Remember nearly a month ago there was a straw poll in Iowa that briefly made people think that Michele Bachmann was the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination?
|CAIN: Flavor of the month|
Now, we have a new straw poll – this one out of Florida. This poll has Herman Cain as the leader to be the GOP nominee.
I WOULD THINK these two polls, in and of themselves, ought to convince us that the value of “straw polls” is nil, and that it’s way too early for us to be thinking about who is going to run for president against incumbent Barack Obama come the 2012 election cycle.
We already have many Republicans working the electorate; trying to get support for themselves and create the image that they really could be president of the United States.
That is why we’re hearing a lot of “stupid talk” and ridiculous rhetoric from various candidates. What amazes me is not so much that the political people are doing this (they’re a unique breed who often don’t know any better), it is that people are taking this seriously.
That latter straw poll out of Florida literally inspired the Chicago Tribune website headline Rick Perry’s campaign struggles to explain straw poll loss.
IF THE TEXAS governor is really squirming in his shorts at the thought that he didn’t come out on top of a straw poll, then perhaps he is showing us up front that he can’t keep things in proper perspective and that we probably shouldn’t be thinking of him as someone worthy of presidential caliber.
To me, it’s just fluff being touted by the kind of people who are so intensely interested in the electoral process and usually have their own ideological hang-ups that may be bigger than their interest in elections in general.
|BACHMANN: Flavor of last month?|
The kind of people who bothered to show up and participate in a Florida straw poll are nowhere near the average voter, let alone the average resident of this nation.
So the fact that Herman Cain could get the highlight of his presidential campaign (it will probably be the only time something happens that puts him on top) is not a shock at all.
WHEN REAL PEOPLE start paying attention to the election cycle, the kind of people who take seriously people such as Cain or Bachmann will be so vastly outnumbered.
The same actually applies to the opposite end of the ideological extreme. Put together an event of Democratic partisans who have nothing else going in their life but to obsess about the Nov. 6, 2012 presidential elections, and you’ll find a group of people so in love with Barack Obama that you could be deluded into thinking that the president is a shoo-in for re-election.
Although a part of me wonders if the types of people who get all worked up over a Cain or a Bachmann at this stage of the game will assert so much influence come Election Day that they will wind up “doing in” the chances of victory for whomever actually gets the Republican nomination?
THAT COULD BE the one legitimate lesson of the straw polls – the fact that there is a segment of the GOP so off-the-mark with the bulk of the nation. Then again, I think most of us already knew that.
More likely, this is just such an early part of the political process and anybody who’s seriously trying to pick winners now is the equivalent of the baseball fan who is convinced his team has the pennant clinched, just because they managed to win the first exhibition game of Cactus League play.
So reading about these straw polls amused me about as much as reading a Washington Post account about Obama’s re-election strategy.
|OBAMA: Next year's flavor of the month?|
HE’S GOING TO be focusing on voter turnout of voters with strong ethnic ties, along with the most liberal elements of our society. In short, the people who are the base of the party these days.
Get enough of them to the polling places on Election Day, and it really doesn’t matter what the other side does.
Then again, the strategy is the same for the eventual GOP nominee. Get the conservative ideologues with their pet causes (gay marriage, abortion, too many foreigners, etc.) to the polls, and it doesn’t matter what Obama and crew do.
In short, it’s way too early for us to be thinking about who’s running for president. I think the people who are focusing on who will make it to the World Series this year are probably more logical.
THEN AGAIN, THESE two straw polls do combine to give one hilarious story line.
For the Michele Bachmann who was the favorite of the Iowa political geeks in their straw poll actually wound up coming in dead-last in the Florida version!
How the mighty can fall oh so quickly.