Friday, October 29, 2004

Everybody else is doing it, why not me?

First, a teaser: I will play my own game of electoral college analysis in a latter part of this post. Now, to the goods as they have developed in these last couple days:

While we may never know exactly what happened to the explosives at Al Qaqaa, I think that this story has developed into something more than "the evidence". Now it is more about Kerry's attacking the ability of the troops to do their job than it is anything else. That's why ABC, CBS, the NYT--every mainstream media outlet that tries to "prove" that the explosives were there AFTER the fall of Baghdad is doing worthless work. Could 400 tons of explosives have gone missing while it should have been under the watchful eyes of U.S. troops? Sure it COULD have--and to be sure, that is a lot of explosives to me. But in the grand scheme of things in Iraq, it is child's play (leave it to the Dems to point to the single tree standing alone as a sign of a forest up ahead) For Kerry to come out and point to this one POSSIBLE screw up as evidence of the military "failing" in it's mission in Iraq is unquestionably the worst possible move for a man who is trying to become their commander in chief. IF things happened as the MSM is telling it (and that's a big IF--one I'm not willing to buy into at this stage), all that does is point out the fact that Saddam had these incredibly dangerous explosives at his disposal under the U.N. "sanctions"; if the U.N. had really been doing their job in the manner that mainstream America had hoped for, Saddam wouldn't have had ANYTHING at Al Qaqaa. Kerry, the UN-is-everything candidate, doesn't realize that the EXISTENCE of the weapons in itself throws his entire foreign policy right out the window. But instead of staying away from the story, Kerry starts this vital week featuring the explosives as a sign of how poor Bush is as a commander in chief--never realizing that the story (again, IF it is true) is more negative towards the brave troops in combat than it is towards the President. All Kerry and his underlings have done is brought into question the competence of our fighting men and women--which is ironically reminiscent of how Kerry first burst onto the national political scene. Here's to hoping that his anti-military schtick serves as the bookends on an otherwise unremarkable political career.

Now, to the heart of the matter: the electoral college. I have been doing my own figuring for the last, oh, 15 minutes or so. (Really, that's quite a bit of research for me) This is my very basic position on the EC right now: I have taken 32 of the 51 "states" off the board because I figure they are strongly in one or the other candidate's camp at this time. The electoral breakdown of those 32 so far has Bush ahead of Kerry, 167-164 (i.e. Bush needs 103 of the "battleground" electorals to win). Of the 19 states that I have as a "battleground", the most important ones are (no surprise here) FL, OH, PA, MI and NJ (100 electorals among them all). Lately I think that FL (27 EV) has been trending Bush, although I won't put too much faith in any of the other "big five" swinging that way (and FL may not swing that way on election night--we'll have to see how close it is). The next tier of my battleground states is VA, IN, MO, WI, CO and MN, worth a total of 64 electoral votes. With the exception of MN (10 EV), I would be surprised if these all didn't end up red. The other 8 (OR, IO, AR,WV,NM, NV, NH and HI) are worth 43 total electorals, and I'm only willing to bet on Oregon (7 EV) being in any camp for certain (and that is Kerry's camp). So I don't paint a pretty picture, eh? Well, not so fast. . .even if Bush only takes FL of the big five, and loses MN from the next tier, he still only needs 21 more electorals to tie, which he would get if he holds on in AR, WV, NM, and NV (none of which I consider to be a big stretch for him to win). If he could do the unthinkable and win in HI (3 EV), or even IO (6 EV)or NH (4), the electorals swing his way. Of course, there are some "issues" that stand to destroy most electoral prognostications: a) the vote on amendment 36 in Colorado, which COULD throw 4 electorals to Kerry (assuming Bush carries the state); b) the fact that the second district in Maine has it's own electoral, and apparently the race for that one vote is verrrry close (hey, it could be the one to put Bush over the top, even if he doesn't take Hawaii or Iowa). But this much is clear: Bush must take at least one of the "big five"--preferrably FL. If Bush were to pull out a second one of those states, or even Minnesota, things starts looking good indeed.

I intend on blogging the results of election nite on an hourly basis until about 11 PM EST--by which time I hope that the majority of East Coast and Midwestern states will have been legitimately declared. I will post my electoral breakdown on the website, and update it hourly with random comments thrown in.


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