November 12, 2008
The Missing Obama LandslideBy Ben-Peter Terpstra
The results are in: Obama 52 percent. McCain 46 percent. The "Obama Landslide" is pure fiction. Republicans have no reason to move to Harper's Canada (this year) although Berlusconi's conservative Italy looks simply divine.
In 1988, George H.W. Bush won 53.4%, against a feisty Democrat, and a hostile media. Thus, this year's election is more of a symbolic made-for-television election story, than a mammoth landslide movie. Now it is time for reality to kick in.
Days, nay weeks before the polls, however, there were many landslide theme stories. "Yes, this could be 1932 again," enthused Andrew Sullivan in "Obama rides landslide machine" (UK Times, Oct. 19). Recall FDR's glorious anti-free speech days.
In "How the Coming Obama Landslide Will Trump The Bradley Effect," the Huffington Post's Steve Kettmann pontificated about a massive win for the Democrat (Oct. 10). "If Obama can really pull off a landslide, we the American people will have spoken loud and clear that it is time to come together" and "turn away from the politics of division and resentment" that liberals love to wax lyrical about. "An Obama landslide? You betcha."
Fake polls and propaganda talking points are also inseparable allies, and tend to dishearten voters. Looking back, over some of those final pro-Obama polls, one can now demonstrate that they are as scientific as Al Gore's last polar bear studies.
The New York Times and Newsweek, of course, win silver and gold for the most inaccurate numbers. CBS/Times, for example, forecast an 11-point Obama win, 52-41, whilst the leftwing Newsweek prophesized a 12-point victory for The One, 53-41. As Ann Coulter points out in "Eighty-Four Percent Say They'd Never Lie To A Pollster" (Oct. 15, 2008), calm heads need to (a) see polls in their historical context and (b) see polls in their current political context (but hide your money under the bed, just in case).
States Coulter: "Reviewing the polls printed in The New York Times and The Washington Post in the last month of every presidential election since 1976, I found the polls were never wrong in a friendly way to Republicans. When the polls were wrong, which was often, they overestimated support for a Democrat, usually by about 6 to 10 points." An example: "In 1980, Ronald Reagan beat Carter by nearly 10 points, 51 percent to 41 percent. In a Gallup Poll released days before the election on Oct. 27, it was Carter who led Reagan 45 percent to 42 percent." Once again, history speaks volumes.
Looking over the new election map too, we see that even in Obama's America, the "flyover lands" are overwhelmingly steak-and-potato, pro-life. South Carolina, Nebraska, Montana, Alaska, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, still vote Republican in spite of the media's anti-conservative hostility, in an economic downturn. Here are some more extraordinary results:
- McCain's success in Oklahoma (66%), now America's reddest state. Curiously, the name Oklahoma comes from a local native Indian phrase okla homma, meaning red people.
- McCain's success in big mixed-marriage states like Alaska (62%) and NASCAR-friendly states like Idaho (62%).
- McCain's success in Jerusalem. The GOP is able to win over many American Jews living in Israel, but not Florida's Jewish retirement villages (this year).
- McCain's success in Utah (62%). The Mormon-majority "redneck" region is also a center of technology and research (with the highest birthrate of any state). Gay liberals just can't seem to beat The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
But this is also a schizophrenic time for leftwing California, one of America's bluest states. Gay marriage is out. And, so too are radical green policies, for now. Hmmm...did Andrew Sullivan see that freight train coming? Hardly a cry for liberalism.
So, I guess this means that the Huffington Post will have to live with a certain amount of disappointment. Barack "52 percent" Obama does not have an FDR Landslide, with 42 states and a Mosaic mandate.
Is Ann Coulter going to do a Michael Moore and sleep in for, say, three days, and eat her concerns away? Will the GOP whine about sexism and ageism for the next four years? Will Bush's staff -- like Clinton/Gore's before him -- trash the White House before they leave and ask taxpayers to foot the bill? No, no, and no.
In 2009, I'm going to sit back and watch Obama lead, and make good on his magical promises. You see, even Californians can't live off tear-inducing slogans. Or fake landslides. In the end, 2008, the symbolic election, is important for obvious reasons, but so too is running a country, and even symbols must lead.