Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Five percent solution?

Hillary wins by a tear, according to the pundits. I saw the clip, and she seemed genuinely moved, and such a moment shouldn't be read as weak, though among the more endomorphish Americans, those who would prefer the cartoon from 300 for president, or Ahnold, the tear will provide proof that Hillary should go back to baking cookies.

But that's not the point. The real point here is that the press is jonesing so hard for story that they're starting to make them up, passing judgments and pronouncements so often that they don't even have time to notice their own contradictions, their own shaping of the outcome. To whit, while everyone argues whether Hillary weeps the tears of a clown (though the press was around) or crocodile tears or that this redeems Edmund Muskie's "dirty trick" snowflakes, the real story goes untold, perhaps because one might have to make reference to observer effects (you know, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle in physics).

The press spent so much time salivating over Obama's poll numbers that it affected the outcome. Why be part of a double-digit assured victory when one might have more New Hampshire-style impact by voting in the republican primary to dump Romney? There's also the little matter of ballot design, which a Stanford scholar argues cost Obama 3% of the vote. But a single tear, a five percent solution (i.e. a ten percent swing) to a double-digit deficit? That's a better story. It's just not the real story.

(I haven't, by the way, joined the camp of either candidate, but the way this has been covered, even on NPR, has been outrageous, though an astute New Hampshire caller on the Diane Rihm show this morning pointed out the anti-Romney response to the earlier polls suggesting Obama was a lock.)


Queen Whackamole said...

Personally, I kinda resent the "Obama or Hillary" choice that's being represented, as if no one else is running. Sheesh. I'd like to have the illusion of a broader slate, just for a little while longer...

Marty said...

I completely agree. I mean, when you look at the delegate count, it was 9 to 9 to 4 (Edwards) to 1 (Richardson), which will be a minutiae of the ultimate total. Fill up the airwaves, the pages, with endless mindlessness.