Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Horse Race, Part I

I've been kicking around this post for a few days and figured I'd just post what I've got as a list of random thoughts about the Primaries and the Presidential Race thus far. I'm not going to bother linking because either your interested and following this stuff, or your not.

* Generally, my interest in horse race politics is somewhat limited, but I've been fascinated this year by the real lack of front runners. It's great for democracy and a great counterpoint to those who think election outcomes are bought and predetermined. Who's the Republican candidate of choice? C'mon, where's all the big money going? I think even the conspiracy theorists may be having a hard time.

* The press has gone mad with the "Hillary sheds tears" story. I don't see what the big deal is. Is it really all that surprising that Hillary won New Hampshire, despite whatever the polls may have said? I have trouble believing elections are really swung by all the stupid minutia the media would have us believe. It's not that some people won't pull the lever because of perceived personal traits, I just don't think it's possible to determine which voters are actually making decisions like that. A lot goes in to people's calculations of who to vote for and the general media spin of "New Hampshire voters responded to Hillary's tears" seems far more unproductive than it actually is enlightening.

* All that being said, I think Hilary has the potential to attract apolitical voters who'd like to see a women in the White House. I don't know if that's what happened in New Hampshire, but there are many women (and some men) who would vote for Hillary because they don't give a damn about Barack Obama's message of change or the John Edwards rhetoric of class warfare.

* I really have trouble enjoying the Simpsons anymore, but they did have a great moment on last Sunday's episode when Homer, Carl, and Lenny take part in a political focus group after Springfield's primary is moved up to be the first in the nation. The first response when the focus group begins: "The punch is too sweet!"

* I'll defer to 30 Rock and Tina Fey's Liz Lemon to tell us what really happened in New Hampshire:

There is an 80% chance in the next election that I will tell all my friends that I'm voting for Barack Obama but I will secretly vote for John McCain.

What's interesting isn't that people might be lying to pollsters because they're secretly racist, but that people might lie to pollsters because they want to come across as progressive and racially sensitive.

* John Edwards is a complete tool. I could deal with a Hillary presidency because Republicans would stonewall her at every turn and an Obama presidency could be tolerable, but an Edwards presidency would be like FDR's presidency without World War II or any semblance of dignity. I'd actually love for Edwards to be president, just so people could see how empty his anti-corporate, populist rhetoric actually would be if put into action. Actually, I have an idea ...

Stan: So it seems like we have enough people now. When do we start taking down the corporations?
Man 1: [take a deep drag from his joint] Yeah man, the corporations. Right now they're raping the world for money!
Kyle: Yeah, so, where are they. Let's go get 'em.
Man 2: Right now we're proving we don't need corporations. We don't need money. This can become a commune where everyone just helps each other.
Man 1: Yeah, we'll have one guy who like, who like, makes bread. A-and one guy who like, l-looks out for other people's safety.
Stan: You mean like a baker and a cop?
Man 2: No no, can't you imagine a place where people live together and like, provide services for each other in exchange for their services?
Kyle: Yeah, it's called a town.
Driver: You kids just haven't been to college yet. But just you wait, this thing is about to get HUGE.

More on the Republicans in a separate post ...


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