Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Thursday, January 03, 2008

O! Bama

OK, I'm pretty damned happy about how Iowa went tonight. I've long been in the ABH camp (anybody but ____), and early last summer I put away my doubts concerning Obama's lame bipartisanship rag to jump on the bandwagon. Some credit to Chicago DK for helping convince me of BO's skills and gravitas. Even if I was too much of a pessimist to have predicted it, an Obama win coupled with a Hillary bronze was my dream scenario. And Obama's speech was phenomenal. If he can maintain this tone and even a fraction of this intensity, it will be a good year for the Democrats.

Some other observations:
1) Edwards's speech was a triple with no one on base and the pitcher on deck. It reminded me of why I liked him and why I could support him enthusiastically were he the nominee. But it probably won't be enough for him to crack the headlines, given the Obama and Huck narratives that will consume all the oxygen. The CNN spin: didn't he need to WIN Iowa?

2) HRC's speech was also good, if less noteworthy. I'm not sure how she turns it around for New Hampshire without some extraordinary event. Dems don't like "inevitable" frontrunners. Never have. And the press loves the "failing favorite" story. They've been getting it ready for months. Not fair, but she knew the game and didn't anticipate. She was due for a stumble. Plus, women voted more for Obama. Ouch. (No surprise--the sisterhood has never walked the walk.)

3) The GOP race was definitely the undercard. Much lower turnout than the Dems, despite the competitive race, and the Huck win--a great story--will be buried well behind Obama's. His speech was nice, but lacked the urgency on the Dem side. In an ordinary year, that speech would have shone. But not this time. His presence seemed small.

4) Romney got humiliated. Whew. I find him the most personally distasteful of all the major Publies, but I think he's electable. Maybe not as much as Saint John. But I'd still rather see the Dem run against a McCain or a Huck, just to reduce the smarm factor this year. I cringe at the thought of seeing Mitt on TV every day for the next ten months. I still think he's the nomination favorite, however.

5) Did any of the announcers tonight even mention Rudy or Paul? Paul had a pretty good finish at 10% and couldn't even get onto the pie charts. I want Paul to remain in contention as long as possible because (a) he's a constant burr to the GOP on the war, and (b) his nuttiness entertains me--in 2008 the only "sane" man in the GOP is a certified loon.

6) Obama needs to ditch the bearded beret guy from the speech backdrop. America may be ready for a black president, but we're not ready for that guy.


At 4:05 PM, Blogger Frances said...

TMcD, I had no idea you were also in the ABH camp. I can't tell you how delighted I was at the result of the Iowa caucus.

And now there's a new Rasmussen poll out showing a dramatic lead for Obama.

Obama 37%
Hillary Clinton 27%,
John Edwards 19%,
Bill Richardson 8%.
Poll conducted on Friday; margin of error ±4.5%

Rasmussen's last poll from two weeks ago had Clinton at 31%, Obama 28%, Edwards 18%, and Richardson 6%.

Go Obama Go!

BTW, I also loooooove Huckabee's strong performance. I've got to hand it to the Iowans this year. They did great.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Frances said...

I share your distaste for that panderbot Romney. But I think Iowa has grievously wounded his candidacy, and I don't think he can survive it.

We haven't seen it in the polls yet, but Romney's candidacy (to a great extent like Clinton's) was based on the simple logic of being acceptable to everyone important in the party (in a lowest-common-denominator sense) and being able to win. There never has been any great enthusiasm for either Romney or Clinton. So without that ability to convince everyone that they're going to win and you better get on board or be shut out in the cold, what do they have going for them?

At 7:11 PM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Frances, although I've often been surprisingly impressed by HRC's campaign (including her debate performances), I've never thought that she was a good general election candidate. She's cautious, a mediocre stump speaker, and an easy target for the hate machine. Plus, there's good old sexism. In a decade of rampaging testosterone, a woman Prez is just a tough sell--especially a liberal senator from NY (three strikes right there) with a lot of baggage. I think she COULD win a general given the shambles that is this year's GOP, but I think she's an uphill battle against most of the GOP field. Meanwhile, under the right circumstances, I think Obama could win in a landslide.

My major decision this year was Obama or Edwards, and although I prefer the latter's rhetorical tack, that Obama charisma is hard to deny. I started making the Obama argument in TNR comment strings late last spring (post-Chicago), but I guess I never did the same here. I did vaguely signal my leanings when I posted about my Memorial Day trip to the NC mountains, where I was surprised to find a solid Obama majority, one that included me. I spent some of that weekend trying to convince our most politically connected guy, who was the lone HRC vote.

I agree too on Huck. Love those Iowans! I've been meaning to post on this, but I actually kind of like the guy. NOT in a "I might consider voting for him way." But in the "I don't mind this kind of Republican too much" way. Bonus: he holds the promise of open warfare with the GOP establishment.

Romney can still win, I think. The GOP has yet to decide who the "establishment" candidate will be, and even losing NH won't knock Mitt out altogether, if only b/c there are no other decent options. Fred? Ha! And McCain? He called Kerry for seven (!) conversations about being VP. If he wins a primary somewhere, that's coming out with a vengeance. I really have no idea what those folks will do. But I think both Mitt and Huck are in serious play. Mitt is still the guy who is (a) electable, and (b) causes the GOP base the least angst.

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Frances said...

TMcD -- After watching the Fox debate tonight, I think you're right that Romney isn't dead yet.

Luntz's focus group of undecided GOP voters loved the guy. When Luntz asked the group whether they thought Romney would be able to defeat Obama, nearly all the hands in the room went up.

And it was clear that the focus group did not like McCain on immigration AT ALL.

The group universally wrote off Huckabee's victory in Iowa as a result of religious fundamentalism. They said that Iowa's decision wouldn't influence them.

So if Luntz's group is representative, we can't count Romney out yet.

Romney, at least in my opinion, is EASILY the weakest GOP candidate. So I say: Go Romney!!!

At 11:22 PM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Frances, oof. I really really hope I'm wrong about Romney's not yet being dead. I hate to say this, but I think he's a pretty decent general election candidate. He's smart, good looking, has a great record in business and has a decent one as governor. He can pitch himself as a moderate. You actually have to follow politics some to know what a slimeball phony he is. Voters are historically bad at discerning "authenticity" or the lack thereof, and slick goes a long way. Plus, who in the press will push him on his absolutely frightening ideas about executive power? No one.

So overall, I'd say he's slightly less electable than McCain (age, looks, and raw shamelessness help Mitt, but everything else cuts for JMac), but more electable than Huck, Rudy, Fred, or Paul (ranked in descending order of viability). I think we can beat Romney, but I don't like the match up.

I also have a deep and visceral loathing for the man--he's the frickin' Yankees, and as much as I want to see the Braves beat the Yankees in the World Series, I'd much rather someone take those rat bastards out in the first round of the playoffs so I don't have to stare at those pinstripes any longer than necessary. American politics has been so toxic for the last decade that we're due for some damned humanity. The sooner the better, I say.

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Frances said...

I'm not particularly afraid of Romney. Not in 2008. He is at least as beatable as John Kerry and for many of the same reasons: no common touch, cold, technocratic, a terrible stump speaker, Northeastern, his yuppie family lifestyle. He doesn't touch any of the GOP's erogenous zones: no swagger, no sincerity on the cultural issues, not a gun hunter.

Huckabee would be more formidable if the entire GOP establishment didn't hate him and hasn't mobilized against him.

Rudy is more of a threat in the general election. His ethnic paranoia, warmongering & views on executive power get GOP base voters all excited, and yet most independents think of him as "moderate." Though he may be submarined by ethical issues and mob ties.

The biggest threat to Democrats is McCain, I think. And yet he's very, very old. And the GOP base doesn't like him much, either.

I actually think the GOP is going to go down in a big way this year as long as they don't get to run against Hillary Clinton.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Frances said...

Sorry - in message above, I meant to say "preppie" lifestyle. Have you seen pictures of his family at the shore? Looks like a Ralph Lauren spread. Who in America can relate to that?


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