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Tulip Mania???

[Cross-posted to The Trail]

MERRIMACK, NH, 8:00 a.m.

The Clinton Era began here in New Hampshire in 1992. You have to wonder if it begins to end here tonight.

Last night Hillary Rodham Clinton held a last-hurrah rally in a tennis-court pavilion next to the airport in Manchester. She had the usual human wallpaper behind her, plus her daughter and husband standing dutifully at attention. She made a good speech and almost every one of her policy initiatives, even the wonkiest ones ("I will end that long, confusing financial aid form that you have to fill out!") drew a roar from the crowd.

But there were dozens of people streaming out of the place even as she was speaking. I asked a couple of them why they were leaving. One said she was tired. Another said her had to get up early to go to the polls. Reporters shouldn't try to weave a threw stray threads into an entire quilt. It was late, there was no place to sit. But it has to be said: You never see people leaving in the middle of an Obama speech.

Several voters told me they thought Clinton's emotional moment in Portsmouth revealed her humanity and made her more appealing.

"I thought it was very human," said Pernelia Lindorff, 57, a teacher in Manchester. "It was from the heart. Men don't do that."

Mariel Rosen, 20, a college student, said, "It actually pains me to see the attacks against her. She has a celebrity status but she really is a human like you or me or anyone."

Diedre Smyrnos, 43, who sells produce in Rye, said she worries the news media will overplay the Portsmouth moment: "I hope they don't change history because of one watery eye."

Sid Blumenthal, Clinton's senior adviser, wandered back to the press area and offered his own description of the Portsmouth event: "Ed Muskie in reverse."

(Muskie, the Democratic front-runner in 1972, had choked up in Manchester as he denounced the editor of the Union Leader. To this day it's unclear if the "tears" were actually melting snow. In any case, the incident helped sink Muskie's candidacy.)

I asked Blumenthal if the Obama surge will prove to be a passing infatuation, a kind of political bubble that will eventually pop.

Blumenthal hesitated as he formulated an answer. Finally he said, "There's a book on tulip manias... "

As in, mass hysteria and the madness of crowds.

"We'll find out if this is tulip mania, if it's a bubble," Blumenthal said.


NASHUA, 10:30 a.m.

No real campaigning today, just photo ops, street demonstrations, chanting, speculation, punditry and prayers. We have once again hazarded the future of the country to actual citizens, which is the mark of a mature democracy, only with the large asterisk that only the citizens of a small New England state get to decide. It's like near-beer, not entirely satisfying but better than nothing.

Eager to get back home, a campaign trail scribbler nonetheless has to confess a certain disappointment with this year's version of the New Hampshire Primary. Secretary of State Bill Gardner may have made the wrong decision on the date. By state law he had to set the date at least seven days prior to any "similar election." In his judgment, Michigan's Jan. 15 primary was a similar election.

But the Jan. 8 date gave New Hampshire only four full days of campaigning after the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. It's all been a mad dash without much of a storyline other than Obama-mania (if someone reports that he walked on water, please note that it is because the lakes are frozen). Gardner could have said that Michigan's not really similar, because the Democrats are skipping it. He could have set the primary for Jan. 10. People are capable of voting on a Thursday. But all of this can be discussed in four years when Gardner stands once again over his calendar with index finger poised portentously.

Back to the contest at hand: It looks like it's going to be a great day for John McCain. His bus just pulled into a polling place on Broad Street, and McCain dived into the media scrum and disappeared from sight. It is possible that he was devoured alive by camera people; later I'll look for the bones.

Off to the side stood a white-haired gentleman holding a "McCain" placard. He was being very dutiful as a photo-op backdrop. But this was no ordinary volunteer - it was Fred Malek, the big-cheese Republican (and would-be Washington Nationals owner). He said he's co-chairman of McCain's campaign. "Chairman" is often a somewhat honorary title in a presidential operation.

"I finally found my proper role in the campaign - sign carrier," Malek said. His wife, Marlene, was on sign duty as well. "I'd do anything for John McCain," she said.

Mr. Malek predicted a McCain win today and huge momentum.

"He doesn't have to win Michigan" - Mitt Romney has a native-state advantage there - "but I think he will. You can't underestimate the moment that's going to be generated by a victory here."

Does McCain have enough money to compete in the large states?

"It's picking up. Nothing like a little success to open the money faucets."

