Campaign 2008 Is Here!
They're in New Hampshire, they're in Iowa, they're honing their stump speeches, there's even a guy who has gone so far as to make his official announcement. It's here. It's now. We're all barrelling down the superhighway to the White House. We might as well admit that the alleged "window" between the midterm election and the '08 primary season was a fantasy. [Incredibly my original paragraph had an additional metaphor involving flowers blooming. At some point I must give up my dream of becoming a writer.]
Charlie Cook has already handicapped the race on the GOP side, giving McCain a 60 percent chance of winning the nomination, with Romney a distant second. Meanwhile we see Andrew Sullivan urging Hillary not to run ("It would divide and polarize the country; she's dreadful on the stump; she has very high negatives; most Democrats only like her; almost no-one loves her; and do we really want 20 years of two families in the White House?"), and, via Sullivan, a column by Chuck Todd saying she'll have a rougher time getting the nomination than conventional wisdom suggests:
"As the likelihood of a Clinton campaign becomes a reality, more reasons turn up that suggest why she could lose the nomination. In fact, the primary may be harder for her than the general election. A bad three-week period at the wrong time in the wrong state could doom a bid, particularly with this front-loaded primary calendar."
But of course, if you really want to know what's going on, you have to read Chris Cillizza, who has figured out American politics all the way through the nomination conventions in 2024.
I think we should table the discussion until after the holidays. Let's try to get within 365 days of the Iowa Caucuses before we obsess on this.
(But I think Obama could take it, with a Vilsack veep spot to form a Midwestern Juggernaut that, with obligatory Coast votes, would give the Dems an Electoral College lock without having to win anything in the Deep South or the intermountain West.)
(But the Mondale Principle does apply, doesn't it? When was the last time a front-runner failed to get the nomination?)
Did anyone else see this Global Power Barometer that ran at the top of the home page this week? Bulletin: American power fluctuates just like the stock price for General Motors! The barometer tracks U.S. influence vis-a-vis other nations (as well as "Islamists"). Our rating changes daily. Soon we'll have this barometer down to an hourly scale, and then, ultimately, minute by minute. When will Vegas get interested? ("I'll take North Korea and the points.") More on this from the Schemer.
(The 21st Century rule: Everything must be measured. Any day now we'll see the arrival in stores of the hand-held Love Barometer.)
The Global Power Barometer is from some mysterious entity called Denver Research Group. At the risk of making you cross-eyed with jargon and tediousness, here's what DRG says of itself:
"Denver Research Group, Inc (DRGI), based in Aspen, Colorado, has served Fortune 200 corporations, fund managers, governments and other public and private clients for nearly 3 decades, providing a specialized range of cutting edge services, including:
"Monitoring of issues, politics, products and policy
Short to mid-term (6 to 36 months) trend projection for issues, electoral politics, products, public policy, regulatory affairs, political risk and the environment
Strategic planning for policy issues, public affairs, product development and management, and crisis management
Design and implementation of customized trend-to-action systems for senior managers of complex bureaucracies (public or private) or investment professionals
The strengths of the DRGI systems are two. First, they have a reasonable record of projection accuracy in complex political, product or policy situations. Second, and more importantly, they provide the option to turn trend information into action options 24/7..."
Come on. You know it's a kid in an attic.
The other day I mentioned Fisher's piece in The New Yorker. Read it this morning -- it's boffo, and poignant, full of radio history and cultural paleoanthropology. You see the power of memory and the tragic limitations of a life built around nostalgia. Wish there was a link to the text. Here's one grabby graph about Bob Fass and one of his earliest guests on the radio, a certain Bob Dylan:
"Dylan came on the show and pretended to be the chief of a company that made clothing for folksingers. Dylan returned to perform comic monologues in the voice of characters such as Rumple Billy Burp, Elvis Bickel, and Frog Rugster....Dylan chastised a listener for tuning in to non-commercial radio 'just to make yourself feel better.' Whenever the show slowed that night, Dylan took to the phones, cajoling female callers into describing their bodies in ever more glorious detail."
I like the Wikipedia policy on weasel words.
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