Conventional Wisdom

C: What is it? Where does it come from? Is it those famed 100 monkeys typing until Shakespeare or the Bible crops up? Is it a few of those monkeys who couldn't make the literary cut who chuck darts at the WSJ's stock pages and outperform the best money runners out there? Is it a foul stew simmering with Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, the Washington Post, the NY Times, pajama bloggers, Fox News, Chris Matthews and a corporatized media polluted with low rent lazy journalism grads who should be pumping gas in a proper world? I have no idea.

And Political Consultants. What a bunch of hack clusterfuckers, and how do I get on this moneytrain.

Well just as a diesel-powered California pecan tree shaker hums during harvest time, Rudy Giuliani has been thrown off his branch. The man spent the equivalent of an African nation's GDP for one delegate. Who told him it was a good idea to run for the highest office and use fear as your strategy? When the FDNY calls you out as a fraud, who told Rudy to ignore that. You're the real hero Mr. Mayor. Does McCain really want this endorsement?

And Senator Edwards. Johnny E.. The poor don't vote. There are no Diebold machines under bridges. WalMart is the biggest retail operation in the world because low income people don't like being reminded that the American Dream might be a stretch. But thank you for falling on the sword. Katrina was real and embarrassing. Crap health care is embarrassing. Corporate douchebaggery is embarrassing. I've heard we maybe at war too, but Obama not shaking Clinton's hand is the NEWS. It's also embarrassing that your ideas couldn't blow through the Conventional Wisdom. Dude just picked a bad time to the most liberal rich White dude candidate in the room when a woman and an African-American are potentially making history. And any other time this would be a bad outcome.

*deep breathing into paper bag*


J: I have started this post four times now. I have pared it down to this: The Republican's "winner-take-all" system is bad for primaries, Hillary will claim a victory although she shouldn't, and Rudy G is done.

C: Who is going to demand a recount? Johnny Mac? The Slick Willard? And who will Supreme Court crown Nominee-in-Chief?

And my guess Rudy waterboards who ever came up with his campaign strategy. Good thing it's not torture. And Huckaboo 's cutesy-folksey game is up.

C: Rumor mill is cranking up Rudy endorsing McCantankerous in California on Wednesday.


The State of the Union

J: is intoxicated. Well, it will be if you follow that link.

C: This is a special SOTU address. There is no suitable expression to explain the joy that I will feel to never ever hear GWB exclaim how fan-freekin-tastic that is the State of the Union. Or something. It's actually starting to feel like the Bush era is over.

Anecdotal fun: I'm shopping for supplies this AM, I bump into the grocery manager and I tell him why my basket is mostly composed of booze and mixers, he says "And I'm hear to tell you the State of Union is strong". We both burst out in laughter.

C: Note: To our loyal readers, showing the back of one's hand to C- students is not partisanship.

C: I have two pages of SOTU notes that I cannot read. Thankfully, tomorrow is Florida.


South Carolina Saturday

C: http://tinyurl.com/3xgoqe

Senator Obama blew the barn doors off the hinges with his South Carolina victory acceptance speech. I teared up. And while the whole show may burn down into a mudbog, RFK would be proud. This is special.

J:That victory speech was one of the finest pieces of Political Oratory I've ever heard. It was... indescribable. A mix of JFK, RFK, and MLK. If I was with the Obama campaign, I'd have DVDs of that speech included with every mail-out for the Super Tuesday states.

Edwards is looking more and more like he's pushing for Attorney General.


C: Sometimes, once in a while, a moment happen. This was one of those moments.


Friday Weirdness

J: Well, here we are. The day before the Dems get their SC thing going, and it's a bad-news-dumping Friday. There are the usual odd and/or rage-inducing stories, so I'll get past the wordy preamble and get to business. That, after all, is why you're here.

First off, we'll start with the Democrats. Now, a casual reader may notice that C and I both tend to lean a touch to the left. This is true. But we've been whacking the GOP because they've been making it easy on us. Caricatures are fun to poke at. The big-3 Democrats had been playing too nice with each other. Well, all that has changed, finally. Hillary came out this afternoon and said that she believes the delegates from Florida and Michigan should be seated at the convention.

Got it here.

Interesting idea. If it works, she runs the risk of pissing off all Barack's supporters, but she can afford to do that because a very substantial percentage of them would not vote for a Republican in the general election. And, as many fine minds have pointed out before me, you can get away with just about anything at a convention and not raise the general public's ire.

Next off, because this is Drunken Politics:

Virginia wants some decent Sangria. I hope this measure passes. I also hope those of you who haven't had good Sangria make the effort to find some. Delicious beverage.

But back to the politics and away from the booze, Bill Clinton is currently doing a hell of a job as his wife's attack dog. I just wish he'd stop. He's a Former President. He's also a spouse, which is why he'll never stop.

For the GOP weirdness,Ron Paul may have learned a lesson about not being beholden to corporations- you don't get to win.

On the other hand- political corruption? In Louisiana?

Call me shocked.

Finally, The New York Times has given their endorsement to John McCain. The rest of the Republican field thanks them. I predict you will hear every other GOP candidate use this endorsement to attack Johnny Mac.

C: Dammit. You've forced my hand, I suffered through the Florida debate last night and I was trying to use today as the cracker to cleanse my palate before South Carolina Saturday.

Debate highlights: Mitt "I'll invade Cuba and make the whole goshdarn island Gitmo" Romney had mucho air time. He has money and it will trickle to you. Rudy rolled over, only 911ing two or three times. My guess is he's seen his internal tracking polls and is trying to gracefully bale into a VP. McCain? MmmK, he was on stage. Hucklebee can smell his own marginalization, he sees his old fat self in the mirror. The God Constitution with guns and Chuck Norris shtick funny ha-ha-ha talk show guest President wannabe has worn thin. Dr. Ron "the Racist" Paul had a kind of James Stockdale aura floating around his head. Beating Rudy "TERROR EVERYWHERE" G. and raising interweb dollars from the Klingon-speaking crowd may be confounding him. And Mexicans have WMD. Or something.

Note to EVERYONE: Never never ever mess with William Jefferson Clinton. He's still the savviest, smartest guy in the room.

After South Carolina, retail politics is dead. A ghost, a shadow, a wisp of smoke. It's all about the money. I don't for a second buy this brokered convention, both Democrat and Republican, yackity-yack.

And because whacking the Hilary and Barack and the Son-of-a-Millworker pinatas are so easy, I've been storing up the bile where it belongs. My liver. I'll purge soon.

J: "Note to EVERYONE: Never never ever mess with William Jefferson Clinton. He's still the savviest, smartest guy in the room." Bears repeating. I don't really think Bill likes governing as much as he loves the Campaign Trail. He's the most charismatic, affable guy who will cut your legs out from under you and smile while he's doing it. And then lick the blood off his teeth.

C: I 'm trying to figure out how recently-crowned French President Nicolas Sarkozy's trip to India about nuclear power fits in here, but his girlfriend, Carla Bruni, is smoking hot. Oh, proliferation of nukes in India and Pakistan ups the stability of the region question. Bah. Let's go back to a potential flag burning Amendment or some such shit.

And I think our newest acquistion, the RP blimp (obviously we need to rename it), should do a flyover of Dubai. Check out Dick Cheney's new pad. We need to drop by for cocktails.


The Munchkin Bails

C: Dennis Kucinich has dropped out of the race this afternoon. This means no Trophy First Lady in the White House. A sad day indeed. I met Kucinich at a neighborhood Earth Day event in the last election cycle, hell, he owns every bumpersticker in my part of the planet. Aside from furthering my theory that short dudes are not viable candidates for the Presidency, the Congressman was way ahead of the curve on the environment/Global Warming, universal healthcare, a living wage and immediate withdrawl from Iraq. All co-opted now by Hillary, Barack and Johnny E..

J: I like Kucinich. I also like the idea of a willowy redhead First Lady with a pierced tongue and a Brit accent. A sad day, indeed.


Fred! no More.

J: The "true conservative" has cut bait. I don't think it's too tough to see why.

Rudy's next.

It's kind of sad, though. I thought Freddy T. brought the right amount of "crochety old man" to the GOP. McCain really needs to step up his crankiness to fill the void.

Also, the British Guardian is reporting that the Huckabeest has senior staff going without pay and aides leaving the campaign. Perhaps that second-place finish in Carolina was more of a "victory" than he could take.

C: The buzzards have been circling over Fred's head almost since he announced that he'd bless the Republicans with his presence. I think he was under the impression that he'd simply be anointed Reagan Redux. The campaign trail with all those nosy voters and Press prying and prying... the luxury TV trailer, coming out and reading three pompous Law & Order lines, packing it in at Noon sounds better to me too. I would have sworn he'd have a bigger following.

Huckster and Rudy LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU Giuliani best watch the sky. Those buzzards smell fresh carrion.

Hmmm...Crow, buzzards, it is time for John Ashcroft to sing Let The Eagle Soar?


Crow, side order of mashed potatoes

J: Well, Johnny Mac is making me look like an idiot tonight. He stepped into Carolina and ran a stomp and whipsong over the GOP field.

He is the front-runner. Period. Anyone else will have to go through him.

C: I'm not calling him Official Front-runner with sash and flowers yet. He's winning open primary states, when he bags a closed primary... He can also thank Fred for peeling off evangelicans from the Hucklebee. Did you see VP to Huckabee in training Chuck Norris smack-talking McCain for being too old to be President?

Whomever advised Rudy 911 to eat 2% showings in the early game should get the Ba Da Bing Boom. Even Pee Wee football players understand the deep human psychology of Big Mo. I don't care how weird Florida is, unless the Big Fix is in, there's no way he pulls this out.

C: The shenanigans of the Nevada caucus, accusations of fixing in Vegas? Ha! Hilary 51%, Barack 45%. Each garners an equal number of theorectically delegates. Okey dokey.

Obama, Clinton and Edwards speak at the MLK ceremony today. And goodnight former Senator Edwards.


Poll Dancing

J: Well, American Research Group has released their latest polling data from South Carolina, and I'm surprised (but not shocked) to see what's going on in the Palmetto State.

The Republicans

The Democrats

Looking at the data, the painfully obvious conclusion to draw is that independents will be the key. McCain gets the biggest jump from this, while Obama pulls a virtually identical percentage from Democrats and independents.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say these polls are under-reporting for Ron Paul, as he will garner more than 1% of the vote. His supporters will get out and vote. Just because they're odd, doesn't mean they're not motivated.

