'Petulant and petty'
Reader No. 1 sends in intelligence reports on grumblings among Republicans and Democrats:
Prince of Darkness Robert Novak nicely summarizes why many conservatives care about what John McCain thinks. Froma Harrop nicely summarizes why many liberals likely don't care what the Kennedys think and say about Obama.
And this story
nicely summarizes why many Mass Dems likely don't care what Deval thinks about Obama. ... Isn't Rep. Kay Kahn all but saying Deval has been a failure as governor? I assume state Republican researchers are archiving these quotes for later use. ... I liked this Froma line: "The idea of political dynasties insults a free people." Of course, Froma sounds like a free person who's about to insult herself by voting for a family member who's dynastically trying to do something the Kennedys never accomplished: electing two presidents from the same family. ... Back to the Republicans: Dan notices McCain's 'petulant and petty'
performance last night. I didn't see the debate. But I'm not surprised. McCain doesn't seem that comfortable when he's not surrounded and protected by adoring media supporters who often overlook that his straight talk isn't always straight talk. ... But I get a bigger kick out of watching alleged conservatives backing whatever-he-is-today Romney in order to block McCain. ... FYI: Mitt's local supporters are already making excuses
in case he loses Massachussetts next Tuesday. ... FYI II: Via BMG
, Obama is closing the gap
in Massachusetts. No numbers from Rasmussen on the GOP side. But McCain is beating
Mitt in other states polled by Rasmussen. ... FYI III: Massachusetts Liberal
looks at Mitt's Massachusetts dilemma
-- I'm going to bump other 'FYIs' into this update. Lots of people discussing Mitt's Mass appeal problem.
FYI IV: Third Decade
is wondering when Mitt was ever our 'favorite son.' Wasn't he Michigan's favorite son?
FYI V: Wayne's
betting McCain can beat Mitt in Massachusetts. But here's a thought: If the Pats win on Sunday, will Independents head to the polls or parade? They're not as fanatical about voting in primaries. ...
'Don’t expect to be part of the inheritance'
After his Florida loss
yesterday, Mitt was joking about what's left of his fortune after sinking so much dough into his campaign. We'll find out today how much he's squandered per delegate. ... Is the GOP race still 'highly competitive'
? I suppose so, considering how crazy this year's elections have been. But I have my fork ready to stick into Mitt. ...
'It makes Coughlin a little antsy'
I thought New York would be all over the book-and-parade controversy in Boston. But the Giants have their own psychological-ops problem: Plaxico Burress.
Tom Coughlin isn't happy
. ... I liked the Pats' reaction to Burress's prediction. Richard Seymour: "Was he serious? ... Sorry to hear that." Rodney Harrison: "Well … how do I want to say this?" Junior Seau: "He said 23-17, Patriots win? ...Oh they win? Well, I think we ought to go pack up our cameras and go home." ... One bulletin-board pin-up is cancelled out by another bulletin-board pin-up. ...
Some of you may have already seen this NYT piece
on the embarrassment of sports riches Bostonians now enjoy. Fun stat: The odds of one city fielding three of the best sports teams in a season (Pats, Sox, Celts) are 1-29,000, one enterprising Harvard guy has calculated. But the rest of the article is more than a little condescending. There's the inevitable reference to Boston's 'inveterate inferiority complex.' I'll repeat: I've never met a South Boston native pining for the Bronx. Any 'inferiority complex' here resides within the media/arts/hipster circles. Moving on to other cliches, the article flirts with the lovable-losers/can't-handle-winning angle that I thought was dead after 2004: 'All this winning raises the question: what has Boston lost?' Four years later and they're still hauling out this narrative. But at least the article didn't quote a local English professor about how baseball is a metaphor for life, etc. etc.
P.S. - I'm sure some ham actor somewhere in Boston is feigning oh-woe-is-we angst about the Sox not landing Johan Santana.
I'd like to see Johan on the mound in Fenway. But a 5-to-7 years contract at $20 million annually? I'll take Jacoby, Jon, Clay and keep the change.Update
-- Re books: Et tu, Herald
II? ... So Amazon also had a pre-order book about a Giants' victory? The competing books cancel each other out as controversy fodder, definitely. Back to the parade and Burress...Update II
on the Santana deal: "What a stupid deal though. Everyone waited months for that?" ... Read on to learn how Flushing Meadows got its name. ...Update III
-- OK, here's the Giants' own pre-order book
. We'll see how long it stays up at Amazon. ... Also, the NY Daily News
is on the books-and-parade controversy. The Giants, um, didn't know they had their own pre-order book. ...Update IV
-- This is getting silly: Giants all wore black suits
upon arriving in Arizona on Monday. Funeral for Pats, etc. Get it? ...
My heart also
goes out to the Ryan family
. It's a tragedy beyond comprehension for any parent, spouse or child. ... It also kind of puts things in perspective this week, doesn't it? ... I'm not ruling out other possible causes
of death. Not in Pakistan. ...
- 1.30.08 -- Bob
also isn't ruling out anything. But he's right about trying to move on. ...
'You jinxed it!' Part II
Hilarious. Check out some of the customer tags for '19-0'
at Amazon (scroll down):
"fiction ... hubris ... douche ... homosexuality ... 18-1 ... boston sucks ... cart before the horse ... cheating ... chowdah eatin sahrendah monkeys ... counting chickens before they’re hatched ... devil incarnate ... dewey beats truman ... sodomy ... time travel ... video surveillance ... wicked pissah ... wishful thinking."Update
-- The '19-0'
page seems to be down now. ...
'You jinxed it!'
The Globe is already writing about a victory parade
and promoting a book
about the perfect 19-0 Pats before the Superbowl is even played -- and Scott
is not happy about the latter. Andre Tippett Superhero: 'The Globe Tempts Fate and Karma.'
... Normally, I'd consider all this just pre-game fun. But we also know Tom Coughlin will be using it as deadly serious bulletin-board fodder by the end of today. The New York Post will be all over it tomorrow. Belichick is probably preparing counter-psychological measures as we speak. ...Update
-- Et tu, Herald
? From the report:
City officials are mindful of cursing the perfect-season Patriots with a Super Bowl jinx, but they say they have no choice but to start planning a rolling-rally victory parade before players even hit the field in Arizona.Mindful?
The homefront isn't making it easier for the Pats, who thrive on this stuff when other teams and cities do it. ...Update II
-- Adam has more on '19-0.'
... It's not about a jinx. It's about motivating the other team. A friend reminded me a few minutes ago how Belichick once took the city of Philadelphia's pre-Superbowl plans for a victory parade, pasted it on a wall and carefully pointed out to players the specifics of the parade route. ...
'Across demographic lines,' Part III
Reader Andre has a different view of those SC exit-poll numbers:
The view that Obama "transcended race" in SC is based on holding his own among white men in a three-way race. In primaries especially, candidates are expected to do well among their core demographics, and it's now clear that these are blacks for Obama and women for Clinton; so performance among voters who are neither blacks nor women is a reasonable test of broad appeal. My reading of the exit polling on Bill Clinton's impact is that he helped his wife against Edwards, presumably by winning her an increased share of voters who go for slick Southern white men.
'The Beginning of the War of ...'
Rich knows about Arthur Bernon Tourtellot's 'Lexington and Concord'
and makes another recommendation:
I have the book -- get it!
It's a great read and very informative. Among other things, you'll be amazed at what a comedy of errors it was on the British side.
Another great book on the Revolution is "Spirit of 'Seventy Six", edited by Henry Commager Steele. It's a collection of (edited) letters from participants in the war -- everything from people at home, to soldiers, to generals, to MPs and the King.
When a beautiful singer with a great voice releases her first CD and sends a note saying she loves your blog and asks you to check out her web site
, you check it out.
The songs were quite good. Beantown Bloggery posted about Ingrid Gerdes
last week. ...
