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Shades of 1984? 2004? Or Neither?

So the debate is history, and, some would have us believe, the earth has shifted. Obama is no longer the overwhelming favorite, Romney has come back from the dead. Right?
Not so fast. I have been on record since 2010 predicting that President Obama would win re-election. My reasons were not especially clever or complex. Most presidents get re-elected. The demographic changes that favor the Democratic party have only continued since the last election. The Republican field was by most accounts a pretty weak one this year.
Now to be clear, I viewed the 2008 election as the high-water mark for President Obama. There was simply no way he would experience another perfect storm again this time around. There was never a chance he could again inspire the record turnout among young voters and black voters that he had the last time.
And for most of this year, the polls reflected a narrow Obama lead, narrower than the 7-point margin he won by in 2008. Then Mitt Romney had a very bad month of September. Some gaffes, some miscues, and a good convention for the Democrats. The margin widened. The RCP poll average moved from Obama +1 to Obama +4.
Then we had a debate. And Mitt Romney exceeded expectations and here we are… pretty much where we were a month ago.
In 1984, Ronald Reagan led Walter Mondale all year. Then Mondale won the first debate. Reagan came across as tired, and people began to wonder if his age was showing. The polls tightened- a little. And then things went back to the way they were all year. Reagan won 49 states.
In 2004, John Kerry, according to all polls, won his first debate against President Bush. The polls tightened. And then things went back to the way they were for most of the period leading up to the debate. Bush won a narrow re-election.
The current narrative can only last so long. The media beast needs to be fed fresh meat. And until the debate, most of the meat was served up by Mitt Romney in the form of gaffes (the Olympics comments during his visit to London) and mega-gaffes (the 47% speech).
It is possible Mitt Romney has become a more-disciplined and less tone-deaf candidate in recent weeks. Change I can… um… Hope for. But I am a realist. Things usually go back to normal.
A week ago, Nate Silver’s model gave Mitt Romney a 13% chance of winning this thing. Now he gives Romney a 29% chance of winning. Sounds about right to me.


File This Under “Duh”

A new study by the New York City Department of Health shows that those who engage in binge drinking are more likely to have sex, and also more likely to get an STD. Shocker.

The sad part is that our tax dollars were used to make this “discovery.”


Where Have I Been?


Haven’t been posting because I took a trip to the UK. And so, now safely back in the US, here are my random observations about England:

1. It’s cold in London. Really cold and rainy and wet.
2. It gets dark very early in England in December. Night time starts at 4 pm.
3. Driving in England is tougher than I thought- I knew about the whole “wrong-side-of-the-road” thing, but I was not prepared for numerous other complications, such as the tiny, winding roads, especially the single lane roads (helpfully called “unnamed road” on the GPS) that are literally 7 feet wide. Trust me, it is no picnic.
4. And speaking of driving, no rest stops! Unlike here in the US, where it seems we have a full service rest stop with toilets and restaurants and convenience stores every five miles, in England there are pretty much none. Which leads me to wonder- do English people not pee?
5. Parking your car opposite the direction of traffic is apparently legal since everyone does it.
6. Drinking on the sidewalk outside of pubs is so common, even if it’s about 30 degrees out, it seems mandatory.
7. Cambridge is nicer than Oxford.
8. British tabloids are trashier than even the New York tabloids.
9. Not enough cable channels.
10. London cabbies are way smarter and more informed than New York cabbies.
11. High tea is expensive.
12. Not enough trash cans on the city streets.
13. Even though it’s a chain restaurant, Pizza Express has awesome pizza.
14. Heathrow Airport – what’s up with no food shops or newsstands near the gates?

Here are a couple of pics- a shot of my ride, and a shot of me enjoying the scenic view.
My Ride

Enjoying the view


If McConnell Loses…

As of now, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is barely leading his opponent with 18% of the vote counted. If McConnell loses it will truly indicate a massive Democratic surge- McConnell has been in office since 1984, has all the advantages of incumbency and a leadership spot, and has not been tainted by any kind of scandal. If he goes down, it will indicate an anti-Republican tide on par with the post-Watergate election of 1974. Buckle up.


Technical Difficulties

For some technical reason, far beyond my understanding, we have a large blank space on this page above (or below?) this post. In the meantime, you may have to scroll down (or up) to read recent posts.

I have no idea why this is happening, but hopefully it will fix itself.


Forever Cheesy

Not too proud to admit that 25 years ago this was the song I was listening to.

God, I miss the 80’s.