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What Amazes Me Most...

What amazes me most about this campaign season has been, without question, the media.

I do not ever recall the national political press corps, and its attendant pundits, vacillating back and forth so incredibly violently.

"It's a wave election!" "No it's not!" "Oh yes it is!" "Oh no it isn't!"

"It's a national election!" "No it's not!" "Oh yes it is!" "Oh no it isn't!"

"It's a blow-out!" "No it's not!" "Oh yes it is!" "Oh no it isn't!"

"Democratic enthusiasm can trump Republican GOTV machinery." "No it can't!" "Oh yes it can!" "Oh no it can't!"

It's been like a Monty Python sketch, hasn't it? "The GOP is dead, I tell you!" "Oh no it isn't...it's just restin'!"

Based upon memory, I can recall five discrete vacillations. You had GOP bullishness around March. That lasted until about the end of April. Then the CA 50 campaign induced Democratic bullishness. That lasted until the actual election, which then again induced Republican bullishness. That lasted until about mid-July, where there again began a period of Democratic bullishness. This shifted around 9/11, which initiated another round of GOP bullishness. Right now we are in a stage of Democratic bullishness.

So -- that's five vacillations in six months!


What is most unbelievable is that it is literally nothing more than vacillation. It is not like a real debate, where new evidence swings things one direction and then another. It's the same darned evidence being paraded on both sides. Democratic strengths X, Y and Z are emphasized for a while. Then, they are totally abandoned to emphasize GOP strengths A, B and C. Nobody in the press ever actually gets around to debunking, reconciling, aggregating, weighing X, Y, Z, A, B and C! They just change their emphases! The story line changes when somebody in an elite position in the media "remembers" the other side's factors. "And...oh yeah! Well...it looks like things have swung again!"

If we all take a step back and ponder this, I think we come up with two different hypotheses:
(1) The election has been as variable as the media has taken it to be. The most variable in modern history.
(2) The election has been relatively constant. The media is the variable factor. They vary because they incorrectly think congressional elections work like presidential elections and/or some strange soap opera called "As the Beltway Turns." They just generally have no idea what they are doing. So, they are always getting tricked into false positives, which they soon discover to be false positives, and which they then justify as "Well -- it's a-swingin' back the other way!" And, as they are the media, i.e. our window to the world, (1) appears to be true.

I prefer (1). Just kidding!

Here's an idea -- rather than take bets on how many seats the Democrats will pick up -- why don't we take bets on how many more times the media consensus will swing? The last swing was at the end of last month -- and as there is, on average, a swing in the consensus every 1 month and 1 week, the odds are that there will be at least one more, on or about November 5.

But my money is actually on 2 more swings. I think there will be a brief flirtation with "Maybe it won't be that bad for the GOP..." around the end of this month. And then a "Oh...YES IT WILL!"

And then, on Election Day, if they are "right," they will trumpet their keen political sensibilities -- "We called this sucker, didn't we?" "Oh...yeah we did. We had it all along!" "Good for us!"

If they are "wrong," they will trumpet their keen political sensibitilies and procliam how the party ostensibly on the outs managed to perform an unheard-of come-from-behind feat of great political cunning at the last minute to snatch defeat from the jaws of...

...and blah, blah, blah. The truth is that they are never right nor wrong. They are just unfalsifiable. If Karl Popper were alive to witness this campaign season, his head would explode. I'm actually thinking about wearing a tight-fitting Steelers football helmet between now and Election Day to prevent exactly that from occurring.