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Mystery Primary Theater 2008

The day started with So-Called Austin Mayor sending me these photos with the comment, "I don't understand why the paramedics don't just let the woman touch the hem of Obama's garment so that she can be healed . . . "

The night ended with me being impressed by an Obama speech for the first time. It was New Hampshire's Bizarro Primary. Here is my real-time, one-man Mystery Primary Theater journal.

- Steve Rhodes

*

The Preliminaries

CHANGE We Can Believe In, the Obama slogan plastered all over his signs, says you can't believe Hillary. Just to make sure we understand what kind of campaign he's running - the same one the right-wing ran in the 90s.

*

"This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale that I've seen," Bill Clinton just said. He was talking about Obama's war position. He added something like "Just because you sanitize it doesn't mean the facts aren't out there."

Wow. That's a pretty bold move. But he's right.

*

Huckabee too. Why wasn't he vetted earlier? The media doesn't like to do its job until it's too late. And what about the Tribune's big series on Obama? Why aren't those questions still being asked and those points still being raised?

*

How quickly we forget.

*

Beyond the Beltway's Bruce DuMont: "I covered Springfield for 19 years. [Obama had] mot much of a record there."

We're debating someone's record in Springfield as qualifications to be president! He was under the thumb of Emil Jones! It's like George W. Bush as the governor of Texas - where the lieutenant governor actually runs the state - only worse!!!

*

Ironically, Obama was no Peter Fitzgerald in either the state legislature or the U.S. Senate. Fitzgerald fought for reform and good government even when it meant taking on the establishment of his own party. The contrast is stunning.

*

"Barack Obama was not a significant player in Springfield, period," Dumont says.

*

And now, to World's Wildest Police Videos. Tru TV!

Watching Cops is getting to be like watching Seinfeld - I've pretty much seen 'em all, over and over.

Tornadoes lead the 6 p.m. news on 2 and 5. On 7, Andy Shaw is in Hancock, New Hampshire.

*

The Simpsons: "A bicycle built for two! And I could be one of those two!"

Poor Marge.

*

Huckabee has no paid consultants. And very little money. New politics!

*

Dems always choose the conciliator.

*

It's the Seinfeld with Keith Hernandez. There had to be a second spitter.

*

A CBS News poll shows Democrats significant believe Clinton is more qualified to be commander-in-chief. Or something like that.

*

Obama really got cocky in New Hampshire. But I just read this: "No winner of contested Iowa caucuses has then gone on to win the White House."

*

From a New York Times editorial: "Mr. Obama has made a huge promise - that he will change American, pretty much entirely. For those who have yet to register a choice - including this page and 99 percent of Democratic primary voters - Mr. Obama has to show that he has the specific ideas and the personal ability to make good on that promise."

The Main Event

7:12: MSNBC calls the race for John McCain. The crowd at his headquarters is chanting "Mac is back!"

*

Bill Bradley! Another substantively thin blowhard I couldn't stand. He's endorsed Obama.

*

7:27: John Edwards is getting left in the dust. Buh-bye!

7:29: Gravel has 61 votes!

Duncan Hunter has 150. Fred Thompson has 407.

*

The coverage is all McCain, McCain, McCain. It's true, he was left for dead this summer. One thing sports and politics teaches us over and over again is that it's a long season with ups and downs. It's the rule, not the exception.

*

7:31: "For a look at the other side . . . ," meaning the Democratic primary. They use one of the most unflattering photos of Hillary ever.

*

I just heard a pundit say the close vote totals reflect the fact that voters don't want it to be a coronation for Obama. It's so funny how these folks can flip their talking point scripts 180 degrees so quickly.

*

Hillary 40-36, with 16 percent of the vote in. The race is too close to call, according to exit polls. Wow.

*

Hillary apparently showed "raw authenticity" when she misted up over the weekend. Please! The media treats candidates like trained seals. "Attack, Barack, attack!" "Show you're human, Hillary!" "Go away, everyone else!"

*

7:34: The Universe, on The History Channel.

"This alien world has jet streams of unprecedented magnitude. Six thousand miles per hour winds."

We live in a freaky, fucked-up world. We should never forget that.

*

Earth winds are the slowest in our solar system.

*

This is a M*A*S*H with Colonel Flagg, one of the best supporting characters in TV history, but it's also from the B.J. Hunnicut era, so I'll pass.

