NOTE: This is being “retroacted”: published “yesterday.” “Tomorrow’s” column will explain. — HW
Well, here it is: Super Duper Mega Hyper Tuesday — that monument to electoral greed pioneered by Southern Democrats in creating the first “Super Tuesday” in 1988. 24 states* now “Me-Too” it today. Which guarantees that campaigns will be mostly about media buys, and NOT about creating the political infrastructure that will take the eventual winner through the next four years.
[* I give up. A week or so ago, it was stated with authority in one outlet that 29 states would vote. Then, 24. By the end of "tonight" it was 22. This from a media that tells you it's "trustworthy," "fair and balanced," etc. etc. ]
Government of the media, by the media and for the media shall not perish from this Earth.
Forever and ever, Amen: film at eleven.
Since we don’t know what’s going to happen, might I take a media moment and blather senselessly about stuff that I am no more qualified than the corner barbershop to talk about? (What the hell ever happened to the corner barbershop as the place where men hung out and hashed out the Great Issues of the Day? Oh, that’s right. The fashion in men’s hair, for the past several years has been to either not bother combing it, or, more often, spending HOURS to get that “just got out of bed” bad hair day look. Not good for barber shops.)
The polling seems to show a massive surge for Obama, with Hillary holding fairly steady, over the long term, and some seeming collapses in support in key states, like California, where the erosion has been — according to the polls — dramatic. But not all the polling shows it.
Now, that’s a four point gain for Obama and a four point loss for Hillary — or, an eight point swing, seemingly, from Hillary to Obama, or, as is increasingly being cast, from the WOMAN to the BLACK MAN. But we need to be careful:
The media desperately want to blather on about WOMEN and BLACKS, throwing aside all rational analysis and engaging instead in Kindergarten racism. It makes it easier for their sulphur-crested bloviators, and hot-air buffoons to rise on the thermals, and soar in the pixellated ionosphere, preening all the while.
And, if you were paying any attention in math class when statistics were discussed, we read ENTIRELY too much into statistics. We make too many idiotic decisions based on statistics, and now, our entire political system is run according to statistics.
Statistics are merely a mathematical snapshot of what SEEMS to be reality, but WHICH IS NOT.
Statistics are a mathematical description (e.g. mapping) of the linguistic description of “reality,” which is ANOTHER mapping. If you’ve ever been polled (and we all know how painful that can sometimes be), you have, perhaps, had that shock of recognition in answering a question that makes no sense to you personally, or is such a mindless simplification of an important issue to you that you wonder what the hell they’re measuring, anyway.
As a result ALL polling depends on the pre-conceived notion of what “reality” is in that district, and the numbers mask a poor observation and verbal synthesis (description) of “reality.”
But what is ACTUALLY happening isn’t measured. If something “new” shows up, the poll has no way of measuring, or even RECOGNIZING it.
For instance, in 1932, a telephone poll right before the election showed that incumbent president Herbert Hoover would unquestionably win. Hoover lost in a landslide to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Later, it was suggested (probably correctly) that because the vast majority of those with telephones were Republicans, the poll results were skewed.
Thus, the sampling method itself had skewed the results.
An “eight point swing” in a race with a nine percent undecided rate and an uncertainty of plus or minus 3.3 percent becomes less than the monolith that it seems to be.
Polls are very useful, but American politics is guilty of statistical idolatry, undoubtedly drawing the wrath of Yahweh. We have made our polls into false gods, and worship at their altar. In fact, you youngsters might not have heard, but one of the grave failings of the Jimmy Carter Administration was that too many decisions were made by LOOKING AT polls, in an honest, if misguided attempt to truly institute a “rule by the People.”
As Edmund Burke, that famously contrarian member of Parliament once noted:
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
In other words, we constantly require NEW descriptions of an ever-changing reality.
Which brings me to my point:
I think that Barack Obama is, perhaps, more correct than he knows in calling this a choice between the past and the future.
