Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: If Bush goes, I go
Posted on 10/28/2004 8:13:45 AM PDT by Pokey78
Whats up with Hawaii? Two polls in two Honolulu newspapers over the weekend showed George W. Bush with a small lead over John Kerry. Thats not supposed to be happening. Hawaiis solidly Democrat. Its a swing state only in the sense noted by Elvis (And when she starts to sway/I gotta say/She really moves the grass around). Neither candidate has bothered looking in on the joint, or even advertising there. Instead, Senator Kerrys been frantically bouncing around the Great Lakes Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin. Its gonna kill him if hes got to zip halfway across the Pacific every other day to shore up his base with a hastily arranged coconut-shooting expedition on the beach at Waikiki.
One poll would have been easy to dismiss. But two make a trend. And so, for Bush, as the old song says, Hello, Hawaii, How Are Ya? Whereas for Kerry, as the even older song says 1878, written by Queen Liliuokalani its Aloha Oe, or Farewell To Thee. Since joining the Union, Hawaii has voted for the Democrat presidential nominee by some of the largest margins in the land every election day except two: in 1972 they went for Nixon and in 1984 for Reagan. So one could argue, as some psephologists are doing, that this is in line with Hawaiis tendency to vote for Republicans when theyre incumbents (George Bush Sr being the exception to that rule).
But I wonder if something else isnt going on here. Hawaii is, constitutionally, an American state but, geographically, its a bunch of remote islands in the middle of the Pacific. The distinction is often noted the other way round: on September 11, we heard a lot about how this was the first attack on the American mainland in two centuries i.e., excluding Pearl Harbor. But perhaps Hawaiians are sensing their distance from the mainland: perhaps events that seem relatively remote from Massachusetts the Bali bombing, say resonate more strongly if youre working at a beach hotel in Maui. According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletins poll, while Caucasians split more or less evenly for Bush and Kerry, Filipino-Americans prefer the President by 56 to 36 per cent: could that be connected with the ongoing Islamist subversion of the Philippines?
This is all pure speculation on my part, mainly because the editor turned down my request to spend ten days on a fact-finding mission to this critical battleground resort ...er, state. Nonetheless, Bushs last- minute Filipino fillip in the Pacific is typical of several curious aspects of this campaign that are difficult to explain according to the usual presidential rules. While Im yelling, Wake up and smell the coconut milk, Democrats are pointing to record levels of voter registration which they claim portends a massive youth vote against Bush. Isnt that what Howard Dean was banking on just before the Iowa caucus? Unfortunately, they never showed up. As I remarked at the time, a lot of the excitable youthful Deaniacs lost their enthusiasm when they discovered that you couldnt cast your vote by leaving it in the comments section on Howards blog.
As if to demonstrate the meaninglessness of their game, last week the pollsters at Harris released their latest findings in two versions. Using the model of likely voters that proved accurate in 2000, Bush led Kerry by 51 to 43. However, if you discard that model and use some new model factoring in a lot of folks who didnt bother to vote in 2000, Bush leads Kerry only by 48 to 46. Which is accurate? The first? The second? Neither? Harris cant say. Is there a third model that shows Kerry leading by 73 to 26? Doubtful. If there was, some pollster would surely have come up with it by now. Maybe some other model entirely is the one to use, but it seems unlikely any one will devise it before next Tuesday.
So my hunch that that first Harris poll is the correct one is only that a hunch that Bush is ahead outside the margin of error. Unfortunately, on election day, he also has to be ahead outside the margin of lawyer, which is a tougher call. The Democrats already have thousands of chad-chasers circling the courthouses in Florida, Ohio, New Mexico and even New Hampshire, alas. Its important for Bush to win big enough both to compensate for Democrat fraud and to deter litigation.
In lively elections such as this the media usually run endless features on angry white men, a demographic to which theyre not notably partial. After angry white men threw out the Democrats congressional leadership in the 1994 elections, Peter Jennings, the exquisitely condescending Canadian who anchors ABC News, sniffed that the voters had a temper tantrum. But this time round the angry white men are all on the Democrat side, and the media seem to think its perfectly normal.
