The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Political junkies like me have seen two broad narratives about what will happen in tomorrow’s presidential election between Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The most popular call is that this is a dead heat, a toss-up, and we might not know the winner until Wednesday or even later if ballots in Ohio, Florida or some other electoral disaster state to be named about 10 o’clock Tuesday night come into question.
Then there are the statisticians who don’t see things being quite so tight. Chief among them is Nate Silver, creator of the Five Thirty Eight blog, now part of the New York Times, who called all but one state correctly in 2008 and all of the Senate races that year. He didn’t do quite as well in 2010, correctly calling 34 of 37 U.S. Senate races. This year, Silver has never had President Obama behind and currently (9 a.m. Nov. 5) gives him an 86.3 percent chance of winning and projects he’ll get 307.2 electoral votes, more than the 270 needed to win the election, and 50.6 percent of the popular vote. Silver has become a controversial figure in the political media world, in a large way by frequently debunking some of the popular narratives about the election. Just this morning, he has a post disputing the idea that Hurricane Sandy stopped Romney’s momentum after the first debate, Oct. 3, in Denver.
A third theory being posited this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe is that there is this groundswell of enthusiasm for Romney that will rise up and flip a number of states, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, that seem to be in Obama’s column. Even partisans including show host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican U.S. representative from Florida, say there is nothing really to back that up, and others point out that a lot of losing candidates have had throngs of enthusiastic supporters show up to their rallies in the days before the election. They include U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) who lost a narrow election to incumbent George W. Bush in 2004, an election that this year’s contest is being heavily compared to.
Certainly the first and last scenarios are most useful for hyping interest in the election and keeping people from watching Full House or Real Housewives reruns Tuesday night instead of election coverage. Journalists are often accused of harboring political biases, but what they tend to root for is the best story. A close election is inherently more interesting than a blowout.
One thing we can be sure of is that by tomorrow, it will all be over but the counting, and the analysis, and the second-guessing. What will be interesting is the final analysis: Will it be an election we should have seen coming, or the kind of surprise that can make and break media careers?
For a while now, many of us who follow politics and entertainment have chuckled at the fact that the name of the villain in the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, is Bane, a homophone with Bain, as in Bain Capitol, the private equity firm that has become the bane of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney‘s campaign.
Ha! What a coincidence that this movie showed up just few months before the 2012 election, when Bain Capitol has become such a hot topic in the campaign.
But apparently some people don’t think its such a coincidence. Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday he smells a conspiracy from those lefty liberals in Hollywood.
“The release date’s been known, summer 2012 for a long time,” Limbaugh said. “Do you think that it is accidental that the name of the really vicious fire-breathing, four-eyed, whatever it is villain in this movie is named Bane?”
OK, well, right there we know Limbaugh did little homework beyond word association before launching this conspiracy theory, and that he has little knowledge of what a slow-moving machine Hollywood is. Bane is neither four-eyed nor fire-breathing. But Limbaugh does know enough to understand some of Bane’s beliefs probably line up more with liberal philosophies, and Bruce Wayne, the man behind Batman’s mask, has expressed some fairly conservative ideas.
But still, by his comments, Limbaugh seems to think this is a conspiracy directed by President Barack Obama‘s campaign to sabotage Romney through word association by, ” … a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd … “.
“I’m just telling you this is the kind of stuff the Obama team is lining up,” Limbaugh says. “The kind of people who would draw this comparison are the kind of people that they are campaigning to.”
Democrats are certainly enjoying it. It’s been hard to miss the picture out there with Bane’s grotesque mask superimposed on Romney’s face. But believing this conspiracy theory requires you to ignore a number of facts like the Bane character was created in 1993 and given the name which means, “killer, slayer, death, destruction, woe,” according to Websters. His first Batman movie appearance was in 1997′s Batman and Robin, the godawful one starring George Clooney – just imagine how Limbaugh would be spinning this theory if Clooney was playing Batman this time.
Limbaugh’s theory also supposes movies like The Dark Knight Rises are made a few months before release. It has been in the works for years, and Bane was announced as the villain back when Romney was one of more than a half-dozen GOP hopefuls.
To believe this is more than a coincidence, you’ve really got to suspend some disbelief.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich