Sympathy For The Pollster

I know that Mark Penn is a rich target these days, and deservedly so - but still, you have to feel at least somewhat bad for a guy who writes an entire book arguing that "the era of big trends is over,” only to run smack into, well, something of a macro-trend in the most important campaign of his life. This scene, in particular, inspired a twinge of pity:

On the evening of Feb. 11, Mr. Penn—the architect of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign strategy from the very beginning—took a break from the rigors of the campaign to stump for himself at the Strand Bookstore in downtown Manhattan. Surrounded by white copies of his book Microtrends (already-purchased copies of which were not permitted on the premises), Mr. Penn stood at a lectern between a dark window and a small crowd of readers ...

As Tina Brown, the former New Yorker editor who is working on a Hillary Clinton book, took notes to his left, Mr. Penn emphasized his distaste for the microtrend he calls “impressionable elites”—supposed leaders of society who, as he sees it, show more interest in a candidate’s personality than policies.

Mr. Obama enjoys the support of this chattering class, Mr. Penn believes, while Mrs. Clinton speaks more to working-class people who really care about policy because policy really impacts their lives. Worse still, Mr. Penn sees the “impressionable elites” growing in number, so much so that he has considered turning “that trend into an entire book someday, because it is becoming more and more evident.”

At least one attendee was skeptical. “Obama strikes me as a macrotrend, not a microtrend,” said Kevin Costa, a 48-year-old government analyst and undecided Democrat, during the question-and-answer session.

I mean, okay, you don't have to feel all that bad.