Meeting Michael Barone

For those who are interested in reading about what does not matter, the following links should fit the bill.

For substance, the following link is offered.

For a thoroughly enjoyable read about one of the least relevant politicians on Earth, the following link is a nice epilogue to the weed that will not get sprayed away.

The movie of Bubba, Burkle and Bing has already been done. it is called, “Three Men and a Baby,” with Bing playing the Ted Danson character who gets somebody pregnant and ignores his responsibilities.

As for Scott McLellan and Michael Pfleger, the ash heap of history awaits.

There is no point in mentioning Puerto Rico, South Dakota or Montana because the democratic nomination has not ended. I know this because the Earth has not been scorched and the village that Hillary thinks it takes has not been completely razed. She implied she could win if Obama ended up like RFK. Until Hillary goes the way of Old Yeller herself, Obama will have won nothing. Even an actual real, sincere concession speech would only be the beginning of her 2012 campaign. Let the sabotage and subterfuge begin.

So rather than pontificate, I shall bow out gracefully for the day (Learn from me Hillary) to the Dean of America Politics, Michael Barone.

Michael Barone is the top dog at U.S. News and World Report, or as I call it, Time Magazine, except with substance.

He is well respected, and pretty much universally acknowledged as the ultimate authority on all things electoral.

At the David Horowitz Freedom Weekend in Santa Barbara, California, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Barone.

Normally I meet people after they give their remarks, but due to interesting timing, I actually met him the night before. In the great tradition of my blog, I shall cover events b@ss ackwards.

One of the things that makes Michael Barone so respected is that he is perceived as nonpartisan. This is actually not the case. His remarks were actually quite partisan. He is a conservative. The reason he is seen on television as nonpartisan is because he puts professionalism over politics. He values his credibility. When giving a speech to a conservative audience, he can toss out red meat with the best of them. However, having knowledge of every district in America requires interacting with all people, and that itself requires being liked and trusted.

Michael Barone simply has a knowledge base of America itself that is uncanny. While I could heap more effusive praise on him, I shall let his more partisan remarks speak for themselves first.

“For those who still want to make late donations to the Hillary Clinton campaign, send the checks to 1692 Salem, Massachusetts.”

“I have apparently become fair and balanced all of a sudden.”

“I have an interesting theory about Hillary Clinton. I believe Hillary was born in the year 1200. She went to law school in 769, and will be with us long after we are all gone.”

“We have been given a reprieve this election year. After reaching parity a few years ago, we are now 15% down  in party affiliation. There is no seat we are incapable of losing. We can lose anywhere. Yet while there will be democratic gains in Congress, there might not be in the White House.”

“John McCain was only nominated by a plurality of republican voters. Due to the winner take all nature, McCain secured the nomination even though he only won three primaries. He got lucky.”

“If there is a God, she is looking after John McCain.”

“The democratic primary process was lucky for us. There are Obama’s gaffes. The United States is mean unless he wins. 90% of his wins occurred in caucuses. Michelle Obama talks about her school loans, but a salary of $321,000 is well above the median income. Also, Reverend Wright undercuts Obama’s anti-political message with one of polarization.”

“The polls now have McCain ahead in 29 states with 281 electoral votes, and Barack Obama ahead in 21 states and the District of Columbia with 257 electoral votes.”

“This is a different map. Throw out the red and the blue. McCain is ahead in Ohio, and in Michigan, which has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. He is also ahead in Missouri, New Hampshire, Virginia and North Carolina. Obama is ahead in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Colorado, and astonishingly, Massachusetts.”

“There is tribal warfare among the democrats. They are divided between young and old, blacks vs Latinos vs Jews, and Academics vs Appalachians to the point where David Horowitz needs armed guards.”

(Security was very tight at this convention. David Horowitz has been attacked by violent left wing protesters in the past in an attempt to silence him in the name of free speech and tolerance.)

“Both sides have coalitions that do not get along. Hillary has her main coalition from Hispanics and white voters in West Virginia. They should be kept apart. Republicans have  the Dutch and Cubans. They should be kept apart.”

“Oregon and Washington are out of reach.”

“Half of the voters do not remember the 1970s. They do not remember the gas lines, and want to get over the failures of when government does not work.”

“Is there American exceptionalism? Obama’s people don’t think so.”