'Across demographic lines'? Part II
Here's the AP's exit-poll summary
showing a big racial gap in the South Carolina vote. I hope Obama can 'transcend' race in coming weeks and months. But race was undeniably there yesterday. ... The same exit-polls show that Bill Clinton's antics might have been a plus in South Carolina. No, really. That's what the exit polls suggest. It runs counter to everything I've been reading this morning among pundits and bloggers who say Bill's seemingly out-of-control tantrums backfired. ... Now Ted Kennedy is endorsing Obama (here
). It will help with momentum. But I'm not sure if it will help with what are now being called "Red State Dems." ...
From Reader No. 1 on both national and state politics:
On South Carolina, here's another interesting analysis on Democratic voting demography from Jay Cost.
Governor Patrick should try to avoid having the Globe make his case for him. Instead of turning his DiMasi stalemate into a p---ng match over concentration of power, the Governor might take up a cause that voters would get behind. Property tax relief was a good one - in the view of some, it got him elected. Casinos might be a means to that end (perhaps unlikely in a state where the temptation to spend every nickel of new revenue on new programs is a way of life), but few like Casinos as an end themselves.
'Across demographic lines'?
Obama exceeded expectations. I was wrong. But I'm not so sure he won 'across demographic lines.' Twenty-five percent support from whites is not exactly overwhelming. It means 75 percent of whites didn't cross the demographic line. ... I'll try to sort through numbers tomorrow. ... Great discussions in general over at BMG.
Sadly, 'race, race, race, race'
was indeed an issue. The only problem is how to make sense of it. Is becoming a 'black candidate' good or bad for Obama? Did the Clintons miscalculate? Or is this what they wanted? At this point in a very crazy election year, I'm not sure. But the smart money is still on Hillary and her co-president wannabe. ...Update
- 1.27.08 -- The sucking up to the Kennedys in the '90s didn't work: Caroline Kennedy has endorsed
'The Beginning of the War of ...'
Poking around Amazon.com, I stumbled upon Arthur Bernon Tourtellot's 'Lexington and Concord: The Beginning of the War of the American Revolution.'
I never heard of it. I never heard of Arthur Bernon Tourtellot either. Anyone know anything about the book? I'm going to buy it, I think. ... More about Arthur Bernon Tourtellot here.
... I like to think I know more than the average person about Lexington and Concord. I once wrote a screenplay about the battle, scribbling away at home with visions of Stephen Spielberg begging me for the movie rights. Until friends read the script. It was pretty bad. But I had fun researching and writing it. So I'm surprised I haven't heard of Tourtellot's book before. ... Two Hub Blog-recommended books on the subject: David Hackett Fischer's 'Paul Revere's Ride'
and Allen French's 'The Day of Concord and Lexington.'
... P.S. - Shifting historical gears, I was poking around Amazon trying to find Andy Kessler's 'How We Got Here.'
I was impressed with his WSJ op-ed
yesterday on how Wall Street ultimately created the subprime mess. No, it wasn't irresponsible poor people getting in over their heads. They never would have gotten the loans if the financial world hadn't backed, pitched and provided the loans. ... (HT to Reader No. 1 for the Kessler op-ed.) ...
'A great democracy functioning at that most basic of levels'
It makes you feel proud.
The entire world is watching truly great presidential races, especially the Dem primary. I liked this quote:
Even with all the money, the publicity, the power of television, the person who wants to be the most powerful man or woman in the world still has to get down and talk in small town halls and stop people on the street and stand on soapboxes.
Not bad. ... Now back to the mud slinging. Colbert King
rips into the Hillary 'experience' canard:
Item: Hillary's claim to "35 years of experience." Subtract her years spent as first lady of Arkansas and in the White House, and her time working as a lawyer in the Rose Law Firm and in other jobs. As Reason Magazine's Steve Chapman reported in November, Hillary Clinton has "just under eight years of experience in elective office -- one more than John Edwards and four fewer than Obama." And, to boot, Hillary the Feminist has her man to fight her battles.
But it's working. I wouldn't be surprised if she does well
in South Carolina today. Obama might win the vote - but lose the expectation game. ... FYI: Kevin
and I have made a bet. I say Hillary is going to win it all come November (not
that I want her to win -- mind you). Kevin says his subconscious-torpedo theory
is virtually infallible. Loser buys the winner beers.Update
is probably right about today's outcome for Obama: 'He will lose by winning.' ... And it won't be just a CW expectations-game loss. It will be about race too. It's sad but that's how the Clintons have expertly played
it. It took me a while to see it. ...Update II
-- From Reader No. 1:
I hadn't thought about the 'Experience' math the way Colbert King did, but it's a very fair point. Unfortunately, it also seems beside the point because as you note, it's working. Love all the tut-tutting of redfaced Bill Clinton when his supporters have ignored worse.
'Hang in there, my theory is right on track'
Responding to my 'More qualified ' post below, Kevin is urging me not to despair about the validity of his Bill Clinton subconscious-torpedo theory
Hang in there, my theory is right on track.
Here’s Robert Reich, on his blog:
“I write this more out of sadness than anger. Bill Clinton’s ill-tempered and ill-founded attacks on Barack Obama are doing no credit to the former President, his legacy, or his wife’s campaign. Nor are they helping the Democratic party..”
William Greider, in The Nation:
“We are sure to see more of Mr. Bill’s intrusions because the former president is pathological about preserving his own place in the spotlight. He can’t stand it when he is not the story and, one way or another, he will make himself the story. I used to be sympathetic toward Mrs. Clinton on this point. No longer.”
Not exactly members of the vast right wing conspiracy. Bill is right on schedule. The Clinton’s may survive the primaries, but Bill’s antics will be the ultimate roadblock to The Restoration.
'Fantasy and reality'
Reader No. 1 on Deval's budget dreams:
Love those headlines. How about fantasy and reality? The real problem for the average pragmatic voter is the collision of the (narrowly) effective and the (broadly) ineffective. Adrian Walker gets it right. To borrow a phrase from one of the Governor's predecessors, this is about competence, not ideology.
FYI: No, one trader did not cause this week's havoc in markets. Here's one useful perspective on the root causes. (Via excellent new financial aggregation site: RealClearMarkets.com. And glory of glories: RealClearSports!)
The NYT has endorsed
Hillary, saying she's 'more qualified' than Obama. ... OK, imagine this scenario: Laura Bush takes her years of 'experience' serving as first lady of Texas and the nation, leverages it to get elected senator in Texas, and then runs for president citing her 'experience' -- while her former-governor/president husband comes out of semi-retirement to the horror of the nation to exclaim 'we' governed together. ... I have a feeling the NYT and Gloria Steinem wouldn't buy into their 'more qualified' claims. ... P.S.
- I was hoping Kevin's subconscious-torpedo theory
would come true. But I fear Bill's attacks are really hurting Obama. ...Update
-- From Reader No. 1:
Why no one would buy your Laura Bush scenario:
1. The current First Lady did not lead a health-care reform task force whose results helped drive health care reform out of the public domain for at least a decade.
2. It's a manifestation of the phenomenon Michael Barone describes here. The Permanent Campaign lives!
'Just one trader'
Did one trader
really cause this week's havoc in markets? The world's markets are facing much bigger problems than one bank's $7 billion loss. But Jérôme Kerviel's antics are still scary and undoubtably intensified this week's frenzy at a critical time. ... Also scary: 1.) French regulators allowed Societe Generale to secretly dump its fraud losses onto unsuspecting chumps over the weekend (voila!
- problème finis!
) 2.) the Fed didn't have a clue about the $7 billion fraud until after its rate cut on Tuesday. ... Makes you feel real confident in the global banking system, doesn't it? ...
Ah, the simple life, Part II
Bert's a fan of Boston's new reality show (see 'Ah, the simple life' below):
Love the Simple Life Chronicles. Great series. Keep it going. On the current edition:
“It started because the couple wanted a greater relationship with the food they ate.”
I don’t know if this is a great first line to an interesting book or just plain hippy talk.
How long into a relationship does it begin to become a serious, serious problem that one party is going to end up being eaten by the other?
