Monday, November 01, 2004


...And for once I'm not focussing on the former Soviet Union. Though, yet another crooked election took place over the weekend - this time, Ukraine.

Back in the US of A, it's down to the wire and all the pundits are predicting a close race. Thanks to the Bears Will Attack campaign blog, here's a link to an excellent poll of the polls site. Great analysis of the numbers and, if you believe polls, it shows Kerry scraping through.

I say "polls be damned". Remember 1992? John Major was about to become the shortest serving PM in the UK. Neck-and-neck said the polls. Despite Labour clawing back at a huge deficit, they just couldn't push that final mile. Major's last minute campaigning was credited as saving his bacon; Kinnock's "Presidential" rally in Sheffield was instrumental in turning off voters said the critics.

Balderdash, methinks. Plain and simple - the polls got it wrong. For all the scientific precision of polling, there are just too many variables and too much margin for error. In that infamous '92 election, it became clear that a large number of people simply lied to pollsters. Variable that one.

For this and other reasons, I'm distrustful of polls. They are only an indicator. The only poll that matters... Well, you know the rest.

My gut feeling remains that Kerry, even with a surge of support since the debates(according to those polls), will fall considerably short. Like Gore before him, he's a Washington insider. My pet theory is that those inside the Beltway start with a handicap in a national poll. Clinton and Bush Lite have shown that - and before them Reagan and Carter.

Incumbents are difficult to beat in any election. Recent exceptions include Bush Sr, who won the first Gulf War, but got blamed for an economy in the tank and ran up against a man with charisma (and a rocket in his pocket). Carter lost mainly because he botched the Iran hostage crisis. In turn, Ford lost to Carter because of Watergate.

"But what about the Iraq fiasco" you might ask. Does that make Bush Lite vulnerable? Of course it does. However, you've got to ask about who's running against him. I just can't see Kerry as an alternative to Bush. Despite being criticised as a liberal and a flip-flopper, I think on Iraq his hands are pretty much tied. If he tries to extricate US troops, it will look to much like the humiliation of Vietnam. My guess is that he'll have to tough it out much like Johnson had to (though Johnson's continual micro-management of the war, blundering and reliance on hawkish advisors sealed his fate).

Bush will probably win wholly on the strength of the new world order since 9/11. Heck, don't change commanders-in-chief when we're "winning" the war.

Check out what former blogger Howard Owens says. Howard is a conservative, libertarian even. Despite his dislike of Bush on several counts, he'll vote for the guy who he thinks is most decisive on Iraq. I don't share Howard's view on Iraq, but I do agree that Bush appears more decisive. Only, in my view, he's taken the wrong decisions, which is why he deserves to be dispatched with undue haste.

Kerry, although a bit more animated than Gore, and certainly running a better campaign than the former veep, still won't overcome the DC handicap and fighting against a war president.

I do hope I'm wrong. Kerry wouldn't be my choice, but Bush's conviction, good vs. evil politics are anathema.

I also came across Republican Switchers, a site devoted to persuading conservatives to vote Kerry. Sort of countering the Zell Millers of this world.

The Guardian ran a story over the weekend on all those UK Conservatives supporting Kerry. Seems it's a tactic to isolate Blair over Iraq. Er, I thought the Tories would have supported the invasion (WMD or no)? Oh that's right, the Tories haven't got a f@cking clue.

Of course, Bush can count on the support of a leading Iranian politician and that nice Mr Berlusconi.

:: Posted by pete @ 13:00