There's a New Sheriff in Town

C: And his name is Dave Grohl.

On what will bring America together: “I think that what the country needs now is a good, smoky barbecue—family style, at least once a week, winter months included. It’s important that people bring it back to cooking over the fire as a family unit. You know what I do when I sit around a grill with my family? I talk. We talk. It’s something about that hickory smoke that brings my family together—and friends. And that’s where I really get to share and learn with my family and fellow Americans. It’s around that grill. It’s two beers, it’s three beers, it’s four beers, it’s 10 beers. This is what America needs—beer, and barbecue. It’s the red, white and barbecue.”


For religious reasons I must throw my full weight and support behind this man and his March to the White House.


Nader's In.

J: But why? I understood the reason for Nader's campaign in 2000, and somewhat in 2K4. I just can't see a reason for his run this time around. Senators Clinton and Obama should lean far enough left for his taste, and John McCain is not the epitome of Neocon.

I don't understand his reasons for running, and I really don't understand where he thinks he'll get the signatures to appear on the ballot. In fact, the only conclusion I can draw from this is that Ralph Nader is an attention whore. Oh, and just in case Mr. Nader is reading this- I voted for Harry Browne over you in 2000!

OK, rant over. C should be around to set me straight shortly.

C: *smacks forehead* Well, Mr. Nader lacks nuance and stealth. He 'hinted' at running a month or two ago, and by 'hinting' I mean I should know better that 'hinting' means he's running. And I'm glad he's running. The Weirdness Gods are kind with their gifting. And part of the Weirdness is that Obama has co-opted Nader's 2000 agenda, I can prove this if anyone questions this concept. Why is Ralph running? I have no idea, it's America and he can?

Here's what to watch for: Democratic leadership and the Media implying that Democratic voters are morons. Every time they perpetuate the mythology that Nader cost Gore the White House, they impune every Democrat who voted for Bush. In 2008, GWB has the lowest historical approval rating of any modern President. It appears that Democrats weren't smart enough to tar and feather Bush the first two go arounds. Now it's popular to think, OK let's chain-whip him and drag him behind a motorcycle. Oooo, look, something shiny...

Can Nader raise the entertainment value of this grim March to the White House? Surely. And that is reason enough.

note: He's tall enough to be President.

Look at the YouTube!

J: Senator Clinton decided to attack Senator Obama for allegedly stealing two lines from Deval Patrick. She then uttered the four words that are the topic.
Unfortunately for Hillary!, this is 2008, and a whole lot of people look at the YouTube.

I'm not saying this to be pro-Obama. I'm not saying it to be anti-Clinton. I'm throwing it out there because I absolutely love seeing smug people hoisted on their own petard.

Tuesday's Ohio debate will be telling. If Senator Clinton comes out polite and civil,
then her outrage over Senator Obama's campaign mailings will seem to be falsified anger. If she instead goes on the attack, then Obama's best choice is to take the high road and act Presidential. Dr. Thompson said something along the lines of "true happiness in Politics is a wide-open hammer-shot on some poor bastard who sees it coming, and can't do a thing about it."

I'd bet Senator Barack Obama is truly happy.

C: I prefer the youtube Obama Mariachi.

I think Ohio's debate will be a Clinton on message, no contention Act of Contrition. It will be challenging to watch, but that's why the Weirdness Gods gave us Bourbon. Stay classy Hilary, burn down with dignity.


Throw the Spaghetti

C: Against the Norge. It's done. Cooked. Ready to plate. Senator Obama has trounced Senator Clinton in Wisconsin*. The Land of Curds and Beer has laid a smackdown on Hilary. Double digits. Good lord, in the book of how to screw up a fine campaign with arrogance, laziness, strategic blundering, spousal hubris, financial incompetence and a plain, remarkable resemblance to the adaptibility of tectonic plates, these people are impressive in their stupidity.

NAFTA? Say goodbye to OH and TX.

How do I fit in here Norah O'Donnell is hot?

Obama runs the table, owns the show. Dam, the man can speech. He'd best enjoy the next few months. The wolves are licking their chops. You thought Kerry's 'swiftboating' was nasty?

A sidenote: At the grocery today, Huckabee's book was in the clearance rack. No shit.

Une autre sidenote: New Mexico finished counting a few days ago. Who knows. "Oh, what's that? A box, filled with what? Ballots?"

*Like all other ahole journalists we're required by law to whine how we did not get the Hawaii assignment.

