Waiting for tonight

My typing may be a bit off today as my dog bit me last night. It was partially my fault because he snapped at me as I was taking off his leash and I smacked him in the nose. He was faster than I was and bit my hand. Bassett hounds are supposed to be mellow but I got the one exception.

I voted a week ago by absentee so that is done. California has a bunch of state propositions and I voted no on all of them except 32, which would constrain union fund raising, but it will probably lose. I was disappointed to see NRO come out against it because of some footling concern about something. I have been disappointed by NRO several times this year, first when they fired John Derbyshire. His writing is funny and wise at the same time. You probably all know the story of the dispute, in which I believe that Derb was completely correct.

We also have this small matter of a presidential election today.

I voted for Romney. I consider myself to be a libertarian but think those voting for Johnson on the basis of “no difference between Romney and Obama” to be fools choosing the perfect over the good.I can’t improve upon Randy Barnett. Since his article may be behind the pay wall, I will quote a bit.

To the extent that a third party is successful, it will drain votes from the coalition party to which it is closest and help elect the coalition party that is further removed from its interests. The Libertarian Party’s effort will, if effective, attract more libertarian voters away from the candidate who is marginally less hostile to liberty, and help hand the election to the candidate who is more hostile to liberty.

Barnett also points out the libertarian roots of the Tea Party. I took my left wing daughter and her left wing husband to dinner last weekend to celebrate her birthday. She is a wonderful person but, at age 32, has never been out of academia. She speaks four languages and has lived abroad where she might have picked up some common sense economics but hasn’t. We talked about the principles of libertarian political action. She didn’t want to talk about politics and told me she is more comfortable with her brother and sister who are also Obama voters. All three of them seem to have a conviction that all Republicans are Bible thumping low brows. This is silly because they have known me since they were born. I think a lot of lefties think this way by reflex, not thought.

My oldest son thinks he is libertarian (or anarchist, as he sometimes says) but he is a lawyer and thinks he is brilliant. He is quite successful so maybe he is. Gay marriage is a big thing for him. My only objection to gay marriage is a concern that the gays will attempt to impose their beliefs on churches and compel by lawsuit the performance of such ceremonies, no matter the beliefs of the congregation. He dismisses this concern as baseless. Social policy is the most common basis of voting for many Democrats who seem to be blissfully unaware of economics.

I am convinced that Romney will win in a near or real landslide, except for those moments of doubt when I fear he will lose. HL Mencken said, “No one ever lost money underestimating the taste of the American public.” I have also read that quote substituting “intelligence” for “taste.” I am tired of all the polls and predictions. I did like Peggy Noonan’s column yesterday. She seems to feel the way I do, aside from polls and prognostications from experts.

Something old is roaring back. One of the Romney campaign’s surrogates, who appeared at a rally with him the other night, spoke of the intensity and joy of the crowd “I worked the rope line, people wouldn’t let go of my hand.” It startled him. A former political figure who’s been in Ohio told me this morning something is moving with evangelicals, other church-going Protestants and religious Catholics. He said what’s happening with them is quiet, unreported and spreading: They really want Romney now, they’ll go out and vote, the election has taken on a new importance to them.

I feel this way, too. There has been the sense that the polls are wrong all year. The “October surprise” was Hurricane Sandy and it helped Obama briefly but the misery in New York is draining away any enthusiasm. It leaves us with the polls tied but there is a feeling I have that this is not the story.

Is it possible this whole thing is playing out before our eyes and we’re not really noticing because we’re too busy looking at data on paper instead of what’s in front of us? Maybe that’s the real distortion of the polls this year: They left us discounting the world around us.

That’s the way I feel and I will know for sure tomorrow.

22 thoughts on “Waiting for tonight”

  1. I am in California too, and plan to vote for Gary Johnson. There may be states where one vote for Romney increases the chance he will win by as much as one millionth, but California isn’t one of them—in any election where Romney carries it, he has a landslide win even without it.So Randy’s argument, while perhaps relevant in Ohio, is not relevant to either of us.

    On the other hand, the more votes Gary Johnson gets, the greater the incentive for the major parties to try to find some libertarian issues that they can support, in order to get some of those votes. So a vote for him in California does have some effect, although still very little. If you are voting for the vote’s effect, you should be voting libertarian.