That's a serious, serious question that might be addressed in the next exciting installment of the Simple Life Chronicles.
'Awakening,' Part II
Yesterday, the CSM looked at how U.S. forces organize
'Awakening' councils in Iraq to fight Al Qaeda. Today, the NYT looks at how vulnerable
those councils are to attacks. ... Two days. Two good reports on Iraq. They don't contradict each other. They complement each other. ...
Ah, the simple life
The latest installment of the Simple Life Chronicles: 'homesteading.'
... Earlier installments of the Simple Life Chronicles here
has a question: What the hell is a 'plant spirit medicine practioner'? I'm not sure. But I assume it falls somewhere in the 'established careerists'
This is the type of reporting
we need from Iraq. It's a look at one village's turn against Al Qaeda and how U.S. forces helped. I was wondering how they did it. ... Note: No one is claiming overall victory. But a lot of small successes add up. ... Note II: Are they really thinking of transferring Gen. Petraeus to NATO? William Arkin
thinks it would be a mistake. I do too. But I wouldn't mind him being named Middle East commander. ...
'Nice that we give them all that oil money ...'
Armchair Gen. Brighton Center sends in the above photo with a note: 'It's real. It's in Dubai. Nice that we give them all that oil money so they can spend it wisely.' ... A video of Andre Agassi playing tennis on the court can be found at the same geekologie site
. Scroll down. ...Update
- Reader Philip provides an explanation: "It is a helipad, and they converted it for a promotion a few years ago. That is Andre Agassi and Roger Federer (in the video), and I think they were shooting a Nike commercial. I recall Tiger Woods hitting his driver off that thing as well." ... Obviously not a very vital helipad.
'The walking cast,' Part III
All that for an ankle sprain
'The walking cast,' Part II
Bert, once again, is redirecting fan traffic away from the Tobin:
--If it was that bad, would he be walking around airports and city streets (behind enemy lines!!) or would he have her come here for a day or two while he got extra treatment and kept the whole thing under wraps?
--Wasn’t Brady hurt to the point that he was pulled from an AFC Championship only to return and orchestrate the team’s first Super Bowl win?
--Least likely, but most fun to consider: Brady is playing mind games. Can you think of circumstances that would make a gag like this work any better? Single most valuable player in the game, Super Bowl coming up, he’s hobbling around NYC when the Giants are the opponent?The NY media is the perfect pawn in this game. They’ll have Giant fans thinking Brady’s going in for an amputation and the game is being cancelled. The NFL’s just going to mail the trophy to New Jersey New York.
Seriously? It’s a reason for concern. It has to be. But there’s two weeks of healing available and whatever is ailing him was something he played through last week.
The thought did cross my mind that Brady was playing mind games to get out of the Pro Bowl. But that's the least likely of the least likely explanations ...Update
: "C'mon, Tom, if I told you once I told you a hundred times — no kinky S&M role playing with Gisele until aftah the Supah Bowl."Update II
-- NEWS FLASH!!!! 'Brady boots the boot.'
'The walking cast'
OK, I know Tom Brady says it's OK. But the NYPost
is gleefully reporting it could be serious, perhaps even an Achilles' problem. Granted, the Post went out its way to find a quack who could put the worst possible spin on it. But it's not good. The Giants are fiddling around with their game plan as we speak. Eleven-man rushes are probably on the drawing boards. ... I was going to agree with Dan's column
about how a lot of old-timers in these parts have fond memories of the Giants, one of the reasons for my soft-spot post on the Giants below. But then I read this morning's Post headline: 'Who's afraid of Tom Brady now? Girly man limps home with blooms in hand, brace on foot.' The story's headline
(and flowery-laden prose) ain't much better: 'FLOWERY TOM A POSY PATSIE BLOOMS IN HAND, BRACE ON FOOT IN VILLAGE CALL TO GISELE.' ... OK, that's the Post's trash talk. But check out this article
in which the Giants claim they know they can beat the Pats and compare Brady to the vanquished Tony Romo and Brett Favre. Tony Romo and Brett Favre?
Bill Belichick, you have your first motivational clip to pin up in the lockerroom. ... I hope the Pats kill them. ...
'I want a fair, true portrait of the man'
Oliver Stone is trying to line up financing for a new movie: 'Bush.'
He says he intends to be fair: 'How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world?' ... Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up surprising both Bush supporters and detractors. ...
Confident but not that confident, Part III
never seemed in doubt, but the Pats game yesterday was still close. Look for an even tougher game against the Giants in the Superbowl. I'm still confident the Pats will win -- but less confident than I was against the Chargers. The Cinderella Coughlins have defied the odds. They know they can play with the Pats. They've beaten the two best teams in the NFC to get here. They're on a roll. In some ways, their playoff trajectory is not unlike the Pats of 2001-2002 -- though their coach is the polar opposite
of Belichick in terms of temperament. ... Anyone notice how no players, in the initial moments after the Giants' dramatic win last night, went out of their way to congratulate their head coach? Granted, I saw only three or four seconds of Coughlin's reaction after the overtime kick. Maybe I missed something. Still ...Update
-- 'Coughlin is as happy and feisty these days as Coughlin gets.'
... And that was before last night's game. ... BTW - If they weren't playing the Pats, I'd be rooting for the Giants. They have a proud but slightly tragic franchise that's won my grudging respect over the years. ...
One down, one to go?
My heart sank yesterday when my Two Least Favorite Candidates won
in Nevada. But my spirits rose when McCain triumphed
in South Carolina. One can't dismiss a Mitt v. Hillary showdown in November. But yesterday's results, hopefully, make it a little less likely. ... Someone needs to muzzle the otherwise sane George Will
. Doesn't he know that knocking McCain strengthens Mitt? ... Howie
is bashing Huck. But I like Huck. He inadvertently played wingman for McCain in N.H. and S.C. Not that I'm a big McCain fan. Politically, he's overrated and born to disappoint. I hope he inevitably disappoints only after he he knocks out the Least Favorite of my Two Least Favorite Candidates. ... FYI: Obviously, I'd love to see Hillary knocked out by Obama. But I don't see that happening. ...
It's really about Vietnam
Not wanting to get sucked into a Scott Thomas Beauchamp-like controversy, I was hesitant to weigh in on the NYT's 'War Torn' series that's whipped some right-wingers up into yet another lather. But after I read the first article
in the series and then today's article
(not in its entirety - I got bored) I've concluded ... boy, it's bad. It's riddled with clichés. It's pompous. It doesn't make its statisical case that combat GIs returning from war zones are killing in droves. It has so many qualifier paragraphs and lines that you wonder what following point will be stretched next to its journalistic limit. Some on the right-wing think the series proves the NYT hates America and veterans, blah, blah, blah. But it's really more simple than that: It's really about Vietnam. It's just how some still view the world and the wars that fall within that world. I googled 'cliche images of Vietnam' and quickly found this: 'A Movie Cliche for Every Type of Movie and Every Occasion.'
Scrolling down, I found this:
Flashbacks cliché: Ahh, gone are the days when movies could use a multitude of Vietnam flashbacks to show the hero's torment. 30 + years on and that skirmish is too far back for most of today's stars to use. However, fret thee not my tiny children, now we can make use of the Iraqi conflict(s) with new improved and much easier to film dusty flashbacks (Either filmed in the Arizona deserts or your nearest sand-pit).
Fret thee not my tiny readers, the NYT has your take-his-word-for-it Returning Vet flashback:
In Quantico, (Lance Cpl. Walter Rollo Smith) reported to the firing range with a friend from Fox Company, the combined Salt Lake City-Las Vegas battalion nicknamed the Saints and Sinners. Raising his rifle, he stared through the scope and started shaking. What he saw were not the inanimate targets before him but vivid, hallucinatory images of Iraq: “the cars coming at us, the chaos, the dust, the women and children, the bodies we left behind,” he said.
