Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Notes on New Hampshire

First of all, shame on the media. I'm particularly disenchanted with Chris Matthews and MSNBC in general for losing their cool and flying off on this anti-Clinton, anoint Obama tear during the voting yesterday (insult to injury: "We can't tell you the results yet because we don't want to influence it, BUT..."). I've said it several times now: the Clintons, these supposed "establishmentarians," get exactly the same help from the "liberal media" today as they did 16 years ago: a swift kick in the teeth. Another thing I've been saying for a long time is that the Obama phenomenon has helped Clinton all along by giving her some competition. As to the view that the Clintons are the most conservative of the Democratic contenders, well, hello general election. I like blogging because it makes one more accountable. I was for Kerry in 2004 from way out a year or more before the primaries, but I confess that I wobbled when Dean surged in December 2003. If everybody rallies around someone, OK. I've always said I'll support Obama (or Edwards) enthusiastically if they are nominated. But I continue to think that Clinton would be the more formidable Democratic president. As to the criticism (from Donna Brazile for example) that the spectacle of the Clintons throwing punches in a tight spot diminishes their "aura" or something, look, they're the stars of their own movie. They don't want to retire and cultivate legacies and all that, they want to be in the show, today. And that means winning and losing and taking the chops.
As to the Republicans, Democrats need to beware McCain. McCain would be the best national candidate for the Republicans. Romney is an executive soliciting a job: his emotional engagement with the process is too professional, and the personal money he has had to spend is an embarrassment particularly when the contrast is with Huckabee and McCain. Giuliani made a strategic mistake, I think, in skipping both Iowa and New Hampshire. Now Huckabee, McCain, and Romney are all ahead, in his path, needing to be taken down. Late surging is going to come out of the South, and Huckabee and maybe Thompson will be the beneficiaries (Thompson still looks alive from a Southern perspective, but only just).
Next day addendum: Polls from South Carolina show Thompson dead last with maybe 4 percent. "Stick a fork in him," as they say.

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