Friday, January 04, 2008

The political beauty contest.

Iowa has caucused. And here is what we know.

Obama won. I thought he would but will admit he won by more than I expected. The big loser was Hillary who trailed in third place to the vapid John Edwards. Listening to two minutes of Edwards was more than I could stomach. Anyone who thinks that Hillary is worse than Edwards isn’t paying attention. She lacks personality. She lacks warmth. She lacks principles. But Edwards was downright hateful. Of course the press won’t see it that way.

They won’t see it that way because he attacked the one minority which the press thinks is fine to scapegoat for any and all problems: people of wealth. Edwards gave the most envy driven tirade I’ve heard in a long time and he is clearly making a play for the for the most extreme Left vote within the Democratic Party.

I also hope that the Obama win in a state that is about as lily white as they come will put to rest the constant cry from the Left that Americans are inherently racist. Even the immigration debate is heavily shrouded in nationalism and xenophobia more than race. This does not mean that the hard core anti-immigration crowd isn’t racist. I think they are -- no one is trying to stop Canadians from coming in. But most Americans are not racists. I’m not sure that even most Republicans are racists though a very hefty percentage off them are.

Hillary is riding on Bill’s coattails but her own aloof, cold personality makes her an unappetizing candidate. It was one thing when she was the bitch pulling the strings behind the scenes for Bill and he was the front man. But the same sort of manipulative, driven, cold, vindictive attitude just doesn’t win much ground with voters. And the more people see her, and the less they see Bill, the less they like her. It is entirely possible that she will be alone come November and an Obama/Edwards ticket wouldn’t surprise me.

Over in the Theopublican Party Rev. Hillbilly Huckabee coasted to an easy win in a very divided election. The fundamentalist nutters evacuated their pews for the caucus room and prayed down the wrath of God on any Republican who wasn’t sufficiently religiously demented. Huck is the current main mullah leading the American Taliban. Never mind that he’s stupid as shit and doesn’t have the slightest idea what he’s talking about. He’s got General Jesus leading him and if he really needs to understand anything about foreign policy he can read the Book of Revelations.

Mitt Romney sold out all his principles to appeal to the religious fanatics and couldn’t quite pull it off. He will never live down the fact that he’s a Mormon and the fundamentalists hate Mormons even more than they hate Catholics. The only thing that would make Mitt even lower in their eyes is if one of his sons turned out to be a gay, illegal immigrant.

Rev. Huck has a problem with New Hampshire. People there tend to be more rational than religious. The very fanaticism that helped Huck with his flock in Iowa will work against him in New Hampshire. The win tonight will give him a bit a boost but 80% of his support in Iowa came from the God-botherers and he won’t have that numerical advantage in New Hampshire. This former televangelist isn’t going to be president. You can sell him in the Bible belt to the yokels but you can’t sell him to the rest of the country. If I were the Democratic nominee I’d be thrilled to run against Huckabee. He’d win the South but then a dead dog running as a Republican would win the South. But he would lose the toss up states and much of the mountain states which are more libertarian than theocratic. But then again, any electorate stupid enough to elect George Bush, twice, can't be trusted

Giuliani stayed out of Iowa right from the state. He knew that the state was hopeless for him and has chosen to fight his battles elsewhere. Unfortunately for him elsewhere isn’t that much better. The sooner the Giuliani threat is gone the better.

Surely the Paulists have to be disappointed. With far more zeal than understanding many of them seemed to expect some sort of massive turnout for Paul. For some time they confused unscientific polls that can be spammed with the real world. That they could all call up Fox news and vote for Paul is some instant survey seemed to be the only evidence they needed to conclude that a real election would bring forth similar results. It didn’t. Telling them it wouldn’t only brought out the anger in them. I spent very little time telling this because I figured they’d learn it very quickly. I now await some of them to start theorizing about how the international bankers stole the votes.

Paul might do a bit better in New Hampshire but considering that he got only 9.9% in Iowa he has a long ways to go before he’s formidable. The Paulists were convinced that their White Knight would trounce McCain and Thompson. He didn’t even come close. Some are latching on to his beating Giuliani as significant forgetting that Giuliani wrote Iowa off his list long ago and didn’t campaign. But Paul did beat the guys who dropped out and Alan Keyes. If you don’t know who Alan Keyes is don’t worry -- you aren’t missing a thing.

In any area that measures depth of support Paul will do well. His clan are true believers in his mixed message of populist nativism, libertarianism and social conservatism. He can get his people to turn out. He can get them to empty their bank accounts or vote twenty times in an on-line poll. What he’s having problems doing is getting other people to vote for him. At the polls the measure is how wide is one’s support, not how deep. I do suspect Paul will see his vote increase in New Hampshire but not enough to have the break through he needs. From there it will be all down hill.

I still think that Romney will ultimately be able to pull it off and win the nomination. I don’t think Giuliani can. He’s got the religion albatross around his neck, because he’s a Catholic in a fundamentalist party. That only puts him even with Romney. But Giuliani is clearly immoral as well, according to fundamentalist theology, and Romney comes out looking relatively squeaky clean in comparison. I don’t think Giuliani can even get the vice presidential nomination.

I would think that the best move the Republicans could make would be a Romney/McCain ticket. They would walk away with the South but we already knew that. And for the most part they would do well in the Midwest. But in addition both candidates have some appeal in the mountain states. The Mormon vote there will be overwhelmingly in favor of Romney if only because they believe it will give the Mormon cult more legitimacy in mainstream America and open the door to their annoying missionaries. And McCain’s base of operations is Arizona. This would be the ticket that would have the best chance of undoing some of the electoral damage inflicted on the Republicans due to their bumbling bozo of a leader in the White House.

I’ve already stated my preference regarding voting this year. I’ll be staying home doing something constructive like napping. As I see it the typical election race is like picking between gonorrhea and syphilis.