Thursday, January 31, 2008
He leaves two other first-rate candidates to claim the big prize and, wisely, has chosen to endorse neither. This is smart for several reasons, not the least of which is avoiding the "Al Gore endorses Howard Dean" disaster four years ago. If you'll remember, Al prematurely backed Dean before the big meltdown and after that, Gore's support was basically worthless. Edwards can now wait until Kick-Ass Tuesday and see who comes out ahead and then get behind the winner, which he will doubtless do.
In fact, unless Clinton and Obama neatly split the delegates next Tuesday, look for this entire fight to be over on Wednesday morning. If either of the candidates wins a clear majority of the delegates, the other will drop and immediately endorse the winner. Bank on it. Edwards will do the same.
Some have speculated that Edwards should be the VP candidate but, as I've said before, I think this would be a mistake. For one, I don't think Edwards would accept (been there, done that) but he's also not what you look for in a VP. Whoever wins, Clinton or Obama, is going to need an attack dog, a mongrel (preferably from the South, like Edwards) who will draw Southern voters at the same time he or she rips the throat out of John McCain and his running mate. Edwards is no such cur.
In the meantime, enjoy the spectacle of Mitt Romney lambasting John McCain night after night between now and Tuesday. When the dust settles in THAT race, it will be interesting to see Mitt try to flip-flop his way back into supporting the World's Oldest Senator from Arizona as he tries to take the big prize.
Nobody can flip quite like Mitt. He's the master.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Why is Rudy Guiliani so stupid? I mean, I actually liked the fact that he was stupid when he was the front-runner, proudly waving the 9/11 banner he had no right to wave, freaking people out with his "elect a Democrat and you might as well elect Osama" rhetoric, playing tough guy and pure-blooded patriot while his company, Guiliani Partners, was engaging in behind the scenes shenanigans. That Rudy Guiliani? I loved that guy.
He's the nominee we wanted. Unelectable, loathesome, saddled with a liberal view of so many lefty causes that there would be no way to woo the wacko base that supported Chimpy.
He was our guy and he was in front. The brass ring dangled in front of him. It was his for the taking.
So what happened?
Oh, so many things. First, he made the unfathomable decision to skip the early primaries. Granted, he was probably right in assuming that Iowans would never take to him. (It's hard to figure out who would.) But New Hampshire? They might have bitten into that poisoned apple. You never know. But no, Rudy put all his chips on Florida. What a dunce.
He also, by ignoring these states, allowed himself to be pushed off the front page for weeks. Suddenly it was all about "Omigosh! Huckabee won Iowa!" and "Yowza! McCain beat Romney in New Hampshire!" Nobody was talking about poor stupid Rudy. And while he was zipping around, bopping into rest home after rest home in Dade County, McCain was pressing flesh in South Carolina and looking, suddenly and inexplicably, like a winner.
By the time they got to Florida, which Guiliani dubbed "Rudy Country," it was suddenly "John Country," closely followed by "Mitt Country." Rudy was toast. And now he's done.
Damn it. He was our guy.
So long, Rudy. You jerk. You blew it. Now go make millions on the lecture circuit and leave us alone, willya?
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
In last night's State of the Union address, Chimpy basically threw in the towel. Gone were the high-falutin' promises of the past; no Social Security reform, no immigration reform, basically no big-ticket items at all.
Bottom line: he's a lame-ass duck and he knows it. Or, at least, his speechwriters do.
Most of it amounted to a whole lot of begging. "Please reauthorize No Child Left Behind. Oh, and PLEASE make the tax cuts permanent! Pretty please! And please PLEASE don't send me a decent economic stimulus package and make me veto it! I really couldn't handle that." On and on he went, pleading with Congress to make his last year....well, if not commendable, at least disaster-free.
Fat chance, George.
People are already done with this catastrophe who walks like a man. We're looking over the new models now, kicking tires, haggling over the price. We're ready to junk the old jalope, which never ran great to begin with and caused us nothing but heartache, and strap ourselves into a nice, spankin' clean (and articulate!) roadster and leave the past behind.
Get ready for the scrap-heap, Monkey Man. You're toast.
Monday, January 28, 2008
IT IS ALL HIS FAULT.
We all thought he'd be a crappy president. We didn't know exactly HOW crappy, but we found out fast enough. Then, four years later, a great many bamboozled, ignorant or religiously blinded morons sent him back for another four years and the shitstorm just got bigger and bigger. Now he's looking at one last, lonely year and he's going to try and paint his legacy with a nice, shiny coat of victory.
