Ed Cook: Politics and other Fiction

This will probably not be the only time I write about politics.  I’m not going to “talk politics”, like you are not supposed to, but more the process.  But with the hype of the Iowa Caucuses on TV, eclipsed only by Tim Tebow mania, I figured I should chime in a little.

Out of the gate, I have never been an Obama fan.  But I’m not an Obama hater either.  I’ve never been in favor of his policies, his philosophy, and his inexperience before election.  Frankly, I think he is over his head.  I am what I like to call Fiscally Conservative, and Socially Progressive, so I’m a little right of the middle of the road.  Vote Republican more than Democrat, but I proudly say that I vote the person not the party.  Unlike my wife who would vote Democrat if the devil were running with a (D) next to his name.  Now just as an example, in my home state of Massachusetts, there are new reports that Joseph Kennedy III will run for Congress in the fall.  I mentioned this to my wife and she was all excited. We talked for a minute and she said she’d vote for him.  “Why, you don’t know anything about him”, I said.  I quizzed her a little and she really did not know anything about him, even that he is Robert Kennedy’s grandson.  But she’ll vote for him because: 1. His name is Kennedy and 2. He’s a Democrat.  It would be funny if he ran as a Republican.  She might have a little short circuit about that.

I have voted for about an equal number of Democrat and Republican presidential candidates.  There have been two presidents that I would call good since I have been able to vote. Regan and Clinton, I wish Clinton could run again.

I’m not impressed with the Republican candidates either.  In August Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his candidacy and zoomed to the top of the polls.  He is now supported by 1% of the New Hampshire electorate. Yes, 1%!!!! The front page of his web site says “Help Rick Perry win South Carolina”.  Apparently he is bypassing New Hampshire.  Later, Herman Cain was the leader.  He was a business leader (Godfather’s Pizza).  He apparently had gotten his message across, but he had to put his campaign “on hold”, because of various scandals. “On hold is political-speak for “I’m packing it in”.  He may attempt a comeback and promote his 9-9-9 tax plan. Then the front-runner was Newt Gingrich.  He was Speaker of the House, but had baggage with his message and various consulting gigs at FNMA. My host here, Mel Walsh Jones, posted a quote from someone that Gingrich was the intellectual of the Republicans and she added that it was like saying Moe was the intellectual of the here Stooges.  “LIKE”.  I’m a Three Stooges fan, so I know. Romney has been consistently near the top of the republican list and wins the Iowa Caucuses by 8 votes, but hardly campaigned there, finishing second was a guy, Rick Santorum, who spent a lot of time there but is way to the right.  Santorum is now faced with the problem of gaining popularity and not having the cash to campaign (advertise) as much as he wanted because he did not expect it.  Michelle Bachman is out. And there was Chris Christy of NJ…oh…no…he’s not going to run.

And you have to have thick skin to be a candidate, and very little conscience.  How can you be at a debate and smile at, and shake hands with your opponent, then launch an attack at the opponent ten minutes later, and the opponent has to endure that.  Some of the attacks get pretty touchy.

I’ll tell you one group who is thrilled it is an election year, The Media.  They want a long drawn out Republican campaign because they will get LOTS of advertising dollars.  Every year you probably say “I’m sick of car ads” in February, “I’m sick of toy and other Christmas gift ads” in December.  Well as the Primary races come near you, every four years you can say “I’m sick of political ads”. And after the Party conventions in the late summer the political ads will be non-stop until November 6.  It will be interesting to see how, or if the candidates will utilize on-line outlets like Facebook, LinkedIn, and other online media.

And where do they get all these poll numbers?  Does the news media make them up to have something to talk about? Probably not, but I have never been asked by a poll what I think, what candidate I favor, or anything.  In fact, I took an informal, unscientific poll of my own recently, on Facebook, to see if any of my friends have been asked their political opinion by a polling company.  I got about 15 replies and of them only 3 had ever been poled.  The thing I don’t understand, (ok, there are many things I don’t understand) about polls is, do they count one group this week and say Candidate X is favored by 10% of the voters this week, do they throw out that data and ask a new group next week with no accounting of the prior 10%?  Suppose the second week they ask a bunch of folks that don’t like Candidate X.  He goes down to 1%.  The 10% from the prior week are ignored? Or do they average them?  I know from talking to people that the poll numbers influence how voters vote. “Why should I vote for Candidate X if he has no chance to win with only 1% in the polls?” I was never a great Statistics Student in college, but this is a question I should have asked.  Either that or I should not pay as much attention as I do to polls.