Johnathan suggested I check out election.princeton.edu, which I did, discovering that this technically sophisticated blogsite, run by a Princeton Biophysicist, Sam Wang, has even rosier projections for Obama than Nate Silver or Votamatic. Now, I have already had my say about my shameless searching out of experts who confidently predict that what I want to happen will happen [which, as I pointed out, is almost the functional definition of a religion.] But I took a few moments to read some of the scores of comments and comments on comments that had been posted on Sam Wang's site, and once again I was powerfully struck by the wealth of intelligent, knowledgeable people out there capable of speaking more thoughtfully, with more detail, and in a more balanced and reflective manner than any of the well-known paid opinion-mongers who clog the airwaves and the Op Ed pages of the major newspapers. This seems to be true no matter what subject you choose to Google, regardless of whether it is an arcane specialty or a matter of common interest.
When I was young, there were three networks: NBC, CBS, ABC, and three evening news anchors who were, so far as anyone could tell, the only three knowledgeable, reliable, non-partisan wise men in the universe [there were, needless to say, no wise, knowledgeable, reliable, non-partisan women.] What Walter Cronkhite said was as close as a Godless nation ever got to the Word of God.
With the advent of Cable, bloviators metastasized, rather like Tribbles, especially with the suspension of the requirements that Talking Heads be either wise or non-partisan. At the same time, the national community fractured into echo chambers, with each of us [myself included, of course] seeking out the "TV personalities" whose views most narrowly matched our own. So we have a public world populated by Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Sean Hannity, Bill Reilly, Charles Krauthammer, David Brooks, Gail Collins, and the ever egregious Tom Friedman.
But America is better than that, if I may allow myself a patriotic moment. On the evidence of the blogosphere, this country glories in hundreds, thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of private citizens whose knowledge, wisdom, insight, and even literary style put to shame those who make their living by having opinions.
As young people like to say these days, who knew?