I AM ALL FOR FUN, BUT THE CRAZY PROGNOSTICATORS ON BOTH SIDES of this political race are going a bit far (and yes, I’m going to overstate my case, just for fun).
It is Halloween tonight, and soon I’ll have little goblins and dwarf Dick Cheneys, George Bushes, and John Kerrys here to collect candy. Normally, this is a night when rationality can be suspended and superstition given its time on the calendar. No harm done.
However, my friend Mark Goldberg text-messaged me from a large coffee bar in Adams Morgan called Tryst here in Washington with some interesting news. He said that he was really caught off guard and confused that the entire crowd (and it’s a very large place) of Washingtonians were rooting AGAINST the Washington Redskins.
I am not a football fan. I had far too much exposure to football as a kid, and I grew up in a fun but typical Republican military family which always rooted for the Washington Redskins. One of the fun battles we had inside the family each year was visiting the grandparents at Thanksgiving and watching the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys go at it. My grandparents, their siblings, and my million and one second cousins were all for the Cowboys. I have to admit I really never cared who won, but I liked the idea of perhaps one day owning a franchise.
From Mark Goldberg’s comments, I just assumed that all of his Tryst coffee house mates were opposing the Redskins because of some silly notion that the Redskins were a Republican team. I think that it was Nixon who dubbed the Redskins “America’s Team.” In these crazy times, I could regrettably imagine that we have become such a polarized society that a funky neighborhood in Washington might be able to draw 100% Democrats who perceived the Redskins as a 100% Republican icon.
I know that this is silly, but there is a lot of silliness out there right now as we ramp up to November 2nd.
My response to Mark was: “That is what is wrong with Democrats. They always want to oppose Republican symbols, like the Redskins, and not take them over or co-opt the team.”
Well, I read it all wrong. The reason for the widespread hometown opposition to a Redskins victory over the Green Bay Packers had to do with one of these old, irrational presidential outcome indicators.
“The Redskins and the Vote” ran as an editorial today in the Washington Post, and it reads:
Ever since 1936, the year before the team moved to Washington, the last home game before the election has predicted the winner. If the Redskins won, so does the incumbent party in the White House; if not, not. This rule has held good for 17 straight elections. If you needed an extra reason to watch the team take on the Green Bay Packers this afternoon, you now have one.
The article’s last graf reads:
. . .there is the Halloween factor. Since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, the candidate whose mask sold the most has won. According to the Goldman Sachs team, Bush was winning as of one month ago. But neither candidate can match the hapless Richard Nixon. His mask outsells them both.
Here’s a question. Is Karl Rove out stacking the deck and having his agents buy thousands of George Bush masks? It might be considered by some an ingeneous move.
Seriously though, the race is real close between Bush and Kerry. And just like I don’t approve of the subordination of rationality to faith by anti-enlightenment religious zealots, I think that liberals and progressives who try to look at irrational benchmarks to determine this election are just as silly.
Just so you know, Green Bay beat Washington, 28-14. But Bush’s masks are dominating on the streets of Washington tonight, at least by my count here handing out candy.
Still too close to call.
— Steve Clemons