Do you feel that, liberals? If it's the first Monday of November, it must be nameless paranoid dread time! Maybe Joe the Plumber actually speaks to the secret fears of bitter Ohioans! Maybe Obama's bird-flipping scandal will turn off soccer moms! Maybe the polls are wrong, or tightening! Maybe the voting machines will be broken! Basically today all anyone can think about is how will we fuck this up? See, because all liberals have managed to do for thirty years is fuck everything up. So now they panic. Some have had scary dreams! A reader writes:
i had a nightmare where i voted and then woke up Wednesday morning and Obama won and i forgot to watch the results. when i told a friend about the dream, she goes, "oh my god, i had that dream too!"
Democrats are nervous. I mean real nervous. And it's not hard to understand why. They watched the White House go to George W. Bush in 2000 in the most contested election in modern U.S. history. They watched him hang on to the Oval Office in 2004. And they are wigged out that somehow, in some way, Obama will get tripped up on the road to victory. [...] Yes, Obama went to the coveted school (Harvard). He got a plum job (U.S. senator). And he got the house in the choice neighborhood (Hyde Park, Chicago). All thanks to the sacrifices of heroes known and unknown who helped the nation stay true to its ideals. He has also run a nimble and near-flawless campaign. He's ahead in every national poll and statistically tied with or ahead of John McCain in states that President Bush carried in 2004. And he's raised more money than any presidential candidate ever, which has made it possible for him to be competitve in those red states. Yet I still can't allow myself to think for one minute that "they" (the infamous, faceless "they") will let Obama, Michelle and the girls move easily into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come January.
An Obama loss would mean the majority of pundits, reporters, and analysts were wrong. Pollsters would have to find a new line of work, since Obama has been ahead in all 159 polls taken in the last six weeks. The massive crowds that have regularly turned out to see Obama would turn out to have meant nothing. This collective failure of elites would provide such a blast of schadenfreude that Republicans like Rush Limbaugh would be struck speechless (another historic first). This situation lends a feeling of unreality to the proceedings as we begin to measure the time until Election Day in hours. It is the elephant on the campaign plane. No one is letting on. Journalists aren't supposed to. Plus, we've been wrong so often, and politics can be so unpredictable, it would be dumb to say that Obama is going to win big.
The AP reports that Obama is working hard not to jinx himself! Because anything could still happen, tonight. Like, uh, another 9/11? Why not! Basically liberals are all superstitious babies, which is why the intramural debate lately has been torn between fevered fantasizing about shock troops and the "Chill the fuck out, I got this" school of trusting Obama's campaign machine. Us, we are, at this point, utterly complacent, and we have been for some time. As Matt Yglesias says of one of the weirder and more enduring liberal myths:
Something funny happened in 2004 where a lot of progressives convinced themselves near the end that John Kerry was likely to win the election even though he was narrowly behind in the polls. Then a lot of people have gone and misremembered that as thinking that Kerry was likely to win because he was ahead in the polls, which he wasn’t. Thus, many are left unable to believe that Obama’s lead in the polls makes his victory likely.
Basically we've all psychologically collapsed the entire last month or so of the 2004 campaign into that tiny window between polls closing and results coming in, when the "exit polls" looked great. That was just a couple hours of false hope, after weeks of superstitiously hoping "undecideds" would magically break to our guy even though he was down in the polls. In other words, it was like being a John McCain supporter, this time around. But oh no did you read in the Times about how there will be mass chaos on election day because no one knows how to vote? Ballots will be disqualified and touch screens won't work and all the machines without paper trails are in swing states! Yes, well, exit polls aside, the 2004 results basically echoed the national polls of the end of the campaign—Bush eked out a narrow victory—and when they "stole" it in 2000, they stole it openly, in broad daylight, not with technical trickery but with old-fashioned voter suppression and lawyers and courts. That's all much easier to do in a one point election than in a 6-10 point election. And keep in mind, everyone, that the Dems did pull off a victory in 2006. But hey maybe all the polls will be wrong and Obama will lose and the villagers will burn down the MSM. It will probably be Garry Trudeau's fault, entirely. He jinxed it!! (Feel free, gentle readers, to share your own paranoid fantasies and angst-inducing nightmares. We'll reprint them all on Wednesday and have a nice laugh.) (Unless McCain wins of course because then we'll all drink ourselves to death.)