I was surprised to see Edwards at 9%. I would have guessed far higher- 15% at a minimum. It will be interesting to see which way the "undecideds" break, although, quite frankly, if you haven't made up your mind two days before you vote, you're just not paying attention.

C: As I've stated previously, I don't know Jack Squat about the Palmetto State. Hell, I don't even know what a palmetto is, and no, I won't google it.

Now that I quantified my complete lack of perspective, here's a thought or two about the Low-Country Boil.

First, lesson learned from NH and MI concerning Independents, it's about turnout that makes them relevant. Now as I was schooled by my friend here, in SC one can register as anything day of primary. So I'm guessing the juice goes to Obama as the Mr. Excitement candidate. And John Edwards is going to be Mr. Pantload when his home state effectively ignores him.

Second, man o' man, South Carolina has read Nixon's Holy Book of Dirty Tricks and has written whole new chapters. Example: This week, McCain was called out as a traitor while imprisoned in N'Vietnam. I'd almost move there for six months every four years just to get the emails, mailers, TV and radio ads and the generic bile that is the poo in the political fan of South Carolina. Scorched Earth is SOP.

Third, I imagine Huckaboo is just going to ascend up to heaven on Saturday thereby skipping Super Tuesday. If his rhetoric gets more Goddish, it's either a lightning bolt to the chops for arrogance or move over Holy Ghost.

Fourth, Las Vegas is run by the screwheads. Caucuses in casinos? Nevada would be a dandy underground story to cover in the trenches.

Fifth, can one rent the RP blimp as a party zeppelin?

J: Here's all you need to know about South Carolina's Dirty Tricks and Rumors: Lee Atwater graduated from Newberry College in Newberry, SC,
and cut his teeth working for Strom Thurmond. I still mourn losing Lee in '91, just because it denied us Atwater vs. Carville in '92. Good lord, that campaign would have been epic.

C, I think we ought to look into renting the RP blimp. You, me, a dirigible, and a case of whiskey. I'll bet we'd give CNN an interview like they've never seen.

And a palmetto is a tree.

C: Lee Atwater also went to the Pat Buchanan's Graduate School of Shitflinging. And to Lee's credit, when he was burning someone down, he did it with a smile on his face. But the legend of LBJ and "pigfucker" is epic in its perfection. It set the stage for modern dirty double dealing from under the deck posioning the well tactics. And Rove doesn't count. He is and a was a thug, no appreciation for the artform.

We've absolutely have to gets our paws on that blimp. Or any blimp for that manner. Oh, the humanity!

Palmetto. Tree. Check.

C: Will the traditional Confederate Flag dustup have an effect on Saturday? There's a story in Rev. Moon's *ahem* "newspaper":



Trends and Musings

J: Well, here's what we absolutely know for certain right now:


Now that that's out of the way, here's what I see, trend-wise:

On the GOP side, this is shaping up to be a three-man race. McCain, Huckabee, and Romney. If Fred doesn't win South Carolina, and I think he's going to be lucky to pull third there, he's done. He'll stay in the race 'til Super Tuesday, but I just get the sense that his heart was never in this thing. Rudy's going to get the first clue in how his strategy's working on the 29th, when Florida has their primary. I can see his logic, but I have serious doubts in this approach. I just can't see it working. Oh, and I think from here on out, Ron Paul will be fourth in every state. He'll pull his 5-10% and call it a day. In winner-take-all states, no problem. But, in case of a brokered convention- which is a distinct possibility- the Paul bloc could be in a position to put the Republican Party's platform through some very interesting changes.

The Democrats are in a three- person race, and the only thing I can see changing that would be Edwards dropping out and throwing his support behind Obama in exchange for another shot at the Vice-Presidency. And I don't see him doing that- at least, not until after Super Tuesday. Smilin' John should win in Carolina, and Florida won't
matter, as their delegates are in the same shape as Michigan's.

At least we get a little Saturday politics, courtesy of SC. Which is nice. Something to watch now that football season's over.

C: The only certainty is that there is no certainty. Thank goodness. It's why the primaries are like the playoffs, it's why you play the game.

I'm almost certain the Democratic Nevada debate sucked the life out of me like some politico-Succubus. I'm only just recovering.


Michigan Smichigan

C: Ah, Michigan. The state whose economy has flopped like Laimbeer in the lane. And $3 a gallon gasoline is pounding nails in their collective coffin. Mitt's trying to ride his Daddy's legacy to his first win of note. Not going to happen. The ability for Independents to crossover gives McCantankerous the day.

And the word "Change" should qualify as waterboarding.

J: And the first talking head who says Hillary "won" Michigan needs to be cracked across the kneecaps with
dimension lumber.

When your opponents remove their names from the ballot, and
the delegates aren't recognized by your party, you don't get any
momentum from the "win".

C: This little gem from the Hucklebee on the Michigan trail: "[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards..."


What does he want this country to be, the new Iran? That's all the world needs is one more religious fanatic telling people how to live... And Geezus, what ever happened to separation of Church and State? It's MY Constitution too.

J: Wow. Nice find there. I swear, every time I get close to thinking "Y'know, Huck's not all bad. If he gets the nomination, and wins in November, it wouldn't be too awful- kind of a more right-wing Carter", he goes and does something like this.

I know it takes more than the desire of a President to amend the Constitution, but the fact that he's saying this stuff is a look into the man's mind. Yeah, he's playing to his base right now, but every Democratic operative needs to etch this quote into granite just in case he gets the nomination. That one, and "Science changes with every generation and with new discoveries, and God doesn't. So I'll stick with God if the two are in conflict." Because, y'know, admitting mistakes and progressing intelligently is bad.