Screw that. This Administration will be known as one, humungous, awful, frustrating and criminal MESS and deep down, Chimpy knows that. I'd feel bad for him but...that will never happen either.
That's my brief take on it, though I'll expand a bit later. In the meantime, for a much better analysis of what's going to happen tonight, check out Fire Dog Lake's latest post. They are far more succinct than I am.
(h/t to my brother David)
Today he picks up an endorsement from Teddy Kennedy, who is following is niece Caroline into the Obama Express. Hillary, in her desperation, is shamefully campaigning in Florida, something the Democratic candidates swore not to do, and that's just awful. Play by the rules, dammit, Hillary! Don't go all "Rudy" on us.
Big, big week of campaigning and then we're on to Uber Mardi (ouch, that hurt). Obama's got the momentum for now but...all that can change in a single news cycle. Stay tuned.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Obama, from the latest polls, holds a slim lead down there but after New Hampshire, I'm making no predictions. This is the big one before Super Extra Crispy Tuesday, so we'll see if Barack can bring home the Southern-fried bacon.
See you on Monday, y'all!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Trouble is, that's what I love about him. Despite his being a despicable human being, a horrendous judge of character, an abhorrent public speaker and a generally loathesome person, Rudy somehow became the frontrunner for the GOP nomination last year.
And I couldn't have been happier! The serial divorcer, mistress-keeping, gay-loving, pro-abortion, pro-gun control "America's Mayor" was the perfect candidate. I desperately wanted him to be the nominee as most of the Bush Base (who I term the "unreachables" due to their stalwart, one-issue stands on abortion, religion, immigration, etc.) would never vote for this guy. We could nominate Alger Hiss and we'd win! PLEASE NOMINATE RUDY!
But this moron went and blew it. He ignored Iowa, ignored New Hampshire, ignored South Carolina, Nevada, Wyoming...every primary he skips and he instead puts on his money on....
FLORIDA. How big of a brain-dead lunatic do you have to be to trust FLORIDA with your future? I'm FROM Florida and I wouldn't trust that state to provide me with fresh, juicy oranges on a regular basis much less help me to clinch the Republican nomination! Hasn't Rudy ever been to Florida?
Not to piss off my Florida friends, but seriously: most of the Sunshine State residents occupy most of their day lounging around the porch drooling. To take advantage of the early-bird specials, these people go to dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon!
Does no one remember the 2000 election? When half the voters in Palm Beach county got so confused by a ballot that they ended up voting for Pat Buchanon instead of Al Gore?
You're going to trust these people with your political future, Rudy? Not to put too fine a point on it, but are you OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND?
*whew* Okay. Sorry. Got a little excited there. But I'm just so upset. If Rudy doesn't pull off a massive, massive upset, he's got a good chance of blowing the whole thing! He's running third in NEW YORK for crying out loud!
All right, all right. I'm done. But one last thing: Do me a favor. If you live in Florida, if you know someone who lives in Florda, please, PLEASE.
Vote for Rudy.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
You had to feel sorry for the guy, in a way. It was pretty obvious that no one explained to him that running for president was really hard work. This is a guy who gets winded pulling on his socks in the morning so actually getting out and aggressively campaigning? That was never going to happen.
The only spark you saw was at the debates (when he would bother to show up) during one of those rare moments when Fred got angry. It was like his morning coffee finally kicked in momentarily...and then he quickly ran out of steam. Maybe you saw it: His voice would rise and he'd say something in that stentorian, Hollywoody voice like "Ah'm the only real conservative in this dang race, dad-gum it." But then seconds afterwards, his body language said "Man, I gotta stop yellin' like that. I need a nap or sumpin'."
So now Fred is free to wander off and go the way of Bob Dole...drooling over young chicks in Pepsi commercials, popping Viagra and desperately trying to expertly service his incongruously hot wife without falling asleep in the middle of it. (i.e. "Awww, baby, you really know how to turn a guy onnnnnnnn.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.")
Take it easy, Fred.
Aw, who am I kidding? Fred never took it any other way.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
As Bob Herbert put so eloquently in today's New York Times, South Carolina is a very odd state. I'll let Bob describe it:
Nice, huh? And they've put up a statue of this guy.
