Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hillary wept

In 1972, Ed Muskie stood on the back of a flat bad truck outside the offices of the Manchester Guardian in New Hampshire and wept real tears (or got snow flurries in his eyes, depending on who you believe). It was the end for Ed Muskie, a man that can't stand up to the Manchester Guardian publisher William Loeb, can't stand up to Breshnev, that's what the Nixon folks said. The next week Muskie was trounced in the Florida primary by George Wallace, despite his best efforts at running a whistlestop train through the state with his pal Rosey "Let the sun shine in" Grier. Ed was not heard of again in that campaign.

Last week Hillary Clinton had an emotional breakthrough that seemed to bring tears to her eyes as she tried to express her reason for running. Unlike big Ed, Hillary's display of vulnerability allowed her to find her voice (albeit cracking and wavering) and lead to an upset victory for her last night over Obama. It has been a long time since I have been so surprised at an election outcome. I thought that I would be typing Obama's nomination notice this morning. Instead, we may have a real horse race, the likes of which we have not seen in Presidential politics since Ronald Reagan took on Gerald Ford. Of course, it is always possible that last night was an aberration, a toe stumping by young Obama, on his way to the White House. Indeed, he chose to deliver a well crafted victory speech to his faitful in place of a true concession speech. And what a speech it was. This guy has more charisma than all of the other candidates combined.Put him in front of the Democratic convention giving an acceptance speech on the last night and people will see a combination of JFK, Jessie Jackson and William Jennings Bryan.

Although I'm not sure about Obama's little catch phrase "yes we can". My wife thinks that it sounds like the motto of the "little engine that could". I recall that it was the slogan of Air Canada in the 70s and 80s. Surely with all the money they have got in that campaign they could have come up with something flashier than a rcycled Canadian commerecial. But these are nit picks.The real issue is whether Edwards is the only thing holding Hillary up. Where would his 17% have gone last night ? I'll tell you where, to Obama, that's where. Hillary is the second choice of no man (except Bill Cinton). I fear that if Edwards drops out we will not seee Hillary garner better than 45% in head to head races with Obama. But then again, I wrote Hillary off last night (as had the Zogsby Poll ,which had her losing 42%-29%). A lot of people who went to bed Monday thinking they were voting for someone else, voted for Hillary, soo, who knows ?

And how abhout the Republicans ? One is tempted to ask, who cares ? Each of those candidates looks like a version of Rosencrantz and/or Guildenstern in this current casting of Hamlet starring Obama and Hillary. So McCain beat Romeny (didn't everybody else ?). I watched more of Mitt last weekend than I had before. I don't see how he can win. He reminds you of the vaugely goodlooking boy from Yale who has come home for a weekend party and no longer fits in with the old gang. The guy who keeps talking about some great physics class he has while you and your date are trying to get loaded. America simply does not, and will not ever, vote for such a candidate.

Everyone on TV tells me that Rudy G pursued the wrong strategy. I am simply not so sure.There is no front runner among the Repubs, and Huckabee, Romeny and MCain have all been knocking each other silly.It may be that the big state strategy of America's favorite double divorcee is about to pay off. I think that South Carolina will be huge. If someone emerges from that one as a clear front runner, than Rudy G. may be a dead duck.But if it's still up in the air ,then cue the secret service folks, we may get a Tom Cat back in the White House even if the Clintons can't make it. Would American accept a triple divorcee running for a second term ?

So with 47 states to go, it's still too early to call this one.It is almost beyond rational hope that the Texas primary in March will still mean anything, but this has been the strangest of seasons.


Blogger jhmbthames said...

Regarding Muskie, I still remember David Brinkley's comment the night of the Florida Primary, that "the Muskie bandwagon had lost a wheel and two trombones." I miss Chet and David (along with Ike).

10:09 PM  

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