And Huckabee must hate shrimp, as well:


C: Breaking News: With 1.98% of precincts reporting in the Michigan Democratic Non-Primary Primary, Gravel has .44% of the vote. Meaning someone voted for him. In Michigan. In Winter. That, my friend, is commitment.

C: Wow, did I ever miss this call. Congrats to the new Governor of Michigan Willard, you pandered your way to victory. Sweet, sweet lies trump truth, what the hell was I thinking.

And congratulations to Hilary for soundly trouncing Uncommitted, 55% to 40%.


Carolina Oddity

J: South Carolina's Republican governor, Mark Sanford, has written an op-ed piece in Columbia's newspaper, The State, praising Barack Obama's candidacy.


"Within many of our own lifetimes, a man who looked like Barack Obama had a difficult time even using the public restrooms in our state. What is happening may well say a lot about America, and I do think as an early primary state we should earnestly shoulder our responsibility in determining how this part of history is ultimately written."

Whoever wins the GOP nomination would be wise to take a serious look at Gov. Sanford for a position in their administration. That, friends, is how you reach across the aisle.

C: If I were the novice journalist sent by my liberal elite NorthEast/Leftist Coast newspaper to cover South Carolina, there is the Holy Grail of phone-it-in stories just flopping around in the boat. "What are your views on the Confederate Flag?"

And while my education in South Carolinian subtleties and nuance continues, I've always been a fan of the Weirdness that was Strom Thurmond.


Friday Weirdness

J: Ah, Friday afternoon. A political aficionado's favorite news time. Some nice strange stories are floating around out there.

First, Fox News' latest poll shows McCain with a 7 point lead on Huckabee in South Carolina- 25/18. Personally, I think it's similar to the polls showing Obama leading Hillary right before NH. McCain's getting a little bump right now from his win, but long-term polls tend to be better to gauge public opinion. I'll say this, though- if McCain wins SC, or is within, say, 1 or 2 percent, then McCain will be competitive nationally. The Huckster ought to be the ideal guy for an SC Republican to support, and if Johnny Mac beats him in the Palmetto State, expect to see massive upheavals in Huckabee's strategy. Remember, the best position to be is the expected nominee come Super Tuesday. It gets your supporters to the polls, keeps the demoralized supporters of your opponents at home, and puts a lot of the undecideds in your column.

Then, we get into the good stuff- The (U.K.) Guardian is reporting that around a dozen members of Rudy Giuliani's senior staff are foregoing their January salaries. Now, there are several reasons why this may be the case, from "we want to report higher cash on-hand to the FEC in this quarter's report" to "We're running really low on cash", but the reasons don't matter. When staff starts going without pay, it's generally a good sign of a candidate being dead in the water. I'd expect to see "America's Mayor" out of the GOP race by the final bell on Super Tuesday. Somehow, his message of relating everything to 9/11/2001 never seemed to catch on with the general public. At this point, I think he's running for a cabinet position, with a very outside shot at the VP nomination.

C: The South Carolina foray is your area of expertise. Gaming the roles of veterans, African-American women, evangelicans, NRA'ers, relocated Nor'Easterns and legacy Southerners is over my head. And pollsters have collectively shit in their hat. Will the Rove-monkeys burn down the McCantankerous again? Chucklebee on Leno, Letterman, et. al. cracking funny. I'm fairly certain American doesn't want a 'funny' President. Well, trying to be 'funny' on purpose. Mittster pulled his SC ad money, what a crapshoot. Nevertheless, I would like a low-country boil.

Rudolpho is screwed, Florida strategy my ass. Katherine Harris is nowhere to be found. The Cuban Mafia cannot twist enough arm to make this pollo fly. And the Driving-with-my-turn-signal-on crowd ex-NY snowbird doesn't know what day it is. Jeb hasn't said nothing. Hang my chad. And now Rudy can't pay his staff? That's gotdam hysterical.

Good call on the Friday afternoon news cycle. Only perverts like us pay attention to Friday news. Wall Street, the Feds, a boss who's going to can one's ass...Friday is the under radar 'bad' super slimy news day. The month of August follows similar guidelines.

J: Your description of South Carolinians is fairly dead-on. The odd thing is that the state has a substantial Democrat population. You want to make real inroads in Carolina? Just show up wearing either a garnet-and-black Gamecocks ensemble, or a purple-and-orange Clemson outfit. Sure, you'll alienate half the state, but the other half will strongly embrace you. Yes, college football is that important there.

C: Okay. That's frightening and amusing. The Gamecocks would be my obvious choice. I nearly applied to grad school at UC Santa Cruz just so I could be a Banana Slug.


odds and endings

C: Sad news as Governor Bill Richardson is bailing. Upcoming debates are going to be packed with watch-the-paint-dry excitement. If he's not a VP selection, he dam well better be Sec. of State. He's probably to only person out there can who muck out our foreign policy stall.

Kerry endorses Obama. Is Barack sure this is a good idea? Talk about painting a swiftboat bullseye on your back... Might be good for fundraising though. And Edwards must have cartoon steam coming out his ears. Announcing this endorsement in South Carolina, Edwards' home state. Zing. Snap.

And what hell is Bloomberg doing with an exploratory committee? Is it a law that all billionaires run for president? I'd suggest Mayor Mike give Steve Forbes a call and ask him what it feels like rolling down the window and throwing money into the wind. weeeee!!! hoohoo!!!

J: Well, I can't say I'm surprised to see him out of the race. I'm shocked at how little support he garnered in the early primaries, though. I thought his message would have resonated more. Still, if there's a Democrat win in November, I'm fairly confident that Mr. Richardson will have a job in the new administration. He's still New Mexico's governor until 2010, when term limit laws will end his run there.

And maybe that's why he left now. If your message is not resonating, one of your few other options is to go negative. If he does that, he probably attacks himself out of a cabinet position. I think State would be a very good fit for Gov. Richardson.

And I have no idea why Bloomberg wants to throw a ton of money at a doomed quest. Other than ego, of course.


New Hampshire

J: Well, it's big-time primary #2. Wyoming had a caucus a few days ago, nobody cared. But New Hampshire, well, there's a different story.

So far, the early polls are showing McCain winning the GOP by about 9%, and Obama running Hillary down by 13% or so. While that may be accurate, the same polls showed Obama and Clinton virtually dead even prior to Obama's convincing Iowa win. The discussion of land-line telephone polling's flaws in 2008, especially among younger voters, is a chat we'll have later, but for now I'll just say I expect it to be bigger than 13%.

Oh, and Ron Paul supporters are predicting a second- or third-place finish. I don't know if third's really out of the question, but I think the blimp-waving crew is going to get another fifth-place out of the deal.

We'll continue to monitor.

C: Technically, it's Primary #1. *ducks flying bottle*

Last three days of a campaign polling is just crap for information. And it's unnerving that before the actual thing where vote things are counted, Media has anointed Barack the Second Coming of a Kennedy and Hilary has been thrown under the bus. Why bother with voting if before the first primary if it's been decided who's been tapped with the magic wand? And good thing the rest of the country doesn't have to bother being engaged in the process...

But I still say the Mittster goes down because nobody in NH likes a rich tourist from Taxachusetts telling you what to do.

Today's X-factor: 50+ degree and partly sunny in New Hampshire. In January. This does not happen. Turnout will be huge.

NH Primary Humor factor: The Paulisitas chasing Sean Hannity down the street because FOX News banned Dr. RP from debating.

J: "Technically, it's Primary #1". Good point. Dammit. You knew what the hell I meant.

I think a heavy turnout will benefit Obama quite a bit. People love feeling like they're part of the winning team. Early polls can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.

C: Human lemmings, like Green Bay Packers fans that miraculously swell to 300 million in the playoffs.

Maybe I'm just jealous because I don't get to play retail politics with potential presidents at the diner. And I imagine Californians, with the ummm 3rd or 5th or something largest economy in the world, are peeved that pipsqueek swell-headed Iowans and NH'erites run the show.

Anyway, if Huckabee has a good showing it will weird up the stew.

C: Revealing exit poll results while voting booths are still open should be a hanging offense.

J: I couldn't agree more. In the 80's, didn't some of the networks call the entire election for Reagan at something like 7 PM Eastern time? Or is that just a false memory on my part?

Also, ABC's reporting that turnout's so big, a few cities are worried about running out of ballots. My gut tells me people are breaking to Obama in huge numbers.

I could be wrong, but I just can't see a massive Romney, Thompson, and Paul surge.

C: I remember screaming at the TV when those chuckleheads singlehandedly suppressed the vote of the entire West Coast. Doesn't get mentioned with Reagan's 'landslide'. And then there's Florida...Murdoch calls Bush early, no wait Gore...ummm nevermind. Damage done. And tonight, "With 1% of precincts reporting, CNN (substitute MSNBC, FOX) calls NH for ________. It makes me insane.

Dude, don't say "Paul surge", that's just gross.

J: You prefer "Romney surge"?

C: A Paul victory, a Mitt win. Fine. "Surging" is just wrong in a bathhouse way.

And turnout is massive, it looks like the weather helped NH'erites surge to the polls.

J: With 12% in, CNN's showing Hillary with an 800 vote lead over Obama. They're projecting McCain on the GOP side, he's up large on Mitt. Giuliani has something like a three-vote lead on Paul for fourth.

C: My Political Statistics professor would have failed me, and maybe slapped me, for projecting anything with a 10% handful of precincts and 'exit polls' that are oh so accurately recorded by college students looking for beer and weed money. Exit polls? Have you ever been accosted by an exit poller? Most sane voters shove them to the ground, pesky Hare Krishnas who roam public squares have better people skills.

Regardless, a McCantankerous win makes the show messy. I dig messy. His 'Rocky' theme song is an entertaining touch.

C: Clinton vs. Obama. Pollsters and Media talking heads got no game. We'll discuss this in depth, but it's possible many Freshman College Chicks for Obama may be crying into their celebratory Garbage Can Punch late late tonight. And puking on their pillows, and holding each other's hair, only to wake to the brutal disappointment of America. Alright, that's harsh. But turnout just doesn't only mean 18-24's.

And note to punditry: People who do not go to rallies vote.



We need to talk about Johnny Mac while we have the opportunity. I really don't understand the campaign he's running. It's basically "George W. Bush? I'll give you more of the same." Considering everything he's been through in his life, I don't understand why he'd want to try and sentence himself to four years in the White House.