“McCain shies away from some criticisms of Obama. This election will reveal whether he chooses his high principle or Machiavellianism.”

“The press will hate McCain for appealing to people that the press does not want to cover. McCain will make appeals to the downscale and the young, rather than focus on the upscale and the old. This will prevent the press with regards to stereotyping him, which will upset their narrative.”

“Obama is vulnerable on his waffling on Iran.”

As I said, Michael Barone gave an enjoyably partisan speech to a receptive audience. However, his brilliance comes in the form of his analysis of the map that is this nation.

The night before his speech, several attendees at the conference had the pleasure of seeing him upon his arrival. He had just gotten off of a plane, having spent the earlier part of the day in Missouri. Some of the attendees were drinking, and others had their cigars lit up. Michael was going to go to sleep, but we persuaded him to join us. After socializing outside under a gorgeous Santa Barbara night sky, six of us including Mr. Barone migrated to the Biltmore Hotel bar.

Mr. Barone, myself, and four other young guys in their twenties sat around the table sharing drinks. While Mr. Barone is not “old” by any stretch, it felt like we were sitting at dad’s knee listening to bedtime stories. As lame as that sounds, I am only trying to clumsily convey that we were hanging on his every word.

Rather than just blather on about himself, which would have been interesting enough, he instead asked us about where we were from. Then he would tell us everything about our towns. He knew more about where we lived than we did.

One guy was from an obscure area in Delaware (With all due respect to the people of Delaware, every town in Delaware is obscure for those that do not live near Delaware.). Another guy lived near Philadelphia, but in a town with a very different demographic. Mr. Barone pointed out why a 26% black turnout in one area is much different than a 28% black turnout in the next district over.

Although we were there for at least a couple of hours, the conversation will for the most part remain confined to the six men at the table.  Nothing scandalous happened, and nothing controversial was discussed. However, hanging out at the bar is “off the record” time, and  Mr. Barone had every right to expect privacy. He did not have to say this, or even imply it.

What made Mr. Barone so enjoyable to talk to was how completely at ease he felt with all of us. Some of the guys had backgrounds dating back to Europe, and Mr. Barone knew about that as well. He follows electoral events worldwide. One of the guys mentioned an obscure town in Italy, and Mr. Barone was all over it.

Although he could have fed us a bunch of red meat that night, we were really enjoying the nonpartisan history lesson he was giving us. Yet as much as we were learning, it was not like listening to an academic. It was simply a regular guy who was as genial as he is brilliant.

What I can say is that he does his research. He has assistants who help him, but he does not put his blind trust in them by any stretch. I asked him if he was ever worried that they might try to slip in a report that would say that Iowa is 40% black, instead of 2.5% black. He laughed and said that he bears the ultimate responsibility for the accuracy of his information, so solid verification is key,

I did not ask him for an interview at the bar that night. I waited until after his speech the next day. He agreed, and I look forward to bringing that interview to the readers of the Tygrrrr Express.

It was thoroughly enjoyable hanging out with Michael Barone. Even for politicos like myself, politics has its incredibly colossally boring moments. This is why I avoided discussing the non-issues that consume the rest of the blogosphere.

If a man is going to talk football, they want to sit down with the late Vince Lombardi or George Halas.  We are in an election year, and very little that can be read online is as useful and fun as sitting down with the Vince Lombardi of elections.

Had he been an expert in picking stocks, I probably would have snuck in some note taking. Instead I had to settle for a cool night listening to the master of the political domain.

Read this man early and often. Brilliance requires learning, and anything Michael Barone writes about electoral politics is a good place to start an education.



17 Responses to “Meeting Michael Barone”

  1. Man, do you ever get around!

    I think McCain would be up a creek without a paddle were it not for the fact that Obama is a black man named Obama. McCain’s speech last night was appallingly bad. You can tell he’s not comfortable as a political bulldog. But the Dems gave us two candidates that were beatable, one for some good reasons, one not so much. Iin the end they gave us one candidate who will probably lose for all the wrong reasons.

