November 05, 2004


Poor Jimmy Breslin. After nearly two thousand years as a columnist, he retires after this tragic election day prediction:

One day last May, I assigned the election to John Kerry. I said it early, and often. As I looked more, I saw that it shouldn't even be close. I said that in this space more than once. Now I am so sure that I am not even going to bother to watch the results tonight. I am going to bed early, for I must rise in the darkness and pursue immediately an exciting, overdue project.

Besides, if I was up, so many people, upon seeing every word I said of this election coming true on television in front of them, would be kissing my hands and embarrassing me with outlandish praise. So I go to bed with total confidence. I will get up and stroll to other meadows. I invented this column form. I now leave, but will return here for cameo appearances. And I leave today as the only one in America who from the start was sure John Kerry would win by a wide margin.

Why was Breslin so convinced? In part because he's out of his mind, and in part because of new voter registrations and the youth vote (Australia's Bob Ellis relied on the same crap when he told Sky News a few weeks ago that Kerry would win in a landslide). More on this from Mark Steyn:

There was a big increase in turnout, adding something upwards of 15 million people to the polls. We were assured by all the experts that an increase in turnout foreshadowed a Kerry landslide. Why, everyone knows an increase in turnout must be that big youth vote we always hear about, roused by elderly gentlemen like Mr Springsteen playing songs that were hits when their parents were courting into stampeding to the polling booths to vote against a return of the draft and Bushís intolerance of gay marriage.

But, as noted here last week, the 'Rock The Vote' crowd didnít show up for Howard Dean, and they didnít show up for John Kerry either. They never show up. Or, to be more precise, if they do show up, they're not a monolithic voting bloc.

Indeed. A friend in New York told me yesterday that his teenage son, a student at Fordham Prep, took part Tuesday in a mock election. His teachers also voted. The faculty result: 90% against Bush. The student result: 68% for Bush.

Posted by Tim Blair at November 5, 2004 02:47 AM

Is it just me, or did you use to have to register to read his Spectator columns? Glad they got rid of that.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at November 5, 2004 at 02:53 AM

they're finding out that these kids are composed of many southpark republicans.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at November 5, 2004 at 03:04 AM

USA Today had a chart correlating education with votes for Kerry/Bush. The "didn't graduate from high school" crowd was slightly leaning toward Kerry. The "high school graduate" and "some college" crowds slightly toward Bush. The "college graduate" crowd more strongly toward Bush. But the "post graduate work" crowd was almost 70/30 in favor of Kerry.

I'm sure the post graduate group would consider this a mark of higher intelligence on their part.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Posted by: Dave Culp at November 5, 2004 at 03:10 AM

It's the "Family Ties" of the Noughties!

Posted by: Big Johnny at November 5, 2004 at 03:30 AM

That's what bothers me about the whole "where's the youth" question....we did show up! We just didn't vote for Kerry. Does that mean we don't count?

And just when is P Diddy going to come murder all of his "Vote or Die" minions that didn't vote? It's been two days now...I'm waiting...

Posted by: SQRL at November 5, 2004 at 03:39 AM

In a record store selling used vinyl, I saw Chicago's 1972 album (was it III? does anybody really know what time it is?) which included a voter registration form, to paraphrase, "to make it easy, cause The Man doesn't want you to vote." Man.

Posted by: Christopher Davis at November 5, 2004 at 03:49 AM

No one should ever forget that Breslin ran with Norman Mailer, on the same ticket for mayor of New York City. Why both of them, I can't recall, but I do remember that their campaign slogan was something like "Throw the Bums In!" It wasn't a joke.

Breslin's a posturing fool, but he was the genuine article. Unlike Mailer, who was just a fool.

Posted by: Crazy Chester at November 5, 2004 at 03:57 AM

That is just fargin' priceless!

Posted by: BarCodeKing at November 5, 2004 at 04:25 AM

I had a couple of friends that went to Fordham Prep. Good catholic school.

Posted by: grant at November 5, 2004 at 04:47 AM

Most post graduate people - unles they are MBA's - don't live in the real world. Hell even some MBA's think their s*** doesn't stink.

They usually have no clue how to operate in society and are not as smart as they think. I haven't received a post graduate degree, not because I couldn't, because I got married and raised a family and began earning money. My bachelors degree has served me well. And my IQ is probably higher than most post grad types anyway.

Posted by: JEM at November 5, 2004 at 04:54 AM

Of course, I never took a typing class, pretty obvious -"unless" not "unles". Preview is our friend, preview is our friend, preview is....

Posted by: JEM at November 5, 2004 at 05:01 AM

why the assumption that the "yuff" will vote left anyway. Most polls in Australia seem to show the 19-25 group as either even between labour and coalition or even trending toward the coalition. Isnt it the same in the US? This notion that young people are all leftties is a bit old fashioned isnt it?

