Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: Linners and Wosers!

It's New Year's Eve--less than 24 hours before the oldsters among us will try to remember to write 2016 on our checks and the younger crowd will wonder "What's a check??" It has been a banner year for The Omnivore with the rise of Trump, the happening-in-real-time collapse of Ben Carson and, well, Hillary has been pretty boring.

People do a lot of Year-In-Review stuff and and Winners and Losers and "What to expect in 2016 in politics" (The Omnivore's guess? A General Election.)--The Omnivore wants to do something different.

Linners and Wosers

If you have been paying attention (or just reading The Omnivore) you know who generally came out ahead (Trump) or fell behind (Scott Walker--who got, erm, schlonged early on . . . or something). Let's look at entities in 2015 who lost even though they won--or won even though they lost!

Linner: Ben Carson

Carson's campaign is collapsing before our eyes. He went from 2nd to 4th in Iowa--and 2nd to worse nationally. His campaign is coming apart as he and his business manager decided to purge the staff--teased the news to two major outlets--and then got cold feet. Now his business manager is quitting. Carson, most likely, is done.

But he's a Winner: The Carson campaign was always pretty much just a fund-raiser and promotional tour for his books and his brand. Sure, Carson probably thought he could win--but that's because he didn't really know anything about politics and had overcome all kinds of adversity in his lifetime. Plus, a zillion people told him he could win. Also, maybe, he thinks God has a plan for him that includes the Oval Office.

Whatever: The Carson Money Machine out-raised Ted Cruz's enormous haul last quarter (23 MM to 20MM) shocking everyone! The campaign is the most successful thing going at extracting money from supporters. It's basically legal grift--and everyone around Carson has gotten rich doing it. The best part? When it's all over, Carson will be more popular than ever.

Woser: Conservative Bloggers

Conservative bloggers (the big ones) have spent 7 long years in the Obama wilderness. For the cream at the top (think NRO, Commentary, and Hot Air) they are intelligent solid analysts. Their readerships appetite for meat, red or otherwise, has grown and grown--and they have done what they were paid to do--stand for conservative ideas.

They're Losers: Unfortunately, what constituted "conservative ideas" turned out to be the same bullshit drivers that everyone else has. Rather than being the ideologically superior party, it turned out that they were speaking to a bunch of really angry human beings where were very happy to chuck The Constitution(TM) overboard for someone who would be politically incorrect enough and not back down.

Conservative anger, ginned up at Obama and turned against Republican leadership (unfairly), resulted in Donald Trump. A lot of these writers are (rightfully) appalled--but they still see their base as righteous victims rather than part of the great unwashed masses they told themselves they were better than.

Linner: The Main Stream Media

In 2015 we can see plainly that no one trusts or believes the "main stream media." No one cares about fact-checkers. Whether it's because they fact-checked Carly Fiorina's description of the abortion video (which was factually off, emotionally on target) or just because everyone expects the media to lie anyway (and that goes for Fox News too), it doesn't matter.

The Media's final loss came at the hands of Donald Trump. The Huffington Post tried to cover him on the entertainment page. They failed: he's back on page 1. Fox went to war with him. He's back on Fox. Writers held the backs of their hands to their foreheads, unwilling to write more about him--unable to stop.

Of course they're Winners: The reason Trump dominates is because he's a ratings machine. Everyone wants him--CNN in their debates, especially. And at the end of the day, Trump is the best story going--and he doesn't get old.

Plus, some of those reporters get to fly around on Trump-Force-One and The Donald will be the first guy to tell you--that makes anyone a winner.

Woser: Scott Walker

Walker's whole deal was that he was a winner. He won like four elections (or something) in Wisconsin. He beat the Unions. He checked EVERY box for the Tea Party, the establishment, the evangelicals, the blue-collar whites--and so on. It was even gonna be "President Walker"--wouldn't that sound like a movie president?

But he's a Loser: Yes--yes, he lost. But it's not just that he lost (after all, George Pataki just dropped out too)--it's how badly. Walker was a humiliation to the GOP and the shape of things to come with successful governors struggling badly like drowning men while two first-term senators kick their asses (and, erm, Trump).

Walker probably fell the furthest and he looked like an idiot doing it (Perry looked better this time around--but couldn't get a second chance to make a first impression either).

Linner: Hillary Clinton

Let's be clear about a couple of things: Hillary played fast and loose with secret--even top secret data--on her personal email server. The emails that have been released don't make her look too good either (can someone find my TV shows for me? Okay, grandma, hang on . . .). She may very well have been incompetently derelict of duty on the Benghazi situation.

She has been hammered by the right for these things--and they have won several news cycles doing it. They also had their best guys on her (Trey Gowdy).

But She's A Winner: The Republicans fumbled at the finish line giving her an 11-hour televised photo-op for her campaign and looking like idiots (crowning moment of stupid: one guy having to change his vote to back up Gowdy after he didn't listen carefully enough--Alex Trebeck would have cashed him out). She might not know how to find her TV shows--but grandma curb-stomped the Republican investigative team. Top guys--excellent.

Woser: Bernie Sanders

Okay--he's not quite winning--but he's ahead in New Hampshire--and that counts for something. Plus he's got legions of young, gullible ideologues lined up behind him. That's a win, isn't it? He almost--almost--has a shot at the nomination (moreso than, like O'Mally or Chafee, anyway). The race ain't over yet--so he comes out of '15 with a win, right?

Nope: He's a Loser. When you get your microphone taken away by #BlackLivesMatter and make the #AllLivesMatter mistake (with groveling) you're a loser. This isn't "life in the spot-light"--this is being a champion of the left and running into the Always-Attack-Allies problem (that being: the forces of Social Justice aim their guns most strongly at people who want to ally with them as they are more susceptible to attack).

Linner: The Supreme Court

In the wake of what many see as inexplicable decisions, support for SCOTUS has plummeted.  Originally liberals weren't thrilled. Now, no one is. We've got Obamacare and gay marriage: THANKS JOHN ROBERTS!

But they're winners: The Omnivore suspects that (a) history will vindicate the court--but more importantly (b) the court has proved it isn't a political tool. People who counted on partisan decision making (yes, yes--you did--no, the 'facts of the case' were never that obvious) got burned--badly. That's a good lesson for everyone.

Oh, and yeah: The Omnivore knows it was Kennedy for gay marriage. Roll with it.

Woser: Data Journalism / Polls

Nate Silver wowed the world in 2012 by using the deep math of averaging numbers to predict the election nearly perfectly. Today, we have more of these than ever before--more explainer sites, more polling. more attention to the polls--they are used to determine which GOP candidates get on the main stage, and one candidate is even running his message off topping them! Internet betting is back! Everyone's a winner!!

Except they're Losers: Gallup got out of the horse-race polling game. There are all kinds of oddities that no one can explain--and the sites like 538 and The Upshot have had a whole year of going "No--no, early polling still doesn't count. Nope." Losers.


If 2016 is as weird as 2015, we're in for a rough ride (such as if Trump wins the nomination). A lot of people in the game are discovering that you can win and still be a loser--and vice versa. Also: Trump's a winner. At least this round.

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