Friday, January 04, 2008

It's All Over, Except For The Janitors Who Have To Pop The Balloons And Sweep Up The Confetti (ADDENDUM)

So, the Iowa caucuses are over, and in five days the entire political universe will be holding its collective breath for results from . . . New Hampshire. Of course, in the run up, we will hear how unrepresentative NH is, how the results there won't mean anything, because South Carolina is the REAL, real deal, blah, blah, blah. . . .

I was only wrong in one sense in my attempt at predicting. I think that CW is correct that Sen. Clinton's third place, even though a statistical dead-heat with former Sen. Edwards, is bad news for her campaign. Of course, it also means New Yorkers probably won't have to replace a Senator next year.

I still think Obama just doesn't have what it takes. His blather is very Kennedyesque, all about changing generations, yadda, yadda, but there just doesn't seem to be much "there" there. If it comes down to a two-person race, Obama-Edwards, I think Edwards pulls it out in the long run, because his message is both more substantive, and more in tune with the realities Democratic voters at least experience. I could still be wrong, but I think an Obama candidacy, and Presidency, for all its historical significance, is not what the country wants right now. Of course, FDR campaigned to balance the budget and repeal Prohibition and that's about it, so we could be surprised, but as he's telegraphed that he will essentially allow Big Pharma and the rest of the health care industry write health care reform legislation, I just don't think he's who we need right now.

On the other side of the aisle, we have the strange scenes of a Party destroying itself. The Republicans remind me so much of the Democrats in 1972 it's shocking. Huckabee's win isn't surprising - Pat Robertson came in second there in 1988 - but I do think, again, CW blather is correct in that the real test will be NH. Of course, it might just postpone the inevitable until South Carolina, because a McCain victory in the Granite State, as seems possible if not likely, will only confuse matters, except for the fact that Mitt Romney will have pissed away a whole lot of money only to limp back to Utah with his tail between his legs. Maybe the Republicans will make him National Party Chairman after the election in November . . . Anyway, If McCain wins NH, it will be a two-way race, really, with neither candidate having the endorsement or support of the Party establishment. Heads up and down the lovely neighborhoods of Capitol Hill NE and SE will be popping like balloons as it becomes clear either the feared Huckabee or the loathed McCain are the choices. Being rats, they shall desert their sinking ship, only to drown when they realize their isn't another coming along to save them. . . .

While the Democrats prospects look good - Edwards could push Obama to the left and to be more specific - the Republicans are looking more and more like some poor guy trying to win back the girl who dumped him because he's such a loser; while still a loser, he insists he might change some day if only she'll give him another chance, help him change. As usually happens in these scenarios, the ex calls the cops and throws things at the guy until the police arrive, dragging him away while he screams, "But I LOVE YOU!!!" Very embarrassing for everyone involved. Except for the Democrats. . . .

ADDENDUM: Upon further thought with reference to the Republican primaries, I had not considered, when I wrote the above, the possibility of the evil spirit of Lee Atwater, kind of the anti-Marley, visiting Romney, and pulling out the kind of nasty tricks Karl Rove pulled on McCain in South Carolina in 2000. We should never forget that McCain's victory in New Hampshire scared the bejesus out of the Republican Establishment, and so the whispering campaign, and push-poll phone calls went out questioning McCain's mental health, reminding southern voters that McCain had an adopted daughter who wasn't, well, white. Nasty stuff, but it worked, even as Bush shook his head in feigned disgust. Should McCain pull another victory, or even come in second behind Romney in New Hampshire, look for this kind of stuff in South Carolina and Florida. It might just get ugly, as we well as funny, in the ensuing weeks.

UPDATE: I think that this is the first real speech of the next President of the United States. Still mighty thin gruel - hope is a wonderful thing, a thing with wings, but it has to be hope for something, and he just won't say what he is hoping for - but you can't deny its rhetorical power.

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