The other night, for example, Lawrence ODonnell, MSNBCs Senior Political Analyst (i.e., Democrat hack), discussed John Kerry with John ONeill, spokesman for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. This is a flavour of the senior political analysis offered by the Senior Political Analyst, although for the full effect of his shrieking over Mr ONeills attempted answers you really need the big 72-inch screen with quadraphonic surround-sound ranting and digital-quality close-up of his facial contortions:
Thats a lie, John ONeill! Keep lying, its all you do!... Lies!... Thats a lie! Its another lie! Thats a lie! Absolute lie!... Youre just lying...Its a pack of lies!... He just lied to you! He spews out this filth!... You liar!... You just spew lies!... I just hate the lies of John ONeill. I hate lies...ONeills a liar, hes been a liar for 35 years...They lied!... Lies! Just tell me the initials, you liar! Creepy liar!...
A day after this calm measured display of quiet confidence in Senator Kerrys campaign, his fellow MSNBC honcho, ol Pitchfork Pat Buchanan, read a prepared statement by the network apologising for its senior analyst going bananas. Out on the street, meanwhile, angry white men have burgled Republican offices in Spokane, Washington; lobbed cinder blocks through Republican offices in Flagstaff, Arizona; shot up Republican offices in Knoxville, Tennessee; assaulted female Republican students handing out flyers at the Gophers football game in Minnesota; and are currently bullying early voting Republicans at polling booths in Florida. If this campaign went on another two months, theyd be seizing GOP county chairmen and beheading them on video. As it is, if Bush wins by a few hundred in Ohio or New Mexico, these fellows dont seem inclined to take it lying down.
I say angry white men because its not clear that the Democrats ethnic constituencies blacks and Hispanics have the Bush Derangement Syndrome to quite the same degree. In 2000, Bush got just 9 per cent of the black vote. Recent polls show hes pulling about 18 per cent. If that holds up on election day, John Kerrys finished. It will also be interesting to see whether Bush can peel away any significant chunk of the hitherto loyally Democrat Jewish vote. Given that hes already damned as a tool of the Jews by such star ignoramuses of British diplomacy as Sir Ivor Roberts, Her Majestys man in Rome, and Sir Crispin Tickell in these very pages, the least the sinister Hebrews could do is show a little more enthusiasm for their puppet in the voting booth. Just a small per cent in the right place retirees in New Mexico, for example would pay off very nicely.
It seems unlikely to me that were in for another nail-biter of a chad-dangler. It would be astonishing if, after all the epochal events of the first term, it all comes down to a 270268 squeaker in the electoral college as if the waters of the mighty storm of the last three years had briefly subsided to reveal the landscape utterly unchanged. Most presidential elections arent close and, for all the talk of the 50/50 nation, its not quite that even a divide: in the 2002 House races, the Republicans took 53.4 per cent, the Democrats 46.6 per cent. A small sliver of voters concluded that, though we live in interesting times, the Dems have nothing interesting to say and parked their votes elsewhere. The polls didnt pick up that trend until the results started coming in on election night.
The question now is whether the electorate is closer to the 2002 or the 2000 model. Andrew Sullivan and the other moulting hawks claim that, whatever his inner agonising, a President Kerry will have no choice but to fight the war on terror as robustly if more smartly and multilaterally than Bush. This rather overlooks the fact that the strongest force in global affairs is inertia. It seems most probable that, underneath the newly restored polite veneer of international relations, everyones attention will wander and the league of nuclear rogue states will expand and so will the list of freelance players in their Rolodexes; and, while Johns hosting Jacques at some summit to celebrate the new FrancoAmerican entente, something will happen and well have to learn the lessons of 9/11 all over again.
So, taking a flyer on a guy whos spent 30 years siding with the Vietcong, the Soviets, the Sandinistas, the Commies in Grenada and vis-à-vis Kuwait in 1990 Saddam Hussein? No thanks.