"On Saturday, in a cold, steady rain, voters turned out for the Republican primary. Nearly all of them — close to 100 percent — were white. At a dinner here Saturday night, I was reminded ruefully by one of the guests: “It used to be the Democratic Party that was the white man’s party in South Carolina. Now it’s the G.O.P. The black people vote next Saturday.”
"They still honor Benjamin Tillman down here, which is very much like honoring a malignant tumor. A statue of Tillman, who was known as Pitchfork Ben, is on prominent display outside the statehouse.
"Tillman served as governor and U.S. senator in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A mortal enemy of black people, he bragged that he and his followers had disenfranchised “as many as we could,” and he publicly defended the murder of blacks.
In a speech on the Senate floor, he declared:
“We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him.”
But that matters little to us. The Tillman supporters are not going to be the ones coming out to vote in the South Carolina Democratic primary. Here's who will be showing up (we hope): black voters.
So the question is, who will they support? Hillary Clinton? Barack Obama? Home-stater John Edwards? The race is very tight. Historically, black voters love anyone named Clinton, so Hillary is going to siphon off some of the vote. Of course, Barack, as a black man, will solidify a great many of those votes based on his race alone but also because of his hopeful and uplifting campaign. And Edwards is the "friend of the working man," so he could do okay with these voters, too.
Watch this one carefully. Whoever walks away with South Carolina is going to do VERY well on Super Duper Fantastic Plastic Best Tuesday Ever.
Monday, January 21, 2008
I have it on a button, I have it on a T-shirt. Now I have it as a daily countdown.
On January 20th, 2009, just under one year from today, a new President will be sworn in and our long, national nightmare will be over.
Want to keep track yourself? Here's one place. There are many more.
It's gonna be a long year...
Sunday, January 20, 2008
So that leaves those of us who still love and support Barack Obama with that slim hope: that a Southern state will let a black man win the Democratic presidential primary. Could it happen? Sure it could. Is it likely? Not really.
Not the worst news, if Hillary takes it. She is, as I've said, quite capable and would make an excellent President.
But good Lawd almighty. Picture what this campaign is going to be like if we nominate Hillary.
Honestly. Just picture it.
Good luck sleeping tonight.
Friday, January 18, 2008
I mean, I really, really like John Edwards. He seems like an amazingly nice guy. I’d want him as my lawyer, if I got in trouble. I’d want him as my friend, if I were feelin’ blue. I’d like to have him over to throw some meat on the grill, kick back with a coupla cold ones and chew the fat.
I like him that much.
I mean, what’s there not to like? He’s charming, smart; a devoted family man and public servant. As a lawyer, he represented the powerless against the powerful (and made a pretty penny while doing so, but who am I to begrudge him that?). He was an honest, hard-working Senator and was so nice that when Kerry tapped him to be the VP nominee four years ago, he couldn’t even bring himself to attack Dick Cheney, who was practically begging to get smacked in the face.
But John is just too nice a guy for that. He’s one of those rare politicians: Genuine. True blue. Loyal. Believable. Fair. Honest.
So tell me this: Why don’t I want John Edwards to be President of the United States? Because I don’t, really. And I’d very much like you to tell me why I don’t because I can’t figure it out. He’s practically John Kennedy with a Southern accent, for God’s sake! What’s the matter with me?
My theories are, among others: (a) I don’t want a nice guy in the White House. I want a tough guy (but not a brainless tough guy like the Current Occupant. Obama and Clinton are, frankly, the kind of tough I like); (b) I think the Republicans would eat him for breakfast if we nominate him. A multi-millionaire trial attorney? Pass the salt. (c) I’m not falling for the accent again. Not me. (d) I can’t picture anyone not able to tear Cheney a new one in the 2004 debates (how hard could THAT have been) being able to take on people like Guiliani, McCain or that awful Romney person. Edwards should have destroyed Cheney and he didn’t.
Most importantly, and I know this is a mamby-pamby thing to say: Edwards just doesn’t seem to have….it. That spark. The visionary, “Don’t worry, folks. People will follow me and be inspired by me” aura. He’s almost got it but…it just doesn’t work for me.
Oh, I’m sure the Edwards supporters are pissed at me now. “Hey, I’m following him, Theis! He’s got “it” for me! Back off, chump!” Fair enough. But not everyone digs the Prom King and I’m one of them.
Again, if by some miracle Edwards winds up being the nominee (and I can’t imagine how it could happen but…it could happen), I’ll back him 100%. I know how important it is for the guys in the white hats to win back the White House, so…I’m behind him (or her) all the way.
