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I Lost on Jeopardy

Back in the early 90’s, I had a Nintendo Jeopardy game. I was unbeatable. I have one of those minds that collects little bits of trivial information and my gray matter elves work on sifting through it, categorizing it and creating a relational database all unbeknownst to me. (pretty hard to beat in Trivial Pursuit too but that involves a bit more luck) Let’s not pretend that this facility for recalling useless bits of information is actually worth anything. Unless you play on the real show for real money, it’s just showing off to your family and friends. Your prospective employer never asks you to recall the name of the number one song on the radio the week that Nixon resigned in 1974 (“When Will I See You Again” by The Three Degrees).

But I found the real trick to beating my mom at this game, and she was pretty good herself, was to psych her out. She’d beg me to play and I would ask her, “Why do you want to suffer that kind of humiliation again? I beat you by $60,000 last time.” or “Ooo, Potent Potables! I’m really *good* at this category.” or “Hmmm, Daily Double in Biology. Should I risk the entire $30,000 or just half of it. Well, you’re at $7,000. I might as well go for all of it. There’s still more than half a board left if I get it wrong.” Then she’d get mad and start accusing me of playing it when she wasn’t around and memorizing all of the answers (I didn’t. No fun in playing against the computer), or she’d pick easier categories for herself but I would buzz in as the question was revealed so I’d have time to read it while she fumed in consternation at not being quick enough. It always ended the same way. She is really good at Jeopardy but she couldn’t play the mind game. Now, when it comes to Scrabble, the roles are reversed. She’s a frickin’ dictionary and word count mathematician. I have never been able to beat her and she uses her own psych out tricks on me.

This week, we’re seeing a lot of psych out wizards planting stories and messing with our heads about the end game coming up. Let’s review, shall we, and stop falling for this BS:

  • This is Hillary’s swan song. Obama is unbeatable. The numbers favor him. People who deal in absolutes frequently have to eat their words. It is very true that the odds are against her but weird things happen to the public when they start sympathizing with the underdog. We saw it in NH. I don’t know if we’ll see it again but Hillary’s incredible grace, fortitude and maturity during Thursday’s debate made Obama look like a 6th grader in need of a parental conference. And just because there is a bit of a buzz about former Clinton superdelegates abandoning her doesn’t mean there is an irresistible undertow towards Obama. It’s all advertising and Maori war dancing. It sure looks ugly but it’s not as bad as we think.

we’re the one’s in white

Title: Typical western state caucus scenario with DFA trained Obamaphiles in full Haka mode.

  • She conceded at the end of Thursday’s debate. Well, I’m sure Obama’s enablers would like to believe so. They want to move on to the next phase of the election and she’s getting in the way. She keeps popping up like some undead zombie. So, they’re thinking that if they just declare victory now, we’ll accept it, it will become part of our psychological landscape that we are LOSERS and we’ll just curl up in a corner and drink Desperados (cheap lower shelf Tequila and kid’s lunch box juice, poured into a dirty glass, swirled lethargically with a finger. Ice optional, if you can muster the energy to forage through the freezer for some). But the truth is that there was no concession. her words about “we’ll be fine” applied equally to her *and* Obama. In the meantime, she made a solid pitch for unity and that’s the sign of a true leader. She is appealing to people to go beyond themselves and put the country first. I hope we’ll hear more of this from her.
  • Her campaign was a failure. She spent too much money on consultants. Before I address whether this is true or not, let me present you with an alternate scenario. Let’s imagine that Keith Olbermann had covered SuperTuesday like this: “CA, NY, NJ, MA, AZ, this is an amazing set of wins for Clinton. She has captured what will be the top electoral college states for the General Election. Combine this with her win in Florida, a swing state where she won by more than 10 points and I can’t see that this spells anything but trouble for Obama. He’s has only won some very small or conservative states so far, as well as Illinois. His speech tonight was a negative, indicating that he knows he has been beaten where it really counts. And he was beaten soundly. His only strategy going forward is to capture the African American votes, but that demographic is only 15% of the total US population. It’s hard to see how he can win with that core of constituents in the fall. Black women would win with either candidate. What’s your take on this Howard?” Yes, that would have been an honest assessment. But that’s not what we got. No, for two straight weeks the media has been massaging the country’s nipples for Obama like crazy. Yes, her campaign played by the old rules. Yes, it failed to plan for Obamaphiles turning out in record numbers at caucuses. But she won BIG on SuperTuesday. And Obama failed to win a single one of these huge states with the exception of Illinois, his home state. He threw massive amounts of money at them and lost. He had to turn to the states that we will never win in the fall to pad his numbers. If you’re going to look at sheer numbers, Obama lost badly on SuperDuper Tuesday. *HE’S* the one who should be examining how the money was spent because it was foolishly thrown down the toilet in NJ in a futile attempt to capture his 15%.
  • Obama has improved in debate. Well, for Obamaphiles, (et tu, Digby?) it is certainly convenient to think so. But this is where beautiful theories get destroyed by ugly facts. Almost every single one of the pieces I’ve read praising Obama’s newly discovered debating skills also criticize him for his rambling, unfocussed responses. Duh! This is precisely why he is such a poor debater. He can’t answer a single question without going through 25 prepositional phrases. He jumps from point to point. And the reason for this is that he doesn’t really know WTF he’s talking about. Or at least, not completely. She has ‘mastered’ the subject matter. He is still immature when it comes to policy. PLUS, he is perfectly willing to ditch some core Democratic principles along the way and she stands her ground. This is a Democratic debate and she’s the only Democrat up there. As I said before, if he weren’t the token male, it is hard to see how they would ever be sharing the same stage. Just because he’s better than “I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout economics” McCain doesn’t mean he’s the best one to go forward against him. If we were to represent this mathematically per debate performances and depth of knowledge base, it would look like this: Hillary >> Obama >= McCain. But in these debate performances in the *primary season*, we should be focussing on Hillary and Obama. And she just wins every fricking time. Period.

