But The Shouting

So I’m re-reading Mickey Kaus’s original Feiler Faster Thesis post (from idle, devil-may-care March 2000), and I’m struck by one key passage:

The most frequent objection I’ve heard to the [Feiler Faster Thesis] is that it seems to assume that ordinary voters pay as close attention to the up-and-down birdsong of politics as political reporters do. No it doesn’t! The recent elections in California suggested to me how the FFT might apply even when voters only really pay attention to a race at the last minute.

Actually, that last bit is the key. Voters only really pay attention at the last minute. This was evident this year in the battle for several California propositions, in which the entire campaign effectively started the Thursday before the election. Of course, in relatively placid, prosperous times, when people have better things to do than worry about elections, it stands to reason they’ll pay less attention than before to drawn-out political campaigns and that they’ll wait to focus on their civic duty until they absolutely have to decide. [Emphasis mine. —E]

Now, whether or not one wishes to debate the shifts in relative placidity and prosperity over the last four years, I don’t think the jitters caused by the current Dow Jones or Alert Status invalidate the FFT; I think we’ve been accelerated much farther than Kaus imagined.  Given the extreme narrowness of the gap between Bush supporters and opponents, I think it’s clear that the 2004 Presidential Election has already taken place, probably sometime between 07 September 2003 (when Bush asked Congress for $87B for Iraqi reconstruction) and 07 October 2003 (when Californians solved their budget crisis).  This also explains why the DLC is acting as if the next contest before them is the 2006 mid-term elections.

So if the Presidential election is already over, what’s with all the media activity in Iowa and New Hampshire?  That’s easy: it’s the Recount.

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