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 8, 2008; 11:23 AM ET
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Next: The Undecideds Decide


First, with a bouquet of tulips.

Posted by: dbG | January 8, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Joel, second sentence should that be "have to wonder if it...?

I think it is sad that Hillary's having emotional would hinder her campaign or anyone's for that matter.

Posted by: dmd | January 8, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I can't get past the near-beer reference.

Posted by: dr | January 8, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

And second, with a vase full of water. :-)

Posted by: dbG | January 8, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Make that "2+x", with a vase full of water. :-)

Posted by: dbG | January 8, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

In case you require a little diversion, I refer you to this:

Because I like you, you may go right to the bottom, and check out the pocket protector link.

Your welcome.

Posted by: dr | January 8, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Reposting this from the bottom of the last one. Jeezey-peezy, ya turn your attention away for ten minutes and the Mighty Achenbach Machine has rolled out a new kit.

Anyway, this was in response to the possible coming Roveian Slimestorm:

I dunno...the Great Rovian Slimestorm might be put on hold for a while. First, Rove himself is pretty much out of the game and not working for any candidate at the moment (thank god). Second, according to Howie Kurtz's article, the Rightwing Punditry is very complimentary about Obama--heavens knows why, but they are. See

If the Rovestorm comes, I think it will come only AFTER the GOP has a clear frontrunner, and/or during the post-convention mano-a-mano campaign.

My gut instinct at the moment is that attacking Obama is a bad idea, especially for Hillary and Edwards. Tghe whole point of Obama's campaign at the moment is keeping things positive and hopeful and upbeat. I think John and Hillary would do better by leaving him alone and going positive on themselves, not negative on him. Then they'd just look like bullies. And at the moment Obama looks like he's got that coveted "teflon" paint job on him. Somebody might eventually scraspe it off him--but they WILL pay a price for it.

I think the anti-Obama stuff in the interim is gonna come from the usual racial nutjobs who've been out there all along, accusing him of being an al Qaeda plant and that sort of nonsense. Nobody's paying any attention to it, and at the moment the mains rightwng (Brooks, Scarborough, Noonan, Bennett, O'Reilly, Sullivan, even Limberger) seems to like him, so until their talking points shift, Obama has some clear sailing for a bit, methinks.

Why that should be I have no idea, but that's how it seems.

Then of course there's the irony that Obama's campaigning on a heavy "let's knock of the bickering crap" platform. But I'm amazed that some of those rightwingers are sitting down and singing Kum-bi-yah with him. Maybe he's right and I'm wrong: it CAN be done, after all. I'd have never predicted it, though. We'll see how long it lasts.

Of course, the good news is that the entire GOP roster is so messed up anyway, and they're all much too busy sliming each other to bother about Obama. Mazel tov.

Man, oh, man, that "huge" Giuliani bandwagon certainly did grind to a halt pretty durn quick, didn't it? Pity. *sniff sniff*

*Hey, I wonder if fake tears of sympathy could be called "fauxklempt"? I may have coined something here.*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 11:44 AM

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

dmd, thanks much... Kind of running on fumes here. (Speaking of which: I've gone through two entire tanks of gas already -- I need to go home and plant some trees.)

I'm ready to get out of here. Notwithstanding the second item's mournfulness that NH primary hasn't lasted longer, it's definitely been long enough from a personal living-out-of-the-suitcase standpoint. My idea of a good trip is three days, two nights.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 8, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Glad to hear you are heading back home Joel.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 8, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Joel, get back here as fast as you can. It's now 62 degrees, and headed for 72.
There's a shot at it that you could be sitting on your porch sipping a bewski (not a 3.2, either) in your shirtsleeves by sundown

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I don't blame Sen. McCarthey for being so upset. How would you like to be accused of using the "C" word?

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Must be a lot of flittering around to use two entire tanks of gas in such a small state.

Do the reporters leave early this evening, or tomorrow after covering the parties and whatnot?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 8, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

SCC Muskey not Gene.

Posted by: b9 | January 8, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I think the right wing echo chamber is trying to decide which briar patch they want to be thrown into. If they have test marketed issues against Obama, they are not going to tip their hand this early in the game. They may also be playing by one of the best rules of politics: When your enemy (Hillary) is self-destructing, stand out of the way.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Or besides the tulip bubble, the South Sea bubble or the Mississippi bubble...