And if it’s Edwards, okay. Sure. I’m all for it.
After all…he’s such a nice guy.
Look, I like Obama, obviously, and I'm not just defending him because I support him. This was an honest comparison. Reagan did change the country. Granted, he changed it for the worse, so it's not necessarily a wise move to invoke him, but Obama is right on the money. America was looking for change and Mr. "Morning In America" was offering it.
But talking about the Gipper is a GOP tactic, not one for our team so, naturally, Edwards and the rest are gonna play "pile on Obama."
Okay, knock yourself out. But Barack didn't do anything wrong, really.
He's trying- really trying- to be very very serious about how this Church works. He talks (over and over) about how he and the members of his church get it while the rest of us...well, he doesn't exactly say we're lost, but...the implication is that these are the only people who understand the way the world works and the rest of us are in a haze of uncertainty.
Trouble is...he's obviously off-script, he makes zero sense, his sentences are disjointed, his thought processes (what there are of them) are scattered and, as you may expect, he comes off as a total nutjob.
Seriously, have a look and pay close attention to the comments below the video as some of them are hilarious.
Makes you want to kidnap poor little Katie and take her to a deprogramming facility...
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
First, there’s the name: Barack Hussein Obama. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? I mean, our presidents have typically had names like the guy next door. Bill, George, Ron, Jimmy, Richard, John, Harry. The occasional Lyndon or Grover gets tossed in there, too but…Barack? Seriously?
The middle name is a killer. The right wingers have been having a field day with that one. You never read about Barack in the GOoPer press without their including it. “You planning to vote for MUSLIM candidate BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA people?” is typical. Have a look for yourself.
So, should we nominate him, be prepared for more- lots more- of the same.
Then there’s the last name. Inconveniently similar to “America’s Greatest Enemy,” of course, and many people on both sides of the aisle- either purposefully or inadvertently- have made the slip of saying one and meaning the other. Blitzer did it. Limbaugh does it all the time. Romney did it twice. Roger Ailes did it, too. Even Whoopi Goldberg. Heck, CNN ran a picture of Osama bin Laden over a graphic reading “Where’s Obama?”.
So, again, the name thing is going to be a problem. Get used to that sort of thing right now.
Then there’s the man himself. Half-black, half-white son of an absentee Kenyan dad and a Kansan mom. Raised in Hawaii and Indonesia. Not exactly the background you'd expect for a future president, right?
But after a brief stint at Occidental College in L.A., Barack took off and never landed. Check it out:
Columbia. Harvard. First black president of the “Harvard Law Review.” Worked as a lawyer representing community organizers and working on voting rights cases and discrimination. Elected to the Illinois Senate at 35. Lost a 2000 bid to become a U.S. Representative (a rare misstep) but then rose to national prominence after delivering the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention and his election as U.S. Senator.
As a Senator, he worked on immigration reform, border security, controlling weapons proliferation, campaign finance reform, lobbyist reform, preventing nuclear terrorism and expanding S-CHIP. And despite the “fairy tale” rhetoric you might have heard lately, he’s been a consistent opponent of the war in Iraq. His goals (and they're lofty, to be sure) include transcending racial divisions in America, uniting the country and moving forward together.
Admirable aspirations, wouldn't you say?
Dazzling speaker. Visionary leader. Bestselling author. Intellectual giant.
I mean…what’s not to like?
Okay, okay. That’s a pretty hard sell. I’m sorry. I’m really hooked on the guy. Of course, the last time I felt this way about a candidate it was 1992. Remember him? The other guy who ran on the “Hope” slogan? The “Change” bandwagon? Came from a broken home and rose from virtually nothing to become the new face of the Democratic party? Ring any bells?
Well if Barack Obama can be half the President Bill Clinton was (and I think he has the potential to be twice the President, if you’ll pardon the tortured language), I’m all for it.
Barack for President.
Next up….the Lawyer from North Carolina!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Okay, sure. Obama won Iowa and Hillary won New Hampshire, so we're in a kinda, sorta, similar state, you could argue. Except: Hillary's and Obama's platforms aren't really all that different. It's just a question of which one you'd like to lead the country.
But Romney, Huckabee and McCain? These guys are wildly different. Shows you just how schizo the Republicans have become, thanks to Chimpy.
Oh, almost forgot: Thanks, Chimpy!