They got the dust in! ... Listen, I think the NYT and the MSM in general have, by and large, covered the Iraq war thoroughly and competently -- and far more accurately than the happy-talk BS we got from fanatical pro-war pundits and bloggers who stuck their heads in the sand when all hell was breaking loose in Iraq. But the NYT has inadvertently thrown a big chunk of red meat to the happy-talk crowd with its 'War Torn' series -- and they're now rightly tearing it apart. ...P.S.
-- Other Vietnam war clichés we hopefully won't see in slightly different forms in coming months: GIs listening to the Doors while doing bong hits at firebases; GIs with their feet hanging out of airborne helicopters on their way to the next mission; GIs wearing bandannas; GIs fragging their officers; GIs arguing over whether to massacre village women and children, with one torn GI muttering over and over again, 'This is wrong!' etc., etc., etc. ... OK, so some of those have already been done. But there's still more clichés to mine. ... Here's a right-wing Returning Vet cliché (coming soon to a theater near you): 'Rambo, IV'.
... Why Burma? Why not the backlot dust of Iraq or Afghanistan? (Because Rambo already took out the Red Army in Afghanistan.
-ed. I forgot
.) ... P.S. P.S. -- Rambo IV is a 'Christian film.'
I went to my first Celts game of the season last night. They should be playing Leon Powe
a lot more. The Celts were getting killed under the boards until he came in. ... The atmosphere at the Garden -- isn't it great to call it that again, BTW? -- is definitely different this year. There's real excitement now, not manufactured excitement to keep fans awake. I still like Lucky and the cheerleaders. But I enjoy the main act more now. ...Update
-- I should have mentioned that I went to the game via Reader No. 1., who astutely told me as Powe entered the game that his brother-in-law was a big Powe fan. I'm one too now. ...
'Should have bombed it'
opens up an interesting discussion about President Bush's remark that the Allies should have bombed the railroad tracks
to Auschwitz during WWII. Showing regret and sorrow, the president clearly spoke from the gut and is absolutely right -- in hindsight. But such decisions are never so easy in real time. Here's a two-part question to make my point: How many of you believe in hindsight that we should have bombed the tracks in WWII and yet oppose bombing Iran's nuclear facilities today? The two scenarios are different. But there are eerie similarities too. ... To further complicate the real-time decisions we face today, consider these facts: The same president who launched a war in Iraq based on faulty assumptions warned less than five months ago of a possible future 'nuclear holocaust'
-- and then last week talked of bombing to prevent a previous Holocaust after pulling his secretary of state aside for a quickie history lesson on Roosevelt's decision. ... Criticize FDR all you want. But keep in mind all the criticisms are in hindsight. ...
FYI - Marvin Kalb tackled the bomb-or-not-to-bomb dilemma here
. I liked his Elie Wiesel quote about the difference between 'information' and 'knowledge.' But the Arthur Koestler quote is more damning. ... FYI II - I oppose bombing Iran. But I can't be proven wrong or right until we have hindsight. So easy on the criticism. ...Update
- I liked David's post. But some of the comments to his post are wacko. Unless you think bombing IBM's tabulating-machine subsidiary would have helped. ...
blogs on two issues that I was going to blog on, so I'll just let him do it, i.e. the departure
of Lt.Col John Nagl from the Army and Matthew Yglesias's takedown
of Tim Russert. ... Both institutions -- the Pentagon and Fourth Estate -- need major reforms. ... One other blog post to point out is this one
on why it's so tough for a black to run for any major office that requires a lot of white votes. Even the mere mention of race harms a black candidate like Obama, Egan notes. The main institutional culture opposing Obama, aka the Clinton campaign, knows it. It's why Obama can't afford a 'tit for tat' feud. ...
The worst play
I ever went to is now finally, mercifully over. ... I much preferred "Lease."
It is alive!
... After Iowa and New Hampshire, are we really back to Romney v Clinton
? I can't bear it. But I also can't dismiss it. The GOP race is still wide open. ... What an election year. ... Hillary has never run a company. Hillary has never run a bureaucracy. But she still makes the following pitch
for her candidacy:
"I do think that being president is the chief executive officer. I respect what Barack said about setting the vision, setting the tone, bringing people together. ...But I think you have to be able to manage and run the bureaucracy."
Besides Mitt, what other second-string dynastic candidate once touted his business skills and knowledge? You guessed it.
... Back to Mitt, Dean Barnett
, via Dan
, explains why Mitt shouldn't even be in the race today. And yet he is. It's not because of his 'good' side. It's because he's found another insincere 'voice' to cynically tout. Unfortunately, his latest incarnation may yet work. ...
Official video-break of the week: This is cool.
... I know 'free-fall flying' is a contradiction in terms. But watch it. It's sort of based on the principle of smart bombs (assuming it's not a fake -- and a pilot friend tells me it isn't). ...Update
-- Here's another one
and another one
. ... It's the real thing. Lots more here
Confident but not that confident, Part II
I really hope San Diego players and fans aren't reading this
. Like I said, I'm confident about the game but not that confident. C'mon, guys. The Chargers beat the Colts in Indianapolis without key players. ...Update
mulls the hypothetical question of the century:
So your question is, "If I were given a chance to manipulate historic events, would I willingly sacrifice the Pats 19-0 season in exchange for a guaranteed Red Sox World Series victory in 2008?"Update II
-- Bert answers The Question:
That’s too easy. I don’t blink. I take the 19-0 record all day long and wait for the Sox to win it all in 2009. We’ve got two very recent World Series victories to enjoy. We’re not the Cubs or Yankees, for crying out loud.
A more challenging question might be who is the most valuable Red Sox player you would give/trade to the Yankees to get the 19-0 record? (all of this would’ve been more interesting when it was more of a longshot, say in week 10 or 12.)
As for the upcoming game; beating the Colts in Indianapolis with key players missing is not the same as beating the Colts then the Patriots with key players missing. Law of averages will catch up. If Rivers doesn’t play—or clearly isn’t close to 100%--the Chargers are toast, LT or no LT. You stack the box and blanket the hobbled Gates. Make Volek beat you. There’s a reason he’s a career backup. If Rivers is good to go, the Charges can definitely hang. Can they win? That’s another issue.
'Drip, drip, drip'
goes after the 'House of Clinton.' Eugene
takes a more subtle anti-subtle approach but has many of the same lingering questions about the Clintons, plural. ... My question is: Are the Clintonites trying to peel away African-American votes or provoke an overreaction that would hurt Obama among whites? I had assumed it was the former. But after reading this Politico piece
, it's probably a combination of the two. ... Obama, wisely, isn't getting drawn into the 'tit for tat'
fray. ... P.S. -- Almost forgot: There's a primary today
in Michigan. ...
FTAS Update: Roads remarkably clear and empty
Driving was not a problem in the city this morning. Clear shot from Beacon Hill to 300 Harrison. I credit the French Toast Alert System
for the relative order and calm. ...
First LBJ -- now Bill?
I know there's a dispute
about what Hillary said and didn't say about MLK and LBJ. But MLK and ex-presidents keep popping up. The latest subtle surrogate hit against Obama comes from Mayor Menino
at a MLK celebration yesterday in Roxbury: "There is no person in this country that did more for civil rights then (sic) Bill Clinton." ... Did Bill really do more than some of the still-living legends of the Civil Rights movement? Why do the Clintons and their surrogates keep elevating the role of whites in the civil rights movement? ... The emerging line of argument from the Clinton side reminds me of all those civil-rights and anti-apartheid movies in which white liberal activists are portrayed as the central shining heroes of the drama. ...
harsh point below was made in a different context about the emerging racial dynamics of the Dem race. But I still think it makes general sense when it comes to race and the Clinton surrogates:
We seem to be at the point where there are now two credible possibilities. One is that the Clinton campaign is intentionally pursuing a strategy of using surrogates to hit Obama with racially-charged language or with charges that while not directly tied to race nonetheless play to stereotypes about black men. The other possibility is that the Clinton campaign is extraordinarily unlucky and continually finds its surrogates stumbling on to racially-charged or denigrating language when discussing Obama.
I think it's mostly intentional. They're playing with fire. They know they're playing with fire. But they're good at playing with fire. They're trying to neutralize an Obama strength among African-Americans. ... BTW: Can you imagine the howls of protest from the Clinton side if Obama even hinted that electing a male would be better for women than electing a woman? ...
Confident but not that confident
I'm confident about the Pats against the Chargers this weekend. But not this
confident. ... San Diego just beat the Colts -- without key players. They're good. Though maybe not as good as Jacksonville and David Garrard. He was something, wasn't he? The Jaguars have a future. ... Cautiously assuming the Pats make it to the Superbowl, I'd rather face Green Bay. Two reasons: 1.) The Giants have proven they're tough against the Pats 2.) Payback for '97
My favorite local author
has a new book out, 'Sword Song.'
I got a copy and already reading it. It's good. Cornwell's 'Saxon Stories' are fun. But nothing beats his 'Sharpe'
'Small, agile speedboats swarmed a naval convoy'
There's a reason the U.S. Navy is nervous about those Iranian speedboats: a 2002 war game.
... Reminds me of Chad and Libya's 'Toyota War'
in the late '80s. ...
'An absolute pea-soup fog of obfuscation'
If 'they' get back into the White House, get used to it
. Or should we say 'reused' to it? ... From Reader No. 1:
Horseraceblog has an observant and thoughtful look forward at the Democratic race. I'd say they confirm my (current) gut reaction that Clinton is a heavy favorite...
... Meanwhile, another bad idea coughed up by the Bluest State! What does it say about the Governor's understanding of both political tactics and strategy (to say nothing of concepts of citizenship) to press ahead with this idea.... Particularly given more pressing and potentially widespread education issues like this. So maybe there are worse things than absentee governors.
Actually, we might have another absentee-governor problem
on our hands. But if it's in the cause of blocking a dynastic coronation, I'm all for it. ... My (current) gut reaction also is that Clinton is a heavy favorite. But Obama is even pressing Hillary hard in New York
, thanks to growing African-American enthusiasm for his candidacy. FYI: Bill Clinton's damage-control spinning of his "fairy tale" line was made on Al Sharpton's radio show. As Charley notes, it's a BS spin. But we'll have to wait to see if the BS spin works. ...Update
's just brutal on Deval. ...
'I’ve done it. I created The Blueprint.'
Via Reader No. 1, Football Outsiders' Mike Tanier
thinks he's experienced a eureka moment on how to finally beat the Pats. ... The Soxaholix
guys aren't sweating:
Tom Brady is so focused he can sneeze with his eyes opened.Update
-- From Bert on the Brady-is-so-focused quote:
This and so many other brilliant phrases have been lifted from Chuck Norris’ legend. Yes, Chuck Norris. If you’re not familiar, peruse this and read until your sides ache. There’s some excellent stuff there.
I’d get more upset on behalf of Chuck, but he’s gone and turned himself into some kind of Huckabee zombie. So screw him.
Bert has his own thoughts on the Pats game here
P.S. - Soxaholix credited the Chuck quotes, FYI. But he didn't have to do that. One of the acknowledged joys
of Soxaholix is trying to figure out what famous literary or pop-culture quip he's slipped into the strip on any given day. ...
The other Inevitability?
New Hampshire was fun. But the real fun starts this weekend. Matchups here
. ... I have the same vibes that I had going into the Giants game: Jacksonville is going to be tough. But the Pats should pull it off. ...
'You don't have to be friends to talk'
notes that we talked to the Soviets during the Cold War to avoid accidental war. He says we can and should be talking with the Iranians now to avoid an accidental war. He's right. But Bush isn't a flexible Reagan (or a Truman or an Eisenhower etc.). So we won't. ... Here's a good look
at how maritime incidents have caused so many of our wars. The cynics among us (cough, cough, cough) might think the administration is pushing for a 'Remember the Maine! or Gulf of Tonkin incident. But Walter Russell Mead is worried Iranians aren't aware of what also sparked 1812, WWI and WWII. ...
'It works both ways'
OK, last post (hopefully) on the New Hampshire primary. Brighton Reader notes that both genders send off unintended signals that make members of the opposite sex grit their teeth:
At least part of Hillary Clinton's victory margin among women came from what I call the "Lazio Effect."Ellen
When she ran for the Senate in 2000, the debate between her and Rick Lazio was brutal (and yes, this political junkie watched it). Moderator Tim Russert brought up the Lewinsky mess, seeming to insinuate that HRC was somehow responsible, and Lazio made a snarky remark about the truthfulness of the Clintons. He should have ignored it and changed the subject. His stomp across the stage, waving a piece of paper and demanding she sign a pledge, didn't help. Overall, his performance made him look like an immature bully. Women did not like it, and I think the same thing was at work in New Hampshire. Not so much the remark from Obama "You're likeable enough, Hillary," but the tone of a lot of the national coverage was getting mean, gleeful at the prospect of her defeat. ...
But it works both ways. Mitt Romney benefited from Shannon O'Brien's snappish demeanor during their final gubernatorial debate in 2002. Shannon: "That's because you have no principles." Mitt: "That's unbecoming." Men gritted their teeth, hoping they would never have a boss like her.
There is a different dynamic, and balance, when different sexes clash on the fields of political debates. Each must avoid becoming the caricature that the opposite sex dislikes.
says Hillary found that balance. Charles
says Obama didn't, noting that his "You're likeable enough" line may have been more significant than the tears. I also thought Obama's line was jarring and ungracious, perhaps suggesting many men don't like it when men don't act like gentlemen, just as many women don't like it when women don't act like ladies. It's a form of gender self-policing of civility. ... Of course Charles ties it all back to Obama's stand on Iraq. What a surprise. ...Update
-- Laura McKenna's
calls for self-policing:
Lessons learned? If you really want women to vote for Hillary, pick on her clothes and her tears. Call her strident. Call her bitchy. But if you take gender out of the equation, then women are going to weigh her other qualities on the same scale as the guys. Hillary is like my little sister. Only I am allowed to beat her up.
Fine. As long as it works both ways ...
lays down the odds for each candidate. I initially thought he was being too generous to Mitt, but he's right not to dismiss him. ...
... Listened a bit to Michael Graham's show
this morning. If I heard it right, Chris Matthews is apparently ranting about Obama and racisim and Boston and New England, blah, blah, blah (I assume the rant can be found somewhere here
). Let me get this straight: If someone votes against Hillary, it's sexism. If someone votes against Obama, it's racism. ... Kerry to endorse Obama.
I guess that makes him a sexist. ...Update
-- Maybe a variation of the Bradley effect
did occur. But it doesn’t mean voters lied to pollsters. Some voters just don't talk to pollsters – so pollsters made calculated guesses at what they were thinking and got them wrong. Interesting. … BTW: It explains why polls might have been wrong. It doesn’t explain why Hillary won. It certainly doesn't explain why Obama nearly won. ...Update II
-- But then this pollster
suggests it was about compressed time between Iowa and NH. ... I give up. I'm tired of frigging polls and pollsters. They blew it. That's all I know. ...
'My discomfort with a major theme of Senator Obama's campaign'
Barney defends the '90s.
Of course those opposing him would also defend the '90s. Isn't that the point of '90s criticism? ... A Hub Blog friend earlier today summarized the pickle we're in regarding Hillary's win last night. He bemoaned the potential 28 straight years of Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton rule -- and all the characters who would come out of the woodwork to make a Hillary victory complete. Not just the familiar tired Clintonites. But also the familiar tired anti-Clintonites. After he rattled off a list of dreadful right-wing characters who might make a post-'90s comeback, I noted that he forgot to mention R. Emmett Tyrrell. To which he responded:
"I feel it it will be Tom DeLay coming back from the dead. Hillary's election will justify their existence."
Barney did mention DeLay but he came up with a name the Hub Blog friend and I completely forgot: Newt. ... How would a '90s reunion be complete without Newt? I can't wait. ...Update
notices that Mitt has his own Things That Wouldn't Leave:
Rush Limbaugh had some fun last week pointing out all the old relics from the Clinton Administration standing behind HRC when she gave her (Iowa) concession speech.
There are plenty of relics on the Republican side too, and Romney's instinct to turn to them doesn't impress me much.
Two women. Two views. Two columns.
Two women. Two views. Two columns. Two of the top emailed stories at the NYT as of 10:10 p.m tonight. Gloria
. Gloria's column might be remembered as more historically galvanizing before a crucial election. But Maureen's column might be remembered as more historically accurate after a crucial election. ... Hey, Oprah and Deval, cut it out. At least some blacks got voting rights before women. Hey, Margaret Mitchell and Scarlett O'Hara were really the more victimized serfs, right? ... I still think Hillary's tears were sincere. But Maureen makes a good case it doesn't matter. ...Update
- 1.10.08 -- Three more women. Three more views. Three more columns. Joan
, who concludes:
So will women like Rafferty remain “ticked” through Super Duper Tuesday on Feb. 5? God, I hope not. Then Hillary wins.
Who knows whether it was a sympathy/ticked off/substance vote. Probably divided evenly among all three. But assuming Hillary got a huge portion of that 57 percent female vote, isn't it amazing in retrospect she only won by 3 percent? ... Hub Blog ran into a Republican strategist friend last night who had just returned from New Hampshire. He said two things clearly pushed Hillary's vote: her campaign operation and females. He was quite impressed, though obviously not excited about her victory. ...Update II
- 1.10.08 -- Robert Novak
notes the big female vote, dismisses Hillary's tears as phony, urges Republicans to rally around McCain and warns that the "Clintons" (plural) are the most formidable opponents Republicans will face in November. ... I definitely agree with the last point. Some Republicans are itching to take on Hillary. But they're fools to think she'll be easy to beat.
'That's why we play the games,' Part II
Before yesterday's voting closed, Brighton Reader sent this dispatch from NH about the campaign rallies he attended on Monday. The description of Hillary's event makes sense in retrospect:
Clinton Impressions: ... People did seem excited, and what I saw after was young and heavily female. HRC spoke well, made her pitch, focused on her experience, took some shots at her opponents, although not by name, and then went to questions. She knows her stuff, and can get specific. A flash of humor referencing Margaret Thatcher - "I don't know how likeable she was" got a good response and helped lighten the policy discussion. She ought to do it more. I thought Clinton looked great and sounded good, although you can really hear the fatigue at times. When we were waiting outside later the Speaker of the NH House, Terie Norelli, walked over and asked if anyone was undecided or had questions, focusing right away on the youngest people there.
'That's why we play the games'
Maybe it was the tears
. Maybe it was the machine
. Maybe it was the Bradley effect
. But it's pretty clear women went big
for Hillary -- and Obama didn't have a similar built-in constituency in New Hampshire to offset it. ... Hub Blog was hoping NH voters would bowl a split yesterday: Knocking down my two least favorite candidates, Hillary and Mitt, in one shot. But at least the least favorite of my least-favorite candidates, Mitt, is probably down and out for good. Not a bad week, though I'm a little depressed that Hillary's dynastic candidacy is still alive. ... As for yesterday's highly impressive Hillary comeback in general, remember Bill Parcell's line, "That's why we play the games..." ... And that's why we hold elections. ... BTW: I do believe the tears helped a bit. I'm pretty cynical by nature. But Hillary's tears -- or teary eyes -- came across as genuine. I was moved and realized how much pressure she was under. Who would have thought that the most important question of the NH primary would be, "Who does your hair?” An authentic question answered in an authentic way. ...Update
-- Forget the tears. Reader No. 1 thinks it was an old-fashioned Democratic win for Hillary. Make sure to click on first link. From Reader No. 1:
Meet the New Boss. Or should that be, the New Deal?
One more suggestion as to why Hilary did well, despite all the slogan changes (and no, it wasn't her 'personal breakthrough', TV commentators and Andrew Sullivan notwithstanding): Everytime I saw her talking on CSPAN over the weekend she got in many good whacks at Bush 43.... simple but effective.
So does this make Obama a soap bubble?
The Real Clear Politics breakdown of voting trends in the first link adds this at the bottom, almost as an aside: "An additional ingredient to Clinton's success was a victory among female voters, 46% to 34%. Obama won male voters, 40% to 29%. But female voters outvoted male voters, 57% to 43%." ... An additional ingredient?
Please. The female vote not only mattered. It was decisive by the look of it. ...
'Not going away'
Doesn't look good for Hillary and Mitt. I'd have to go with the pollsters this week, after ignoring them last week: Obama and McCain. But as Reader No. 1 notes:
It's (somewhat) official - Senator Clinton is not going away.. It's nothing business, just personal. So, please repeat after me:
"Obama is just not a plausible person in this environment of international peril,"
"Obama is just not a plausible person in this environment of international peril,"
"Obama is just not a plausible person in this environment of international peril."
It certainly sounds better than "We are just going to go to the big Democratic states with closed primaries," doesn't it? But not as good as "Immediate, Ecstatic, and Penetrating..."
Anyone who watched the Fox Republican Debate Sunday night and Frank Luntz' pollster recap would conclude Mitt is the new Comeback Kid. The tone of this posting aside, I agreed with Frank, but how many Republican voters were watching?
Onto the vote, and as Bill Parcells once said, "that's why we play the games..." - Dixville Notch, please come in!
Dixville Notch went for Obama and McCain
, FYI. ...Update
-- They're already identifying the heads
to be lopped off. ... Don't completely discount
Mitt. But don't bet on him either. ...
'Tell me ...'
Whether he took steroids or not, Roger's performance
yesterday was one for the ages
: stunningly unconvincing and counterproductive for a man who says he's defending his reputation. He came across as obnoxious, arrogant, angry, dumb, ruthless, duplicitous and ultimately inept. Some reputation. ... The tapes proved nothing. Even his own lawyer said that. So why play them? Because Roger thought it was a clever idea and overruled his lawyers? I don't know. All I know is that I didn't have an ounce of sympathy for Roger by the time the hour-long freak show ended. ... McNamee's lawyer: 'This is war.'
'It’s inspirational to talk of change and hope but ...'
The best case yet
for not getting swept up by the Obama phenomenon:
One of Barack Obama’s big boosters is our own governor, Deval Patrick, who, like Obama, based his campaign on the soaring oratory of change, hope and better days ahead. Yet in the last year, he has seen initiatives stalled, especially in the House, which, with the Senate, is its own power base.
Should Obama or the other leading change agents, John Edwards and Mike Huckabee, manage to get to the White House, he will learn what all presidents, governors and mayors have learned, that it’s inspirational to talk of change and hope but often impossible to bring it about.
Obama will inevitably disappoint, whether or not he wins. But change -- as overrated and flawed as it is -- is still better than someone who just recently based her appeal on '90s nostalgia. I know Hillary meant George W. Bush when she said today
, eyes tearing up, and sincerely so, "I just don't want to see us fall backward as a nation." ... But I don't want us to fall back to pre-George W either. I'll take the future, thank you. ...
Mandarin Update IX - 'Mandarin Monday'
Monday, Monday. Ba da Ba da da da. Can't trust that day ... Reader No. 1 files a 'Mandarin Monday' update:
A new Hilary slogan already since Iowa (actually, 2 if you count 'Ready'). A good measure of the relative usefulness of your political advisors: "...moving the Clinton headquarters from Northern Virginia to New York probably would not solve much." Read all the way through for the 'Remain Calm' moment.Update
Madeline Albright's faintly condescending post-Iowa thoughts suggest she sees the writing on the wall... and maybe even channelling Andrew Sullivan?
-- Mit's behind 2 points
in NH? That would be good for him -- and an indication his anti-immigration punches are hurting McCain. But this poll
says Mitt's behind 6 points -- with Hillary behind 10 points. Who knows? ... Novak
says Mitt is a 'clear loser' in NH. ... Hillary's swinging away.Update II
-- Obama and McCain are pulling away in another poll
Mandarin Update VIII - 'Speaking of Harvard'
Reader No. 1 responds to my shameless compliment search for my brilliant Harvard Student Strike '69 Photo post below (and then he moves on, very quickly):
Sorry for the delayed compliment - a great choice! Speaking of Harvard, did anyone pick up on Romney's respectful comments about Obama? (Politeness Man and Old School Ties...)
Susan Estrich makes some good points about Iowa and Barack.
Even for Andrew, Obama-as-Reagan is a new peak in hyperbole here. Call me a Mandarin, but Reagan had a 16+ year philosophical foundation - Obama has....?
Speaking of the fabulous 80s, time to go back to CSPAN coverage of today's Chuck Norris-Mike Huckaby rally - like Reagan, underestimate Huckaby at your peril!
Mandarin Update VII - 'The Old Order won't go gently'
, Reader No. 1 thinks there's still a spark left in Mitt -- and Hillary:
The Old Order won't go gently. ...
As much as I enjoyed Howie and the Weekly Standard, I have to agree with Mickey, and implicitly - Hilary!
Flipping back and forth between the Wild Cards and the Not-So-Wild-Cards, one thought came to mind. In both NFL games, there was a 2nd-half-momentum shift of insurgents before the Inevitables took over. Neither Romney nor Hilary made my teeth clench last night (a very uncommon occurrence) while Obama was very low energy and McCain grumpy.... and neither of these media favorites has really had to deal with tough stuff yet.
Mandarin Update VI - Revolt !
The Dem mandarin class has called in police to put down student revolt! ... I couldn't resist. Ah, the irony. ... Photo via MassMovements.
Mandarin Update V - 'Spreading consternation and bewilderment'
The aging mandarin class
in NH is in utter shock and disarray, experiencing 'palpable disbelief' and 'struggling to make sense' of that whippersnapper Obama with all his 'students and the trendies.' ... It wasn't supposed to work out this way, was it? ... Howie
: 'The Clintons always fancied themselves so much cooler than those crusty old World War II Republicans, George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole. Now ...' ... Now indeed. But fear not, mandarin class: Mary Louise Hancock, the 87-year-old 'grande dame' of the state's Dem party, and 'a strike force of 200 volunteers sent north by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino' are still with you. ...
Over on the GOP side, Joan
is ripping into Mitt 'Agent Change' Romney. Read it. ... Mitt's channelling
Deval? It's hard to believe -- but there it is. ... Polls show
McCain pulling ahead and Obama wiping out Hillary's lead. (I thought I saw a poll with Obama ahead by 10. But maybe that was someone's confident prediction.). ...Update
- Via Jon
warns of a possible backlash against all the Mitt-is-doomed predictions. David covers himself with a lot of big 'ifs,' but he's right to say one shouldn't discount NH voters surprising the pundits on Tuesday. The polls above were taken pre-debate. ... P.S. -- Reader No. 1 thinks Hillary and Mitt did well in the debates. See post above.
Not Hillary. Glen Davis.
A big night for the Big Baby and the Celts. They sweep the West and knock off the East's best (or second best at this point). ... It was a good night in general to surf around the NH debates. NFL playoffs. Celts. Jurrasick Park. ...
Mandarin Update IV -- 'Sit down with Warren Buffett'
OK, I'm shutting down the Mandarin Updates for the night (Jack. v. Pitt. game beckons.) Looking forward to tomorrow's inevitable polls. Reader No. 1 files in between NFL commercials (Wash. v. Seattle was pretty good, BTW):
- A very well-attended Hilary Clinton NH appearance on CSPAN, with the usual prominent placement of Chelsea, and reiteration of ages of question-askers 40 or under. My God, is Clinton well-informed on all manner of subjects - she can talk about anything in the public policy realm, the perfect DC/NYC party guest! But 2 problems:
1. Every politician is rent by internal contradictions, but hers are larger in the context of claims for experience and readiness. Example: railing against lower tax rates paid by investment tycoons than those foisted upon their admins. Well, HRC, why not sit down with Warren Buffett and ask his lobbyists in DC to push for higher marginal rates on non-mere mortals such as himself? That would be a fantastic example of proven leadership (and would be pretty "immediate, ecstatic, and penetrating" to boot).
2. While she dazzles with her ton of facts, her conclusions invariably lead back to those formative years of Wellesley and Watergate. Example: we can't even THINK about siting new nuclear power plants... very 1979.
Back to the NFL Wild Card, where my family is waiting for me. (And Obama ran 2 commercials at halftime!)...
Note: I tinkered with this post a bit this morning, 1.6.08. Changed the header. Shortened it. That's all. Changed headers to other Mandarin Updates to better emphasize subjects.
'There's something happening here ...'
Reader No. 1 files a 'mid-day update':
Read all the links. ... "There's something happening here but we don't know what it is... do we, Mr Jones?" Pat Buchanan
... Just wondering, has anyone pointed out the deep trouble that McCain will find himself in if Romney wins Tuesday? It could happen especially if Obama siphons off the Independents.... after Nevada and South Carolina on January 19th we could be celebrating Mitt the Inevitable (or more likely Mitt v. Huck - now there's a ticket!)...
addressed the topic when he thought McCain was out of it.
Mandarin Update III - 'Groovy Gail Collins'
Reader No. 1 doesn't just submit a Mandarin Update. He submits a 'full Mandarin.' Sort of:
Do Presidential Politics bring out the best in commentators? Dig this groovy Gail Collins take on Hilary's problems with Gen Y (and parochially, nice little tribute to Ed Brooke). Memo to the Clintons: why not bring back "a more immediate, ecstatic and penetrating mode of living" as a campaign slogan? It certainly beats the very Republican-esque 'Big Challenges, Real Solutions" for attention getting.
Todd Gitlin gives 1968 the Full Mandarin! Speaking of which, today is the 40th anniversary of the start of Prague Spring ... wonder if that will make it into this weekend's debates?
My favorite political grownup, Michael Barone, as usual sees things that others don't.
Reader No. 1 also suggests future Mandarin Updates might be limited due to 'other competition this weekend.' The excuse is valid:
Great roundups at Football Outsiders on what could be 2 wonderful Wild Card games tonight.
Steelers-Jags looks very 1970s, even and hard-hitting grindout, probable Jacksonville edge in run-stopping - unless it comes down to a field goal! The Redskins can certainly pull an upset in Seattle - provided they can drown out the crowd noise - this is the local interest game.
'How the Republican Party Turned Into the Democratic Party?' Part II
Reader No. 1 responds:
Great analysis of the Cannellos piece, which, despite revealing phrases like "persuade working-class people to vote against their economic interests", is pretty good! Particularly his unskeptical citation of Bush 43 on 'Country Club Democrats,' i.e. the Wall Streeters - the post-Iowa vote proves that constituency certainly votes with their pocketbooks - even if Google can't find a reference to Iowa and yesterday's stock prices. (Or maybe investors were selling stocks to raise cash for more Hilary commercials?)
The problem IMHO is that the Republicans have, over time, become as fractured and factionalized as the Dems did post-1960, and there are many reasons for this (at least a book's worth!) Whitewater provided a distraction from the growing internal contradictions of the party (now I sound like a left-wing intellectual :->), not unlike Watergate for the 70s Dems.
As a respite from Hilary TV, check out Republican Hugh Cort's ad which ran on Fox News this morning - holy LBJ! I never heard of Cort either, but he has been in Wyoming more often than Mitt or Huckaby lately, so might we see more surprising caucus results later today?
'Romney Concedes Massachusetts'
He says his unpopularity/unelectability
here is attributable to his positions on abortion and gay marriage. ... Ah, so that's why the Herald didn't endorse him. I get it now. Thanks, Mitt! ... Note how he refers to us as "they." I'm wondering if he now refers to Iowans as "they." ... P.S. - I was going to once again cite John Ellis's Mitt obit
when I noticed that John's blogging again.
I'll end it on that positive note. ...
Mandarin Update II - Young people
It appears Hub Blog and BMG have forged an unspoken alliance to provide readers with Mandarin Updates. ... Bob
notes that Hillary is actually posing with young people in New Hampshire -- and pushing her elder mandarins to the background. ... Behind the scenes, David
reports Hillary and the mandarins are already mapping out the post-New Hampshire war-of-attrition strategy. ... Good reconnaissance reports! ... Hopefully, Reader No. 1 will be filing his own Mandarin Updates. Damn it! Where is he? Have Obama's forces cut the phone and broadband lines to thwart Hillary's Big Dem Donor call blitz? ... Reader No. 1 did file the first
Mandarin Update yesterday. FYI: Mandarin, as defined in 2. and 3.
, not the language or orange. ...
'How the Republican Party Turned Into the Democratic Party?'
Reader No. 1 gently rejects my clever one-word answer to the question that he posed yesterday.
From Reader No. 1:
"Dixiecrat" is part of the answer/puzzle... but let's not also forget a partial list of these puzzle pieces:
- 'Reagan Democrats'
- Grover Norville
- Karl Rove
- 'Silent Scream'
No editorial judgment inferred or implied!
Damn. I was hoping to steamroll my way to the prize before someone else came up with a better answer -- and Peter S. Canellos sure looks like he's come up with a better answer in this excellent piece today
on what has happened to the Republican Party. Peter's general theory: The GOP has become more of a working-class party -- and those working-class voters delivered Thursday for Huck. No argument here on that point. But I think he misdefines and then blurs the line too much between 'Reagan Democrats' and white conservative evangelicals. I can accept the argument that some Reagan Democrats (who really don't exist anymore) may have morphed into conservative evangelicals. But many Reagan Democrats, if not most (depending on how you defined them), were also Northeast blue-collar Catholics who, last time I checked, didn't convert to Protestantism and move to rural Iowa. I still think Dixiecrats (former Southern Dems turned Republicans - i.e., Huck) have played a larger and more lasting role in transforming the GOP into a more religious and big-government party. Two final points (which don't necessarily apply to Peter's argument about what happened in Iowa): 1.) The evangelical conservative movement is not entirely comprised of working-class people. The movement also includes many middle-class and even upper-middle-class members. 2.) Neocons (former 'liberals mugged by reality') are associated today with their hawkish foreign policy. But they also have faint Dem instincts when it comes to the role of government in domestic matters. ... P.S. - I don't have a clue why Reader No. 1 listed 'Whitewater.' He'll hopefully get back to me on that. I suspect it might have something to do with blaming Clinton. ...Update
-- Actually, he makes a good point
about Whitewater. ...
makes a good catch: Huck is already retooling the message for New Hampshire. Adam also makes a good point: "The guess here is that Huckabee 2.0 will work better than anyone expects." ... I may not agree with many of Huck's views. But he's engaging and appealing on a folksy level -- and he drives the GOP establishment up a wall. Hell, even the angry Kos
acknowledges some of Huck's positives. ...
'It's another thing to lose as you aren't'
John Ellis's brutal take
(H)is handlers framed Romney's candidacy in a fallacy. We were asked to believe that he was something that he was not. Iowa didn't buy it and neither will anyone else. What people are looking for is leadership. What the Romney campaign offered was obeisance.
, who rightly tips his hat to the DMR's now 'near-mythic' pollster, Ann Selzer. ...
'Barack, Barack - hang in there!' Part II
Reader No. 1 files a 'Mandarin Update':
Caught not one but two commercials for Hilary The Inevitable in a less than 10 minute span before 6:30 am on Fox 25 Morning News... it promises to be an arduous weekend of Punditry Indulgence in front of the tube for us civic-minded folk.
Interesting comments on WRKO this morning from Suffolk's David Paleologos on the importance of Obama turning out young voters in NH (which apparently hasn't happened, yet). Suspect many Dems are not keen to see the younger generation party like it's 1968, though one also suspects this is less the result of accumulated learning/wisdom than the Boomer Politico sense that they didn't have a fair turn with their toys, 1993-2000 notwithstanding.
Altogether now, who can write the definitive essay/book/article/blogpost on "How the Republican Party Turned Into the Democratic Party?" More live Ed Rollins interviews, please!
Quickie Hub Blog notes: 1.) Howie's reporting
that Hillary is advertising even on his show. 2.) I think I can answer Reader No. 1's big question in one word: Dixiecrats. ... Do I win anything? ... More Mandarin Updates as the day and weekend progresses. ...Update
-- Adam has a great roundup
of local bloggers' reactions. ...
'Hillary stepped onto the parked press bus'
is shocked -- shocked! -- that the boys on the bus have an attitude problem. ... Has Kos ever read 'Boys on the Bus'
and 'Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72'
? They were both written 36 frigging years ago. How could the press have 'truly forgotten their proper role' when they never performed their proper role? What mythical past is Kos referring to? ... Notice how Kos threatens to unleash his indignant anger upon the world. Now that's a proper Kos-like role that we're all familiar with. ...
'Barack, Barack - hang in there!'
Reader No. 1 thinks Obama may have shocked the Dems' aging mandarin class into action:
Whilst flipping between last night's illuminating CSPAN coverage of the Iowa caucauses (at one point a fascinating Democratic Precinct 53 discussion of whether or not the Democratic Party should recast affirmative action along class lines) and the fine F&B Fox coverage of same, I came across this nice piece explaining a lot about how the incredibly articulate yet incredibly tedious Hilary is spinning her wheels. ...
But, it ain't over 'til it's over! My guess is the Big Dem Donor phones ring off the hook this morning - and every babyboomer Democratic Professional who made their bones in the roaring 90s is on the TV Pundit Circuit between now and Tuesday playing the "Inevitability" Card again for Senator Clinton. She's got a 14-point lead in New Hampshire! And Madeline Albright came to Iowa for the concession speech - can Tony Blair, Kofi Annan, and Bono be booking flights for Manchester? Barack, Barack - hang in there!
The Dem race is still very much up in their air but it now comes down to two: Obama and Hillary. Edwards is caught in the middle like the Low Countries. The GOP race is more fractured. I can see a lot of different scenarios unfolding. But right now I see it as Mitt in desperation mode and McCain and Huck in the early stages of squaring off. ... Huck's speech last night was impressive. It will help him in New Hampshire and beyond. ...Update
: "Whichever Republican finally gets Huckabee one-on-one wins. It’s the longest of long shots now for Mitt, but what’s he got to lose except Tagg’s inheritance?"Update II
-- My man, Biden, is out
along with Dodd. ... Biden ran a class campaign and looked like he enjoyed himself. ... Think about it: three of the four lower-tier candidates threw their support to stop Hillary. ...Update III
-- It seems a lot of people had this same reaction
to last night's results. ...
Ah, to see your pessimistic predictions proven wrong, wrong, wrong
! ... I'm psyched. My two least-favorite candidates lose. They both thought they knew how the system worked. They both got thumped. ... It's far from over. I'd be shocked if Huck and Obama both win their respective nominations. But tonight's results are refreshing to those of us who dreaded the inevitability of electability. ...
on Hillary. Too centrist too soon? ... Predictions about today's potential winners and losers in Iowa are all over the map. I'd still have to go with Mitt and Hillary -- though that doesn't mean I want them to win. I don't. ...Update
-- A last-minute Obama-Biden deal?
Hmmm. ...Update II
-- Peter Porcupine writes in:
On Hub Blog, you link to a story about a Biden-Obama trade.
Politico is linking to a similar story about a Richardson-Obama trade.
Kucinich already went on TV and urged his supporters who don't make 15% to vote for Obama.
Is Obama just going from camp to camp promising to be Best Friends Forever with ALL of them? She Who Must Be Obeyed will NOT be pleased!
We'll find out tonight whether She Who Must Be Obeyed will be pleased. ...