2000 showed us that McCain is susceptible to dirty politics, and that was from within his own party. Well, it was Rove attacking, but still... If McCain gets the nomination, expect to see and hear many, many stories about the Keating Five and similar. I don't really think J McC is first in the minds of many primary voters, though. If you forced me to guess why he's still in the race, the best answer I could give you is "I don't know". Perhaps he's angling for a cabinet nomination. Perhaps Secretary of Defense, although in real terms he could do more with his senority as a Senator. Maybe he's running just to get first-hand experience with how his campaign finance reforms are working.

C: Kreskin, you've been reading my mind, Senator McCantankerous is red hot in New Hampshire. No matter what else, his is a fascinating American story. He's one tough SOB, spending a bit of time as a guest of North Vietnam probably makes political life feel like a garden party. In the Senate, he's pissed off his own party so many times for coloring outside the lines I imagine that's why he's got cred on both sides. Why he's running? Getting swiftboated by his own party has stuck in his craw, a vengeance thing. That, and I think he has a ball on his bus shooting the shit with his press entourage. But I remember that scene where he shook hands and hugged GWB and I could almost hear his teeth grinding. Vengeance. But what a weird six months, his Iraq position nearly blew up his campaign, he fired everyone, went broke and yet here he is. A survivor. A crazy old goat who's having a good time. The immigration Foam-at-the-Mouthers are going to come at him hard. I'm not writing him off. I also imagine him saying to GWB and Rove if he gets the nomination, "Where do you want it, the head or the gut?" Oof.

J: I do find it interesting that his Iraq position has been consistently about three months ahead of media reports. Almost everything he says about our little adventure in the Middle East has been somewhat ridiculed at the time, and accepted as common knowledge about 90 days later. I don't know if this will help or hurt him with GOP primary voters (since they aren't getting the unfiltered data from Iraq), but it'll read nice in the history books. 

If nothing else, McCain is a great character, in the literary sense. He brings an interesting personality into the race, and if for no better reason than my own amusement, I'm glad he's there.


The Fred Factor

C: I cannot game Thompson's chances. Is South Carolina where he makes a dent? Granted he worked with Mariska Hargitay, who is uber-hotness, Mariska not Fred, but his juice doesn't seem to have any traction. His wife is cute so that's a plus from a piggish political photo op view. Maybe he has a certain Southern appeal that will bump him past his moment of will he/won't he. He also talks slow and funny so I can't always understand him. Regardless, I have a deep deep love for the U.S. Senate, the slow machinations of process have inhibited rash stupidity on many occasions, and Fred's a Senator. Does TV star Lurch in Armani bail or play on?

J: Fred! He was supposed to be the conservative knight riding in on his white horse to sweep the nomination. Instead, he's riding a Shetland pony and doesn't seem to be that concerned with the race.

His Southern charm would normally get him a touch of support, most of the GOP in the south also falls into the evangelical camp. Also, he was in the Senate during the Watergate trials. Not too hard to mistake him for the next Nixon rather than the next Reagan.

"He also talks slow and funny so I can't always understand him."- careful, prep school boy. Some of us enjoy our drawl.

C: Alright, granted that dialect jab was a cheap shot. A dude from Hope fattened my bank account, and I've got the silk ties in the closet to prove it, back when getting a blowjob was an impeachable offense. I'm all about building bridges, and you know I'm doing my best to support the Kentucky economy by drinking Bourbon like a whale having breakfast krill.

Thompson's foreign policy blither is more Scorched Earth than Nixon. Hell, Nixon looks like Kucinich compared to Rudy. Maybe Fred can rent RP's blimp after Dr. Ron bails on Wednesday.

C: I have to rewatch the NH debates this evening as I was, ummm challenged last night.

Romney is toast

C: Imagine a scenario where Willard can win? Not New Hampshire, they hate Massachutsean tourists. South Carolina? No way, the Geezus Wing of the Republican Party is fullon Huckabee, McCain has the other half despite the Max Clelanding he got the last go round. Michigan? I do not know, but I suspect the Rust Belt ain't going to buy his flip-flop gay loving/hating game. February 5th could be embarrassing. No one wants to say it out loud, but suspicious eyebrows are raised when "Mormon" is uttered around America. Maybe Mitt saved the Olympics, but you can be sure the Tabernacle Choir got some new robes out of the deal. Me, I have no mormonic issues. A boss of mine was one of "them". He didn't drink booze or coffee, but he cursed liked a pirate and he'd always buy rounds of booze at lunch meetings for us degenerates. Then there was that chick in Vegas I dated for a month. Yowee. Anyway, I saw something entertaining on CNN this morning. Anecdotal blah blah says that the other Republican candidates don't like the Mittster. And that is goddam funny.

J: The amusing thing here is that Mitt seems to be the ideal Republican candidate. He's got money, he's got faith, he's got good hair. It's just that his version of God differs from the mainstream Republican view. In other times, this would not be a problem, but we're in 2008, not 1960. And he's a Republican, rather than a Democrat. Therefore, this is a factor.

I almost feel sorry for Willard. He's doing everything the playbook says he should, it's just not working.From a policy standpoint, he's pretty centrist. Conservative, but not hyper- conservative.

Dammit, the man should be electable.

He's not, though. The Republican party knows why.

