I used to dream of the days when I’d be a sufficiently successful writer that I could do what Richard Cohen has done today, return from vacation in the Hamptons, talk to some people about Barack Obama and then draw sweeping conclusions about American politics based on dinner party chatter at a vacation destination.
Today, though, my hour has arrived and I’m prepared to say that I was surprised to discover substantial pockets of enthusiasm for President Obama among the population of Texas. Not Austin hipsters, either. Decent grownup family people. White southerners with accents, even. Frustrated, to be sure, with the overall situation but also alarmed by the extremism of a Michelle Bachmann and generally inclined to see today’s problems as part of the Bush legacy. If I were to generalize from the sample of people I happened to discuss national politics with, I’d say that Rick Perry is in a surprising amount of trouble in his home state.
An alternative method of assessing the state of public opinion would be to consult scientifically valid randomized samples. But that would be silly. Better to burn that shoe leather.