    Today, on my blog, I formally endorsed Obama. He’s the best man for the job. Everyone else may now follow my lead. ;)


  2. Eagle 6 says:

    Eric, Interesting that you should mention substance, and the first response to your blog is a vaporous endorsement of the Oprah Dope…bobbing and weaving, flailing away at nothing… Just a few points from his most recent speech:

    ‘Change is a foreign policy that doesn’t begin and end with a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged. I won’t stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what’s not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years – especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

    What threats are being ignored? What were the alternatives, and how are we isolated? I just left Camp Beuhring – there were more Australian and British troops there than US Soldiers preparing for missions, to include MiTTS.

    We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in – but start leaving we must. It’s time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It’s time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It’s time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda’s leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century – terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That’s what change is.

    “It’s time to refocus our efforts on common threats of the 21st century..terrorism, nuclear weapons…” What are we doing in Iraq? And, what are the Iraqis doing? They ARE taking charge…read the papers – as skewed as they are, it is evident Maliki and crew have been on a rampage lately! For the first time ever they own Mosul, Baghdad, Basra, and Sadr City… Besides, the US has been the leader in fights against genocide (which was happening in Iraq), poverty, and disease for years – that’s not change – it’s flowery rhetoric.

    Change is realizing that meeting today’s threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy – tough, direct diplomacy where the President of the United States isn’t afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy. That’s what the American people want. That’s what change is.

    “Tough diplomacy… let others know where we stand…”… isn’t that what Pres Bush is being vilified for doing? But rather than TALKING about it, he DID something about it… as did T Roosevelt and Kennedy (albeit not necessarily with great results for them)

    Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It’s understanding that the struggles facing working families can’t be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It’s understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was President.

    Economy 101: tax breaks for corporations equate to profits which equate to jobs and growth. Taxing corporations sends them overseas.

    John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy – cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota – he’d understand the kind of change that people are looking for…’

    Finally, where has this guy been? I lived in Michigan… I came home on leave in 1984 driving a 300ZX… After seeing the economy and talking to old friends, I was so ashamed, I traded it in for a Chevy Cavalier…stupid mistake, but misguided patriotism, nonetheless. That’s when I realized we had inflated expectations of what the value of physical labor (i.e. shop rats) were worth. I know – I built tires for Goodyear before I went to West Point…the union was a racket. I busted my balls and some of my friends hid from work, and we got the same pay. We are 35 years from the down-turn in Michigan and surrounding states and the change people are looking for, so it’s rather tough to blame McCain for being in Iraq rather than in Michigan. Furthermore, Sen Obama has been living in one of those states and has been representing one of those very states that has been hardest hit by the economy because of factorys’ losing jobs. What has he done about it? The Oprah Dope…bobbing and weaving…

  3. I love the selective memory of conservative economics.

    Does anyone remember the 1950’s??? 90% top marginal rate, a third of the workforce unionized, the GI bill providing the greatest social mobility in history through one of the largest and most expensive social programs in history, and the economy roared probably greater than at any other time. And somehow or another all that’s lost on you guys. Amazing.


  4. J.Rock says:

    I served with Old Yeller. I knew Old Yeller; Old Yeller was a friend of mine. Senator Clinton is no Old Yeller.

  5. Eagle 6 says:

    Not lost Jersey – we outgrew those baby boom times… remember, there was the industrial age…after effects of WWII creating jobs and a sense of well-being, and the Korean War creating jobs… it is no longer economically feasible to rely on manual labor to do things machines and technology can do more effectively and efficiently. History is a great reference tool but it has its place…it’s a different world.

  6. Okay Eagle, so it’s a different world. How different is it from 1980 (because that’s where you guys seem stuck)? I can think of plenty of differences. Remember now, regardless of the similarities, that was almost thirty years ago, and there were plenty of differences. Can you think of any?


  7. micky2 says:

    Sheez, at least were not stuck in the 60s.

  8. Micky, I’m too young to be stuck in the sixties. Welcome to the 21’st man.


  9. micky2 says:

    You were born at a late age jersey.
    Besides that, I dont see too much difference between the ideoligy that came from the left then than I see in it now.