C: Remind me next election cycle to buy a TV station in Iowa or New Hampshire. The ad buys from Willard, and the future gillionaire who thinks highly of himself, alone could have and will set me up in the South of France with a frisky topless supermodel who'll open up my wine bottles and slice up the really good cheese.

Bill Richardson

OK, let me start out by saying that I think Bill Richardson is the most qualified person to be our next President. He has executive experience, foreign policy experience, baseball experience (important when dealing with Cuba), and dammit, I want to have a beer with the man.

And, for the life of me, I don't understand how he's not getting more traction.

The man has been a Congressman, the UN ambassador, and a very successful governor. His resume is complete. And, yet, he seems to be gunning for a VP slot at best.

Just because I have opinions on politics doesn't mean I always understand.

C. I'm a Richardson fan as well. Met him at a Bill Clinton rally in downtown Albuquerque. It was a monstrous crowd, Clinton was a rockstar in New Mexico. Man oh man, Clinton rocked Route 66 that hot afternoon. It was a magical moment, not just a kissing hands and shaking babies dog and pony sideshow. And Bill Richardson is the Land of Enchantment's favorite son, and a very engaging speaker, he did the warm-up intro speech. Richardson's got game, you know that strange knack of speaking as if he's talking only to you and not mistaking you for a moronic sheeple. Spoke to the Sec. of Energy, or ambassador, or Fixer of Global Crap, I forget what his gig was at that moment, after the rally, got his autograph. Geezus, he's a tall bastard, no wonder dictators back off when he comes calling. As governor, he's also dragged New Mexico out of Alabama status. If it were not for the Wen Ho Lee fiasco, Richardson probably would have been Al Gore's VP pick. Chinese spy/not spy clusterfuck that was. Gore would have won easily and we wouldn't be in the shithouse right now.


Ron Paul

I was going to hit Hillary Clinton next, but I think it's time to talk about the internet-driven phenom that is Ron Paul.

Let me start out by saying that I have a soft spot in my heart for Dr. No. He seems like a decent person, he is definitely a man of principle, and he has seen more women without their underpants on than William J. Clinton.

It's his followers... call them what you will (i.e. Rondroids, aPaulogists, Paulistinians), they include some of the most interesting members of our society. I'm not saying every Paul supporter is a "9/11 Truther", conspiracy theorist, or racist. But it seems every "9/11 Truther", conspiracy theorist, and racist is a Paul supporter. They're a motivated bunch, with their fundraising days and blimp, and have no problem putting up signage on public space.

The thing is, I think they make some good points about the media's treatment of Paul. He polled 10% in Iowa, good for fifth and not all that far out of third. He was close in vote total to Fred! and McCain, and you barely heard his name mentioned on TV. I understand that there are limited minutes available during the broadcast, but if you're going to interview Rudy Giuliani, like CNN did, you at least need to give Paul a mention. Otherwise, you feed his followers with grist for the conspiracy mill. I also think it's dumb of ABC to exclude him from tonight's debate. Let the man speak. He's a fringe candidate with fringe ideas, but unusual ideas can spice up the conversation. I like hearing Kucinich, for a lot of the same reasons.

Because the more Paul speaks, the less his followers do. That works for me.

C. You forgot Paultards, credit to Wonkette. First off, RP is short. We don't elect Pez Dispensers anymore. Not since Ike anyway. And the Libertarian Wing of the Republinuts died with Goldwater. McCain is the closest the Establishment types will stomach only because the influence of the Lord Gods hisselves, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and their ilk is/are waning. Chucklebee's early victory not withstanding. OK, back to Ron Paul. Being able to raise money from the deluded corners of the Interweb does not a ground game make, and exclusion from debates is fuel for their fires. Paul and his supporters are Bull Moosers. He's Kuciniched. Another short guy. Yes, I mixing ideologies. Meaning even if their positions might shift the discussion back to isolationism and smaller/kinder/bigger less/more intrusive government, the vested interests of Large Media and the structural Brontosaurus of corporate Republicanism/Democratacism crush and squash these thoughts as whackjob blithering. Regardless, RP and Dennis has got no celebrity juice, Oprah's busy.

The exclusion of 10%ers is another discussion. Bill Richardson, maybe the Dude with the most cred of anyone from any Party, is getting next to zero pub. We need to hurry up and talk 2nd and 3rd tier monkeys because the squishing of the primaries is going to blow many out of the game in one month.

On Giuliani

Ah, yes. "America's Mayor". As Biden put it, "A noun, a verb, and 9/11". Rudy's using a unique strategy- don't sweat Iowa and New Hampshire, focus on the Super Tuesday states and get the delegates you need in one swoop. The problem is momentum. If people, especially primary voters, don't think you've got a chance at winning, they're not going to "throw away" their vote on you. People love a winner. Well, a winner and the Cubs.

But R.G.'s also the percieved front-runner. This could cause him more heartache than he wants. After all, if someone like Duncan Hunter was to get 5% in New Hampshire, the pundits would talk about the surprise factor. If Giuliani does the same, the spin becomes how he's struggling.

It's also an interesting study in personality. Iowa and New Hampshire are small states. A lot of the politics is face-to-face, sometimes literally in someone's living room. And Rudy's having none of that. Perhaps it's his NYC background, but it looks like Rudy's more comfortable using mass media to spread his "image" than he is pressing the flesh in intimate situations. On the one hand, it insures his message is
always on-topic. On the other hand, it keeps him from being asked tough questions. This could work for him, but I doubt it. The Democrats won't be as kind. Well, the nominee's campaign will. They'll keep it all above-board. That's what 529 groups are for- the dirty work. If only Nixon and Lee Atwater were still with us- then we'd see 529s used to their full potential.

