When History Rhymes

Will nature reclaim the Obama campaign?

Today we are six weeks out from this American election. Six days from today we will learn what the true character of America is. There are lots of opinions on how this will play out, but really no one can know until the final poll is taken on November 6th. That said, educated guesses can be made.

One thing it’s important not to do is overstate the importance of the media or the polls. We’ve seen them try to interfere before, and we’ve seen them thwarted by the will of the American people. When you know your history, you are bringing education to your guesses. Mark Twain famously said that history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. I would argue it sometimes echoes as well. Here’s some history for you from 1980:

Remember when Jimmy Carter beat Ronald Reagan in 1980?

That’s right. Jimmy Carter beat Ronald Reagan in 1980.

In a series of nine stories in 1980 on “Crucial States” — battleground states as they are known today — the New York Times repeatedly told readers then-President Carter was in a close and decidedly winnable race with the former California governor. And used polling data from the New York Times/CBS polls to back up its stories.

Four years later, it was the Washington Post that played the polling game — and when called out by Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins a famous Post executive called his paper’s polling an “in-kind contribution to the Mondale campaign.” Mondale, of course, being then-President Reagan’s 1984 opponent and Carter’s vice president.

All of which will doubtless serve as a reminder of just how blatantly polling data is manipulated by liberal media — used essentially as a political weapon to support the liberal of the moment, whether Jimmy Carter in 1980, Walter Mondale in 1984 — or Barack Obama in 2012.

First the Times in 1980 and how it played the polling game.

The states involved, and the datelines for the stories:

  • California — October 6, 1980
  • Texas — October 8, 1980
  • Pennsylvania — October 10, 1980
  • Illinois — October 13, 1980
  • Ohio — October 15, 1980
  • New Jersey — October 16, 1980
  • Florida — October 19, 1980
  • New York — October 21, 1980
  • Michigan — October 23, 1980

Of these nine only one was depicted as “likely” for Reagan: Reagan’s own California. A second — New Jersey — was presented as a state that “appears to support” Reagan.

The Times led their readers to believe that each of the remaining seven states were “close” — or the Times had Carter leading outright.

In every single case the Times was proven grossly wrong on election day. Reagan in fact carried every one of the nine states.

Here is how the Times played the game with the seven of the nine states in question.

You’ll have to go read the whole article to find out how they did it, but the important point here is that their narrative did not win. I don’t think it’s going to win this year either. This is not 1980, but the echo of that year is ringing loudly here outside the noise machine. So is 1972. I can practically hear a chorus of Pauline Kaels from the capital of Indiana already.

So hang in there, folks. Whether you want Obama gone or Romney in, we’ll all find out what’s going to happen here shortly.

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7 comments on “When History Rhymes

  1. Anna Belle says:

    By the way, we’re closing in on 800 members at Romney Democrats on Facebook. We will coss that line today. Like us if you’re on FB. http://www.facebook.com/romneydemocrats2012

    • DeniseVB says:

      Just zapped you $45.00 ! Probably don’t need the ad money for RD, it seems to be taking on a mind of it’s own, YAY ROMNEY DEMOCRATS and friends !

      You may have missed my comment over at TCH the other night. My husband’s golf course Boyz Club let me in to play in their football pool and I told the TCH gang to send me their picks, if I win, I’ll donate it to the RD fund. I FREAKING WON !!! So there you are. 😀

      Broke the glass ceiling AND won some coins too. Thank you stupid Replacement Refs, heh.

      • OMG! You are so freaking awesome! Thanks Denise. And yes, we do need the funds. The Obamacare repeal ad I’m using is draining funds FAST. People really are responding to that one. When I ran out of funds last time, our numbers dropped to single digits per week. Since we got refreshed about two weeks ago we’ve gained almost 200 new members! (Thank you Arkansas Angel! You know who you are. 🙂 )

  2. 1539days says:

    Anna Belle,

    I have had a similar realization. I think it’s time to strike against Obots online in a way that they tried with Romney supporters. We need to start countering their convoluted arguments with one phrase that bespeaks the confidence that we have and they don’t.

    Obama’s going to lose anyway.

    Don’t argue, just dismiss them. We know the reality.

    http://daysofchange.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/day-1421-five-simple-words/

    • Exactly right, Days. Excellent post, btw.

      Another thing is micro-targeting. I don’t talk politics in class, and I said as much in class tonight. I said, “You don’t even know who I’m voting for.” But then I quipped, “But you can find out by looking at my car.”

      So onto break we go and out traipse a bunch of students to take a look at my car. About a quarter said something like, “Huh. Wouldn’t have guessed that,” upon looking at my Romney sticker. Since we weren’t in class, I answered their questions; you know they had them. I told them I was a democrat voting for Romney because he had the record to deliver a better economy. You could see the changes on their faces as they considered this. We talked some more and they listened to me patiently answer their questions.

      I think I might have swayed more than a few. They trust me and think I’m cool because I’ve talk to them plainly all semester and actually taught them a lot already. All in all a successful night and a good risk to take.

      • 1539days says:

        I think people have to stop Eeoryeing over the Eeoyres who are concern trolling the internet. It’s not time to be complacent, but it’s pretty obvious the Obama campaign has shot its wad. It’s time to let them know that we know it, too. I am tired of people who are brainwashed into thinking Obama is so devious “he’s going to win anyway.” Screw that. Romney’s going to win because America is behind him.

        I love the sheer entertainment value, Someone can make some big case about this and that bullshit statistic, and you can basically respond that it’s all very interesting and important stuff, it’s just too bad that Obama’s going to lose and you can’t do anything about it. I’m going to try to use it every day now.

  3. Hey Anna Belle—-why do you think that the Dems are pushing back all of a sudden to the R argument that the skewed polls are oversampling Dems? I mean if it is a foregone conclusion that O is going to win, why bother even making the argument?

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