Election 2008

NOTE: The following was adapted from last Sunday’s note to Kelly Letter subscribers.

All we need remember about polls is that a year ago they told us the two candidates would be Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton.

We don’t know who will win today.

We do know, however, what the pundits will tell us with confidence are the reasons the loser lost. Notice nobody’s confident now. The confidence comes tomorrow.

If McCain loses, here are the reasons they’ll cite:

  • Republicans never had a chance this year because the Bush administration is among the most hated in history.

  • McCain is too old.

  • He picked Sarah Palin as VP, and she just isn’t ready.

  • He blew it by acting presidential and going to Washington to fix the financial crisis, failing to do so, and then watching the bailout legislation pass after he’d left town.

  • His McCampaign was a disaster, with positions changing weekly and attacks on his opponent appearing far fetched.

If Obama loses, here are the reasons they’ll cite:

  • America is racist.

  • Republicans somehow stole the election.

  • He came across as an elitist and couldn’t reach out to the critical middle class.

  • He let his best argument, that he opposed the Iraq War, get drowned out by McCain’s argument that the surge worked.

  • He flip-flopped on campaign finance, thereby opening himself to lobbyist pressures, thereby losing his independence.

  • He lost his “fresh start” image by picking as VP Joe Biden, a man who’s been in Washington longer than McCain. A lot hit the fan on Joe’s watch, so how is he part of the solution?

Keep in mind these salty words from Alan Abelson in last weekend’s Barron’s:

The good news is that the 2008 campaign is at last over. The bad news is that the next day, the 2012 campaign begins.

We’re not into handicapping races, political or equine. The only difference between the two kinds we can discern is that as a rule horses are prettier and smarter. Besides, we’ve found that forecasting elections is only less hazardous than forecasting pro wrestling matches or the stock market.

You may be tired of the campaign, too, but don’t miss the chance to vote today. A lot of people died to give us that right. The least we can do to honor their sacrifice is show up and make democracy happen.

You probably don’t need to be reminded of that, but you might know somebody who does. Pass the idea along to them.

The overseas gang has already voted. When we receive our absentee ballots in the mail along with voter information packets, our Japanese friends marvel at how we stay involved even from halfway around the world.

They don’t understand because they don’t care about elections. Nothing ever matters in their government. It’s a bunch of old do-nothings that haven’t put together even one decent economic program since the Nikkei burst in 1990.

How lucky we are to be from a dynamic country that takes action. We make mistakes, sure, but we don’t sit still. Plus we enjoy an abundance of new people to pick up the pieces and try again. I’m proud to be a part of it, and I know you are, too. Let’s get as many people onboard as we can.

And may the best man win — whichever you think it is!

Here are the live results:

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