Thursday, October 2, 2008

Politics Unusual: Bailout Proposal Leaves Egg on Faces; More Negative Campaigning, Will Bloomberg Eat His Words?

Anyone who says politics is boring certainly has a few words to take back after this week. In fact, so much has gone on this past week that suffice it to say, it would have been one of my last wishes to have been a fly on the walls of more political offices than I could shake a stick at.

Many say “all politics is local” but this week, I’m compelled to start at the top. About this time last week, the guy who’s supposedly running the show here in the good ole’ US of A, (and pretty badly if you’re following any of the opinion polls on his job performance), finally figured out that our economy is just a horrible mess. I’m quite sure the flies on his walls would have preferred landing on cow manure for the day than to have been privy to some of George W’s “wise” words of the day…Can’t you just hear it now: “Where’s that kid who stuck his finger in the dike?”, “How many zeroes in a trillion?”, and “Gee, those guys on Wall Street are my buds, can’t we fix this?”

What did they come up with? Well, in a nutshell, Mr. Leader of the right-wing and his Treasury guy trotted out of the West Wing and ran a very, very left-wing proposal over to Congress. The flies over there worked overtime to catch the buzz of what was being said. Not much of it was pretty and even the ultralibs told the Texan “whoa, boy, this needs some changes, if you want us to support it.”

The boys and girls in Congress spent the weekend keeping the flies on high alert. Deal or no deal? How many from each party have to stand up and face the wrath of the home town crowd by voting “yes”? How many get to slide by voting “no”. “We have a deal.” “Oops, not.”

Perhaps Sen. McCain should have paid more attention to the “buzz of the flies” and found out that the vote did not go through before putting his campaign on hold and announcing that he took care of things. By the way, that announcement was made on national television. We don’t really know what was in McCain’s head when he supplied this fodder for the political talking heads around the country. Maybe he still believes the “fundamentals of our economy are sound.” Or frighteningly, maybe he was briefed by Sarah Palin. But really, if she got it wrong it’s not her fault. She’s much too concerned with other things of more importance. After all she’s out every morning checking on Russia. By the way the flies in the room with she and Katie Couric had to be revived from almost laughing themselves to death. We put in a call to Katie to ask what she thought of the interview but she told us she’d have to get back to us and asked for our e-mail address.

All kidding aside, it might do John McCain well if he were to drop Palin and try to get Tina Fey to fill in for her. It would definitely help his Nielson ratings never mind his falling poll numbers.

And now finally back to the political scene we love the most…the real local beat. There are some poll numbers going around here that certainly have the flies in our area with their wings at attention. Locals in the 15th State Senate District where Joe and Serf are vying for victory got some polling calls towards the end of last week. They were of the “push” poll variety.

So, what is a push poll? Fundamentally, what is labeled as a push poll is just disguised as a poll but really isn’t a poll at all. It is the early political celebration of Halloween, where telemarketers masquerade as pollsters. In a typical push poll, an interviewer, costumed as a verbal executioner, feeds damaging innuendo to the unsuspecting voter at the other end of the line, and in many cases, false and damaging “information” about a candidate under the guise of taking a poll. They want to see how this 'information' affects voter preferences. In fact, the intent is to shape opinion by pushing the voters away from one candidate and toward the opposing candidate. Purpose? Influencing voters. There is no intent to conduct research.

Why, you may be asking, is this important? The flies on Senator Upside Down’s campaign office walls got an earful. Seems like last Wednesday, the Sienna Poll – a reputable really information gathering polling outfit – released some numbers showing the race between Joe and Serf to be neck and neck—not particularly good news for a twenty year incumbent. Aha! Time to do a “push” poll. To those who got the calls last week, don’t expect to see the results published like Siena’s. You see by law, pollsters must disclose the questions when they release poll data.

There were even more flies buzzing around and those lucky enough to land on the walls of Mayor Mike Mega-bucks got quite an earful. He and the other mega-bucks guy, Ron Lauder, who funded the campaigns to get voters to support term limits – twice – apparently did a deal. Mayor Mega-bucks, be reminded of your own words, "My experience in business has been, whenever we've had somebody who was irreplaceable, their successor invariably did a better job, and I think change is good.” Well we agree with you Mike, change is good.

Speaking of the Mayor’s words, maybe the flies should drop by and remind him of some of his other utterances. As far as his support for Serf, whose main campaign focus is trashing Addabbo for the tax increase back in 2002, we think Mike must have forgotten what he said when asked if it was fair to criticize Council members, like Joe, who voted for the 2002 increase. According to the flies, Mikey said, “For doing what? Paying our firefighters and police officers and improving our schools? I don’t understand what you think they did wrong.” Neither do we Mike, so maybe we should take a poll among the flies who have heard all and remember all, why you’re supporting Serf? Did you make a deal with him, too?

Until next week...

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