. Mondale, obviously buoyed by his showing in Sunday night’s nationally televised debate with Reagan, told an audience crowded into the gymnasium at South Philadelphia High School, “This is a brand-new race.”

    A week earlier:

    Pollster Field, who tracks state surveys all across the country, says that as of Oct. 2, the race looked like this:

    – 31 states, ”probable Reagan.”

    – 14 states, ”leaning Reagan.”

    – 5 states, ”tossups.”

    – 0 states, ”probable Mondale.”

    – 1 ”state,” the District of Columbia, ”leaning Mondale.”

  9. In 1992 Bush the Elder tried a “50 State Campaign” if I recall. BIG MISTAKE. Few Republicans can win California or Mass. in a presidential contest. There is no reason for a Republican presidential candidate to waste a dime there.

  10. Dukakis, accompanied by daughter Andrea yesterday because his wife is holed up in a Minneapolis hotel with the flu a case of family size listerine and a fistful of librium, delivered a highly charged speech at San Jose State.

  11. All you need to know about this election’s result is Intrade: Obama – 87.1, McCain – 13.5 (ie, put down $87.10 on Obama to walk away with a cool $100). For the electoral college: Obama – 364, McCain – 174. I don’t know if this constitutes a landslide, but this Obama will crush McCain.

  12. Well, what do you want McCain to say under the circumstances? “Well, don’t bother voting on Tuesday, we’ll try again in 4 years.”

  13. Ironic @ 10:43pm, I knew you were gonna say that.

  14. Bush got whipped in CA in 1992, but Reagan, Ford and Nixon had all carried it in the 70s and 80s, so it was not a Democratic lock in 1992 as it is today.

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  16. Wasn’t it about this time in 1980 that Ed Clark gave his ?15 minute? national talk. Now even the runningmate who paid for that skips over the incident in his Portfolio interview. Has anyone talked to Ed? Or DHK? Or is it on the terms of some endowment that prohibits any questions about 1980?

  17. It was prop 187 that gave California to the DP. Mexican voters were accessible by both parties, the Gov was GOP and the GOP was one vote shy of majority in the assembly. Then they told the Mexicans to vote democratic and made California, forever inaccessible to the GOP. Thanks Pete Wilson! Thanks Ariana Huffunfton!

  18. Actually, we do have a general idea of what’s in it. Believe it or not, he’s going to focus on all the people he’s met over the past two years (excluding those thrown under the bus) as well as his feature-rich history of being an undistinguised state senator who’s backed by the ChicagoMachine.

    Once again: if BHO wins it will give power to people with fascistic tendencies. Things like this will happen to his opponents. And, he’ll push this plan which appears to have been lifted straight from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_movement

    P.S. Make sure and join Reason’s Libertarians for Erich Honecker Facebook group.

    Most Reasonoids (including myself) aren’t voting for Obama anyway, so why do you keep posting this crap here? Oh, wait, I forgot, it’s because you’re a pathetic, paranoid head case and you can’t help yourself.

    And I’m not a “sockpuppet”, either. Please kill yourself.

  19. It was prop 187 that gave California to the DP. Mexican voters were accessible by both parties, the Gov was GOP and the GOP was one vote shy of majority in the assembly. Then they told the Mexicans to vote democratic and made California, forever inaccessible to the GOP. Thanks Pete Wilson! Thanks Ariana Huffunfton!

    Like I’ve mentioned here before, quite a few people within the immigration reform movement have a tendency to shoot themselves squarely in the foot. Every time lonewacko or one of his ilk blathers about “anchor babies”, a Democratic candidate somewhere likely gains another point in the polls.

  20. Bush wasn’t really crazy in thinking he could carry CA in 1992. He carried it in 1988. And the GOP actually carried it every election from 1952-1988 except for 1964 when Goldwater was trounced pretty much everywhere.

    Part of this probably had to do with the fact that Californians Nixon and Reagan were in three of those elections. It’s also because the state used to be a lot more conservative. The massive scale back of the defense industry and closure of military bases in the early 90s along with the recession, dropping property values, and fears that the state was going to hell (LA riots) lead to a white flight to neighboring states by the sort of conservative middle class types that made up much of the GOP base.

    And yes, prop 187 and the anti-immigration agenda of Pete Wilson played a part too. It got him re-elected in the short term but definitely pushed a lot of hispanics towards the Dems.

    California is thought of as such a lefty blue state now that people forget its recent history. And there are still strong pockets of conservatism in some suburban and rural areas of the state. They are just too outnumbered by the big cities now to matter anymore. I live in Sacramento right now, and with all the mccain and yes on 8 signs you’d never we are just an hour and a half from San Francisco.

  21. So the socialist, reluctant warmonger beats the warmonger, reluctant socialist. Bigfuckingdeal.
    Kodos and Kang. Coke and Pepsi. Giant douche and turd sandwich.

  22. I’m writing in Bun E. Carlos.

  23. 1 ”state,” the District of Columbia, ”leaning Mondale.”

    Wow, if DC is only leaning Dem, you’re getting your fucking ass kick. Just like the fact that McCain is putting money in Montana with less than a week to go means that not even John McCain buys this line of bull.

  24. Every time lonewacko or one of his ilk blathers about “anchor babies”, a Democratic candidate somewhere likely gains another point in the polls.

    QFT. Babies. These people are ranting about babies.

  25. Tonight is when Obama clinches the election. By delaying Fox’s coverage of the World Series until less than 10 minutes before the first pitch (of the bottom of the sixth inning), he will force Joe Buck to shut the hell up for half an hour, and thereby garner the undying affection of millions of baseball fans.

  26. I never could quite make out that lyric. Great song.

  27. i don’t know if lonewacko qualifies as “these people” so much as “a special, precious snowflake constructed from tiny crystals of crazy.”

  28. Cheap Trick, right? I always liked that song.

  29. You are correct. Live at Budokan is still one of my favorite albums.

  30. Brandybuck | October 28, 2008, 10:21pm | #
    Is six days enough time to convince everyone to vote None of the Above?

    If i thought the establishment would do the honorable thing as the Soviets did in ’91 and step down, I would back you, but, come on, they would see that as a taunt and declare martial law.

  31. Back in the late 80’s a friend of mine who is a DJ at a radio station now got back stage passes to a Cheap Trick show and he got to talk to the bassist. The bassist was wearing a huge Bootsy Collins style hat and my friend asked him, ‘how many people can fit under that thing?’ The bassist stared at my friend for the entirety of a minute, looking deep in thought, and he finally replied, ‘just one, man.’

  32. Yup. Prop. 187 turned California permanently blue. And, about six months ago, the Republican base tried to repeat this trick to the entire country. Bunch of morons.

    One way you can tell that Latinos (and to a lesser degree African Americans) are important Democratic voting blocks in California is the fact that the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 still has a chance. There will be a fair number of minorities who will vote both for a straight Democratic ticket and Yes on 8.

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