  10. Eagle 6 says:

    Jersey, I have never attributed any of your arguments to what “you guys” think. My arguments are based on personal experience, personal constructive thinking, and personal prejudices. In other words, I’m not a “you guys” kind of guy. Having said that, I’m not sure what your question is… “What is different now from the ‘80’s?”… This is not a comprehensive response, nor will it necessarily capture issues in our political landscape, but I can think of a couple major differences.
    First, in the ‘80’s, people interacted personally. Kids played with other kids. They learned to establish accepted rules of behavior because they were held accountable for their actions. Granted, several arguments occurred about whether someone was safe or out, fouled or not, and whatever, and most of the time, the biggest or oldest person made the calls, but kids learned to capitalize on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses – they learned that if they called someone a name, they might get punched out. Today, there is no accountability or true interaction. People sit at computers and play games and talk with other people, and they can say anything they want and not be held accountable, leading to a society of transmitters and few receivers or interactors.
    Second, because of our advances in technology, we’ve learned it is not economically feasible to pay big bucks for manual labor. Inflated salaries not supported by supply and demand aren’t productive.
    Third, we seem to have confused egalitarianism with socialism – just because we live in a country that allows for equality doesn’t mean we take from the rich to give to the poor – it means we have the OPPORTUNITY for equal pay, equal education, equal whatever…
    Finally, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, a combination of drugs, television, media, and exposed corruption at all levels of government, we started becoming a nation of special interests and began celebrated diversity as opposed to celebrating unity. So, if the Oprah Dope changed his message from distribution of wealth and “what I can do for you” to “here are some great opportunities for everyone to lift themselves up, I would consider him a unifier and a viable candidate. As it is, he’s a smooth talking snake oil salesman of irresponsible “what’s in it for me” demagoguery.

  11. In 1980 we had trade deals, you know trade deals. We weren’t pimping out our fortune to the rest of the world for “free.” You guys conveniently always leave that out. All you “Free Traders” are about as unpatriotic and anti-American as one can get. You’re selling our children’s future for your own personal profits. I find that beyond deplorable.


  12. Eagle 6 says:

    Jersey, you believe Free Trade is bad. Tariffs of other countries were generally higher than ours, so we benefitted more from Free Trade than other countries did. Free Trade boosted US economic growth. In ten years since Free Trade enacted, we’ve added over 26 million jobs, and the GNP has doubled. Granted, Big Labor doesn’t like it, as over 3 million jobs have been lost to them, but 11 million service jobs have been created…. I suppose Obama supporters don’t like free trade because it promotes capilalism and encourages innovation, and he is a socialist who wants everyone to depend on the government… both you and him can take your “un-American and unpatriotic” message to a recruiter’s office (i.e. do something for someone else for a couple years) and then talk to “us guys” about deplorability.

  13. The only people who have benefitted from “Free Trade” are the selfishly wealthy. And now we see the consequences of “Free Trade” as our Third World “partners” are starving and facing dangerous political crises as a consequence. Great job there, you guys.

    Hey look, I “benefitted” from Free Trade when I worked in the container line industry for a decade. That doesn’t mean I thought it was a good idea. I care about my country, not just myself.


  14. Eagle 6 says:

    If you care about your country, crawl out of bed with the socialists who want to control you and gather facts about free trade. It has served as a great benefit for many third world countries, and it has been especially good to Mexico – and has likely actually reduced immigration because their stand of living has improved somewhat. The Oprah Dope moonies are generally young, inexperienced children who have book knowledge and no functional context to their education…what they see as change is a re-hashed free lunch program. Another great contingent of supporters are the hollywood crowd – now that’s an endorsement…people who pretend to be other people for a living…Join the club of kids, actors, and naive demogogues. All is not lost – We guys will continue to work, pay taxes, and support this country..

  15. micky2 says:

    “Hey look, I “benefitted” from Free Trade when I worked in the container line industry for a decade. That doesn’t mean I thought it was a good idea. I care about my country, not just myself.”

    Yea, I spent twenty years in a church and had no idea what was happening until now.

  16. skeeter55 says:

    Hey Eric!

    I served with “Snuffy Smith” in VA-82 aboard the USS America in the Tonkin Gulf back in 1972 as a Pilot Debriefer. All these years later I need to show proof that I was “in country” to receive my disability. If you would pass on my email address to Admiral Smith or send me his, I am sure I can receive the information that the Disabled Vet Administration is needing to finalize my justified claim. I have been waiting for over three years. “Snuffy” is my last hope…if I can only contact him. Please find it in your heart to help me.
    Thank you Eric!
    Guy Kemp AQ-2 VA82 USS America CVA-66

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