Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Horse Race

I don't think I am especially good at the strategy aspects of politics, and I don't have a lot of interest.  The advancement of ideas is more my concern, and in that, a single presidential election may not loom so large.

Yet it occurs to me that Biden's rudeness may have an explanation.  The usual Republican explanation, that he is a rude and arrogant person by nature, may be true, of course.  But there may have been some calculation.  That it did not play well with independents is a distraction.  Observers may think that the last few weeks of an election are all about persuading those last few, but I think the politically experienced say it is all about turning out the base at this point.  Biden's rudeness was well-received among the partisans.  The message may have been "We're going to kick 'em in the balls.  We won't work with those bastards for one minute or entertain any of their evil ideas."  Chuck Schumer's recent tax comments support this interpretation.  The attack dogs are being sent out to let the rubes know who it is they can count on in a fight.

BTW, Biden threw Hillary under the bus, and her recent statements that "I confess, I am a rabbit" are startling.  She and Bill play to the main chance.  She could have destroyed Obama's campaign in 48 hours, but apparently decided it would destroy her own career as well and is taking one for the team.*

Don't get me wrong.  There are conservatives who think that way too.  I've listened to years of people complaining that if Bush/Dole/Bush/McCain/Romney would just be a real conservative and tell it like it is they would win in a landslide.  The meaning seems to be "I and my friends would then be genuinely excited about voting for 'em, not just reluctantly going along, and I'm sure that excitement would be shared by Americans in general, because they're just regular folk like us."  They want red meat.  Reading the Huffington Post, it seems pretty apparent there are liberals of similar mind.  They aren't so excited by Obama anymore.  They still reliably hate Republicans, but they aren't in love anymore and are convinced Obama's pretty much the same old, same old.  A percentage won't show up.  A little red meat might encourage them.  And undecided voters are weird and unpredictable anyway.  There're more votes in turning out the base.

I have no way of measuring this, so I'm just blathering, really.  If Obama takes the same prepare-to-be-boarded attitude tonight it gives a little support to my theory, but if he stresses that he's the one who plays well with others (hinting that it's those other guys who won't) it neither supports nor undermines my theory. Going on the attack could be evidence infavor, but so could triangulating and sending the VP out as pit bull.

For Democrats, this was 2008:

In 2012?  Meh.

(Tangent: I was never much of a Joni Mitchell fan, but this is simply great poetry, and the best version of the song.  I knew the oversweet Judi Collins and Clannad versions, but go to Youtube and see. They're all oversweet versions.  I don't generally like her style, I don't like that tuning, I really don't like her politics, which are "One Side Forever," but dammit, Joni absolutely gets it right, far more right than even brilliant artists here.)

*She must believe she will not be airbrushed from next spring's May Day photographs.


Sam L. said...

One never knows.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

I second everything you said about Joni.

Mark said...

I share your take on Joni's version of the song which when done by anyone else I don't care for. I like her tuning and style more than you (at least in her early years as she completely lost me later) but share your view about her politics.

james said...

No, she won't be airbrushed. Other folks have suggested that her aim was to show her "I was in charge so I take the blame" good character. She'll undoubtedly be testifying soon, though I'm not sure it will be before November. Then she can ease him under the bus.

karrde said...

I'm not sure I can tell what Hillary is doing with this.

Except that it wasn't what was expected.

I'm reminded that the Clintons have been in the political business for years. Both have much experience in negotiating, horse-trading, and reading the public.

Obama has been in the business of speechmaking and holding political office, but doesn't have much record of success at horse-trading, negotiating, and working on problems so that he can get some political advantage.

So my first impression is that Hillary is giving Obama a gift he can't afford to receive. But I can't quite tell how.

(Who answered this 3AM phone call? Maybe that's the knife-twist which accompanies the friendly slap on the back. Hillary will claim responsibility, and let Obama deflect some blame. But not by making him look more capable at leadership...)

karrde said...

...replying to myself:

not that this isn't a very bad situation for both Hillary and Obama. She's definitely handling things differently, though.

RE: Joni Mitchell. Not really familiar with her or the song, but I think the poetry is good.

Der Hahn said...

If I recall correctly, Hillary announced going in that she was going to tender her resignation (I suppose with the understanding that if things were working out she'd stay) at the end of Obama's term.

Hard to know how this is going to work out but from what I've been reading there is a possibility that Crowley's "he used the word terror" defense of Obama has created a real problem for him. He's now in a position where he might be required to explain the apparent shift from 'act of terror' to 'spontaneous demonstration caused by video'. Especially because the shift is unspported by any evidence. If he had stood up and accepted some level of responsibility for the security situation ala Hillary, he would be in a better position to answer questions.

On the main topic of the original post, AVI is right that Biden's performance was more or less calculated to excite the base after Obama's flatness in Denver. The problem for O-B is that if you have to worry about firing up your base 3 weeks out, your campaign is in a world of hurt.

Wyman said...

You're incorrect - the best version of "Both Sides Now" is this one: Mitchell re-recording the song later in her career, after much of life had worn her down.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Hmm, ordinarily might have liked it, for that quality, rather like Johnny Cash singing "Hurt." But this doesn't do it for me. Too self-conscious, maybe.