Wednesday, September 3, 2008

If the Election Ended Today

All conventions lead to bumps in polling data as people wowed by the speeches move from "undecided" to "decided." Those bumps tend to not be permanent, especially because after both conventions are over the two bumps tend to cancel each other out.

But in this case we are seeing some interesting signs - the country, for all its glory, has been far less stupid this year. Take the Palin pick - it does not matter if you like her or not. She very clearly was chosen because she is a woman. Is she qualified? Will she do a good job? That answer has a lot to do with your opinion of her and the parties (no and no). But the country has been far less predictable in how it welcomes her - they are looking at it critically, and although a large number of them are still making the wrong decision, at the very least it is a decision, not the blind following of leadership.

That brings hope. But that is just one issue. We will still have to see whether or not the speeches of the last few nights (as well as tonight and tomorrow) continue that trend. Yesterday we were treated to Joe Lieberman's awful, awful speech, where he was essentially saying nothing but praises about McCain's manhood:

"John McCain is all man. John McCain is made of penis. He bleeds testosterone and shoots bullets from his fingers."

Right after we were treated to Law and Order's Fred Thompson strange speech where he talked about McCain screwing a stripper and then went on for about 15 minutes on gore porn, where he discussed nothing but violence:

"John McCain was legally dead for 15 days. During that time he was sexually assaulted by rabid albino monkeys, some of whom weighed over 15,000 tons. Afterwards, John McCain woke up and subsequently knocked all of them unconscious with nothing but his big toe and a frito chip. Now, I'm not saying that's what makes this man qualified to be President. I'm saying that this man is qualified to be President because of everything I said."

The entire thing was a joke. Thompson's speech, despite its... um... eccentricities... was fine, because it was about McCain's character, which is the only platform he is really running on. But Lieberman's was hilariously awful. A true testament to a guy that doesn't know what he is doing. Here is where we see two speeches that people may still have "liked" in the end, but we have yet to see if they were taken at face value or if they were critically analyzed before people come to the wrong decision.

Today, we already have experience Bob Dole's interview on MSNBC where he was like "This is so exciting, what a great pick. I can't talk about her though because I don't know anything about her and have never met her, but she is definitely qualified..." Are people critically thinking about this? Or are they blindly following the propaganda?

My thought will be that even if these speeches work, if they are being thought about critically the "convention bump" would take place over a few days rather than right away, as people try to figure out whether or not they are going to agree with what was said. If immediately after Sarah Palin's speech the public thinks she was a great pick, then nothing has changed.

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