The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


A mere nine days ago, Evan Kirchhoff was detailing the best he placed on the 2004 presidential campaign at the TradeSports online book. TradeSports allows you to buy "contracts" that pay $100 if an event occurs. Evan bought Dean-to-win-Iowa at 70, and Dean-to-win-New-Hampshire at an astonishing 93, which is not much better than the odds you would get in Vegas if you bet on the better team to win a football game when it was up two touchdowns after three quarters.

Evan also purchased Dean-to-be-Democratic-nominee traded at 64.5, and Bush-to-win at 73.5.

How does this portfolio look one day after the Iowa caucuses? Dean the Internet candidate is doing a very convincing imitation of an Internet stock. The contracts on Dean winning New Hampshire and the nomination are now selling at 31 and 25(!) respectively. Did I put an exclamation point there? Let me add a few more just in case:

! ! !

(I thought that Dean's collapse would hurt the perceived value of Bush, but he is holding steady at 70.)

I'm not knocking Evan; I fully concurred with his analysis when I read it, and anyway he was smart enough to bet play money. But I don't feel sorry for Evan either. He got his pretend money's worth when Dean spoke to his supporters last night.

Just in case you live in a cave, or are some wanker who did an internet search for Tim Bueller, I'll explain. Dean's collapse is due partly to his disappointing showing in Iowa, but also due to his amazing "concession" speech. Last night I saw the Drudge headline: DEAN GOES NUTS. I assumed that Drudge was just hyping some moderately interesting story. But this morning I heard the audio, and I have to commend Drudge on his reticence. If I were writing the headline it would be something like: HOLY SHIT! LEADING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE POSSESSED BY DEMON!

At the start of the clip a worked-up and hoarse Dean starts to yell: "We're going to California ... and Texas ... and New York" ... and several other states. Now the typical politician has spent his whole life avoiding any phrase or tone of voice that could make him look weird or stupid. So when a typical politician says this stuff, it sounds forced and phony. But Dean really means it. He's not going to go to California, he's going to GO TO CALIFORNIA AND RIP SOME HEARTS OUT!

After enumerating the states he will go to, Dean says "And then we're going to go to Washington, to take back the White House!" And then he howls. The sound he made was described as something like "Yeeargh!" It doesn't really matter how you spell it, of course. How many nuclear weapons does this guy want to be in charge of?

(Check out these Dean yell remixes from "Barlow Farms" and the wondrous renaissance man James Lileks.)


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