Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Pathetic South Carolina Election and The Embrace of Susana Martinez By The White House

I've been consciously avoiding the dismal political realm for some time now. There is so little point to it anymore, as we learn over and over and over again that We, the People have no voice that our political betters are bound to listen to. Period.

So it came as no shock that Mark Stanford was elected to the open South Carolina congressional seat over Stephen Colbert's sister yesterday, and by a thumping majority no less. Yes, well, of course. Stanford is part of The Club, no matter his indiscretions, whereas Ms Colbert Busch was merely a problem to be dealt with -- which she was in typical South Carolina fashion, by a well-coordinated whispering campaign which implicated her in practically every moral lapse a female is capable of.

Ta-da! Stanford wins! But he would have won anyway goes the conventional wisdom on the morning after. It's such a heavily Republican district, say the cognoscenti, that Colbert Busch really had no chance at all despite initially high poll numbers.

Polls. Please. You can poll to get just about any result you want. It's almost like magic, and the wonder of it is that anyone actually believes in polls, rather than simply using them as handy reference tools.  Basically, the best you can expect from most polls is that they will indicate how well a message is getting across -- how effectively the propaganda is being catapulted, for example -- but little else. And in political polling, the point is to make people believe it's a "neck and neck race," or that a candidate has a chance "in a tough race," or that the election of So-And-So is "inevitable." In other words, the results of political polling are tailored to fit a pre-prepared narrative of how the election is supposed to go. Who wins doesn't actually matter that much. It is the narrative that matters, and political polls are tailored to fit the narrative.

The take away is apparently that Colbert Busch ran as well as she did against a strong Republican candidate with 100% name recognition, in an overwhelmingly Republican district, in South Carolina no less, so it's a "win-by-losing". Got it. And she'll take the district in the by and bye.

The only case I'm familiar with where this strategy actually worked was in California's 7th Congressional District, where, after several failed attempts, Republican Dan Lungren was unseated by upstart Democrat Ami Bera. Well, "upstart" even in the sense that California's Democratic Party apparat was reluctant to support him and I think for a time refused to support his campaign. It was thought he had no chance in one of the whitest and most heavily Republican districts in California, represented by one of the best-known California -- and national -- Republicans.

Conventional wisdom was wrong, had been wrong all along, but that didn't matter. It was the narrative that mattered, and it was a narrative that eventually was supported by polls which showed Bera with a "chance." Demographics was a bigger driver than polls, as the district's Republican population was aging out and moving away, but the narrative was that this scrappy upstart was taking on a Republican giant, in an overwhelmingly Republican district.

And he won.

So, one day, Colbert Busch might win, too. It could happen.

Meanwhile, the White House has been schmoozing Ms Martinez, Governor of New Mexico, like mad, with Joe Biden as point. It's interesting in some ways. Unlike a lot of Republican governors, Martinez is not entirely crazy, hasn't gone off the deep end policy wise, and seems to understand the interests of New Mexico's people as well as any governor has in recent times. Her policies may not be the best for the people of course, but she's not crazy enough to try to deliberately harm them, either.

She was invited to go to Rome on the Biden plane for the installation of the New Pope, and she was invited -- by Biden again -- to the White House for the Cinco de Mayo celebrations. She says that every time she goes to Washington or hangs out with administration personnel, she's pitching New Mexico and trying to make them understand how important federal funding is to the state's economy.

I'll say.

Of course there have been cuts and cuts and cuts, but Martinez goes when she's invited because she's got to make that pitch. I'm not sure there'd be much of a cash economy here at all were it not for the massive amounts of federal money pumping into the state to fund the research facilities and the nuclear labs and the military bases and the universities and on and on.  Anyone who claims that the federal government has "never created a job" is either lying outright or has no clue. None.

At any rate, it seems that Martinez and the White House have become highly sympatico, to the point where there is no daylight between them.

Does that mean she's becoming a Democrat or the White House is essentially Republican?

You decide.

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