My sense is that the 2002 model is still operative, and that the Democrats and the media, talking to each other in their mutually self-deluding cocoon, have overplayed the Bush-bashing. Next Tuesday the President will win the states he won last time, plus Iowa, Wisconsin, New Mexico and Maines Second Congressional District to put him up to 301 electoral votes. Minnesota? Why not? Nudge him up to 311 electoral votes. Oh, and what the hell, give him Hawaii: thats 315. The Republicans will make a net gain of two seats in the Senate, one of which will bring with it the scalp of the Democrats leader, Tom Daschle. Despite distancing himself from Kerry and running ads showing him and Bush embracing, Daschles floundering in South Dakota, and his lugubrious mien will be even more lugubriouser within the week. Look for a handful of Republican House gains, too. And Democrats tearing their hair out or John Kerrys and John Edwardss hair, if they can penetrate the styling gel.
The above prediction needs to be able to withstand Democrat fraud, which Im nervous about. If Tuesday goes off as smoothly as the Afghan election, well be very lucky.
Usually after making wild predictions I confidently toss my job on the line and say, if they dont pan out, Im outta here. Ive done that a couple of times this campaign season over Wes Clark (remember him?) but it almost goes without saying in these circumstances. Were America to elect John Kerry president, it would be seen around the world as a repudiation not just of Bush and of Iraq but of the broader war. It would be a declaration by the people of American unexceptionalism that they are a slightly butcher Belgium; they would be signing on to the wisdom of conventional transnationalism. Having failed to read correctly the mood of my own backyard, I could hardly continue to pass myself off as a plausible interpreter of the great geopolitical forces at play. Obviously that doesnt bother a lot of chaps in this line of work Sir Simon Jenkins, Robert Mister Robert Fisk, etc., and no doubt I could breeze through the next four years doing ketchup riffs on Teresa Heinz Kerry, but I feel a period of sober reflection far from the scene would be appropriate. My faith in the persuasive powers of journalism would be shattered; maybe it would be time to try something else organising coups in Africa, like the alleged Sir Mark Thatcher is alleged to have allegedly done; maybe abseiling down the walls of the Presidential palace and garroting the guards personally.
But I dont think it will come to that. This is the 9/11 election, a choice between pushing on or retreating to the polite fictions of September 10. I bet on reality.
flag for later
Thanks for the FULL article, unlike the quidnuc version.
Can you say "bandwagon effect"?
The Pubs ought to fly Condi Rice out there for a speech or two. They could arrange a night flight, with comfortable sleeping quarters so she'll be fresh as a daisy when she arrives. A few words in Honolulu and Maui should swing Hawaii to the Republican camp. They'd love the attention, and they'd love the reassurance that the National Security Advisor is aware of Hawaii's vulnerability. What a symbolic achievement if Hawaii goes Republican!
I have a friend from Hawaii (he still owns a business there), that tells me that there is a huge conservative movement in Hawaii and it's growing. He says that the natives are fed up with leftists that are taking over the Islands and the liberal moral relativity.
We should have kept the Phillipines. Everybody would have been much better off. :P
Post it on TI
Doesn't Steyn have a good record on predictions? I realize that "past performance does not guarantee future results," but still . . .
Thanks once again for catching this before quidnunc.
Kerry also has a history of having had minimized the Communist threat in the Phillipines. Sure, Marcos wasn't the best, but the way Kerry talked about it was frightening...
Sure! Dalton would throw me under the TI jail! eheh
Thanks as always, Pokey. Maybe if Bush's lead holds here we'll actually make a few more maps. (A lot of statistical maps in magazines or online somehow seem to forget Alaska and Hawaii have been states for quite awhile now).
ROFL! That's brilliant!
Steyn is beyond the best! Brilliant and I hope, prescient.
Want me to post it so we can beat Q to the punch?
Wouldn't want to forget that quintessentially metrosexual moment.
Pleeeeeease add me to your Steyn list. Thanks
If President Bush goes, we'll all go, sooner or later.
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