J: This should not come as a surprise. A wise man said " This has everything to do with geography. Look at the rest of February: Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, U.S. Virgin Islands, Maine, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii, and Wisconsin all hold primaries or caucuses. I don't see a single state, district, or territory where Hillary can walk in and win easily. He has the momentum, he has the charisma, he has the money."

Some people tried to argue with me... the same people who argued with me when I declared McCain the front-runner. All this tells me is that I should gamble a lot more on the primaries. I have no call on Ohio, but I predict Texas may turn for Obama. The early-voting period started yesterday, and the turnout- predominantly driven by the Obama camp- is the largest in history.

I'm interested to see the smear campaign, though. If the Clintons can't find good dirt on an opponent, I don't know who will. And I really have no clue how to spin an Obama weakness into a McCain strength. The best one I've seen so far is a claim that Senator Obama is the Antichrist. It's a little early in the cycle to play the big cards like that. I wish I was making that up, but throw Obama antichrist into your favorite search engine... it's out there. It's even being tied into the Mayan prophecy that the world will end in 2012.

Speaking of bets, I'm trying to look at the NBA's Western Conference and make sense of things. Will the addition of Jason Kidd be enough to push past Phoenix and Shaq? Will either have enough weapons to handle Kobe and Gasol in L.A.? Will any of the three have the horses to unseat the Spurs? And what, exactly, is going on in New Orleans? Time will tell... and I still like Boston in 6 over any of these teams. But not enough to lay serious scratch.

C: Political Kreskin you may be. NBA, not so much. I've got tix to the Blazers/Boston game on the 24th, my hometown puppies will spank the Celtics. Wait until the Oden era...

Shaq is old and fat and busted up. Kidd's a wifebeater. Never bet against the Spurs.

And it's time to juice up the VP speculation for both eventual nominees.


Merry President's Day

C: President's Day should not be about mattress sales or getting that screaming deal on a used pickup truck. It should be a moment ponder the Weirdness that is presidential history. Granted, somewhere some little kid is memorizing the elected order of the Presidents just to embarrass us all on late night TV. And you scream silently because you forgot Zach Taylor and Millard Fillmore. Nevertheless, the Big Cheese in Chief stories, our stories, are epic. And this American rollercoaster should be cherished for all its glory, wickedness, miscalculation and occasional glimpses of greatness. To our loyal readers, blow the dust off that Encyclopedia Brittanica growing mold in your grandmother's basement and look up any President. Then read some more from anywhere and everywhere. You think today's politics are a dirty, brutal muckfest? Enjoy.

Since this is Drunken Politics, Andrew Jackson springs to mind. What a story. And what an interesting SOB. Ask the Seminole or the Cherokee. Or the Masons. He also threw the greatest Inaugural Party of all time.

"President Jackson was known for opening up the White House to visitors of all classes. His inauguration party lasted for hours as throngs of people from packed streets pushed into the White House. This painting captures the rowdy scene with its broken furniture and stifling crowd. It took a whole week to scrub and clean the White House after the party."


Politics and History are good, clean, ugly, disturbing, messy American fun. Merry President's Day.

And cheers for the King of SOB's, Teddy Roosevelt. There would be no National Parks or National Forests without him. Edward Abbey and I raise a glass to you.


Thursday Weirdness

J: And I'm back. The evildoers cannot control my computer for long. Thankfully, I'm back today, because we had a nice piece
of oddness on Capitol Hill.

In case you missed it, Republican Representatives walked out of Congress rather than voting on whether to hold Josh Bolton and Harriet Miers in contempt for their refusal to testify in 2006. Nothing too unusual there, just political grandstanding. As in, there's no way almost any Republican* wanted to have a vote recorded on this, so they walked out, and said it was because the Democrats would rather push this issue than vote on the FISA (wiretapping) law that expires tomorrow.

That's all fine and good, but the Republicans may have been a touch too smart for their own good. The walkout occured when a Republican called a procedure vote. Oh, and it was during a memorial service for Tom Lantos, a Democrat who succumbed to cancer.

So, let me get this straight- someone from one party called a vote during a memorial service, and then his own party walked out while decrying partisan politics? At first, it would seem a bit disingenious, but the alternative was either opposing the White House OR facing reelection while voting for basically unlimited wiretapping on any American. I think walking out might have been the best card they could have played. You don't get a recorded vote, FISA expires (and the intelligence community now has to get a warrant no more than 72 hours after starting a 'tap), and you get to decry "rabid, partisan politics". Is it slimy? Sure. It's also the smartest move to make.

*I say "almost" because three Republicans stuck around and voted "yea". One of these was Ron Paul. As much as I am amused by the man's supporters, it's hard to argue the courage of his convictions.

