Since the day after Election Day of 2004, we have been tracking the number of bumper stickers, magnets, campaign buttons, t-shirts and now lawn signs that we sell in support for each of the Democratic candidates in the 2008 presidential race. While polls measure opinions of the moment, our measure tracks a more strong and lasting and lasting commitment to show their support for a particular candidate in a public way. That kind of strong commitment can turn into donations and votes. The following is the percent share of sales of our Election 2008 gear in the past week of November 4 – November 10, 2007:
So much for the notion being floated after the last Democratic presidential debate that Hillary Clinton was tumbling from her “inevitable” status. You know who tumbled here? Barack Obama. Dennis Kucinich is doing better than Barack Obama this week, and Barack Obama has just turned in his worst performance in sales share for the entire year. Look at the trends:
What’s going on? I think it’s that Barack Obama has been a placeholder for a lot of people’s hopes and dreams. People want a shining hero, a perfect Jack Kennedy who will sweep them off their feet, give them an ideological orgasm and ride with them off into that magical sunset destination of that Star Trek colony where everybody wears Earth tones, nobody fights, and they have those interesting cubes of primary colors for food. But the thing is, even Jack Kennedy wasn’t perfect — he was a womanizing, nuclear-threatening, Vietnam-engaging politician who was reluctant on civil rights before he got involved. People love him and have turned him into this perfect creature because, let’s be blunt, he was shot at the right moment. Or how about Harry Truman? Got us bogged down in Korea. How about FDR, Mr. Internment Camp? There ARE no perfect heroes out there for the left, and the left is starting to recognize that Barack Obama will not be that statuesque idol of heroism in the way that the right has finally figured out that they will never have that beer with George W. Bush. Beyond the hero worship, Barack Obama is a pretty interesting guy with a unique history for a politician which includes some interesting organizing experience. Not exactly the shining city on a hill, although I hear Senator Obama does bring a prism along for his stump speeches. As Barack Obama has had the chance to put himself in the public spotlight, he has — surprise!! — not turned out to be a demigod, and there’s no grand sunset, and nobody’s gotten their goddamned orgasm yet. How frustrating.
Meanwhile, Dennis Kucinich is the fellow who’s always been written off as a kook. I know, because we’ve called him on some of his very kooky ideas and behaviors from time to time. But that sets low expectations. So when he shows up for a national debate and has something intelligent to say, something that no other candidate will dare say because he’s more interested in ideas and they’re more interested in winning, people notice. And the people who agree with Dennis Kucinich’s ideas are going to stick with him because nobody else is picking them up. Not Barack Obama. Not John Edwards.
And not Hillary Clinton. She’s just running a very efficient campaign to win, and trying very hard not to say anything that could pin her down as having a position on anything. Meanwhile, she just soaks up all the predictions of all the people who say she’s the right one to support because she’s going to win anyway. It’s very high school student council, but it seems to be working.
There aren’t too many weeks left until the voting begins, folks. Count ‘em: a bare seven weeks until the Iowa caucuses of January 3. Look for another update next week.