During the last presidential race, Mickey Kaus had a running joke about being an undecided. It drove me mad. I even quit reading Kausfiles.com for awhile.
Like Mickey and all other sentient beings, I was all along pretty sure the former New Republic editor wouldn’t vote for the Texas Ranger.
The gag got old.
But now Mickey admits he was an Edwards supporter.
After casting his futile vote for Edwards on Super Tuesday, Kaus has some excellent observations about exit polling, Tim Russert’s patter and what he regards as the ill-grounded optimism of the Democrats.
‘The exit poll designers clearly know the story they want before they take the poll–in this case, they want ‘POLARIZED COUNTRY ANGRY AT BUSH.’ They ask a question about anger and whatever group or sub-group turns up high on the anger scale–well, that’s the story, whether it makes any sense or not. …
‘P.S.: ‘POLARIZED COUNTRY’ is one of those Neutral Story Lines that gives analysts something to say that sounds intelligent without favoring one candidate or the other–the way, say, “Kerry’s victory speech was deadly” would. …
‘P.P.S.: I answered the L.A. Times exit poll after I voted. The categories that sounded so precise and informative on the news turned out to make no sense as a way to measure my own sentiments. Did I vote for Edwards because he “cares about people like me”? Well, no! I don’t know if Edwards cares about anyone, actually, and if he does care about the people he says he cares about they are not people like me (or the other affluent, steadily-employed yuppies who form his actual base of support). True, I did vote for Edwards in part because I thought that other people think he cares about people like them. … Did I vote on “jobs” or “Iraq”? That one was hard to answer too. I voted because I guessed Edwards could be an effective president tackling issues in the future that we don’t know about and hence don’t talk about and can’t put on pre-packaged exit polls! Unfortunately that wasn’t a choice they offered. … And if I had checked “jobs” or “trade,” it seems just as likely that I’d have checked those boxes because a) I like Edwards (and “jobs” and “trade” are what he talks about) as that b) I care about jobs and trade and decided that Edwards was the man addressing those concerns. Yet the networks puffing their exit polls (Bill Schneider, this means you) invariably present the causal route as (b)–from issue to candidate–rather than (a)–from candidate to issue. … Applying Kaus’ First Rule of Journalism (“Always Generalize Wildly from Your Own Experience Because You’re Not That Special”) I conclude that exit polls are at least half garbage. … 1:44 A.M.
With Edwards gone, will Mickey be “uncommitted” again?
Mickey has been merciless towards Kerry. But whaddaya bet that in the end. …