And who are our players?
First up, from Illino—I mean, the great state of New York, here she is….the Lady from Chappaqua, the Fightin’ First Lady, potentially the First Woman President Ever, the Comback Kid’s Best Gal….Hillary Rodham Clinton!
Hillary Clinton’s got everything you want in a political candidate. She’s incredibly smart, funny (really- she is), tough, impeccably educated, wise to the ways of Washington and has the potential to be a stellar President. On the flipside, she’s cold, calculating, a political animal if there ever was one and monstrously ambitious. (Of course, anyone running for President of the United States can be described as monstrously ambitious but…she puts ‘em all to shame.) She’s gone through more than you or I or anyone you know will ever go through (unless you happen to know Hillary) and she still standing. She survived eight years of the most acrimonious, nasty political era in modern history and she’s coming back for more! You gotta love that kind of chutzpah.
Of course, she also voted in favor of letting George have his way in Iraq, voted against the Levin Amendment (which would have required the President to conduct vigorous diplomacy at the U.N., and would have also required a separate Congressional authorization to unilaterally invade Iraq), voted for the Patriot Act (and subsequently worked to change it/fix it later), voted against John Roberts and Sam Alito to the Supreme Court, voted against the surge and has consistently voted to withdraw troops from Iraq. Still the vote for the war has long been a weight around her neck and she knows it. And not reading the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq? That’s just stupid.
And then there’s Bill. As previously discussed, he’s her greatest asset and her biggest problem. We love him, we hate him, we can’t help loving him…and then we remember what he did to her and to us. Deep down, a lot of us wouldn’t mind Bill back in the White House (and make no mistake, it would be him as much as her). But is she electable? Can anything stop the lumbering beast of anti-Clintonism that will come rising out of the swamp if we nominate her and the slobbering behemoth it will morph into if we actually get her elected? I dunno. Looks pretty nasty from this perspective.
Okay, I make no bones about supporting Barack over Hillary and, yes, I admit to suffering from a twinge of Clinton fatigue, too. I am equal parts amused and distressed to think that, since 1980, there hasn’t been a presidential ballot without a Bush or a Clinton on it. I mean, that’s crazy, isn’t it? We nominate Hillary and that’s EIGHT elections in a row!
Still, if she grabs the brass ring, I’m behind her all the way. Not because I necessarily think she’s the perfect choice. (My guy has big ears and a funny name.) And not just because she’s better (far better) than the alternatives. But because I believe, really believe, that if elected, she can do a great job.
Next up…the Junior Senator from Illinois!
Monday, January 14, 2008
He's the hero of the Democratic Party. And, in many ways, the bane of the party as well.
He’s the most oxymoronic of our party's public officials. Every positive has a negative.
He's The Big Dog….and the Big Pain in the Ass.
The first two-term Democratic President since FDR…and the first President to be impeached since Andrew Johnson.
He represents everything that is right about the Democrats- our philosophy, our manner of governing, our sense of fiscal responsibility, our sense of civic duty, our hope for the future.
And, I've got bad news for you: He's also responsible for the Presidency of George W. Bush.
Nora Ephron said it a couple of years ago and it bugged me then as much as it bugs me now. In a piece she wrote for the New York Times, Ephron was lamenting, over dinner with friends in late 2005, the State of Things and wondering How We Got Here and that sort of thing and they finally got down to who was at fault. Where does the blame lie for the mess we were in? Here’s what she concluded:
“Most of my friends had a hard time narrowing it down to a choice, but not me: only one person was at fault, and it was Bill. I drew a straight line from [Monica’s] pizza to the war. The way I saw it, if Bill had behaved, Al would have been elected, and thousands and thousands of people would be alive today who are instead dead.”
Boy, it really ticked me off to read that. How unfair can you get? Bill leaves Monica alone and we don’t go to war in Iraq? Seriously?
Yeah. Seriously. The truth of Ephron’s condemnation is undeniable. If anyone (or anything) is to blame for the past seven years, it's Bill Clinton. Or, more specifically, Bill Clinton's penis.
Yeah, I know. You don't want to read about Bill Clinton's penis. Frankly, I'm not all that thrilled about writing about Bill Clinton's penis. But you’ve got to call ‘em as you see ‘em and there's no way around it, ladies and gents. The entire Bush Administration- it's existence, it's actions, it's contempt for the world, it's wars, it's attack on all of the principles for which this entire nation stands- you can lay the blame for all of it at the feet...er...the head...(at the doorstep?) of Bill Clinton's greedy, goddamn trouser snake.
