Topic: Election Notes
Trends: The Coming Bush Victory
Late in the week my friend Phillip in Atlanta asked me if I still believed Bush would win the election in November.
Will Bush win? Given this week's polls - I'm still pretty sure. Close, but trending to Bush - and I'll plug in some figures in Excel and do a regression analysis later (something I learned as a professional geek years ago - how to do double regression trend lines). Of course, the electoral vote is another matter. Rick Brown is on that one (see his column It's the Electoral College, Stupid! from earlier in the week).
You can always find the latest polling data at The Daily Kos, as Markos Moulitsas Z?niga (Kos) tracks it all -
Other factors? There's a new Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad due out soon. CNN has shifted its wording - and its folks all now say, as they introduce one more item on it all, that the facts are in dispute (Kerry may not have saved Rasmussen's life - we don't know - so he may be dead? But? Should we tell they guy?) Just being fair - the Swifties say this, all the Navy records and other facts of time and place say something else, so to be fair, all is in dispute (CNN can't take sides). [See footnote.]
Also the Republican Convention in New York City will give Bush a boost next week.
Beyond the Polls - The Economy
The economic numbers this week were bad for Bush - poverty is and issue - "The number of people living in poverty rose by 1.3 million to 35.9 million people, or 12.5 percent of the population, up from 12.1 percent in 2002." And this - "The poverty rate has risen from a recent low of 11.3 percent in 2000, meaning an additional 4.3 million people are living in poverty as defined by the government." Ands there is the issue of healthcare - "The number of people with health insurance increased by 1.0 million to 243.3 million between 2002 and 2003, and the number without such coverage rose by 1.4 million to 45.0 million. The percentage of the nation's population without coverage grew from 15.2 percent in 2002 to 15.6 percent in 2003."
But most folks would rather be jobless and starve as long as Lars and Spanky don't marry each other. Social issues regarding queers and perverts, so to speak, carry weight. And there is the idea Bush was chosen by God, so you know what to do.
And finally, after all, Bush may be dangerous, but Kerry is just dull, and he flip-flops, and he speaks French when no one is looking.
And folks get off when Bush smirks. They find it funny that he says "Fuck You" to the world - and it makes them proud. That's what everyone secretly wants to say to the world, about everything.
Thus he wins.
Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis, has a question about these economic figures - "If 12.5 percent of Americans are impoverished; while 15.6 percent are without health insurance, doesn't this indicate that about 3.0 percent of the non-impoverished are maintaining their status by not having health insurance?"
Yes. That is exactly what happens. The three percent difference represents people whose employers no longer offer and health benefits at all - a growing number of firms large and small, as those who run businesses are supposed to show profits and growth to shareholders and health benefits are a drag on the bottom line. That's illegal in California, where if you have two hundred or more employees you must provide the benefits. No choice. But laws vary state to state. With the glut of folks on the market who need work, the desperate-but-qualified, no longer offering benefits just does not hamper a firm's ability to hire or retain good people. Folks would rather work without benefits than not work at all.
Employers too have shifted the cost of the benefits more and more to the employees - you must now chip in some of your own money if benefits are offered. We had a four-month grocery workers strike out here on that issue - and the union caved. Most everywhere the percent you as a worker must chip in will rise, next year, by an average of over nine percent more.
Wal-Mart has a benefits plan where they only cover "catastrophic" expenses - all else is your problem. Our emergency rooms here are thus not only flooded by the uninsured, and illegal immigrants, but also by fulltime employed Wal-Mart workers with broken bones and such. Three Los Angeles emergency rooms have shut down this year so far because they just cannot sustain the losses involved - no one can pay for the services and they are required by law to treat anyone who walks in the door. Catholic Healthcare West's Sherman Way room shut down last week - in Northridge, out in the San Fernando Valley. (I thinking they're closing the whole hospital, actually. I used to work for CHW and know their General Ledger and Accounts Payable systems well - that was my job for three years, managing those systems.) The remaining six emergency rooms in Los Angeles county are now even more flooded and making sounds like they too might shut down. The city and the county, and the state, don't have the money to do much about this. Our governor, Arnold, the charismatic Austrian fellow who speaks German and talks tough, has just arranged to float twenty-two billion in bonds to keep us solvent for a bit longer on borrowed money. There is nothing available for this. The Feds say it's not their problem.
Too, many of those employed, as Ric guessed, with bills and debts, opt to waive whatever heath coverage is offered - a growing number of young workers who feel healthy, and economically squeezed. It's a choice. You're young. You take your chances.
But we're free, and don't have to suffer under socialized medicine like in France, Canada or Sweden, or the UK. We are willing to pay the cost of freedom from the evil Marxist ideas of the old Soviet Union and those godless communists. Think of the state motto of New Hampshire - "Live Free or Die." Change the "or" to "and" and you get the idea.
Bush can campaign effectively on the evils of socialized medicine. That always works. As for the poverty figures? We have turned the corner? Harder to sell, but folks may buy it.
Steph, my friend in London, Ontario, says things in Canada are not that good there really -
I guess things are tough all over.
And Ric in Paris shot this back -
Ah, tough times everywhere. And is a reference, one US dollar is worth 0.85586 euros, and one Canadian dollar is worth 1.68789 USD - right now. You do the math.
Gee, Bush could run on the economy-is-fine idea. We don't have toy currency like Canada, and businesses are bailing out of France. So we must be doing just fine.
Still, I think Bush will probably run on the social issues, and character, as he calls it.
He will win.
Footnote on CNN:
On the function of the press there was this satiric exchange on Jon Stewart's Daily Show this week (it's a comic faux news show)
Well, Rick, The News Guy in Atlanta, who used to work for CNN and was actually in at the start of it, takes exception -
Yep, but Rick's CNN, where his wife still works as one of the VP's, is in fact giving every bozo with a sizeable constituency a few moments control of the microphone.
Josh Marshall caught these:
Daryn Kagan from Tuesday morning...
KAGAN: And so here comes a new ad by the Swift Boat Veterans and they're not just attacking the medals that John Kerry might have won but they are attacking what he did after he came back from the war. Is that going to be effective?
Miles O'Brien the next day...
O'BRIEN: All right, we are listening to Max Cleland, former senator from Georgia and former Lieutenant Jim Rassmann, a former Green Beret whose life was saved by John Kerry in the Mekong Delta in 1969. Although, that is a point of dispute, given what has all transpired here with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
Okay. A group of people say the moon is made of green cheese and the earth is flat, and you report it. You report others say it's not. You report that too. Fair is fair.
Bull. If you know something is just not so, don't you report that?
It's not just CNN, it's the Washington Post and many others -
That is from a discussion of this all in Editor and Publisher you will find here.
Advantage Bush. Anything you say, even blatant lies, will be reported extensively, and given equal time. So if you are willing to lie through your teeth, the press will advance the story.
They just report, and report anything at all. It's not their business to sort out the truth. And that's another reason Bush will win.
Bush has called for an end to all these "issue ads" of course. From New York Times: President Bush said on Thursday that he did not believe Senator John Kerry lied about his war record, but he declined to condemn the television commercial paid for by a veterans group alleging that Mr. Kerry came by his war medals dishonestly. (Full story here.)
That's cute. Let the lies stay out there. The press will help out. And they will dutifully report you say you don't personally think the guy is a lair. But some do. And you think all such ads should stop, but won't say the one ad you clearly imply is full of lies, well, you have no comment. Cute.
The economy may be shaky, at best, and the war has turned out to be quite a mess, but the press is toothless and, if his friends spread enough poison, this is over now. Bush wins.