Posted by: mike.a at November 5, 2004 at 05:12 AM

Fox had a report on some election/schools project that runs for the whole year running up to the election. The organisers provide teaching materials etc and the kids examine and discuss the issues as the unfold right from the primaries. At the end of the process all the children get to vote. This time there were 300,000 of them and they voted 2 for 1 for Bush.

Posted by: bb at November 5, 2004 at 05:40 AM

This notion that young people are all leftties is a bit old fashioned isnt it?

Not any more old-fashioned than lefty politics themselves are, though, which probably explains why supporters of lefty politics and people who believe in the youth vote are generally one and the same group.

One of these days they'll realize that reflexive leftism (which is what the Dems are selling these days) mostly appeals to slacker types who consequently can't be arsed to go to the polls, while kids with an actual interest in politics and in voting are trending more and more rightward. The 60s are dead, let's hope Kerry's loss finally results in them being buried.

Posted by: PW at November 5, 2004 at 06:17 AM

Breslin also confidently wrote on the eve of the O.J. Simpson verdict that The Juice was squeezed. I tell you, Geraldo Rivera looked smarter standing in Al Capone's empty vault.

Posted by: Christopher Davis at November 5, 2004 at 06:41 AM

As someone who manages an area in my field that includes a large number of entry positions, I can assure you that the current lot of young people are the smartest I've seen in years ;). Even the young Black people are questioning the pronouncements of the likes of Jessie Jackson. I had no doubt that the "Rock the Vote" thing wouldn't work because, quite simply, these young people are thinking for themselves. Some of them are thinking along liberal lines, some are thinking along conservative lines; but virtually all of them that I've seen the last few years are researching their choices and not taking political statements made by anyone on any side during an election year for granted.

There's hope for the world :).

Posted by: mamapajamas at November 5, 2004 at 08:26 AM

So it looks as if the Youth Vote turned out and rocked, after all. The problem being, new voters are not all of the same opinion.

How about that.

Posted by: Ran at November 5, 2004 at 09:59 AM

Isnt it the same in the US? This notion that young people are all leftties is a bit old fashioned isnt it?

Well, that's how it was back when the current crop of pols were young'uns.

Wot's that you say? Perhaps things have changed a mite since then?

Surely not...


Posted by: rosignol at November 5, 2004 at 11:13 AM

P.J. O'Rourke covered this in "Give War a Chance": ..."the kids looked at the 60's burnouts littering the landscape of their childhoods and said, 'Give me a haircut and a job.'"

Posted by: richard mcenroe at November 5, 2004 at 12:48 PM

Hey Jem,
Congratulations on your high IQ. I bet it's slightly higher than George Bush, so it should be around 57.

Posted by: Darren Hynes at November 5, 2004 at 01:03 PM

And there's our paranoid moron friend Darren don't seem to get much out of your education at La Trobe. Are you a dance major or something?

Posted by: PW at November 5, 2004 at 01:23 PM

I think James Taranto (``Best of the Web'' over at had the best answer regarding the youth vote, or lack of same:

"Gee, what might've happened to all the young voters? Well, consider this: You're not allowed to vote unless you've passed your 18th birthday. In order to have any birthdays at all, you have to have been born. And over the past 30 years or so, many Americans have ended up not being born. "

Posted by: Annalucia at November 5, 2004 at 01:33 PM

Darren, Darren, Darren, is that a number you hear often? Haven't you read, your man has a lower one that our President. It isn't polite to proclaim your intelligence in public, just for future reference.
In case you need to, I find helpful with words I don't understand.

Posted by: Thom at November 5, 2004 at 02:13 PM

Richard "P.J. O'Rourke covered this in "Give War a Chance": ..."the kids looked at the 60's burnouts littering the landscape of their childhoods and said, 'Give me a haircut and a job.'" "

Indeed :). One of the things that the leftist establishment forgot is that kids tend to rebel against the establishement... what they forgot is that THEY (the leftists) are the establishment! They own the schools, the universities, the news media, and the "intelligensia". So, naturally, the kids are rebelling against them ;).

One of the things I've found is that today's kids research before making decisions. They not only look things up on the internet, they also CHECK THE SOURCES of the information they come across.

Smart, savvy :).

I've been seeing a lot of that in the last couple of years. Alex Keaton LIVES! :D

Posted by: mamapajamas at November 5, 2004 at 02:15 PM

I invented this column form.

Jimmy Breslin, on his best day, standing on tip-toes, could't reach high enough to scratch Mike Royko's ass.

Posted by: DarthVAda at November 5, 2004 at 02:25 PM

Jimmy Breslin has been all but unreadable for years. I never knew if he needed to climb on the wagon or climb back off.

Posted by: Kyda Sylvester at November 5, 2004 at 03:21 PM

I wouldn't put away the conventional wisdom just yet. The age 18-29 demographic voted in favor of Kerry 54%-45%. They were the only age group where Kerry got a majority.

Of course, hearing it from the Rock-and-Mosh-and-Dice-the-Vote types, you'd think "yoots" prefer Kerry 97 to 3, or somewhere thereabouts.

Posted by: E. Nough at November 6, 2004 at 05:36 AM