Here are the results of the scientifically accurate exit poll I personally conducted to determine just how Ron Barber was able to apply the smack-down on Jesse Kelly in last week's special election to fill out the remainder of Gabrielle Giffords' term in the House.
I was guardedly optimistic that Barber could squeak though, but who knew that he would whup Kelly way worse than Giffords did two years earlier? What, were all the Tea Party people away at the national convention in Selma, Ala.? (The guest speaker was Joe Arpaio, doing his best Bull Connor impression.)
There were lots of theories out there, and some of the theories were out there.
The results, presented in ascending order of probability, have been tabulated, collated and, because it's 109 freakin' degrees outside, hydrated.
0.03 percent of those polled think it had something to do with aliens. Not the brown hordes who are reported (on Fox) to be streaming across the border to steal our jobs and voting privileges, but rather, you know ... aliens. Like Jeff Bridges in Starman, who could impregnate a woman with just one close encounter. Or maybe like those in the sci-fi classic They Live, in which Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David stage the longest fistfight in cinematic history, all over a pair of sunglasses.
1.64 percent think that the same people who rigged the redistricting process rigged the election. The redistricting was rigged?!
4.28 percent believe that it was grandpa backlash. There were reports of people walking up to random old white men all over southeastern Arizona and angrily asking, "Are you Jesse Kelly's grandpa?" There was no actual violence, because everybody who was asked that, including Jesse Kelly's grandpa, answered that question with an emphatic "No!"
5.27 percent believe that it was, indeed, the aforementioned brown horde streaming across our southern border to vote for Ron Barber. Some people believe that these people were promised free socialized medicine, lavish welfare benefits and an opportunity to see the rubber stamp that Barber would use to sign on to the Obama agenda. They were all picked up at the border by public school buses that were being driven by anti-American union members.
6.09 percent attribute it to a diabolical delayed effect from Martha McSally's TV ads during the Republican primary. Remember that death-stare, never-blink, I've-flown-in-combat look? She was hypnotizing people into not voting for Kelly so that she could run in the general election in November. Adding fuel to the conspiracy is the fact that—considering many people thought Kelly was the frontrunner in this election—the phrase "Vote for Martha" is an anagram from "harm t' fave" ... with letters that spell "root" left over. That's just eerie.
10.22 percent think that Kelly was doomed the first time he attacked Social Security. There are those who believe that if a politician were to walk 50 miles out into the desert and whisper something negative about Social Security, he/she might as well stay out there, because there is no future in his/her future.
There was a significant difference in the approach of the attack ads on each side. While Photoshopping Ron Barber's face next to President Obama's might get the blood of a few crackpots boiling, Kelly was destroyed by his own words coming out of his own mouth, saying really stupid things about abolishing the corporate tax, slamming the middle class with a 23 percent value-added tax, lowering (and then eliminating) the minimum wage, and, of course, getting rid of Medicare and Social Security. That stuff might fly with your base, but if everybody in that base can fit into the bathroom at the Rialto Theatre, your base ain't gettin' you elected.
Look, we all agree: The Dems shouldn't have put Social Security in the general fund back in the 1960s. Over the years, the Repubs have had their opportunities to fix that, but haven't had the stones to do so. The system is heading towards a cliff ... blah, blah, blah.
Just raise the retirement age. Next question.
11.07 percent think that Republicans nominated the wrong person. Some (many against their will) preferred McSally. Others, latching on to his "rah-rah America" approach and his ties to the world of rugby, liked Dave Sitton. And those with the 90-day supplies of canned goods in the shelter would have preferred Frank Antenori.
11.39 percent really hated all of the commercials. They hated them from both sides, but since Kelly had a ton more money flowing in from out of state, people hated his more.
50.01 percent embrace the wild notion that maybe Southern Arizonans aren't all nuts, after all. While certain pockets will elect the likes of Frank Antenori and Al Melvin, overall, a majority of Southern Arizonans think that some government programs are OK. They don't hate public education or think that teachers are the societal equivalent of those little cakes they put at the bottom of urinals, to be pissed on, at will.
Perhaps there is hope after all.