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TMCNet:  The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, Kirk Baird column

[November 09, 2012]

The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, Kirk Baird column

Nov 09, 2012 (The Blade - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Our great national nightmare is over. Our phones, TV shows, and favorite radio stations are no longer hostage to the myriad robo calls and political ads invading our homes and cars. Frankly, Nov. 7 couldn't have been more welcome if it was a new car wrapped in a red bow on Christmas Day.


But even as we reclaim our lives from the torrent of political punditry, let's glance back at the election that was in the final maddening hours of the election and what, in my estimation, moved the pop culture needle and stood out from so much noise.

--Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Their live political coverage with Indecision 2012 was saucy and poignant and funnier than anything not involving Diane Sawyer and her apparent drinking game of "Have a shot whenever someone says 'vote.' " Short of resurrecting the Silly Party -- or even the Slightly Silly Party -- these two make for the best political package on TV and often are the best part of Election Day.

--Facebook. So "it's not polite to discuss religion or politics with friends" but it's OK to vent to potentially to thousands of strangers Like many of you, I strongly considered hiding the postings of some politically minded friends who couldn't stop themselves from telling me why I'm a jerk if I vote for Obama, or that only an idiot would put Romney in the White House. Now that the election is over, perhaps these people will go back to doing useful things with their lives: playing the many free games on Facebook, and posting photos of their pets.

--Math nerds. Fivethirtyeight.blog.nytimes blogger Nate Silver called the election ... in the spring. Using a special blend of herbs and spices from the Colonel's secret recipe, along with mathematical formulas and computer simulations, Silver not only correctly predicted the national election, but in which political direction every state would swing.

He wasn't alone, either, as many other stats guys accurately forecast the vote, proving once and for all that math isn't just a thing you need to know to graduate high school. And for an example of math gone bad, check out the unintentionally ironic unskewedpolls.com. The creator of the site, who mocked Silver and his methodology in part because all the polls are slanted, predicted a Romney win with "50.67 percent of the popular vote and 275 electoral votes to President Obama's 48.88 percent and 263 electoral votes," proving that not all math is created equal ... or accurate.

--Karl Rove. Not only did he defy the math nerds at his employer, Fox News, for calling Ohio in favor of President Obama, he was rather brazen about it. So much so news anchor Megyn Kelly felt compelled to go back to the nerd room, aka "Decision Desk" and "interrogate" the guys for answers. They stood by their numbers; "We're actually quite comfortable with the call in Ohio," one said. But Rove wouldn't budge ... until Ohio's numbers were fully in and reality tapped him on the shoulder, asked him out for dinner and a movie, and spent the remainder of the evening chatting with him about the importance of facts and figures.

--Donald Trump. And with the power of Twitter marshaling him forward, a bitter and defiant Donald Trump continued his rapid march into irrelevance. I posted that on my Facebook page, and I stand by the comment -- unlike The Donald. The ego-first billionaire felt the need to delete his tweets of moral outrage after the election was called for Obama based on electoral college votes, but who still trailed in the popular vote. Among Trump's classy musings: "Let's fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us." No, Donald, it's not us they are laughing at.

Contact Kirk Baird at kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.

___ (c)2012 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) Visit The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) at www.toledoblade.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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