*

Real Housewives of Orange County! God, that Quinn sucks.

*

Pat Buchanan! On MSNBC with Olbermann and Chris Matthews. How can Olbermann take it? Matthews just makes shit up as he goes along, it's unbelievable.

*

Hillary 40-36 with a fifth of the vote in.

*

It can't be a Hillary/Obama ticket - not if Hillary has said he's not ready to be president. You have to be able to argue that your vice president is ready, Dan Quayle notwithstanding. (Would he have been better or worse than George W. as president? I say better; his lack of an inner life would helped.)

Plus, I can't see Hillary and Obama hanging out together on the campaign trail. And Obama would draw too much attention away from Hillary.

*

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell suggests an Obama/Biden ticket. I don't think Biden could stomach that, and it certainly doesn't scream change to put a veteran Washington senator on the bill. Obama would have to choose a plausible outsider.

*

7:46: Are those people wearing mitts for Mitt? That's pretty good. "Another silver," he says. Three races, two silvers and one gold. That's enough, Mitt.

*

Gravel has 72 votes! I wanna party with them!

*

I've been hearing candidates say Washington is broken my whole life.

*

Some kind of plant thing on Chicago Tonight. Phil Ponce is looking at roots.

*

Back to MSNBC. At least Mitt Romney is loose. Ugh . . . "Washington insiders" . . . They're all reading from the same script.

*

Hillary 40-34: 23 percent in. Wow. Newsweek will regret that Obama cover. Or has that already come out? "Inside the Clinton Win!" It's all so shameless.

*

Why is family so important?

*

Oh my God, Romney's naming states like Dean! Scream, dammit, scream!

*

Dean got a raw deal. The party establishment and the media decided he had to be stopped. So they nominated a Washington insider.

*

"Huckabee to speak in 5 minutes, McCain in 10 minutes." Ugh. What's on Tru TV? Formerly Court TV?

*

40-34 with a quarter of the vote in for HRC.

Clintonista Ann Lewis: "the difference between talk and action . . . there's one candidate who says the right thing, and one that does the right thing. You'll know what she'll do because you know what's she's done." So that's their new talking point. It's effective to put Lewis out there to resonate with women.

*

Tom Brokaw, please. He keeps repeating the same thing over and over and over.

Oh God, not the Founding Fathers! "They wanted . . . not a coronation but an election!"

*

Watching pundits pivot on a dime!

*

7:59: Huckabee. Whatever.

*

Looking at the New York Times website. News doesn't happen according to cycles. That was an artificial construct resulting from the limits of publishing technology. In the real world, news happens when it happens. You report what you have, you update it when you can. You still can have a standard for what is ready to publish. There are different kinds of stories, like different kind of story lengths. A news site is a news site. The print product has to be totally reconceived. But the news is on the Web.

*

"8:02 p.m. | Bold Predictions CNN is already projecting that John Edwards is coming in third."

*

The New York Times is live-blogging. How is that better than TV?

*

Olbermann: 301 days until the election.

*

8:07: David Axelrod is coming up with the spin as we speak. My guess: "We're in this! It's two-person race!" And probably sending aides out to say that Edwards is a change candidate too, so the majority voted against Hillary. The last thing Hillary wants is for Edwards to drop out. Those votes go to Obama, don't they? I'm sure they're already making calls to South Carolina.

*

Oh my God, John McCain is using the Rocky theme. What year is this?

*

Jail is on WPWR. I love this show. Let's see, we've got Fort Worth, Las Vegas and Portland this episode. I love jail shows. Lockup is probably the granddaddy of 'em all, reality-wise.

*

Nova: Absolute Zero, The Conquest of Cold. Cool! "The battle to control cold temperatures is documented. Included: a primitive air conditioning system for Westminster Abbey; frozen food."

Some dude's talking about the Celsius scale. It's upside down. Originally boiling was at zero and freezing was 100. "It's a mystery in history . . .what was he thinking?"

Then at some point some Swedish guy said, hey, we need to stop this nonsense!

People who criticize TV just don't know what to watch.

*

"How low can you go? Is there an absolute lower limit? The idea that there might be would be a turning point in the history of cold!"

*

Joyce Meyer on Channel 32. Some of these preachers are such great performers. They could be president!

*

On Lifetime: Widow on the Hill.

*

Was McCain just crying!???

*

Oh God, they're chanting "USA! USA!"

That usually means they don't know what's in the Bill of Rights.

*

London Ink: These are true artists. They're discussing shading technique.

*

Family Guy: It's the one with Bertram, Stewie's half-brother. And "Morgan Freeman, in The Narrator.

*

It's on to Michigan! Where Romney opened his campaign. Do or die for him there?

*

Johnny B. Goode! For McCain. That's cool.

*

8:27: Gravel has 133 votes.

*

It sounds like Richardson is going to drop out. Not a VP. Did nothing but hurt himself. Great resume, though. Funny.

*

Gloria Borger's sources say that New Hamshire's college towns have not reported yet. It sounds like there might be enough votes there for Obama to pull this out.

*

Jeffrey Toobin: "Maybe people out there in the real world like Bill Clinton!"

Gee, maybe so! His approval rating is only something like 70 percent.

*

"Clinton was down 10 points in the polls 24 hours ago."

Her campaign is worried about Salem and Hanover, though.

*

HRC will now fight for the youth vote, too, and probably try to run a more inspirational campaign whie hitting Obama on the facts. Obama's spin if he pulls it out: A win's a win. Two in a row. We made history.

*

Edwards is the Obama spoiler.

*

Michael Barone on Fox: Hillary is getting support in old industrial towns. Still wards out in Nashua and Manchester. It's gonna go down to the wire.

*

Let's see; The Universe: Alien Moons; TLN: Today with God: CAN TV: We Salute The Drum Major; Carpoolers.

*

Joe Scarbourgh: Not ready to turn the page yet . . .

*

8:48: 39-37 for HRC with half the vote now in.

What does it mean that Hillary is winning the blue-collar vote while Obama is winning the affluent?

*

Edwards speech spin: 99 percent haven't voted! Gee, last week the people had spoken!

The Aftermath

Obama speech: He's talking to South Carolina. He's using is preacher voice. Cynical? It still drives me crazy that he doesn't say just what change he wants people to effect. To be nicer?

Crowd chant: "We want change! We want change!" To what?

*

"Something is happening in America!"

Yes, independents are voting for McCain!

*

Classless references to HRC's "reality check" and "false hope" remarks. Her reality check statement was right: the facts didn't bear out the claims of Obama and Edwards. But Obama is rising above facts in this campaign. Very Bush-like. He's creating his own reality. And the false hope is Obama, not hope itself. But hope isn't change, and hoping for change is insufficient, especially when you haven't identified what the change is.

*

Was he using a Teleprompter? These weren't post-election remarks. This was a speech to South Carolina.

*

That said, on purely oratorical terms, this was the best speech I've seen him give - the first time I've been impressed. It sounded like a civil rights speech. But to what end?

*

Tom Brokaw calls on the media to do less punditry.

Chris Matthews:"What do we do then in the days before balloting?"

You could, um, do some reporting!

*

Here's HRC.

Stop pointing! I hate when they do that.

"Politics is not a game."

Predatory student loan companies? She just added that for the youth vote. As bad as they are, though, I'd hardly put them on the same Axis of Evil as the oil and health insurance companies.

A really pedestrian, rotary speech.

Now it's rolling a bit more. She's calling on the promise of America to be real. That's going to be her comeback to Obama's false hope thing. Look for something like "Straight Talk, Real Solutions."

She put a lot of young people behind her.

*

Brian Williams: Two extraordinary speeches."

Huh? Were we watching the same speeches?

There was one extraordinary speech - Obama's.

"Thinking about New Englanders . . . look at what New Hampshire's done!"

Please, enough about New Hamsphireans! And Iowans! Ugh! Let's hear from Californians and New Yorkers! That's America.

*

"This has made modern political history."

So Obama was right.

*

Russert: One of the great upsets in American political history.

*

10:23: Christ, Carl Bernstein and William Bennett on CNN. We want change!

*

CNN"s John King reports that the Edwards people are saying this is great because Obama isn't running away with it. You know, John Edwards, your dad didn't work in a mill his whole life so you could have the opportunity to spin the American people.

*

Donna Brazile: Black women will determine the outcome in South Carolina. In fact, black women will determine if Obama is the nominee.

-

Catch up on the whole Mystery Debate Theater series.



Permalink

Posted on January 9, 2008


MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
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BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Hologram Arcade Machines.


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