    That said, the main reason to vote, given the low chance of affecting anything, is as a consumption activity, because you enjoy fighting for your side. I will enjoy voting for Gary Johnson. I would not enjoy voting for either Romney or Obama.

  2. Michael, I hope that you are right. We’ll know soon enough.

    There seem to be two kinds of leftist friends and relatives. The first is in the minority of people who enjoy arguing about ideas and don’t personalize it. These people can be fun to talk to. The more frequent kind of leftist is happy to share his views until you share yours and he finds out you disagree with him. Then he becomes angry and wants to drop the subject, which kind of leaves you feeling abused, since he started it. Or he declares that we must “agree to disagree”, to which I usually reply, “I don’t agree”. All of this is usually more trouble than it’s worth and one learns not to discuss certain things. A pity. I suppose there are libertarians and conservatives who are similarly difficult to talk to, but my sense is that there are many fewer, because these people are less likely than are leftists to treat politics as religion, and also because they are more likely to have arrived at their conservative/libertarian views by some kind of rational process (even simple experience) that they are happy to discuss with people they don’t agree with.

    My favorite high school teacher was a character. He had been in the Foreign Service or maybe the CIA in postwar Yugoslavia and had lots of interesting stories. He used to wear turtlenecks and a horn-shaped amulet, which was an affectation that didn’t have any special meaning. He confided to some of us that when people asked him about the amulet he sometimes told them, with feigned indignation, that they were insulting his religion. This was a guy with whom you could have a good discussion about ideas.

  3. If Romney wins — and he may very well –it’ll be due to the evangelicals. Due to the ugly South Carolina primary battle with George W. in 2000 they never liked McCain and therefore didn’t vote for him in 2008 when he ran against a then unknown Obama. McCain’s gone and Obama is now known for what he is. The evangelicals will show up and if the pollsters missed them, there will be many surprised experts in mid-town Manhattan. Many of whom were with Charlie Rose last night comfortably, even enjoyingly, predicting an Obama win.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen. Most pundits think Obama. Dick Morris says a landslide for Romney. I was struck by the more measured Michael Barone’s forecast of Romney garnering 315 electoral votes.


    Though when you see photos of Obama murals actually inside polling places you see what an uphill battle the opposition has.


    Apparently a judge just now ordered this covered.

  4. I’m nervous as a sh*thouse rat. As a former New England lefty (well into my forties) I spent too many years in close proximity to these bastards, to rest even a little. My former college-town friends no longer speak with me, hell, won’t even return emails. The kids still live in The Peoples Republic and we don’t discuss politics. My daughters union-firefighter boyfriend asked me a while back about who I was voting for. I told him. He mentioned privitization. I mentioned 353 guys running into a building knowing damn well they weren’t coming out. Don’t imagine they’ll be visiting anytime soon. The wife is still a Democrat.

    It’s lonely in this place. The most disturbing part of this whole dark circus, is the press. The complicity that’s allowed outrages like Fast & Furious and the Benghazi attack to just slide off the page effortlessly. I’m so disgusted, so worried. What the hell was I thinking?

  5. Hey Will–

    When Wittaker Chambers decided to leave the communist underground, he told his wife that he was doing it even though he believed he was leaving the winning side for the losing side. However, his wife was in his corner, so this might not cheer you up.

  6. In Philadelphia the Black Panthers operating in conjunction with Democrat officials forcibly ejected 60 Republican poll watchers [there was at least one injury] from 20 precincts saying that no Republicans were allowed there. A judge has reportedly ordered there return, but they are waiting for the Sheriff’s Department to get around to escorting them back in. Probably will happen after polls close.

    Those precincts will have 100%+ turnout and probably give PA to Obama.

    In all swing states, touch screen voting machines have been caught voting Obama when you vote Romney. Given that you have no way of knowing if the machine actually counted a Romney vote when the screen shows Romney, you cannot trust them, and those states are being stolen.

    Here in Colorado, multiple counties are having Republicans “disappear” from the voting rolls and having to cast provisional ballots.

