This Week in the Mercury


Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Madness #1: Imagined Overconfidence

Posted by Matt Davis on Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 11:36 AM

Because what else is there to do over the next 34 hours than go bonkers over the election?

John Dickerson is looking for signs of overconfidence on Obama's part over at Slate this morning. The best he can do seems to be that Obama is "flashing that magazine-cover smile, the one that takes over his face, a little more often." I'll admit, I've noticed it, too. But I don't know whether I'd describe it as "overconfident." I think I'd describe it as "confident," at best. And why not? It's nice to see him enjoying the campaign. I was intrigued, however, by this paragraph of Dickerson's:

"When the rally in Cleveland concluded, Obama was drenched but lingered for a moment in front of the crowd, estimated at 80,000, and did a few tiny little dance steps to "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours," the Stevie Wonder song that plays after each rally the minute he stops speaking."

Dancing? At the end of a rally? I was, as I mentioned, so intrigued by this, that I trawled the web looking for this excerpt at WKYC, showing the end of the rally in question. If by "a few tiny little dance steps," John, you mean, a few non-existent dance steps that could otherwise be construed as "walking," well then, Obama looks overconfident. But I'm not seeing them.

Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight weighs in with the latest round of polls. Obama should win the election by 5.8 points, Silver writes, with a 96.3 percent chance of winning. "Secondly," he adds, "McCain's clock has simply run out. While there is arguable evidence of a small tightening, there is no evidence of a dramatic tightening of the sort he would need to make Tuesday night interesting." If I had a 96.3 percent chance of winning a pool game, I'd be betting a few hundred dollars on it. Obama, by contrast, looks positively ice-cool in his restraint.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic reminds us all that Al Qaeda is still active, and the Iraq war has largely been lost because of "the collapse of constitutional order and the rule of law fomented in a mixture of hubris and laziness by the president himself." "Never before in wartime has the precious, sacred inheritance of free people been treated with such contempt by the leaders of the democratic West," he writes. It's been sufficient, this morning, to whip me up into a liberal fury. Now...where to buy one's victory cigars?

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