Did Bill Clinton's penis lower the taxes on the richest of the rich in America? No, it didn't. Clinton’s penis was not involved, directly, in negotiating the new tax code.
Did Bill Clinton's penis try to re-write the Constitution? Push for abstinence only sex ed? (Yeah, right!) Did it bypass the FISA court and wiretap American citizens? No, I don't think Bill Clinton's penis was interested in such things.
Did Bill Clinton's penis attack Iraq? No. (But you know it wanted to, don't you?)
Okay, so you can't exactly say that Bill's ramalamadingdong was directly responsible for the horrible, horrifying, horrific, unspeakable developments of the past seven years. I'll give you that. On that score, Bill Clinton's johnson is innocent.
But indirectly? Oh, good lord. Indirectly? There is blame aplenty.
And I should make something clear: as much as I love Bill Clinton (and you'll find few who love him as much as I do), I cannot, will not, shall not and forever will refuse to let Bill, or his little man from Hope, off the hook for saddling us with eight years of George Dubya Goddamn Fucking Bush.
As Nora stated so eloquently: if Bill had ignored the insistent pleadings of his (obviously ignored but single-minded and thong-intrigued) appendage, Albert Gore, Jr. would now be enjoying the final year of his second term as President. (Sure, we'd be looking at a possible first-term run of Joe Lieberman for the big job but…let's not dwell on that.) Two Gore terms. Instead of eight years of Chimpy. The mind reels.
I mean think of it: Bill controls his donk and there's no Cheney. No Rumsfeld. No Ashcroft. No Gonzales. No Libby. No Bremer. No Wolfowitz. No Halliburton. No Blackwater. No Rove. That bears repeating: NO ROVE.
Bill, of course, would be outraged at this suggestion. I can almost hear him now: “Oh, come on, Theis. I worked for eight years to make this nation the most powerful superpower of all superpowers in the history of superpowers!” (He’d put it better than that, of course, and then- as only he can- he would reel off all the positive stats from his two terms in the big chair. You probably know them by heart so I won’t bother to list them.) “Are you trying to say,” he would continue, “that Willy Junior is to blame for every lousy, soulless, mean-spirited, contemptible, corrupt decision that George W. Bush has made in the past seven years? Really? That’s not exactly fair, is it?”
Perhaps not, Bill. Maybe I’m overly employing the old time traveler paradox about going back a million years, crushing the prehistoric butterfly and suddenly we’ve all got pointy heads. Maybe, even if you hadn’t given Monica the business, Al still would have lost (in the Supreme Court, I mean. He won the election. But let’s not get into THAT either). Maybe it was just Nader’s fault. Maybe the last seven years was inevitable. Maybe Dubya was our destiny.
So…maybe I’m not being fair to your penis, Bill. Could be.
But from where I’m standing- and it kills me to say it- that line from the pizza to the war looks pretty clear.
(thanks for editorial assistance provided by my brother, David)
Saturday, January 12, 2008
This is, without question, a historic year. (Or AN historic year, depending on how you feel about your articles.)
So...who do we fear the most on the other side? Let's run down the list:
Mitt Romney: If John Kerry was a flip flopper (and he wasn't, but for the sake of argument, we're letting that go for now), Mitt is a regular gymnast. Formerly pro-choice, he's now- lord have mercy!- seen the light and he's "pro-life." Used to be a big fan of gun control- whoops!- no more. Used to like gay people...well, that ship has sailed, too. Didn't have a problem with them immigrants working on his lawn, but now? He wants 'em OUT! And on and on and on. Mitt's never seen a position he can't embrace from both sides. And let's not mention the Mormon thing. Magic underpants and all that? Would make for a lot of hay in the general election, so nope. Not afraid of Mitt.
John McCain: The most senior of our Republican senior citizens. Former maverick but now born-again George Bush lick-spittle. Committed political suicide by embracing the Iraq war. Also pro-immigration, which turns off at least as many Republicans as to ensure a Dem victory should he be the nominee. So....nope. Not afraid of John.
Rudy Guiliani: I've said it before, I'll say it again- PLEASE NOMINATE THIS MAN. He is, without question, the most unelectable of this crop of candidates. How to list all the negatives? Let's try: Pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-gun control, thrice divorced, corrupt, lousy judge of character...I could go on all day. Suffice it to say- he's the dream candidate. The only possible downside to his being nominated? Good lord...what if he won? Think life couldn't be worse than a Dubya presidency? Think again. But overall? Not afraid of Rudy. Not me.
