Wednesday, June 09, 2010

All About Balance

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


Unknown said...

"thereby surrendering their votes in the general election".... "(those who cannot vote R in the general election)"

What are you talking about?

Rick Baber said...

Well, if you cross over to vote for the worst Dem in the primary, you cannot get a Repub ballot in the general election. At least, not in Arkansas.

Unknown said...

There is no "party" ballot in the general election. You can vote for any candidate you wish, regardless of how you voted in the primary, or which primary you voted in. Voting in the Democratic primary has no bearing whatsoever on how one votes in the general election. Which primary you voted in is a matter of public record, but other than that, there is no actual "linkage" between primary and general election voting.

Rick Baber said...

Shit! Then my whole forecast is shot to hell. Boozman wins!

Unknown said...

Yes. Exaxtly. Conservatives crossed over to get Blanche on the ballot for several reasons. 1. Can't take a chance on Halter getting elected. No way. 2. Blanche keeps alive the anti-incumbent sentiment. (Boozman is 'less' of an incumbent than Lincoln) 3. The differences between Boozman and Lincoln are much less pronounced than Boozman and Halter. Many Dems will see it as "no difference" or "no good choice" and will stay at home.

So Boozman wins with 54% of the vote.

And if you're going to hold forth about election strategy, you might want to at least learn how the voting process works.

Rick Baber said...

Hell, mi brudder, that would take all the fun out of it. Besides, it ain't the prognosticator's methods that are so important as the end result. Let's talk in November. Just for that, I'm gonna go back again and predict a victory for deal ol' Blanche. If it's important to you that I have sound reasoning for that then I' I won't. It's a HUMOR COLUMN, dammit!

Unknown said...

Humor column? Sorry....couldn't tell. :)

Rick Baber said...

Ahhhh HA! Clever. I would've thought the picture of me in the bikini was a dead giveaway. Maybe I should use YOU for a consultant, instead of my muse, Joey. The pay sux, but the hours are great.

Rick Baber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Well, I originally read this in the Batesville Guard. Wasn't your column called "Blabbermouth" at one time? I didn't expect much then (and was seldom disappointed) but now that it's called Into Focus, well my expectations are much higher. And does that really sound like a title for a 'humor column'? Perhaps "Totally Unfocused" would be better; I mean, honestly now, who is ever going to accuse you of being focused?

Rick Baber said...

No, Rusty. I guess you have me confused with somebody else. My column in the Batesville Guard has always been called "Into Focus". Eight or nine years now. If you only recently learned to read for yourself, I can understand how you might have made that mistake. Through those years I have had my share of critics - mostly young Repugnikuns, trying to make a splash to show mommy & daddy that, just because they flunked out, all that money spent sending them to Bob Jones University (BJU) wasn't really wasted; trailer park philosophers; and unemployed geniuses, fucking with me so they could justify their otherwise wasted time. Of course, some are just assholes. If the column doesn't meet your obviously high standards for humor, let me suggest a TV show called "The Big Bang Theory". I have a feeling you'll love it.

elvisonacid said...

Wow! Rusty's a douchebag, huh? Why don't you just nuke him/her/it from the comments? Surely you have the power to do that.

Rick Baber said...

No nukes! I can't focus well enough to see the target. Collateral damage could be unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

I have followed your column for years and found your Blog quite a while back. Always enjoy both. I have never posted any comments before, content to read those of others, so I hope I am doing this right. Just wanted let elvis know that Rusty is nothing compared to some of the vitriol that has been posted as comments in the past. I, for one, appreciate the fact that you don't weed out the negative comments, although I'm sure you could if you wanted to. Don't get here to the Blog too much, but your column in The Guard is read aloud at the dinner table every time it appears. Thanks for entertaining us!

Rick Baber said...

Very kind of you Anon. Thanks for reading, but I really don't deserve your kudos. No, I mean, I really don't deserve them. When somebody makes a comment, my email is flagged with a notice that a comment awaits moderation. I can't actually edit the comments, but I can delete them - or I can "publish", and then they are visible on the blog. I'd like to tell you that I let every one go through, but I don't. I do try to limit the "deletes" to those that contain "hate speech" or just outright gratuitous vulgarity. Ol' Rusty here is nothing more than a minor itch, and I like to scratch occasionally.
Come back more often. Lettuce hear from ya.