ARE VOTERS RATIONAL?
I wish John Edwards were a Republican. I like what he says.
--Mayor Jim Olson of Winterset, Iowa, on ABC News last night
I hear some Republicans comment that they could support John Edwards, and I would think it's mainly his desire to break this stranglehold by big business, which I suppose is the drug companies and insurance industries and those kind of things.
--Fred Peel, retired county sheriff in Shipley, Florida, on NPR this morning
Actually, I was expecting that I would be more attracted to some Democrats, so it's very unusual that I'm here. I'm intrigued that he's in a rock band, and plays bass. He's just a fascinating human being.
--independent Iowa voter Florence Klein, who works in a natural foods store, at a Mike Huckabee campaign event, also on NPR this morning
None of this surprises me. I'll concur with Digby's response to the Rasmussen poll showing John McCain with the largest overall favorable rating of all the presidential candidates: "I can't tell you how many liberals I've talked to recently who say they'd like to vote for McCain. He's a 'straight shooter' don't you know." I used to hear that a lot about Giuliani as well. A year ago, I was surprised when Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox, a born-again Christian, told the Boston Herald that in 2008 he'd vote for either John McCain (whom he's since endorsed) or Barack Obama ("If they are both on the ticket it will be a tough choice"); now it doesn't seem unusual at all.
And don't get me started about lefties for Ron Paul: In the last month, I've been in both Woodstock, New York, and Taos, New Mexico, two epicenters of unreconstructed hippiedom, and the only political signs I saw endorsing presidential candidates were for Paul.
So, what the hell, maybe Obama's "post-partisan" message isn't crazy or foolishly conciliatory. Maybe he's just shrewdly tapping into the ideological incoherence of the electorate. His campaign denies buying ads on the Drudge Report, but the ads showed up there anyway; maybe advertising there would be perfect appropriate for him, given the electorate's lack of ideological coherence and his apparent appeal to voters who would be expected to disagree with him on many issues. If his campaign didn't place the ads deliberately, maybe it should have.
Of course, maybe the big winners among "post-partisans," at least tonight, are going to be John Edwards and Mike Huckabee -- who aren't post-partisan at all. Maybe we're crazy to expect it all to make sense.