Fred Thompson: You mean Ol' Sleepy? Please. He doesn't even want to win very much. And with the writers on strike, he doesn't even have a good stump speech. Not afraid of Fred.
Mike Huckabee: The only real threat, in my opinion. The righties SHOULD love him and, should he be the nominee, they will learn to love him fast if they don't already. Socially conservative (to the point of raising your hair if you look closely enough), charming, funny, smart (despite his opposition to...you know...evolution) and potentially dangerous. Afraid of Mike. And with good reason.
And the rest...why bother? It's going to be one of the above.
So...who is going to be the one to topple this class of clowns? An analysis of the Dem nominees coming soon.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Still....ouch! Dat's gotta hoit. Edwards, for his part, issued an equally magnanimous statement so everyone, so far, is playing nice.
One could begin to worry that Kerry's endorsement may not mean all that much (anyone out there thinking "Hmmm, John likes him...oh, what the heck. I'm aboard!"), but it's better than a kick in the teeth.
In the meantime, Richardson is set to throw in the towel (very possible running mate material in this guy, everybody) and the media is still mulling over the "Did Hillary's complete breakdown in New Hampshire give her the win?" question which is, as I've pointed out (a) completely overblown and (b) like, totally a few days old.
Catch up, people! That was two news cycles ago!
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Moronic questions have included: "Was she faking it for political purposes?" (Not hardly.) "Can someone who shows this kind of emotion be President?" (Yes, please!) "Is this how a woman President is going to react when we're attacked by terrorists? Burst into tears?" (Beats sticking to the "Pet Goat" book, in my opinion.)
But what really galls me is: that ain't crying. Her voice quavered, maybe. Her eyes may (just may) have moistened a bit...(listen to me, I'm just like the rest of the punditocracy.)
Look, bottom line...you wanna see crying? Here's crying.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
McCain nailed down the Granite State vote (perhaps they miss the Old Man of the Mountain and he's the next best thing), so it's game on for the GOoPers, too.
Most excellent. Nothing like a good ol' horse race.
And remember now...watch Edwards, Romney and Guiliani over the next few days. The true colors are comin' out to shine!
On the Democratic side: I'm predicting another Obama victory but it will be close- 28% for Obama and about 25% for Clinton. Edwards picks up 20% if he's lucky. The rest get the spoils.
On the Republican side: Romney over McCain by about 5 points (29% to 24% or thereabouts) with Huckabee picking up almost 20%. Thompson, Guiliani and the others get single digits.
To be clear: predictions are for suckers. So I'm a sucker. Sue me.
Before we do so, let me share my brief opinion about what these contests mean. Simply put, there are big winners and big losers in these races. But it is what happens AFTER these primaries (I know, Iowa is a caucus, relax), that really makes the difference. The losers will re-tool their strategies and come out fighting. Some will get desperate. Some will get nasty. Their behavior after New Hampshire will tell you everything you need to know about them. More on this later.
Okay, now a little history of the Iowa/New Hampshire races. Iowa first:
In 2004, John Kerry shocked the political world by coming out on top in the Iowa caucus, something few had anticipated. (Howard Dean iced the deal for Kerry with his now infamous “scream” speech, which was extremely unfortunate). Kerry went on to steamroll his way to the nomination.
In 2000, it was Al Gore and in 1996 the winner was Bill Clinton (who ran unopposed). No big news there.
But look at this: in 1992, the winner of the Iowa caucus for the Democrats was Tom Harkin, who pulled in 76% of the vote. Obviously, Bill Clinton went on to become the nominee and then the President but…how the heck did Harkin do so well?
Silly question: Tom Harkin was FROM Iowa. Okay, bad example.
In 1988, the lineup went: Dick Gephardt (winner), Paul Simon and Michael Dukakis. (Gephardt and Simon had the advantage of proximity. Gephardt was from neighboring Missouri, Simon from neighboring Illinois. Dukakis was from librul Massachusetts.) Still, Dukakis went on to win the nomination.
In 1984, it was Mondale in a landslide, in ’80 it was Carter over Kennedy, but here’s something: in 1976 and 1972 the winner was…. “Uncommitted.” That’s right. Iowa caucus-goers voted 37% and 36% respectively for…no one. What the…?
