Friday, January 28, 2005

Living in a Fantasy World

IF is a mighty big word. It is high time that the losers stop playing "what if" and realize that it was their candidate and his inability to present any coherent ideas that caused their defeat. Mind you, not that the ideas of the left would have won any way. - Sailor

January 24, 2005
The Rothenberg Report

Living in a Fantasy World On the eve of Inauguration, John Kerry campaign manager Bob Shrum told the New York Daily News, "How am I feeling? Disappointed. Right now, I'm waiting for a camera crew from CNN to interview me about Karl Rove. Just think, a switch of 55,000 votes in Ohio, and I wouldn't have been doing this interview. But you've got to be gracious."

Shrum is not alone.

"Teresa said, 'What do you want for your birthday?' I said, '55,000 votes in Ohio,' " Kerry told a group of supporters in a post-election trip to Des Moines. Cong. Charlie Rangel (D) of New York agreed, stating on CNN's Late Edition the day after Christmas, "A shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio and John Kerry would be president."

And Democratic strategist Steve McMahon was very much on message. "If 50,000 votes or so had gone the other way, we'd have a different president." (Crossfire, January 12). "The fact is, if 50,000 votes now in Ohio had gone the other way, there wouldn't have been a George Bush second term, there would have been a Kerry term." (Fox News Channel, December 17)

But if Democrats want to play the "What If..." game, they have to play it both ways.

In the real world, George W. Bush defeated John Kerry in the Electoral College 286-251, with 270 needed to win. (One elector in Minnesota cast his vote for John Edwards.) Yes, if Ohio had gone for Kerry, he would have totaled 272 electoral votes, and would be thawing out from his parade walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.

But while 60,000 votes would have made the difference in favor of Kerry, just 45,000 votes the other way paints a completely different picture. If 5,000 voters had switched in New Hampshire, Bush would have carried the state. If 6,000 voters had switched in Wisconsin, Bush would have carried that state. And if 34,000 voters had switched in Oregon, Bush would have carried it also. So, in this backward hypothetical world, Bush wins reelection with a considerable 307 electoral votes.

In addition, Bush could have lost Ohio and still won reelection if only a few thousand voters in New Hampshire or Wisconsin had magically decided to change their minds. The fact of the matter is, the voters voted and Bush won. And playing "What if..." is left for the loser.

Candidates who come up short invariably offer the "what if..." message to prove to themselves and others that there isn't much difference between losing and winning. But, of course, there is.

If Bill Mueller had not singled in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox would never have even made it to the World Series. And if only 3 points switched hands on September 27, December 12, and December 26, the Washington Redskins would have made the playoffs.

And if I had wings, I could fly.

By Nathan L. Gonzales

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