Monday, November 03, 2008

Russian wisdom and the election

ok.. just some personal commentary. Long ago.. 1993 I think it was, I spent part of the summer in Russia mostly learning Russian badly. At the time they couldn't even figure out what they were called. Soviet Union? Russia? It was actually called the 'CIS' at the time. The Commonwealth of Independent States was at best a euphemism for misdrawn maps. Anyway, my teacher had what I thought this great comment on what the difference was between his country and ours. He said that in the US 'economics drives politics', yet in his country 'politics drives the economy'. I don't think it was meant as a positive comment on the situation in the former Soviet Union at the time. I thought it was pretty deep commentary on a number of levels and for a guy who had grown up without any knowledge of free markets was even more telling.

That just came to mind as we look at the final poll numbers going into tomorrow. I just wonder what the landscape would be if the world financial system had not imploded just two months ago. It may seem like an eternity, but Fannie and Freddie were seized on Sept 7. I know some will take a bit of offense at that. It ought not to take away from the campaign of the winner and no matter the circumstances nothing should be taken for granted in a Presidential campaign. Over the long run, I think it cuts both ways. If Obama gained from the economic miasma of late, I myself will wonder more than I already do whether the mythical "Reagan Democrat" was in large part driven by folks more unhappy with the economics of the time than the social conservatism that is the most common explanation for the election results in 1980. I just can't think of theory that really makes sense of Pennsylvania's changing voting patterns. To summarize just how conflicted some large number of voters must be in the state... How is it that this is a state where both Santorum and Gore could win by large margins in the same election? I am not sure if the political scientists or the psychiatrists are best equipped to figure out those ticket splitters which are really the folks who control Pennsylvania politics. Figuring out what makes them tick must be like political gold in this state.