Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Punditry and predictions

So, having watched the US presidential election cycle pretty thoroughly since about December last year, I have to say, I’m feeling pretty frustrated. That was a wasted opportunity.

Oh no, I’m not talking about the quality of the candidates and who is running for each party. Relatively speaking, each party landed about the best candidate possible under the circumstances. No, no, no….what I’m talking about is money. Specifically, a wasted chance for me to make some.

Look, I’ve read a lot of news stories and political commentary in the past nine months or so. And as best I can figure, especially with the commentary, there are only three skills that are required - an ability to meet a word count, an ability to hit a deadline and an unsurpassed ability to talk out of your ass. I imagine a fourth, an ability to actually know what you’re talking about would be nice, but not a prerequisite.

Seriously, finding someone who is intelligent, makes interesting points and doesn’t have a large axe to grind is like finding find a chunk of gold while panning in the middle of a very cold, very fast moving river. You’re likely that numb and on the verge of being swept away by banality that when you actually find a chunk of gold you’re kind of in shock.

That there are a lot of hacks out there in the magic land of political commentators is hardly a news flash, although the volume of people who clearly have no idea, who clearly are just making shit up as they go along because it’s a deadline and they have 800 words to fill in the next couple of hours is kind of staggering.

So on the off-chance someone in the US stumbles across this site and doesn’t already a political hack and is willing to pay decent money for an outsider perspective of the US presidential election, well, I’m your man. You can talk to my former editors – I can hit a deadline, I can write a lot and I can write bullshit and make it sound like I’m wise and in the “know.”

Want proof? Here’s my prediction for the vice presidential candidates. Obama is going to pick Joe Biden. McCain is going to pick Tim Pawlenty.

Why? Obama gets two important things with Biden. First, he obviously gets an exceptionally knowledgeable man on foreign affairs and secondly, he gets a professional attack dog. Biden has never shied away from being able to cut people to pieces with particularly memorable quotes. Yes, that makes him a risk to say something wrong (which Biden has done plenty of times in the past), but the pros outweigh the cons. Plus, the Democratic base, which is starting to get a bit skittish, will like Biden. He’s not bland and he’s not afraid to rip Republicans.

Why not some of the others? Bayh is viewed as a bit bland and was a little too gung-ho on the Iraq war, which dampens some of Obama’s attack in that area. Kaine doesn’t have the necessary experience. And yes, Obama might like to pick someone from a state that he wants to put in play, in this case Indiana and Virginia. But as past history shows, a VP candidate is hardly any guarantee to bring that state into play. So why not pick the attack dog with the experience to be able to handle the job (and that job is not VP. I could probably be VP. No, the other job. The job no hope hoes the VP candidate gets for many years.)

As for Hillary, just no. Not going to happen. At all.

As for McCain, well, Pawlenty gives him everything he needs. Someone a bit more familiar with economic issues, is younger, but not so young that he makes McCain look like his grandfather. And most importantly, he’s evangelical, and McCain still needs to suck up to that base because they still have doubts about him.

As for the other possible contenders, well Ridge is pro-choice and the Republican evangelical base just about had a small stroke with McCain floated the idea last week. Lieberman is not only pro-choice, I’m not entirely sure anyone likes him. Republicans don’t trust him because he is, theoretically, a Democrat. Democrats don’t like him because they think he’s a prick.

As for Romney, I’m not sure anyone likes him. Yes, he might bring a few states in play (Michigan, Massachusetts and some of the western states with large Mormon populations), but he’s viewed as smarmy, would change his position at the drop of a dime and would, again, likely alienate some evangelicals.

So, nope, Pawlenty it is.

And for those editors out there, I can easily write another piece explaining how clever I am for being able to predict these choices. If I’m wrong I can do something explaining why each of these two exceptionally intelligent men were wrong to not chose these two people, because I obviously know better.

Huh...guess I have learned something the last nine months from all of those commentators after all.

Last Five
1. Climbing up the walls - Radiohead
2. Please Mr. Postman – The Beatles
3. Mama – My Chemical Romance
4. Hallelujah – Ryan Adams*
5. People of the sky - Sloan


Ron said...

Jim Webb

He is playing an "if elected I will not serve, If nominated I will not run" game right now.

But read this - he is almost perfect.

Karin said...

I agreed with you about Biden yesterday. But that was yesterday and today's gossip is all about Wes Clark.
Its all going to be total speculation until we get the "text".

In Iqaluit said...

You're right with Biden!

towniebastard said...

I know! If I get Pawlentry right I expect a check from somebody.

In Iqaluit said...


Palin? Can you believe that? I don't know much about her but she sounds like a nut job. Can't wait to hear your commentary on this one.