Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Hampshire Hangover

January 11, 2012

Feels like Rains, mmmmmmmmmmmm, it feels like Rains: Watching Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O' Donnell discussing and lamenting Sheldon Adelson and Super PAC's, I couldn't help but feel like Claude Rains: I was shocked...SHOCKED that the name George Soros wasn't introduced into the conversation.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Matthews: Last night I got the Chris Matthews I've come to know and love. You know, the one with the blatant agenda; the one who never lets anyone answer a question because it would take time away from demonstrating his awesomeness; the one who puts words in people's mouths and twists the ones that do come out. THAT Chris Matthews. I don't know what hotel he stayed at last night, or what they've introduced into their water supply, but we got a different guy on Morning Joe this morning. A Chris Matthews who came across as sincerely congratulatory toward Romney, and who pointed out some potential weaknesses in the Obama re-election effort.

I'm not sure I like this. Do I really want a fair and measured Chris Matthews? I'm starting to pine for the golden days of 2008 when Chris and Keith Olbermann couldn't mask their utter disdain for each other. Give me the Chris Matthews who gets challenged to duels.

Go Out on a High Note: Apparently Jon Huntsman is not a Seinfeld fan, or he missed the episode where George learned about going out on a high note. He needed to finish no worse than a reasonably competitive third, and he did. He needed to crack double-digits, and he did. He needed to claim/spin some sort of victory in New Hampshire and try to get some sort of bounce (as Santorum got post-Iowa). His speech last night is going to run the Unisom people straight out of business - why pay for sleep aids when you can watch that speech for free on the web? A very lackluster delivery (yes, I know they're all tired) filled with meaningless cliches. The guy has some good credentials and some good ideas, but he's got to start parlaying that into some enthusiasm.  Don't get me wrong - I'm not into "inspirational" speeches (OK, I admit, watching Kenneth Branagh deliver the St. Crispin's Day speech in Henry V makes we want to grab the nearest broadsword). In a game where it's about money and enthusiasm, Huntsman is creating a deficit for himself in the latter department.

Unconventional Wisdom: The Romney camp has beaten the "electability" drum since the beginning, and justifiably so. Having the party routinely hijacked by an internal faction whose vision does not match that of the majority of Americans hasn't served the party particularly well. I get the point - "if we can just stop carping about abortion and gay marriage for one election cycle, we can actually win this thing." So the message to the party is the right one, and the polls show it. Exit polls show (some) people voting for Romney based on electability. Why has everyone assumed Romney is the one guy who can beat Obama??? Why do they assume he can beat him at all? They're both bad in unscripted, impromptu moments, but I can see Obama wiping the floor with this guy in a debate format. Am I the only one who sees the Obama campaign painting Romney as a one-percenter? Another brie and arugula-eating rich white guy who made a fortune on Wall Street by manipulating a bunch of funny money and loves firing people and handing out pink slips? Unfortunately, whether any of this spin would actually be true or not is irrelevant - it WILL sell. Obama will turn this into Main Street v. Wall Street. Republicans who take Romney's "electability" to the bank may be disappointed when it comes time to tap into that account.

And speaking of debates....: There is no question that the most entertaining debate would be Obama v. Gingrich. Yes, I would pay to see it on pay-per-view. Of course, it will never happen. Newt will be gone before Florida. His little schoolboy, "I've-been-wronged", "Oh no he didn't" vindictiveness doesn't play well - anywhere. Nobody really wants Eric Cartman as their President, no matter how funny he may be at times. (Oh God, I just had a thought....can I please hear Newt say, just once, "you will respect my authoritah!"?)

Without God on his Side: Confession time....I did not watch every minute of every speech last night. But I did see Ron Paul close his speech WITHOUT saying "God Bless America." Good Lord (pardon the pun), even the Democrats feel compelled to include that phrase in every speech now. I can't remember the last time I heard a Republican fail to utter those words. Could that be another reason why Paul's support continues to grow? Are even Republicans getting tired of all the God stuff? Are people starting to care more about things they can actually impact here on Earth?

Love at Last???: I can't believe I'm starting to hear coverage of Ron Paul's campaign without words like "fringe" or "nutty". Even Rachel Maddow showed the doctor some love. Are there people out there who actually believe in ideas and have principles that are not trumped by temporal concerns? People who base their voting decision not on political party but on a set of political/philosophical ideals? FREE THINKING people???? Sure. Now whose water supply has been spiked????????

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