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Jewish World Review April 3, 2000 /27 Adar II, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Bush: On going for the gold -- CONCERNING PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS, can we all agree that conventional wisdom is not as reliable as it used to be? Can we concede that so many rules have been broken in this election cycle -- and some before -- that we should rely on more than history to guide our electoral predictions this year?

We live in a very dynamic, fluid society. People are moving in and out of states, in and out of this country and in and out of income strata too rapidly to make anything in politics predictable to a reasonable degree of certainty. Trends that used to take decades to develop, and even longer to dissipate, can now be changed overnight. The only thing that's predictable is unpredictability.

With that in mind, George Bush should ignore all political gurus and other geniuses who insist he has no chance of capturing California's 54 electoral votes.

Let's face it: most pundits who have been around awhile tend to think inside the box. It's hard for them to conceive of scenarios that fall outside their experience or knowledge base.

Conventional wisdom taught that New Hampshire was a bellwether state, i.e., as New Hampshire went, so went the nation. Bill Clinton, Pat Buchanan, and George W. Bush ended that myth.

The punditocracy was nearly unanimous in overestimating the influence of the momentum factor. "If McCain upsets Bush in New Hampshire, (and) then Michigan, there will be no stopping McCain." After South Carolina, they changed their tune, but still got it wrong: "Bush's victory in South Carolina is not indicative of any trends because it is a unique haven for right-wing religious bigots."

Even the heretofore-infallible pollster extraordinaire, John Zogby, has missed a few calls this year. But more shocking has been the declining accuracy of exit polls. In previous elections, if the networks projected the results, you could go to sleep at 8 p.m. banking on their accuracy within decimal points. This year, they have been off in many cases by more than the margin of error.

Which leads me back to California. Most experts are telling Bush to write it off. Analyst Charlie Cook contends that California is not really a pivotal state because "if Democrats have to worry about California, it means they already have lost the rest of the country. Conversely, if Republicans can win California, they don't need to, because they're already sweeping the country." In other words, Bush shouldn't waste his time in California (other than to help other GOP candidates).

But note that in the California primary, Republicans received almost 800,000 more actual votes than Democrats. Some may choose to discount this on the basis that there was more interest being generated on the Republican side, and thus, a higher voter turnout. But can they be so sure?

The politically astute, but misguided, Chris Matthews devoted a column to dissuading Bush from deigning to pursue California because of three insurmountable voter obstacles: pro-choicers, Latinos and gays. But can he be so sure?

National Review argues that if Republicans don't succeed in California, it's their fault, not the California voters, among whom conservatism is alive and well. Contrary to Chris Matthews, NR points out that 61 percent of California voters supported the codification of marriage as a heterosexual institution and that only 30 percent of voters agreed with Gore's position on abortion. In addition, they note that voters also beat back the latest attempt to weaken Proposition 13, the 1978 measure that puts limits on taxes, spending and bond issuance and that Clinton fatigue is going to be a real liability for Gore. Oh yes, remember when the sages guaranteed that an impeachment backlash would damage Republicans?

The Washington Times' Donald Lambro undercuts the third leg of Matthews' California Democratic tripod by observing that Bush is drawing half of the Hispanic vote nationally. He adds that Bush is also eating into another Clinton/Gore standby: soccer moms.

I'm making no predictions here, but I am saying that we should be wary of those who are. In this information-driven, frenetic age, all bets are off. California is in play, and Bush should fulfill his promise to make Gore sweat for every last vote in that state and elsewhere. He should go for the gold.

JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.



03/29/00: Phantasma-Gore-ia
03/27/00: Treaties, triggers, tobacco and tyrants
03/22/00: Media to Bush: Go left, young man
03/20/00: Stop the insanity
03/15/00: OK Al Gore: Let's go negative
03/13/00: Deifying of the center
03/08/00: The media, the establishment and the people
03/01/00: McCain's coalition-busting daggers in GOP's heart
02/28/00: Bush's silver lining in McMichigan
02/24/00: A conservative firewall, after all
02/22/00: Bush or four more of Clinton-Gore?
02/16/00: Substance trumps process
02/14/00: The campaign finance reform mirage
02/09/00: President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it?
02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina
02/02/00: SDI must fly
01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
01/26/00: The issues gap
01/24/00: GOP: Exit, stage left
01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
01/18/00: Do voters really prefer straight talk?
01/12/00: Media's McCain efforts may backfire
01/10/00: Conservative racism myth
01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics
01/03/00: McMedia?
12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
11/17/99: Trump's tax on freedom
11/15/99: GOP caves again
11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
10/25/99: A matter of freedom
10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
10/04/99: Clinton and his media enablers
09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
09/02/99: Character doesn't matter?
08/30/99: Should we judge?
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on
08/23/99: Should Dubyah start buying soap ... for all that mud?
08/16/99: 'W' stands for 'winner'
08/11/99: The truth about tax cuts
08/09/99: Hillary: Threading the needle
08/04/99: What would you do?
08/02/99: No appeasement for China
07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: Itís the 'moderates', stupid
07/21/99: JFK Jr. and Diana: the pain of privilege
07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clintonís faustian bargain: our justice
07/06/99: The key to Bush's $36 million
06/30/99: Gore: a soda in every fountain
06/28/99: 'Sacred wall' or religious barrier?
06/23/99: GOP must lead in foreign policy
06/21/99: Crumbs of compassion
06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?