Thursday, January 03, 2008

Popped Corn

Okay, so I was half right. Almost. No, I'll call my Reep prediction a win. Don't think I am necessarily alone in my predicting, but whatever.

To make more predictions, if Obama's current predicted win remains decisive enough (and to be clear, "decisive" in this case means "per media declaration" rather than mathematics) then I think as goes Iowa, so goes the rest of the Democratic Party.

On the Republican side, however, I think we need New Hampshire and probably Michigan or South Carolina (didn't South Carolina used to be more prominent than it is now? I can't recall) to shake out the actual nominee. Why? Because in other states Huckabee's Baptist background is going to hurt more than help. Maybe. But when you're biggest competition is Mormon. Ack, what are people to do with their religious bigotry then? If Huckabee can win again in New Hampshire, the money will POUR in and we'll see if his runner legs become more useful metaphors.

Back to the Dems though: I'm watching MSNBC because I prefer Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann to Wolf and whomever on CNN (and we'll quite obviously skip FNC completely). Matthews opined, given American history, that the results of this caucus reflect our historical willingness to extend the franchise to African Americans before women. If you look at the math, however, I'm not sure that theory - as sexy as it is - will really bear out in the final analysis. And any conclusions you might wish to draw from Hillary's potential 3d place finish are inexorably connected to her status as the former First Lady of our most dynamic - and most polarizing - Presidents. You can't, therefore, evaluate her as The Woman Candidate without adding a Bondsian asterisk to the end that makes her The Woman Candidate Who Is Married To Bill Clinton, Beloved By All, Yet She, Sir, Is No Bill Clinton.

David Gregory (also a journo I really enjoy) had some great commentary on the feel of a Democratic precinct caucus. He used the words uncynical, thoughtful, and energized at the school he observed. He lauded the level of organization from the Obama camp as impressive. Contrary to my prior post's comments about Edwards probably having a good field game given his pedigree and past ties to Kerry's people, apparently his website sent supporters to wrong school in that precinct. That's insane. And Chris Dodd's precinct captain was called out of town. Not that it really mattered, I suppose. Anyway, Gregory said it was a dynamic process carried out by serious people. I think that's cool.

McCain's comments on the Iowa results (made from New Hampshire) are telling: he slapped at Romney by saying the Iowa results show you can't buy elections (I would say, you do, but some are savvier shoppers than others - or just purchase better product) and that negative campaigning doesn't work. That's bullshit, but it feels good to think about the world that way. Huckabee made a negative ad, but didn't show it. Except the one time he showed it during a press conference. I'll have to check out YouTube for examples of ads that ran - I don't know what was out there.

It looks now like Clinton and Edwards are going to stay nearly tied for 2d place. That makes sense, I suppose. Obama is sexy and new, no doubt. As much as Hillary is "new" because she's a woman, she and Edwards are both as old-hat as any other Presidential Candidate (TM). Maybe this will be the election where young people truly do swing the results. Time will tell.

The last comment on Hillary: Andrea Mitchell at the Clinton HQ called the celebration "manufactured" and "funeral-like" - a dirge. Ouch. Yikes. So Hillary "Come-Back Kid" is the next message we'll see. Could be too little too late.

Right time, wrong woman. That sucks.

Memories: During last cycle's caucus results, I was flying to New Hampshire to enjoy the last few days before that election. I was on a plane, sleeping, when Dean screamed his campaign's death knell. When I finally made it to Manchester, it was Kerry Time. And that was that. There in the snows of Iowa and the ice of New Hampshire, our party managed to select the one person who couldn't do the job when a sea slug with a Donkey tattoo should've been able to beat Bush. What will happen in the next two weeks for both parties will likely be spectacularly interesting. At least, I hope so. And I hope both parties make better choices than they did in 2004.

I lied - one more last comment - David Axelrod's answer just now to Chris Matthew's question of whether Obama offers the most dramatic alternative to Bush was AWFUL. Maybe it was the acoustics in the room making it hard for him to hear and respond - but all I'm taking away is that Obama is a uniter not a divider. No really. Damn near verbatim. That's awful. Hopefully the candidate is better at his own message.

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