A lot can happen between now and August. It could turn out that neither one of them captures enough delegates to win but the narrative that gets ramped up against Obama makes us wish we had gone with Hillary. With uncertainty still lingering around our nominee until the August convention, it would behoove the Republicans to lay low because the superdelegates could always come their senses and tell Obama to “take an old cold tater and wait”. Something to keep in mind.

Meanwhile, the mind games continue. But don’t let it freak you out so that you freeze at Final Jeopardy. “Luck favors the prepared mind” and also a calm, cool and collected one.

11 Responses

  1. I think we’re on track to win Ohio. Texas is going to be tougher according to the polls, but I have complete faith in Ace Smith, the person who led her California operation.

    Right now, the media is basically writing off Hillary and it is depressing. Then again, they wrote her off before New Hampshire and the night of Super Tuesday (when the exit polls came in).

    Has there been any new news on Texas?

  2. WS: I haven’t read a lot about the Texas melange. I was hoping that gmartinez would run the numbers for us. *hint, hint*
    What worries me about Texas is that Republicans and independents will mess with our primary because it’s open.
    I blame Howard for this. He’s another one with his finger on the scales.

  3. The undermining responses are so scripted, so Bin-Ladenly-coordinated in their flawless timing, that I cannot but see Karl “Miss Piggy” Rove’s tubby little fingers pulling the strings that catapult this propaganda.

  4. No Blood: Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Why do we think he left the White House? This is now his full time job.

  5. No Blood and riverdaughter: At our house we’ve been speculating for quite a while now that Rove himself is helping Obama. He (with a lot of media help) convinced voters that Al Gore, one of the most truthful politicians ever, was a serial liar and that genuine war hero Kerry was a lying coward. Who else could have convinced so many that Hillary Clinton, one of the least bigoted and most selfless people ever, is a selfish, racist bitch who will do anything to win?

    Your “what if” paragraph about Keith Olbermann made me very sad about the state of today’s media. I’m old enough that I can actually remember Walter Cronkite (but possibly not how to spell his name). One wonders, considering the fine job the media’s man Bush has done, why any voter puts any stock in anything Matthews, Olberman or any of the others have to say. I have stopped listening to them, but if I inadvertently overhear anything they say, I just assume they are lying.

  6. since when have americans known about the haka (lol)? your guys play that wussy game with full body armour, right? kia kaha [hang in there], you’ve got a great candidate in hillary

  7. Pukemoana: I lived in Hawaii when I was a child. I know a bit more about the differences between hula, tahitian and maori dance than the average American because of May Day.
    But I also remember the Haka scenes from Whale Rider.
    Plus it just fits, doesn’t it? It’s all very menacing and meant to intimidate your opponents. So far it’s been very successful.
    Where are you? I lived in Waipahu and Pearl City on Oahu.

  8. I’m originally from Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand, now live in Canada. Along the way I lived in Upstate New York for almost seven years and was financially imprudent enough to have a kid while a grad student. Thanks to Hillary (I’ve found out while following the campaign), we were able to get health insurance at a reasonable cost through schip. I hate to think how in debt we would have been otherwise, especially since our debt doubled because of the exchange rate when we headed back to NZ. What was originally an interest in how gender and race played out in the Dem primaries has turned into full-blown admiration for Clinton. So, I can’t vote for her, and I can’t send money, but I’m cheering from the sidelines so to speak

  9. pukemoana: I’d love to visit NZ. Thank god there is still somewhere with a favorable exchange rate.
    So, do you think the haka metaphor fits? The Obama people have been posturing and yelling and making nasty faces at us for many months now. It’s very intimidating and I’m not sure other Democrats know what a haka is so it’s just thrown them for a loop. They think that Obama has this overwhelming force behind him when really it’s only some well trained dancers in some sparsely populated states.
    Can you imagine what happens to the voters from the other team when they go to a caucus where there is a haka from the other guys? Must be a shock to the system. We are hearing reports of this happening, er, without the chanting and spear shaking pantomime.

  10. Whoops about the exchange rate. I just reread that. Looks like NZ is out for a couple decades

  11. […] was based on a blogger called River Daughter who has been using the word that way for a couple of months. River Daughter explained the metaphor she was making like this: It’s all advertising and Maori […]

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