Those whom the gods would destroy they first make proud.
The ancient Greeks warned about the consequences of hubris so perhaps The New Republic contributor, Ruy Teixeira, should take heed since he exhibited this quality in spades which is on full display in his article crowing over what he thinks is the likelihood of another Obama landslide in 2012. The ironic thing is that Teixeira apparently did not learn from his previous comeuppance from the election gods when he gloated over the fate of the Republicans in 2009 on the pages of Time Magazine as revealed by Newsbusters' Rich Noyes:
"The outlook for Republicans is even worse than people think," says Ruy Teixeira, author of The Emerging Democratic Majority. "Their biggest problem is that they really believe what they believe."
And the biggest problem for Ruy Teixeira is that he really believes what he believes. In this case his belief about Republicans was completely contradicted by the 2010 election results in which they regained control of Congress by picking up a whopping 64 House seats.
However, Teixeira remains undeterred despite his previous brush with getting burned by his own hubris. He now chirps merrily about what he thinks is the probability of Obama repeating his 2008 landslide this year by citing Pew Center poll results:
In this poll, Obama is 8 points ahead of Romney, close to his victory margin in 2008 (7 points). But what is especially fascinating in this poll is its internals—how Obama is faring with key subgroups of voters. Start with minorities. Obama gets 93 percent of the black vote (he got 95 percent in 2008) and 79 percent of minorities overall (he got 80 percent in 2008). (The poll does not provide data on Hispanics, but the two most recent national polls of Hispanics give him 67 percent of these voters, identical to his 2008 performance.)
Teixeira seems intoxicated by the Pew Center poll numbers and can't seem to contain himself while crowing about them:
These demographics are excellent news for Obama. But what of the longer term? Here we must depart the realm of demographics and current polls and look to election forecasting models. The best way to sort them out is not to focus on one particular model—there are so many to choose from!—but rather to look at the factors driving these models and what they have to tell us. The one factor that stands above the rest is economic performance in the election year. Moreover, there is general agreement that what matters most is change in economic performance, not the absolute level of performance. Thus, change in the unemployment rate in the election year is more important than the level of unemployment, GDP growth is more important than the size of the economy, and so on.
So it isn't really the "economy, stupid." It's the change in the economy, stupid. At least in Teixeira World.
But wait! Teixeira is not done yet. His mood goes from merely cheerful to absolutely giddy as he contemplates the current state of the stagnant economy:
Recent economic performance by these standard measures has been fairly good: The unemployment rate fell from 9 percent in September of last year to 8.3 percent this January; job growth accelerated steadily from 112,000 last October to 243,000 in January; and the overall economy grew by 3 percent in the last quarter of 2011, up from 1.8 percent the previous quarter. Current projections of economic growth for 2012 are in the 2.5 to 3 percent range. Based on these projections, models that incorporate GDP growth tend to see an Obama victory this November. Nate Silver’s model, for example, gives Obama a 60 percent chance of winning, given a 2.5 percent growth rate this year and current job approval levels.
Hey! Why even bother having an election this year? We might as well declare Obama already re-elected. However, even Teixeira feels obligated to toss a very slight disclaimer into his rosy electoral projections for Obama:
None of these forecasts indicate that Obama is a lock to win in November. Plenty can go wrong between now and then, particularly with the economy. But the factors underlying these forecasts suggest that the recent re-emergence of Obama’s coalition is no fluke. If current trends continue, there's a good chance that election day 2012 will look a lot like the one from 2008.
Teixeira's gloating over Obama's chances this November did not go over too well with even some of The New Republic's readers as this reply about hubris in the comments section indicates:
Oh for G-d's sake, when will we Democrats learn? Do the Gods love anything more than stomping on this sort of hubris? They certainly enjoyed doing it to the Republicans this time around for theirs. Stop it! The crowing is getting downright frightening.
p.s. On a personal note, my sympathies to the family and friends of Andrew Breitbart. I didn't know him well personally but I did have a nice Facebook chat with him about two years ago. Politics wasn't discussed much or even at all since our chat was mostly about the Caribbean. I was pleasantly surprised that Andrew, with such a busy schedule, would take the time for an extended chat on a non-political topic. If there were some way to retrieve that chat, I certainly would like to make it available since it shows Andrew's relaxed side.