C. SwiftBoaters are licking the blogochops. And Nixon's fingernails and hair are still growing in the grave. His skull may not be intact as Dr. Hunter S. is busy in Hell gnawing away. But if Tricky Dick does rise from the grave, I go-ran-tee he'd sit at the head of the table of a highly financed 'think tank' whose sole purpose would be to burn down Eye-talians, Mormons, Negroes and Wimmens trying to steal the Highest Orifice from upstanding citizens.

And Willard just took Wyoming, so who be a frontrunner?

The Conversation that Started it All

Well, you're here and you're reading. Here's why:

J: OK, so in our tragically shortened phone call last night, we were talking about the value of organization. At least on the GOP side, I think we saw that play out. We just made the mistake of believing Conventional Wisdom. CW said that Romney had the organization. But, really, where has the GOP's strength come from since the mid-80's?

The Evangelicals. They have been the ones working the hardest, while the NeoCons made out with the wins. The E's had to put up with it, or else their view of what it meant to be a Republican would have shattered. So, when they had a chance to vote for one of their own (and over a Mormon, no less- don't you know they're a cult?), well- they took it full-bore. 'Cause, dammit, ol' Mike the Preacher, well, he's a good guy. Why should we vote for Mitt or that sleazy guy from New York with three divorces? God intends to heart Huckabee. Fred polled third, 'cause a lot of non-Evangelical Iowans wanted to vote for a "real Conservative".

I know hindsight is 20/20 on this stuff, but I can't believe I hadn't thought it through. The question is: What now? Rove and Co. are not going to stand back and let the Evangelicals actually get a candidate, as it doesn't help their agenda. Problem is, if they go after Huck, they risk seriously fragmenting the party. The Democrats splintered over race, I think it would be appropriate if the GOP broke over Jeesus.

And Barack? I think the Dean team from '04 learned from its mistakes. Edwards has been in Iowa since, oh, December '04, and Hillary- there's no way she's taking advice from that bunch. So who's left? B-Rock. And I think he was more than happy to get in with that machine.

I love primary season. And we get to do this again in 4 days!

C: Geezus what a fuckstorm, I love it.

Alright, here's my game theory of bullshitology. Let's start with the Republitards. Chucklebee ain't gonna get squat out out of NH, I went to prep school in NH and the people there, even though they talk funny, are not morons or Mormons. And they despise all things Massachusuettes. Kinda like Texans view Mexicans.Or Florida Cubans and Haitians. Oregonians and Californians is the perfect comparison but I hope yo understand the distrusting sneer and bile that comes out with 'Romney' when a NH'erite says 'Romney'. Has nothing to do with Mormon. Evangelicals ain't got shit for game up in the Granite State. So, McCain wins. South Carolina I'll leave to your knowledge. But I'll hedge with Fuckabee in SC.

And on the other side of corporate politics, the Democrats muddlefuck is easy in NH. Obama wins. People are lining up to hear him speak at shitty junior high schools in bumfart NH. Why I don't know, I still don't buy the Second Coming of RFK. But Hilary sounds like she's just about to scold you for not putting your socks in the hamper when I hear her public appearances. Edwards is toast unless he pulls SC out of his hat. Iowa was a three-way tie if you pull Independents out of the numbers, but the media is hailing Borat Hussein as the African Christ. Regardless, February 5th Hilary's bankroll may blow a hole in Obama's boat. And the Swiftboaters are drooling over Obama. This I know.

J: OK, I'll go with your assessment of NH v. Mass. Why McCain, though? I'd think in the "Live Free or Die" state, 9u11iani or Fred would have a shot.

SC is going to go huge for Huckabee. I don't think 50% is out of the question. Fred should pull second there- the "true conservative" thing. They ain't votin' for no Mormon, and that damnyankee Rudy, well, he's not bad, but he'd be, at best, people's third choice.

SC Democrats like Edwards, he was born there and lives just across the border. And, he talks right. Obama will get a ton of the city vote (i.e. Columbia, Charleston, the Charlotte and Augusta suburbs), Edwards will pull in the country folk. I think Edwards has the edge. Remember, he won there in '04 over Kerry.

C: Julie-anny is a New Yorker. New Hampshire hates New Yorkers. It's why I learned early on to qualify my home as Upstate New York. Nh'erites despise and distrust big city types, and they also have read the press for years on end about what an arm-twisting thugocrat Rudy has been. And Fred's a fucking TV star, that dog don't hunt up there.

C. And before Bernie Kerick cuts a deal telling where the bodies of Rudolf's enemies are buried, I cannot see any scenario where Guiliani wins shit anywhere. Note: I'm completely behind having the cops shuttle my girlfriends, wives, future ex-wives, whores et. al. around town. But his 9-11 self-described imaginified heroics don't a nomination make. And the NYFD hates him and would feed him his balls given half the chance. His Florida strategy relies on senile ex-NY transplant colonostapy Snowbirds and caffiene-hopped up Cuban exiles who think Castro is hidin in the bushes. Or Bushes. Jeb hasn't said jacksquat. WTF? Rudy is toast. Or brushcetta.