Friday, January 4, 2008


So the voters of Iowa--all 17 of them, or however few there were--have spoken. The pundits (where does one apply for the job?) are saying all the predictable things. What do we know?

Not an awful lot, but something. I think it's correct to say, as several have, that the Huckabee thing is the God Squad getting tired of being called out every four years to anoint another corporocrat just because he says all the right--far right--things. Now the corporate candidates will have to woo the Squad a little harder (which should be no big trick). Enjoy your 15 minutes, Mike: New Hampshire looms.

Meanwhile, though, if Mike Huckabee likely isn't going anywhere anyway, still Mitt Romney looks badly bloodied. Of course, he was the wrong guy in the wrong place, but it still looks bad, especially the size of the margin. All this is only going to help McCain and, maybe, Giuliani, though hizzoner has other problems of his own. I kind of hope McCain doesn't get it, because he'd run the strongest race against a Democrat.

And speaking of those folks: the Obama campaign's ability to turn out a big batch of college students has got everyone talking about how this time the "youth vote" will really matter. Right. They put everything they had into Iowa, where a few tens of thousands of bodies is an overwhelming horde. That ain't gonna work on a national scale: can you spell "Short Attention Span"? I think y'can.

But if Obama picks up enough "bounce" to drag in the independents in New Hampshire (yet another state with screwy election laws, where indies can vote in party primaries), and ends up getting the nomination, I would have a very bad feeling. As one or another of the liberal bloggers put it, the Republicans would eat him for breakfast in the general election--and even if the Democratic tide is so vast that it carried him in anyway, once he's in office they'd eat him for lunch.

Why have the Demos won so few presidential elections? Because too many of them think that sitting in a circle and holding hands and singing Kumbaya accomplishes something. And that's the kind of candidacy I foresee from Obama (because it's what we have seen so far). Maybe in a year when just about everyone is pissed about things as they are, a simplistic non-message is enough; but what then? A president, to actually get anything done, has to play rough and tumble with the opposition party (and, too often, his own), with an emphasis on the rough part. Can you see the Republicans in Congress joining in on a Kumbaya session? No, me neither.

C'mon, John, get going in New Hampshire.

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