C: I think I actually burst out in laughter when I saw this 'outrage on the steps'. I'm sending John Boehner a thank-you pack of smokes.

We must protect the phone companies at all costs. How dare anyone impune the courage of the White House, Bolton and Miers are getting Medal of Freedoms. Dead fellow Congressmen don't count just because they escaped from concentration camps. And the Constitution is a terrorist document, Al Qaeda loves the Constitution.


Is It Over?

C: Thankfully, my partner-in-crime had his laptop attacked by terrorists. Otherwise, I'd have to hear how Hilary's Giuliania-ification was written on the wall. Obama's ground game has put the hurt on Clinton's establishment coronation. Barack crushed the Crabcake. Big. Holy moly, Big.

Speaking of Big Strangeness, back in 2001 I attended a Ralph Nader rally here in town. Cue Obama's Giant Platitude Fiesta in Wisconsin on his Chesapeake victory night speech. Scroll back. The Ralph Nader show: Eddie Vedder played acoustic, Danny Glover and Jello Biafra spoke. Then Nader. Nearly word for word, idea for idea, philosophy for philosophy, Barack has co-opted the Nader paradigm. A new way of non-partisan thinking, collaberation, healthcare, corporatism, the environment, green energy, children first, war policy, workplace policy and living-wage jobs...Yes We Can. Uncanny. It's the messenger. Or maybe its time has come.

J: "It's the messenger. Or maybe its time has come."

It's both. Nader has done a hell of a lot for America, but he can't turn on the masses. Obama can. And after 8 years, people are ready for a huge change.



C: The weekend belonged to Senator Barack Obama. He swept Clinton. Running the table in Maine, Washington State, Nebraska and Louisiana and the all crucial US Virgin Islands. Hilary fired/demoted her Campaign Manager. It would be par for the course if someone kicked the Clinton's dog Sunday afternoon to top it off. And now the bad demographic bucket of cold water know as the Cheseapeake cluster is staring Clinton in the face. Hilary is clicking her heels together, "Super-delegates, super-delegates, super-delegates..."

And Reverend Mike Hucklebee is having trouble with his math skills. Word is Chuck Norris is going to roundhouse kick that delegate count into submission.

New Mexico *cue final Jeopardy theme music* still. Counting. Ballots.

In Other News: Drunken Politics is in serious negotiations to take control of the RP Blimp as he's decided to scale down his campaign. Well, not really. But we want that Blimp.


Friday Weirdness

C: It's Super Friday. In New Mexico. Three days after Tuesday's primary, the Land of Enchantment has taken off its shoes and socks in an attempt to finish counting provisional ballots to determine the final outcome of the Democrat's race. Notorious for being slow at getting an election result, one of these days, perhaps before the general election, Clinton or Obama will find out who won.

Move over Meet The Press, there's a new game in town. Edwards did a sit down interview. Obama and Clinton as well. Now Mike Huckabee today sat down with THE mover and shaker in the political universe. That's right, Tyra Banks. Tim Russert had better start updating that resume.


Mitt quits

Breaking News:

C: Willard Romney announced at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he's bailing out of the show. Maybe his wife took away his checkbook, more likely he did the simple math that he'd have to win all the remaining primaries. His Hair has declined to state whether it will continue the campaign. Mitt can sleep well in the knowledge that he's a new member of Rich Dudes Who Blow Millions On Vanity Politics. Steve Forbes and Ross Perot are buying the welcome aboard drinks tonight.

This is bad news for Democrats. They'll continue the knockdown dragout while Republicans fall in behind the McCantankerous. Is Hucklebee going to have "frank discussions" next?

J: Well, it wasn't hard to see this coming, obviously. I'm seeing ramifications for both parties here, though.

On the Republican side, Huckabee will either drop or surge. I have no idea if the combination of "evangelical" and "true Conservative" will be enough to stop Johnny Mac's juggernaut. If I were running McCain's campaign, I'd try to not find out- I'd call Mike and ask him if the VP slot or a cabinet position would be enough to convince him to drop out of the race. Point out how it helps the GOP- every dollar not spent during the primaries can help during the general.

There's a Democrat who ought to be very upset about this news- Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. McCain and Obama were pulling in the Independent voters in states with open primaries. If McCain is viewed as the sure thing, then those voters will go to where their voice matters, and that's to Barack Obama. Extra percentage points = more delegates, and I expect to see a push by the Obama camp to draw as many of these independents to the polls as they can.

C: Clinton Campaign Boss McAuliffe says they've banked $6 million in the last 24 hours. So much for being broke.

CPAC and the the ultra-right wingers may be trying to squeeze McCain with the three G's. Guns, god and gays, the Fundamentalists want their chunk of flesh. The Club For Growth'ers are ultra-cranky as well. The immigration thing gets their collective panties in a bunch too. Is Johnny Mac's war/terror card enough to get them to capitulate? Doesn't look like it yet.

sidenote: Anything that makes Lou Dobbs froth up has high entertainment value.


Super Repurcussions

J: The Democratic Party's delegate selection rules trend towards the arcane, but it appears that Obama outgained Hillary last night, to the 
tune of about 845 to 833, plus or minus four on each side. Momentum matters, and Hillary knows it. She also can't match Obama's money, and from here on out, Clinton has no more clear-cut "victory" states. To use a boxing analogy, she just threw her knockout punch, and Obama absorbed it. Hillary's campaign plan had to call for her winning New York, California, and Massachusetts big, and Obama had to know that. So, he took the best approach available- he tried to keep it competitive in those states, but did not strictly focus his energies there. This is smart, both for the primary and the general. As long as the Dems have a decent candidate, none of those three are going to vote Republican. So, Barack took his message into states like Missouri and Georgia, which will be more competitive for their electoral votes.

I think Hillary's wave may have peaked. Clinton needed to be seen as the eventual nominee by this point. Instead, she's just a viable candidate. I could be wrong, but I expect Senator Obama to start to pull away soon. This has everything to do with geography. Look at the rest of February: Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, U.S. Virgin Islands, Maine, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii, and Wisconsin all hold primaries or caucuses. I don't see a single state, district, or territory where Hillary can walk in and win easily. He has the momentum, he has the charisma, he has the money.

On the Republican side, apparently Willard had told his people that California was his "make or break" state. Getting beat by 8% in your "make or break" state will generally cause one to have one of those somber meetings with staff. Money may not be Mitt's problem, but even rich guys have to hate spending millions to get 34%. I think Romney and his well-groomed hair will be leaving us soon.

J: Late Breaking News:

Senator Clinton has loaned her campaign $5 million from her own bank account, and sources are reporting that some of her senior staff, including campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, are working this month without pay.

Rudy G may have set the precedent for poor campaigning, but Hillary is showing signs of following the same gameplan. Focus on the big states, ignore the small ones, go for the big delegates. If Clinton has a plan B, she must implement it soon- or this race will be out of her grasp quickly.

C: It may be a mistake to stick the fork in Clinton just yet. Delegate count is a wash after Fat Tuesday. Raw popular voter numbers are a wash. The Obama Kennedy/celebrity endorsement did not win either MA or CA, not even close. Super-delegates are establishment insiders which favors Hilary. If and when Florida and Michigan seat their delegates guess who gets them. The Clinton ground game in Big States is still alive. Caucuses-schmaucuses. If it goes down to Ohio, Texas, the Chesapeake cluster or Pennsylvania don't bet against the Senator from New York. And Obama has been put on the proverbial pedestal, expect the Media to start tearing him down as quickly as they built him up. And we haven't seen how she runs as a perceived underdog. This is too fluid for a momentum call said the counter-intuitive skeptic.

The HuckaSurge is going to HuckaSputter. He's running out of Evangelicans, it may be why Willard stays in the game. And side-splitting humor includes the Rabid Radio and TV/attack book/religion machines braying about McCain's liberalism.

Maybe it's just me but the pundits breaking down "exit polls" by race and gender is creeping me out.


Super Fat Tuesday

The Morning Report:

C: Well now. Here we are. America's almost national primary Day. Iowa and New Hampshire and their greedy egotistical retail politics are long gone. TV commercials, radio ads, comedy talk shows, attack radio, mailers, mailers, mailers and email spam rule the day. Here it is, three days after Wait In Line At The Grocery For Super Food Day, two days after the Super Bowl, the day after National Hangover Heartburn Day and now it's Fat Tuesday. Super Fat Tuesday.

Throw everything weekend poll-related out the window with some Mardi Gras beads. Check the weather report. It's really really important for turnout. The 800 pound gorilla in the room, early absentee voting in the Big States. And it's California, California, California. The Golden State has had little to no relevance in so long it will be interesting to see if they've noticed how important they have become this year. And will so-called youth turnout? History says no. We'll see. And shhhh remember the super-delegates can do whatever they want.

Here's your lock: New Mexico goes to Clinton. The former President hung out and watched the Superbowl with Governor Richardson over the weekend. Bill and Bill eating green chile chicken enchiladas and watching the game. New Mexico loves the Bill C. and Bill R., this will be important down the road. Richardson is Sec. of State or VP if Hilary gets the nod. Lock.

