Friday, October 31, 2008

The Only Poll That Matters

There it was, a headline on the Huffington Post that promised to answer the one burning question that's on everyone's mind these days: "Who will win the election?" The title of the piece: "Bill Kristol Knocks the New York Times, Predicts McCain Will Win the Election." Now as anyone who has followed Kristol's recent career knows, Bill Kristol has not been wrong about anything recently (and by that, of course, I mean that Bill Kristol has been wrong about everything recently.) From the extent to which American troops would be greeted as liberators, to the ease with which we would create a Democratic government in Iraq, to the swiftness with which the vast majority of our troops would come home, Bill Kristol has been, not just wrong, but spectacularly wrong both on the symbolism as well as the substance of the matter. Indeed, you might say that wrongness is a quality that permeates his writings, that allows them to soar on fictional wings to the land of make-believe, it is a quailty that has become very much a hallmark of his work. So when the Huffington Post promised its readership a prediction of a McCain victory by Kristol, you might as well have just handed me a pair of tickets to the Obama innaugural ball. I was giddy.

But then I watched the video:

And now I'm of mixed emotions. You see, yes, it is true that Kristol predicts a McCain victory in this clip, but what's not clear is that he actually believes what he is saying. Indeed, there's a certain "I'm saying this because I have to" quality to the prediction that would seem to derive from the fact that he is, after all William Kristol, and can't possibly be expected to say anything other. What his demeanor seems to say, on the other hand, is that McCain and the GOP are headed toward a crushing blow and a staggering defeat, a cataclysm of a magnitude unseen since Krakatoa. And so to gauge the probability that this prediction is on the money (and by that I mean that it is spectacularly wrong, like all his other predictions) we would have to know whether Kristol was lying to us all those other times, or whether he knew all along that he was full of crap. Because in this clip, it's pretty obvious that he knows full well that he's spewing nonsense.

And so I'm back where I started. Spinning in my office chair, tossing darts at a big map of the world on the wall, and wondering whether the American people are going to hand victory to the man who most deserves it, or go with their baser instincts and vote their prejudices and fears.

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