Wednesday, January 9, 2008



Before yesterday, the experts were telling us that the race for the Democratic nomination was over. Readers of the Insightful Pontificator knew better. (See “This Isn’t America; this is Iowa!”, 1/5/08).

As for Hillary Clinton’s the tears in the diner, many pundits were telling us they were sincere. It is hard, though, to think that anything the Clintons do is not contrived, calibrated, and orchestrated. At any rate, the tears worked. The lesson one can draw from the effectiveness of those tears is how easy it is to manipulate the typical American voter. O tempora, o mores!

At any rate, the Democratic race will continue, contrary to what the deep thinkers were telling us before New Hampshire, and it is hard to see how Hillary Clinton will not have the nomination wrapped up by the evening of February 5. One note of caution: if Clinton does not win the nomination (again, a highly unlikely event), the slip that will have caused such a loss is one comment in her New Hampshire victory speech. In that testimony to treacly torpidity, Clinton told us that she will get the troops out of Iraq “the right way.” That can be taken as code for saying that she will keep us in the war she so ardently supported for a long time, and sounds positively Nixonesque. This could hurt her among the Democratic primary electorate in the upcoming contests. It could, but it probably won’t.

Just as I cautioned you not to get caught up in codswallop about Obama’s inevitability that followed Iowa, please don’t get suckered by the McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) fatuosity coming out of New Hampshire. Evangelical heavy South Carolina will be difficult for McCain (though perhaps not as tough as the experts tell us), Romney has a natural base in Michigan, and Giuliani enters the race in earnest in Florida. In all likelihood, New Hampshire will have turned out to have been a flash in the pan for McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?), just as it was in 2000, and this time it will be McCain himself, not George II’s facinorous spin doctors, who bring McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) down.

If by some unforeseen and unfortunate turn of events, the Republicans do nominate McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?), what I had predicted to be a landslide Democratic victory in the general election (One of the most salient lessons of the NH primary this year is that the predominance of Democratic ballots over Republican ballots cast, roughly 210 to 170, adding to the evidence that this will be a BIG Democratic year.) may turn out to be the election that destroys the GOP for good. McCain is most notable not for his completely contrived “maverick” image, but for his belief that the Iraq war was a terrific idea and that keeping troops there for the next 50 years or so would be an even better idea. Why did the Democrats do so well in 2006? Not because the electorate had a sudden nostomania for their big government palliatives, but because the electorate wanted out of Iraq, and not because things were going so poorly there in 2006 but because the Iraq war was at best an asinine idea in the first place. If the Republicans nominate McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?), they will have nominated the war’s most ardent proponent short of George Bush and Dick Cheney. Further, McCain’s puerile ditty “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran” to the tune of “Barbara Ann” will be played round the clock should he become the Republican standard-bearer. This childish gibberish will be constantly contrasted with McCain’s boasting of his maturity, sense of responsibility, and foreign policy “expertise.”

There is another problem with McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?). Anyone who watches and listens to him and honestly assesses his performance and appearance cannot help but conclude that McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) is something of a dullard. The easiest questions seem to baffle him. He “answers” most questions by gazing into the distance, as if the answers were floating somewhere above him, sniffing and implying that answering such troublesome questions is beneath his dignity before falling back on his POW in Vietnam shtick.

If the Republicans do nominate McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) , after putting George II in the White House for the last eight years, one can only conclude that the GOP has a death wish.

A few more things on New Hampshire…

I watched the coverage on CNN and MSNBC, and a common feature was incessant whining from the pundits about how the polls had been so wrong on the Democratic side. One commentator went so far as to sniff that the pollees had lied to the pollsters. How dare they! Even with the huge premium I put on honesty in all matters, I heartily endorse lying to pollsters, especially exit pollsters. Why? Because I love the game of politics, and I have fond childhood and young adulthood memories of real election nights when we sat by the radio or television and listened to or watched actual vote tallies coming in. Election night was always a big deal in the Quinn household. It took hours, or longer, until we knew who the victors were. In this age of exit and other polls, such entertaining election nights are rare. (Rare, but not non-existent—note the 2000 and, to a lesser extent, the 2004 general elections for president.) I, for one, was delighted that the polls had it so wrong, and not because I prefer Clinton over Obama.

Further, as a fan of the political game (Yes, it is a game, contrary to Hillary Clinton’s assertions to the contrary, until we get a viable candidate from either party the election of whom will make a measurable difference in the direction of this country.), I am delighted by the caucus/primary results so far. This means we will have a couple of races to watch, at least until February 5 and possibly, but probably not, later on the Republican side. Of course, it would be a political junkie’s dream to have the conventions actually mean something this year, but that remains unlikely, well nigh impossible. That hasn’t happened since 1976 and is not likely to happen again in our lifetimes. But a month’s entertainment is more than many people expected as recently as a few days ago.

No comments: