Politics Wednesday 2

Yet another serendipitous day for political blogging–the morning after New Hampshire.

This “first in the nation” primary has always had a dampening effect on the momentum of a presumed front-runner–Johnson in 1968, Muskie in 1972, and, most recently–until yesterday, that is–Barack Obama in 2008. In the days before the primary, Obama had what appeared to be a solid lead; then, Hillary Clinton showed the rest of the world what I knew all along–she’s a human being. I’ll disclaim here and tell you I was a Clinton supporter right up until Obama won the nomination, and then I was an Obama supporter, and you won’t find a more stolid one than I. I fully understood what Obama’s election meant to African Americans: It was how I would have felt about Hillary Clinton’s election.

But I digress.

Last night’s NH primary seemed like a step closer to a coronation–the Republicans like those, I think because they haven’t given up visions of empires and emperors. In fact, I can see Romney as Napoleon, impatiently snatching the crown from the cardinal and placing it on his own head. Actually, he’s done it already. He’s been running for President for the best part of eight years, and he figures he deserves the nomination. He’s earned it with that square jaw and photogenic family, not one of whom has served his or her country in any way except as campaign props.

That Ron Paul polled in the 20th Percentile in the “Live Free or Die” state shouldn’t surprise anyone.

The tiny ray of hope for the Republican Party was Jon Huntsman, who surged to a decent third-place showing. I thought his put-down of Romney’s sneering disrespect of Huntsman’s service as Ambassador to China was perfect–“I will always put my country first.” What a breath of fresh air in a party whose “leaders” put their wallets or their presumed social and political status first.

Santorum and Perry are off the radar, unless the uber-conservative South Carolinian and Floridian voters can give them a little altitude. Gingrich is in limbo, teetering between falling off the radar and presenting a serious challenge to Romney in the South. Wherever he ends up, I’m sure Callista will be standing there, hair and make-up perfect, that eerie smile fixed on her face.

The predominant thread among pundits–and in the exit poll results from NH–is that Romney is the “most electable,” the one who can beat President Obama. But here’s a photo I found yesterday on AddictingInfo.org that tells me the President may be harder to beat than the Repubs think. Can you imagine Mitt Romney in this picture?

Politics Wednesday

It was coincidence that my writing work plan sets Wednesday as politics blogging day, and the first such blog of 2012 comes the morning after the Iowa Caucuses. Coincidental but serendipitous. That throwback to the days of smoke-filled rooms, the caucus, left plenty to talk about.

First, Willard M. Romney got a win he can’t really puff his chest up about, and he appeared to be somewhat muted on the Wednesday morning gabfests. I believe that eight-vote margin is one of the smallest in election history, especially for a national office. The other bad news Romney has to take away from this is that, after essentially four years of campaigning, he won the same percentage of Iowa Caucus votes as he did in 2008. On paper, it’s a victory, but it must leave the taste of ash in Romney’s mouth.

Though he came in second, Rick Santorum is the real winner. He did in a few weeks what Romney took four years to accomplish–get twenty-five percent of the votes. A month ago, Santorum was in the low double digits, and he gained a lot of ground and even led by more than 100 votes on occasion throughout the evening. Of course, he gained that ground by appealing to the basest instincts of the white voter–by fronting that stereotype that black people don’t want to work and by doing his best imitation of Tim Tebow without bending a knee.

Ron Paul. What more can be said about him? He wants you to have the right to drink raw milk if you want. I grew up on a farm. I’ve drunk raw milk, and, Mr. Paul, you don’t want to know the crap (literally) that’s in raw milk. Paul wants to withdraw within our borders, have no foreign entanglements, and let everyone within those borders fend for themselves. He’s no fan of Lincoln because Lincoln got us into an unnecessary war. WTF? I say that a lot about Ron Paul. Yes, he’s grandfatherly. Yes, he sounds like the eccentric uncle who only comes to visit on holidays and upsets everyone, but one-fifth of the Iowa voters like his vision for America. And that’s scary.

And, can you imagine, Newt Gingrich got relegated to a somewhat distant fourth place? How dare they? How dare they ignore someone of his self-declared intellect? But you just wait. He’s not going negative. He’s just going to tell the truth. (Cheers and applause) His truth, of course, which is somewhat detached from our everyday reality. As a former federal employee, I remember Newt’s fit of pique when he and other members of Congress had to exit Air Force One from the rear stairs–he shut the government down because President Clinton wouldn’t acknowledge Gingrich’s odd notion he was the co-President, not Hillary. His suck-up to Santorum and his “watch out, I’m coming to get you” riff to Romney was pure, nasty Newt.

The Village of Texas is getting its other idiot back. How nice for them. It’s hard to believe there is actually a Texas politician who can make W look like a Rhodes Scholar, but, good old Rick, he proved there was. Perry brought nothing original to this campaign, and it serves no point to waste any more blog space on him.

I wonder how Michelle Bachmann feels this morning after all that praying for a miracle from the entity she knows makes miracles. I guess she didn’t pray hard enough because the miracle didn’t happen. She essentially came in dead last, since Huntsman, Cain, Roehmer, and “No Preference” together garnered less than one percent of the votes, and none of them campaigned in Iowa. As of this writing, she has canceled her trip to South Carolina for that upcoming primary and will hold a press conference later today. At least I won’t have to listen to her carping about being disrespected because she was a woman. The hypocrisy of someone who has done all she could to reverse or disdain the accomplishments of the women’s movement who then uses sexism as an excuse for her personal shortcomings just astounds me. I hope she’s back in Minnesota for good.

The real winner in my opinion–and others more knowledgeable than I agree–is, ultimately, President Obama. Many people think Romney is the “most electable” Republican choice when paired against the President. I think the square jaw and the whitener-enhanced smile only go so far, especially for someone whose profession was to shut down companies and move jobs overseas, for which he received tremendous remuneration. When it comes down to the person who represents my values, it’s President Obama. Mind you, I’d like to have a talk with him about a few things, but the hope and the change still do it for me.

Here’s the most telling thing. If you haven’t noticed, none of the candidates refer to the President by his title–it’s Obama or Barack Obama. Now, trust me, I had trouble uttering the words “President” and “Bush” together, but I always tried to say “The President.” (Or President Shrub when I was really pissed.) This refusal to acknowledge the President’s status is indicative of a privileged (because they’re white) section of society–they just can’t wrap their heads around the reality of someone in the White House who is not white.

What I took away from the Iowa spectacle was a post-caucus interview with a white man in his fifties. When asked why he voted for Romney, he said, “He’s the best one to beat [slight hesitation and the beginning of a sneer] Mister Obama.”

That says it all. Unfortunately.

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Writing Work Schedule update:

Monday afternoon:

  • Edited the review for Linkage: The Narrows of Time Series (Volume 1) and sent interview questions to the author
  • Drafted a review of Loki and Sigyn: A Love Story
Tuesday:
  • Morning: edited a short story called “The Drink” and sent it to an on-line critique group I’m in (got very constructive comments so far)
  • Afternoon: pulled out my 2009 NaNoWriMo manuscript and reviewed it to see if, with a few name changes, it could be a good candidate for a Kindle Publication
Wednesday:
  • Morning: Blog on politics (see above)
  • To do for the afternoon: work on editing/revising a novel (depends on how tired and sore I am from coughing)