The Who Really Cares Factor: Will Limbaugh and Hannity attacking McCain as a liberal have any effect or are they simply last century's toothless barking dogs?

J: I will defer to your knowledge of New Mexico. This Super Tuesday will not determine much on the Democrat side. Proportional representation, rather than the winner-take-all system of the Republicans, pretty much guarantees that.

Speaking of the Republicans, McCain is showing the value of momentum. Huckabee's candidacy has gone downhill ever since Iowa- once people heard his views, he seems to have lost the public's interest. Mitt is who he is- the caricature of a politician. If Hollywood was casting a generic Republican, it would be Willard. The heavy Southern slant of today will be a nice little storyline- will it be an evangelical push for Huck, or will Johnny Mac bring in the military crowd? God and guns are both big in SEC territory, and both will overwhelm Mitt's "True Conservative" schtick. Oh, and Ron Paul will get his standard 5-10%... except possibly in Alaska, North Dakota, and Montana. The land of open real estate is the perfect place for his message to take hold. I've said it before, I'll say it again- if the Republican Party has a brokered convention, any Paul delegates have the potential to make the eventual nominee go through some strange contortions. It's a long shot at best, but I like to keep hope alive for any possible weirdness.

Romney should take Massachusetts, but has it been long enough for crestfallen Patriots fans to leave their homes? The weather may help determine turnout in most places, but clinical depression may be a factor in Pats country.

The Democrats are down to two, and their contest will be interesting. Judging by the polling data, what Obama really needs is about four more days. He is trending sharply upward across the board ever since his South Carolina victory (and The Speech). Hillary should win New York state, but I expect Barack to win NYC. California is a tougher call- I've seen numbers all over the board for both. If Hillary picks up 100 more delegates than Obama, the day has been a success for her. 50 and the race gets real interesting, real quick. If Obama gains more delegates than Hillary today, it might be time to start thinking of him as the front runner.

C: The lunchbag news: Huckabee is projected by CNN and MSNBC to win the West Virginia caucuses. Willard cannot be pleased with the Mountain State Biblethumpers' roundhouse kick. Reverend Mike is the thorn in Mitt's side and should add good ol' muckery if he doesn't bail before the convention.

I'll be curious to see if the NY Giants victory parade suppresses NYC turnout. Drunken celebrating football fans roaming the streets cannot be good for turnout.

Speaking of getting hammered, Wall Street is getting crushed again today. Everybody knows the poor get poorer. The middle class is feeling the mortgage mess. But when the rich get poorer, heads are going to roll.

The Early Evening Edition:

Georgia polls are closed. Let the Weirdness begin.

C: *tears out clump of hair* Projecting a winner with three precincts reporting from an entire state, filled with people, five seconds after the polls close, is insane and should be cause for tar and feathering.

It that a HuckaSurge in the Mason-Dixon wind?

The Evening Shakedown:

C: It's messy which is what we dig. Republican Georgia? Mizzou? Who knows.

And Democratic proportional delegate calculations may cause aneurysms.

J: The one thing that keeps on hitting me on this fine Tuesday Evening... look at the numbers. Look at the votes for the losing Democrat. They beat the Republican in every state other than Arkansas.

I think the Dems may have possibly motivated their base.

C: Ahhh J., my friend is the master of the understatement.

Conventional Wisdom keeps jabbing me in the ribs with its non-rocket science pointy stick. Look at the map. The classic, (for how many cycles now?), Southern Stategy, i.e. you must own the South to win the Presidency, has been blown apart. The times, they are a changin'.

C: Breaking Anecdotal Innuendo: Willard will be having "frank discussions" with his staff Wednesday according to MSNBC.


Friday Weirdness

C: The field has been winnowed so you know what that means. It's endorsement season. It's time to curry favor, win a cabinet post, an ambassadorship or plain jump on the I told you so bandwagon. Let's see, the Kennedy's endorse Obama, Hulk Hogan is a fan and some big California union. The Governator and Rudy911 endorse McCain. Chuck Norris, to his credit, threw his powerful roundhouse kicks behind Huckabee early. Where's Romney's superstar power backing? Almost feel sorry for him. But the jawdropper of Friday Weirdness, Ann Coulter said on Hannity and Colmes that she will campaign for Hilary Clinton if McCain get the Republican nod. The Queen Bee of Cranky Coulter believes Hilary is more conservative than Johnny Mac. Shazzam!