Sunday, February 3, 2008

Biggest Surprises of the '08 Primary Season

1) Fall of the House of Giuliani. Despite a bad fit with the conservative base, polls showed him riding high for a long time. But it turned out the emperor had no (women’s) clothes. It's said that never before has so much money been spent for so few delegates, but Steve Forbes begs to differ.

2) Obamamania. The Clinton machine eats idealists for breakfast and pragmatists for lunch, but Barack Obama will be able to say at the end, like Sly Stallone in “Rocky”, “I went the distance…Ain’t gonna be no rematch…” I think it was FOX pundit Bill Crystal who said the Republicans have had the more sincere presidential candidate for many an election but if the Dems go with Obama that string would end.

3) Fred “Phone it in” Thompson. The Great Conservative Hope lacked the fire in the belly. Actors can fake passion but can’t fake the brutal work ethic a campaign requires.

4) Romney’s Ineffectiveness. You have money, good looks, a good record, and you’re the only one espousing conservative principles (even if you found them yesterday). Lesson? In the Republican party the mantra is “trust, but verify”. We verified we don’t trust Mr. Romney. Perhaps it's our loss but we'll likely never know.

5) Ann Coulter's for Hillary, So Say Your Prayers. The rightwing gal who "loves to shock us" as Letterman said of Madonna said she'll vote for the Hillcat if McCain gets nominated. You don't need Tim LeHaye to tell you it's Armageddon time.

6) Ron Paul Before He Rons You, because into each campaign a little Alan Keyes must fall. But seldom do they make such a splash. Quick fact: Paul continues the streak of no candidate with two first names having garnered a major party's nomination. Except for Hubert Humphrey. And Harry Truman. Well, it sounded like a true fact.

7) "John Edwards, You're No Jonathan Edwards!" The great preacher made me envious of his hair but not his primary results. Lesson? Angry is so 17th century. Or maybe: close only counts in hair salons.

Least Surprising Developments of Primary Season

1) The Empire Returns: Hillary’s initial campaign for the Senate was widely seen as a stepping stone for a run at the White House. She denied it all the way to the bank (having gone there to check campaign contributions). Her constant political success, alas, proves that crime does pay.

2) Joe Biden’s Demise – the senator’s “death on arrival” was signalled by polls indicating which issues were most important to Ohio Democrat voters: “Stance on the issues” was rated a distant fourth in importance, dooming him to irrelevance. Voters most wanted change, but weren't particular about what change it might be.

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