Friday, January 04, 2008

Meanwhile, in Dick Cheney's bunker...

Iowa raises more questions than answers for the GOP, but I'm afraid I lack any serious insights -- mostly because it's hard to take the Republican Party seriously any more. When the average American has seen his wages decline, his health care disappear, his financial situation endure unprecedented volatility, his country lose soldiers and respect, the GOP response to this is to intone deeply about...cutting federal spending and gays and the need to "get tough" with terrorists? I mean, are you serious? You're not kidding around about this Presidential thing? As Woody Allen said to the Christopher Walken character in Annie Hall, "Right. Yep, well, I have to go now Duane -- because I'm due back on Planet Earth."

But here's some quick thoughts:

-- Shorter Giuliani: "Yeah, whatever. I'm still going to scare the shit out of old people in Florida."

I don't really understand Rudy's strategy. Any GOP Boalties want to explain it to me? He may be leading in the national polls and in Florida in California, but how can he possibly think that he can endure three weeks of repeated, embarrassing losses in the early primaries, and still expect the polls on 2/1 to look like they did on 1/1? In many ways, he's got the Hillary problem: coasting on name ID in the national polls, but discovering that when voters start to pay attention, they don't really like him.

Not that I mind. One of the more interesting stories of the last two years has been to watch Giuliani transform from tough-yet-friendly moderate into Al Haig in drag. I mean, this is the only Republican President that would make me genuinely fear for my life. His foreign policy is one part Curtis LeMay, two parts Major Kong. His domestic policy is simply mean and vindictive. The New Yorker said it better than I can.

-- Shorter Romney: "Let's see how many 'silver medal' Olympics analogies I can fit into one sentence!" Sucks to spend $30 million and finish second. At least his hair still looks good. Wish I had hair like that. Wish I had money like that. It's over if he doesn't win New Hampshire. But at least he can look forward to a thinly veiled character portrait on the next season of Big Love.

-- Shorter Huckabee: "There's more to me than Jesus. Hell, there was more to Jesus than Jesus." I know Democrats are salivating at a Huckabee nomination -- but I'm not so confident. I've seen him now 4-5 times in the last week, and he is amazingly genuine, folksy, honest -- and sharp about diffusing the scary aspects of his social conservatism. He's talked repeatedly about how his values mean more than "God and gays" -- how it informs his concern with poverty, energy independence, and rebuilding our foreign alliances. I think he could be dangerous in a general election. And his guitar may trump even Bill's sax appeal. (That's sax, people).

At the same time, it's fun to watch the GOP establishment descend into apoplexy over him. As Alice said in the post below and I've alluded to in the past, Huckabee threatens the 30-year, bullet-proof GOP strategy of getting elected with evangelicals and then governing for CEOs. His weird populism, his lack of unfettered fealty to big business, his genuine social conservative convictions -- all of this threatens everything the GOP mandarins have held dear for a generation. (Sort of like how Obama threatens Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson). I expect the knives to grow even longer now -- and maybe even look for the type of nasty, whispering campaign than was loosed on McCain in 2000 (and on Democrats in every election). The GOP devouring one of its own: fun for the whole Dem family!

-- Shorter Thompson: "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. What? Hell, Russians are going to find that sub before we get near her anyway. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."

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Blogger tj said...

No McCain? He finished better than expected in Iowa, and has a strong chance of getting New Hampshire. If he betters his performance in South Carolina this time around, he may have a legit shot at taking it all...

1/04/2008 5:38 PM  
Blogger Earl Warren said...

Totally agree. And I respect the guy too, which is why I couldn't think of any pithy or mocking comment, hence his absence. But thanks for catching it. If he wins NH, all bets are off -- but how does he keep the momentum going in NH, Florida, NV, and California when he couldn't the last time he won NH?

1/04/2008 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

awesome post

1/05/2008 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

naysayers in your ivory tower(s)

1/06/2008 10:36 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

awesome hunt for red October reference there.

1/07/2008 6:49 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Better quote would have been, "Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan."

1/07/2008 6:54 PM  

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