Here at blog HQ the Internet is up and running again, so time to work through some overdue items. First, the choice America will make on November 6.
It is natural to have deep divisions within the country on how the presidential election should turn out. It's unusual to have such contradictory assumptions about what is going to happen just over 100 hours from now. Long ago, the film critic Pauline Kael was ridiculed for reportedly having said, after Richard Nixon's 49-state win over George McGovern in 1972, "How can that be? No one I know voted for Nixon." Apparently she never said it, but the quote lives on, in a boiled-frog-like twilight zone, as shorthand for people who are grossly out of touch with majority American opinion, and don't realize it.
One group or another is going to be in that position fairly soon. I don't mean to get back into the "quants-versus-'experts' " debate I mentioned last month and that has been raging recently. What I mean is that any recent exposure to Republican media shows a faith not just that Mitt Romney should win but that he will. For instance, yesterday from the Boston Herald:
Today from the WSJ:
Last night, when our TV came back on after a long post-hurricane hiatus, I decided to stick it out with Fox News. Such airtime as they didn't give to "the mounting scandal in Benghazi" was instead devoted to speculation by Newt Gingrich and others about just how big the Romney landslide was going to be. Newt thought it would be 300 electoral votes at least. The email I get from friends in the Republican campaign infrastructure -- yes, I have some! -- is, without exception, in the same mode: We're going to win. We can feel it coming. The president is getting desperate. A lot of people are in for a big surprise .... Here's a sample, from a mailing list rather than a personal email, that just appeared and illustrates the tone:
I don't think it matters whether Rover or Gingrich actually "believe" their optimistic forecasts; Projecting a winner's aura is part of either campaign's plan right now. (Rove had a similar upbeat tone in public statements before the 2006 mid-term bloodbath for his party; Gingrich was confident about his chances throughout the primary cycle.) And some forecasts, like the ones at UnSkewed (as I see that Ta-Nehisi Coates has just mentioned) are in the pure wish-fulfillment category:
But the evidence convinces me that, beyond the spin and the lunacy and the media's interest in keeping any race "close," a lot of Republicans really believe that Romney is about to win.