Polls

Seven months before the first votes are cast, pundits agree, polls are largely exercises in name recognition.  The vast majority of voters aren’t paying attention.  Nonetheless, polls are the reason Bush, Walker and Rubio are put in the top tier, and Hillary is inevitable.  Bullshit.  Bush won’t be the nominee.  Bet on it.  There are half a dozen Republicans who might win.  Bush isn’t one of them.

And Hillary is not inevitable.  If a significant portion of big media treat her like an ordinary candidate then she is ordinary, and beatable.  A new poll from New Hampshire shows Vermont’s Bernie Sanders within striking distance.  It’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If the people of New Hampshire are open to a 73 old socialist, they’re open to anybody but Hillary.  She could lose New Hampshire, which has a long and distinguished history of smacking down inevitable candidates.  The people there take their role in our Presidential system seriously, and will not be a rubber stamp.  Hillary’s imperial style of campaigning won’t wash there.  She’ll have to mix and mingle, which she doesn’t do well.  She really has very little to say.  She’s a woman and she deserves it  — that’s the entire rationale for her candidacy.  Her supporters can’t cite any of her accomplishments, because he doesn’t have any.  LBJ won the ’68 New Hampshire primary, but he withdrew shortly afterward.  The New Hampshire McCarthy voters killed the career of a sitting President.  If Hillary loses New Hampshire she’s vulnerable to losing it all.

Germans were recently polled about their willingness to fight a war if a NATO ally is attacked.  They said no by a 3-2 margin.  If the Germans won’t fight, no one will, most definitely including Americans.  Now the Pentagon wants to deploy heavy weapons in Eastern Europe, as a deterrent to the Russkies.  It’s all bullshit.

After WW2 we decided we’d fight to keep the Russians out of Western Europe.  We weren’t willing to spend the money to match the Russians in conventional weapons, so we told them we’d nuke them to keep them out.  They believed it when Eisenhower said it.  By the time Carter got in they stopped believing, so we gave the Europeans Pershing missiles that they could fire off themselves.  The Russians believed the Europeans would nuke them if they invaded, so it worked.

That was over 30 years ago.  Things have changed.  We formed NATO not to stop the Russians, but to stop Communism, which died 25 years ago.  Ask an American millennial “Should the US fight a massive European land war to keep the Russians out of Eastern Europe?”  They’d say no by a lot bigger margin than 3-2.  All age cohorts would agree:  It’s not our war.  The Russians may or may not be a threat to Europe.  They’re damn sure no threat to us.  Why the hell would we go to war with them?

Putin knows this, which explains a lot of his behavior.  He’s acting in accordance with reality, and so should we.  The next President should sponsor a summit between ourselves, Putin and Merkel.  He or she should tell both of them that we’re there as an honest broker.  We want to help the two of them come to an understanding about the future of Europe.  A peaceful future that does not involve direct American involvement.

The only thing I like about Obama is his pacifism.  If he tells the Pentagon “no” he will have partially redeemed his Presidency.

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