It was, to be sure, a time of stunning economic lunacy, when a single Semper Augustus bulb could be sold for "six fine horses, three oxheads of wine, a dozen sheep, two dozen silver goblets and a seascape by Esaias van de Velde."

Period detail provided by British writer Deborah Moggach's fictional "Tuplip Fever"--and in my library.

Thanks to k-guy, I think it is, for the link to the NYT op-ed by Steinem. I think of the passages I read in "The Black Hearts of Men" about both the beginnings of the abolitionist movement and the feminist movements. In my opinion, Steinem nailed it.

Posted by: Loomis | January 8, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "Tulip Fever"...obviously

Posted by: Loomis | January 8, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I finally got a post in over at Weingarten!!! *Snoopy dances* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 8, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

yello, I've seen no sign that they are smart enough to do that.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I made some similar comments yesterday:

"Good morning, all.

I still think that the Dem nomination is Clinton's to lose, as long as her campaign stays focused on the positives. If she gets into a verbal flame war (just made myself giggle with that) with Obama, Edwards, or heck - anyone - I don't think it will help her cause. Seems to me that it would be best for her to remain as likeable as possible for as long as possible.

Feel compelled to add right here that the GOP must be feeling pretty good about the Dems getting tough with each other, as if it were going according to some grand Rovian scheme by which the GOP snatches the Presidential General Election in November after the Dems hack each other into little quivering chunks 'Worlds of Politicraft'-style. Fortunately for the Dems, the primaries and caucuses come so early in this cycle there may be adequate time to Frankencandidate everything back into a better-than-abby-normal ticket for the fall.


Posted by: bc | January 7, 2008 11:31 AM"


Posted by: bc | January 8, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

No.No. He was Mrs. Doonesbury's pick in '72.

My great aunt came up from Berlin NH for my grandmother's funeral in Montreal during the final throes of the Watergate hearings. My uncle came into the room where I was watching the hearings and told me to keep my catcalls, raspberries, and whoops down as they where upsetting my staunchly Republican G.Aunt.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"They may also be playing by one of the best rules of politics: When your enemy (Hillary) is self-destructing, stand out of the way."

But the Republicans would love to run against Hillary. I believe she'd make an excellent president, but I also believe that more independents would vote for Obama or Edwards--or worse... the Republican whoever it is.

Posted by: TBG | January 8, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani's problems stem from a falacious basic premise, to wit: "Once these hicks get to know me, they will like me."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 8, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

dr, have you tried the long-tailed cast-on as illustrated in Sally Melville's "The Knitting Experience?" I've used the long-tail for many years, but I don't know how in the world to describe the method. Pictures help a lot! But nowadays I prefer "knitting-on" (less guesstimation required.

Because one ridiculous link deserves another,

Posted by: lilith in ga | January 8, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

My delayed reaction to some earlier comments about people leaving Clinton's event before it ended: on Friday night I attended the NH Democratic Party's 100 Club dinner. There were 3000 attendees, and hundreds of press. Speakers were Howard Dean, Kucinich, Clinton, Richardson, and Obama - in that order. Lots of people left while Obama was speaking.

Maybe they'd already seen the candidates they came to see; maybe they wanted to avoid getting stuck in the parking lot; maybe it was the end of a long day and night and they were tired.

Me, I think Obama is great, and a compelling speaker. I'm an engaged NH voter, so like many I had heard most of the candidates speak before. It was the end of a long day and night, we were worried about getting stuck in a long line in the parking lot, and his speech was at least twice as long as everyone else's. So yeah, I left before he was done. Nothing personal.

Posted by: Manchester,NH | January 8, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

A quick glance at the headlines on the front page would lead one to believe that the Clinton candidacy is all but finished. I'd have to agree with you, 'Mudge, that this likability thing seems to be the point at which too many people are fixed on when it comes time to cast a ballot. Sen. Obama is a gifted speaker, but in order to get things done inside the Beltway, one still has to deal with a good old boys' network. I wonder if he's as well connected as Sen. Clinton in that respect. In reading the comments posted on different blogs, I'm amazed at the breadth and depth of hatred directed at Sen. Clinton. There's a lot of truth to the fact that hiding behind a blog handle gives people the nerve to treat others the way they wouldn't like to be treated. The GOP slime machine is biding its time.