This long political train wreck that began with Ronald Reagan can be directly traced, perhaps to the the battle on the streets of Chicago in 1968 between the Woodstock Nation and the “Establishment” — the World War II generation who were their parents.
The “Greatest Generation” gets their name from Tom Brokaw’s maudlin coinage in a couple of books that may well have been ghostwritten — these days who can say? Brokaw — February 6, 1940 — is talking about his parents and their friends, and the idea that you admire your parents’ generation is not exactly revolutionary.
Their reign begins with John F. Kennedy in 1961, and ends with George Herbert Walker Bush’s exit of the White House in 1993. Since then, it’s been the Baby Boomers: Bill Clinton (8/19/1946) and George W. Bush (7/6/1946).
Mick Jagger: 7/26/1943
Newt Gingrich: 06/17/1943
Sly Stone: 3/15/1944
Rush Limbaugh: 1/12/1951
Tom Petty: 10/20/1950
Bill Frist: 2/22/1952
John Kerry: 12/11/1943
Paul McCartney: 6/18/1942
George W. Bush: 7/6/1946
Elton John: 3/25/1947
Dick Cheney: 1/30/1941
Trent Lott: 10/9/1941
John Lennon: 10/9/1940
Dick Armey : 7/7/1940
Jane Fonda: 12/21/1937
Peter Jennings: 7/29/1938
David Bowie: 9/8/1947
Tom DeLay: 4/8/1947
Jim Morrison: 12/8/1943
Jimi Hendrix: 11/27/1942
Bill Clinton: 8/19/1946
Iggy Pop: 4/21/1947
Hilary Clinton: 10/26/1947
David Crosby: 8/14/1941
Dennis Hastert: 1/2/1942
Bob Dylan: 5/24/1941
Nancy Pelosi: 3/26/1940
Ringo Starr: 7/7/1940
Gene Simmons (of Kiss): 8/25/1949
Bill O’Reilly (of Faux): 9/10/1949
John Belushi: 1/24/1949
Tiny Tim: 4/12/1932
Ruth Bader Ginsberg 3/15/1933
Donald Rumsfeld: 7/9/1932
Little Richard: 12/5/1932
Karl Rove: 12/25/1950
Yes, evidently, he’s a Christmas baby. Kind of evil and creepy, ain’t it?
My point is this: The “Summer of Love” generation has been tearing this country apart politically, polarizing, pugnacious, determined to GET THEIR WAY from the battle on the Streets of Chicago in 1968 to the present day.
And, perhaps, it is TIME for that generation to begin to take a back seat to a generation raised on computers and cel phones, with a different take on the way that the world works, and a less confrontational approach to American society: The difference between a Rush Limbaugh and an Abbie Hoffman is only a difference of political affiliations, the essentially destructive nature of their political efforts is the same.
All right: they’ve dominated American political life for forty years and more. The “sexism” charges and the “racism” charges being thrown back and forth are hallmarks of THEIR generation. The desire to move beyond the same old ideological pissing matches and the same old approaches comes from later generations.
It’s time for another approach.
Hillary is a radio. Barack is a television. Hillary is a steam locomotive. Barack is a diesel. Hillary is a dial phone. Barack is a push button phone. Actually, Barack is a touch screen iPhone with internet linkup. (Hillary is still a dial phone, though.)
Irrespective of Bill Clinton’s announcement yesterday that Hillary was going to have a “Web 2.0″ presidency (indicative of reading WIRED, perhaps, but not THINKING WIRED), Hill and Bill are building a bridge BACK to the 20th Century. Obama already lives in the Twenty First. And THINKS in the Twenty First Century.
I don’t know how it will turn out today, but I will refrain from shooting off my big mouth until I have enough facts to make an intelligent comment.
And that will undoubtedly distinguish my commentary from virtually every other “pundit” in America. From that generation that put the barber shops out of business.
Sad to say.