Gather ‘round, chillerins. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Ol’ Rick ain’t as far to the left, politically, as you may believe.
When we – me ‘n mama, the only yellow dogs in all of northwest Arkansas, it seems – were walking across the school parking lot to cast our highly visible votes in the runoff election, we ran into another couple we knew. They, of course, being well-to-do businesspeople, are what you’d call “right-wingers”. So, I had to take a few moments (half hour?) of their time to harass them about…pretty much everything. A discussion ensued that served to entertain the others, passing by, on their way to cast their out of party votes against the candidate (Bill Halter) they figured had the best chance to beat Mr. Boozman in the general election. It got particularly loud when we informed them we’d be pulling the trigger for Halter. I explained to them that Blanche was a little too much like a Republican for me, and that the irony of it all was that, in my opinion, it was she who had the better chance of winning in November. “Why then,” they asked, “would you vote against her in the primary?”
Well, that’s a little convoluted, but let me try to explain.
Say, you have a set of balances with about the same amount of weight on each side. The farther out to each end you place that weight, the more leverage you have to offset the weight on the other end. From my observations, the bulk of the weight on the right end of that balance is teetering there on the edge, just about to fall off, while the weights on the left end are hanging around there on the middle of the tare plate, conforming to ASTM standards, like good little weights. See that? The balance is tipping to the right. All because those weights on the left are too scared, or too comfortable, to get out there on the edge. Some of them, like Blanche Lincoln, are closer to straddling the middle. Sooner or later, if that thing keeps tipping, it’ll be like a see-saw with a fat kid on one end and my skinny little niece, Izzy, on the other. The thing’ll go vertical and Izzy’s going to tumble into that fat kid and both of them are going to fall off.
Somebody’s got to get the nerve to walk closer to that left edge to keep that from happening, and, from all appearances, Blanche Lincoln wasn’t the one to do that. If she was to win the nomination, the scales stay tipped to the right. If Halter, who was willing to set his weight on out there, a little, was by some miracle to win, then the thing at least gets closer to the middle. And little Izzy gets to keep playing.
“But Rick,” you say, “If, by your own calculations, Halter had a lesser chance to beat Boozman, his winning the primary, then losing the election, would take all the weight off the left side, and the balance would go vertical anyway!”
Calculated risk that goes back to that miracle I mentioned.
Halter’s win in the primary, because so many Democrats are ordinary, sensible people without extreme political views, aka “moderates”, really depended upon how many sneaky right-wing Republicans crossed over to vote for him, thereby surrendering their votes in the general election. If he had won, I think, some of the other weights on the balance, seeing him prevail, would have gotten the nerve to step on out there closer to the edge, and level it out – once the absence of weight on the right (those who cannot vote R in the general election) is considered. That would have at least given him a fighting chance. If he wins the GA, then bully for me. If he loses, I don’t think the balance tips that much more with Blanche off the plate.
Ms. Lincoln has stroke. Anti-incumbency or no, it ain’t easy to unseat somebody who has spent a career building power and making friends in high places. Bill Clinton, to name one. Even after giving up the cheeseburger diet, that’s a lot of weight on the new set of balances. Pollsters are already writing her off, based primarily on the anti-incumbency factor and the number of farther-left voters who supported Halter. But not all of those were balance freaks like me. Some of them…many here, I think…were those crossovers, who are not factors in this new equation. She’ll get the balance freaks votes, if we see her scoot over to the left, even just a little.
Prediction: Blanche defeats Boozman in November. Based entirely on the pretzel logic and hopelessly mixed metaphors outlined above. And with crossed fingers.
Now, about Obama and the oil leak. You’ve heard about that? I’m confused on exactly what it is that people expect him to do about it. Best I can tell, most of the rage is in that the government isn’t doing that much to clean up the gulf and the beaches. But wouldn’t that be a little like washing your car before a dust storm? Maybe it’s better to wait on that until they plug the hole. Meantime, if you’re going to be mad at somebody, try the policies that allowed BP to set up that rig with no plan for dealing with a situation like this.
I saw some of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” a while back, and think I’ve figured out how to do it. Stop it up with that fat kid on Izzy’s see-saw.
© 2010, Rick Baber