    I, and I suspect other observers, am having grave doubts about the legitimacy of this election. If an election is blatantly stolen, how does that differ from a coup d’ etat? And what is the appropriate response? A question that our country has not had to answer before. We may start thinking about it tomorrow.

    Subotai Bahadur

  7. When they write the history of the United States in this era (well, possibly there won’t be another)
    the masters will note how, as the nation descended, a mass congratulated themselves on always voting for the lesser of the evils in a simplistic,corrupt and ineffectual two-party scheme, instead of assisting in the
    building of alternative parties.

    As for Romney, a guy who still won’t concede the immorality and strategic defeat of the Iraq War, a guy who
    helped outsource jobs away in a career feating a combination of vultural capitalism and otherwise
    political centrism…this guy’s part of the problem, not the solution. He and Obama are near the center of
    the core of the problem, matter of fact, nudging each other in a tiny space tad right tad left in a shadow show staged by the Elite.

  8. I think if the Republicans win this time – and get the Senate – and do what they did under Bush there will be a critical mass for a 3rd party.i know I will finally become disgusted.

    But now it is just siphoning votes away. Were we better off with a Bush 41 2nd term or Bill Clinton?

    Thank the Perot voters.

    As to the propositions I am inclined to vote Mike’s way but may give that that insurance thing a “yes”. I will vote Yes on 32. in the early 1900s Gov Hiram Johnson gave us the initiative process because the Southern Pacific had such a hold on the legislature.

    Not it is the public labor unions.

    I too have that feeling Michael – reminds me a bit of 1980. Time will tell.

    Got off to a false start this morning, walking into my polling station at 06:40 – and being told they don’t open until 07:00. Seems like they USED to open at 06:00 but suspect traffic was way down with absentee voting in recent years.

    So after work, I guess.

    Oh, best Rx for your daughter Mike is to let her start a small business. If you are in a particularly sadistic mood, in CA.

    That will change her.

  9. “As for Romney, a guy who still won’t concede the immorality and strategic defeat of the Iraq War, a guy who
    helped outsource jobs away in a career feating a combination of vultural capitalism and otherwise
    political centrism…this guy’s part of the problem, not the solution. ”

    You have your talking points down. Do you think that adds to the debate ?

    I am continually frustrated that the left, which supported the war initially, won’t discuss the options Bush faced in 2003. All I ask is a reasonable discussion of what we should have done after 9/11 in the situation we faced. The Democrats could have voted no. It is Vietnam all over again. They took us into a far more destructive war and then became the opposition after it was not going well. I don’t think they even see the hypocrisy and mendacity of their actions. Totally unserious. Obama has shown us that.

  10. We are already starting to see exit poll nonsense. Every female sociology major east of the Mississippi is out doing exit polling and blissfully unaware of her bias and her selective interviewing methods.

  11. Michael,

    Field workers are *supposed* to follow intervals. For example if your interval is 4 then you ask every 4th voter. Throughout the course of the day the poll director will adjust the intervals depending upon results.

  12. We used to supplement our exit poll on Sunday evenings before the election, with phone surveys looking only for absentee voters who have already sent in their ballots. I imagine many orgs still do.

  13. Daughter and I voted, on the first day of early voting … so, now we are waiting also. Fingers are crossed.
    Although I don’t know how much of an indication that might be – the Tiny Publishing Bidness picked up three clients in the last month, after a long drought with only a single (and repeat) client all this year long. Coincidence?

  14. Sgt Mom, my daughter-in-law has a very successful home based marketing business with a national client base. If Romney wins, she will probably be able to hire some staff. She is praying for it. Very religious. She is my fireman son’s wife. He is lucky as he is a state employee. Pension very shaky.

  15. Well I had an interesting voting experience. I had been going to a precinct station for 20 years – they closed it and sent me to another near my home (both obviously near.) So I go to the latest one – where I voted in the primary 5 months ago – and they don’t have my name.

    So I vote a provisional ballot.

    Afterwards I go to where my old precinct was and it is open again – with my name.


    No wonder so many people vote absentee now.

  16. It does not look good for Romney right now. I am amazed that the voters seem to be sticking with the loser. I expected a landslide but I am forced to go back to HL Mencken.

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

    We will see in the morning.

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