Saturday, January 05, 2008

Isn't There's A Chipmunk Movie That Needs Reviewing, Mikey?

Michael "Call Me Massa" Medved doesn't know Jack, and we're not talking his old Toward Tradition pal, Abramoff. Witness his witless analysis of the Iowa GOP non-caucus:

Predictably enough, most media commentators have totally misinterpreted the nature of Mike Huckabee's big win in the Iowa GOP caucuses. Conventional wisdom says that he swept to victory based on overwhelming support from Evangelicals, but conventional wisdom is flat-out wrong. According to the exit polls used by major news networks, a majority of voters who described themselves as "evangelical" or "born again" Christians actually voted against Huckabee -- with 54% splitting their support among Romney, McCain, Thompson and Ron Paul. Yes, Huckabee's 46% of Evangelicals was a strong showing, but it was directly comparable to his commanding 40% of women, or 40% of all voters under the age of 30, or 41% of those earning less than $30,000 a year. His powerful appeal to females, the young and the poor make him a different kind of Republican, who connects with voting blocs the GOP needs to win back. He's hardly the one-dimensional religious candidate of media caricature.

Predictably enough, Mikey is wrong about virtually everything.

First, Mikey doesn't explain how Huckabee's strong showing among GOP women, youth and poor involved "connecting with voting blocs the GOP needs to win back" or makes him "a different kind of Republican." His argument might be worth considering if he had statistics showing some significant amount of Huck's supporters were Dems or non-affiliated voters who crossed party lines (or affiliated themselves with the GOP) to vote Huck, but he doesn't. Mikey might as well be arguing that a Republican victory is guaranteed in November because 100 percent of women, youngsters and the poor who voted in the Iowa GOP poll voted for a Republican.

Mikey also challenges the "[c]onventional wisdom [which] says that he [the Huckster] swept to victory based on overwhelming support from Evangelicals," based on the fact that the Huckster got 46 percent of the Evangelical vote but also 40 percent of the female and youth vote and 41 percent of "the poor vote." But the Evangelical vote for the Huckster was 12 percentage points more than the Huckster's overall vote (34 percent), while the other blocs were only 6-7 percentage points above than overall votes. (Those 12 percentage points are more than the percentage difference between the Huckster and Muff Romney (34 to 25 percent).) More significantly, Mikey doesn't appear to understand that the categories of women, youth and the poor overlap significantly with Evangelicals (and with themselves), rather than being entirely independent categories. The numbers cited by Mikey would be significant only if, say, Huck did significantly less well among young fundies or poor fundies than he did among all fundies.) Anyway you slice it, the Huckster owes the significant margin of his victory to the fundie faction.

Mikey also goes on to undermine his premise by noting that only 14 percent of "non-Evangelicals" (who he claims were 40 percent of GOP voters) voted for the Huckster. Which is to say that Huckabee would be circling the drain with Giuliani and Ro Paul in the Hawkeye State if not for his fundie followers. But chucklehead Mikey relies on this fact as proof of anti-fundie bias among non-fundies:

The evidence is pretty clear, isn't it? The preferences of Evangelicals mirrored those of Iowans in general. But the preferences of the "non Evangelical" group were distorted by their religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) and led them (as the same prejudices leads angry members of the conservative establishment) to blast, resent and dismiss the Huck.

In Mikey's mind, a vote for anyone other than the Huckster can mean only one thing -- religious bigotry against fundies. And in that same mind, 46 percent "mirrors" 34 percent. If I was Yale, I'd want my degree back.

Of course, the way Mikey characterizes "conventional wisdom" is dishonest in the first instance. Mikey doesn't cite anyone who claimed that the Huckster got an "overwhelming" percentage of the Evangelical vote. He's really just arguing against a straw Colmes. But there's no disputing that the Huckster owes his Iowa victory to self-identified fundies.

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