October 19, 2008
The unexplained rise and the mysterious fall of mammoth waves
According to Frank Rich, there are only three ways McCain can win, and two of them involve race:
The election isn't over, but there remain only three discernible, if highly unlikely, paths to a McCain victory. A theoretically mammoth wave of racism, incessantly anticipated by the press, could materialize in voting booths on Nov. 4. Or newly registered young and black voters could fail to show up. Or McCain could at long last make good on his most persistent promise: follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell and, once there, strangle him with his own bare hands on "Hannity & Colmes."I realize that according to Rich's thinking, it is not possible to dislike anything about Barack Obama without being racist, which would mean that to the extent voters vote against him, they are inherently racist. However, even if racism is defined that way, does that necessarily mean that any movement in the polls against Obama can only be explained by racism? What about people who decide that they like John McCain? I realize he's supposed to be a terrible guy with a bad temper and everything, but isn't it theoretically possible that some people like him? So what about those who like McCain? Are they racists for liking him? Or is it to Frank's way of thinking theoretically impossible for anyone to like McCain without being a racist? As to newly registered young and black voters not showing up, what's the assumption there? That young voters favor the younger candidate and black voters should favor the black candidate? Rich thinks that is a good thing, right? And they can't be racists, because none of them are voting for a black man because he is black, nor are they voting against a white man for being white. Unlike McCain's supporters, who are all voting for McCain because he is white, and against Barack Obama because he is black. It is by definition impossible for racism to be a reason for anyone to vote for Obama. And it is by definition impossible for racism not to be a factor in the thinking for anyone to vote for McCain.
Perhaps this explains why the dying Republicans racists are "bailing on a McCain resuscitation" and resorting to Stalinism, fatwas, and storm trooper tactics:
Even Republicans are rapidly bailing on a McCain resuscitation. It's a metaphor for the party's collapse that on the day of the final debate both Nancy Reagan and Dick Cheney checked into hospitals. Conservatives have already moved past denial to anger on the Kubler-Ross scale of grief. They are not waiting for votes to be counted before carrying out their first round of Stalinist purges. William F. Buckley's son Christopher was banished from National Review for endorsing Obama. Next thing you know, there will be a fatwa on that McCain-bashing lefty, George Will.Well, let's look at history, especially recent history. I'm tired of Stalinist Republican storm trooper fatwas anyway. As things stand right now, McCain has a statistical pattern of pulling ahead of Obama occasionally, then falling behind again. Take a look at this graph, showing McCain's and Obama's relative positions in the polls over the past year.
You'll notice that I've supplemented the chart to reflect the additional insight from Frank Rich about "mammoth waves of racism."
Yes, waves, Frank, waves! Note the plural! There have so far been at least four (maybe five) times in which McCain has pulled ahead of Obama, during each of which McCain would presumably have won had the election then been held. As Rich defines a win by McCain as occasioned by a mammoth wave of racism, then simple logic dictates that there have been recurrent periods of these mammoth racist waves. Who knows what causes them? Certainly not the economy, as that wasn't the leading issue during these earlier periods. Nor could they have been caused by people "bailing on a McCain resuscitation," as things were too early in the death game for the Kubler-Ross team to arrive. As to the "newly registered young and black voters" who "fail to show up," that wasn't a factor either, for the simple reason that no one has to show up in those kinds of polls.
Notice that the mammoth waves came and went without regard to Republican fatwas, Stalinist purges, or even (unless there was a repeat of Kristallnacht of which I'm unaware) the antics of Republican storm troopers.
What could be going on?
The mammoth waves must be some primal force of nature that only Frank Rich can explain.
posted by Eric on 10.19.08 at 10:09 PM
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