Okay, now to the Republicans in Iowa: I’ll make it brief, since it is mostly unsurprising:
2004: Chimpy (unopposed)
2000: Chimpy over Forbes, Keyes, Bauer, McCain and Hatch (it is worth noting that 14% of Republican voters in Iowa in 2000 voted for lunatic fringe candidate Alan Keyes. Should tell you something right there.)
1996: Bob Dole
1992: George H.W. Bush
And here’s where it finally gets noteworthy: in 1988, when George Bush the Elder was running for his first term (and on the coattails of Ronald Reagan), he only won 19% of the caucus vote. Bob Dole and Pat Robertson (!) both beat him.
In ’84 it was Reagan, unopposed, but in 1980, George H.W. Bush, running against Reagan, beat him 32% to 30%.
So…how are these stats significant? Well, for the Democrats, the winner in Iowa went on to be the nominee five out of ten times. How many times did the Democratic winner of the Iowa caucus go on to be President?
Once. Bill Clinton, re-elected in 1996. That’s it.
For the Republicans, the eventual nominee won five out of eight times. Of those, four went on to win the White House (Chimpy twice, his dad once and Reagan in ’84).
Translation: Iowa is very important, historically, for the Republican nominee. For the Democrats, no so much. Good news for Huckabee, eh?
How about New Hampshire?
To make it brief: going back to ’72, when Muskie won the primary but McGovern was the nominee, the Dems have had six of the nine New Hampshire primary winners go on to be the nominee, two of whom won (Carter and Clinton).
For the Republicans? Seven of the nine primary winners have been the nominee; five out of the nine have won the Presidency.
Translation: New Hampshire is REALLY important to both parties.
Final note on New Hampshire: the biggest story of the past 20 years, in my opinion, to come out of the N.H. primary is John McCain’s victory over Chimpy in 2000. Why? Because when he lost, Chimpy showed us who he really was. He and his cohorts pulled out all the stops to win in South Carolina in a now infamous smear of John McCain.
Ahead in the polls, McCain found himself viciously attacked by the Bushies. A snippet from Wikipedia:
“A mysterious semi-underground campaign began against McCain, delivered by push polls, faxes, e-mails, flyers, and the like, and comprising a series of smears: most famously, that he had fathered a black child out of wedlock (a hurtful reference to the McCains' dark-skinned daughter Bridget, adopted from Bangladesh), that his wife Cindy was a drug addict, that he was a homosexual, that he was a "Manchurian Candidate" traitor or mentally unstable from his North Vietnam POW days. The Bush campaign strongly denied any involvement with these attacks."
Bush went on to win the state and, later, the nomination and, much later, to steal the election.
Again: What happens after New Hampshire will tell you everything you need to know about both the front runners and their opponents. They will either fight the good fight or start slinging mud.
Watch carefully, folks.
Monday, January 7, 2008
This site was established, through the good folks at Shanghai Low Theatricals, to be the venting spot for their Literary Czar and Resident Big Mouth.
Here's my brief political bio: I've been writing about politics for most of my life (in my family- of which you will hear much- politics is a spectator sport). I've posted to many, many different blogs under the moniker "Cyberactor," was active in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns (in 2004 I co-founded "Operation Fool Me Once" which spearheaded the push to get editorial writers who made the mistake of endorsing George W. Bush in 2000 to switch to John Kerry in 2004...a hell of an effort, if I do say so myself), I have been a serial letter-to-the-editor writer for 20+ years (if you have Lexis-Nexus you can sample my wares at the Chicago Tribune) and, in my own small way, have made political commentary, when appropriate, a large part of my life.
So who the hell do I think I am, creating my own political blog? Do I honestly think that my opinions are so valuable that they deserve a forum all their own? Do I expect that people will actually read this thing? Exactly how full of myself am I?
The answers are: An Important Person With Something To Say (i.e. an American voter), yes, yes and quite a bit, thank you very much.
So here's hoping that you'll come and visit. Comment, even. Engage my friends and me in dialogue on the site. Correct my spelling. Fix my grammar. Do whatever the hell you want.
Do you come from a different political perspective? Pull up a chair. There's nothing I enjoy more than ideological engagement. (Translation: I like to argue.)
As a famous chimp once intoned: Bring it on.
That's the intro. Thanks for reading. Stay tuned. There is much work to be done.