Posted by: jack | January 8, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

SCC: )

Posted by: lilith in ga | January 8, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if "well connected" means anything once you're president. A president is well-connected, don't worry.

Posted by: TBG | January 8, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, TBG. Why would one run for President if you weren't well connected? I meant it in the context of experience in the Beltway game. It would seem that Sen. Clinton would have an advantage compared to Sen. Obama.

Posted by: jack | January 8, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

OMG... they're going to model Gene Weingarten's chat after the Boodle! Do we get any compensation?

Posted by: TBG | January 8, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

And I must add, that although many of the same people are here that also participate in GW's chat, the conversation there can never be as intelligent, interesting, entertaining and/or civil as here.

Well maybe as entertaining... but certainly not as friendly!

Posted by: TBG | January 8, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

How much experience did GWB have in the "beltway game" prior to 2000? Seems like as long the same party controls the White House and both houses -- game over!

Posted by: lilith in ga | January 8, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

And not to boodle-hog, but what I mean, jack, is that once you are president, people are climbing all over each other to become connected to you. Everywhere you turn.. connected!

I don't believe that the people Obama will surround himself with as advisors and "connectors," let's say, will be any worse than Hillary's... it's likely they'll be the same folks.

Posted by: TBG | January 8, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

We could always suggest Gene call it "Weingarten's Blatant Achenblog Ripoff," correct?


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 8, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Manchester report.

Some of the reporting from NH is sounding pretty giddy.

Presidential connectedness seems to matter. F.D. Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Johnson had it. Nixon maybe not. Carter not.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 8, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

TBG writes:
I don't believe that the people Obama will surround himself with as advisors and "connectors," let's say, will be any worse than Hillary's... it's likely they'll be the same folks.

Not exactly:

Sort of like that photo of the litle kid holding the placard. We both agreed the photo could have been better had it been cropped. It would have been even better if the photog had moved in closer to the subject and gotten a head and shoulders shot--making the cropping argument moot.

Did the photo reflect how empty of full the Edwards rally was? How early or late did the reporter/photographer arrive or stay late? What was the setup at the event? Was it a hall or gymnasium? Was the kid at a back entrance? Where was the parent(s)? How long had the kid been sanding there holding the placard? Or was the kid posed? Too many unknowns, in my opinion, to make that kind of assumption, TBG, and link it to Edwards popularity or lack of.

Posted by: Loomis | January 8, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

As far as "connected" goes, wasn't GWB considered "WELL CONNECTED", sorry for the caps but need I say more.

Not sure if I have mentioned it before but welcome to the new posters, really enjoy reading your posts.

Posted by: dmd | January 8, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree that connections get you to the presidency. How else to explain GWB? But I read jack's comment as saying that since Hillary is well-connected she'd make a better president--or get more things done--and I don't know if I agree with that.

I think it definitely gets you the nomination. But not necessarily elected--or helps you once you're there.

Posted by: TBG | January 8, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Went for a short walk along Elm Street at lunchtime. Much calmer than this morning. There's a snowman holding a sign about global warming. And a huge black Great Dane wearing a sign supporting Richardson.

Ron Paul's airplane is circling overhead, and the totally cool ABC mobile studio is still here.

Posted by: Manchester, NH | January 8, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. As long as by "well connected" you mean "tied with puppet strings".

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I just realized I have been to New Hampshire, ca 1978-1979. Those years left somewhat foggy memories but I'm sure I have been to Pittsburg NH. It was to buy cheap cigarettes or booze. From our party pad in Piopolis Qc we were going to Maine for one and Nude Hamsters for the other but I do not remember which state was cheaper for which sin. The border station in Chartierville was a sign-in thing, no border patrol guards were on duty on either side of the border. Oh innocent times.

Posted by: shrieking denizen à la dijonnaise | January 8, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

yello, I think you could make a case for being too well connected, as in owing way to many favours to too many interest groups.

Posted by: dmd | January 8, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Right, TBG. I was trying to make the point that Sen. Clinton may be more well versed at the Beltway game than Sen. Obama. I'll concede to you on the connections point, and thatbeing familiar with the Beltway game doesn't necessarily make a good President. Perhaps Sen. Obama's appeal has to do with the perception that his oratory skill will translate into a leaderhip style emphasizing bipartisanship and political decision making that will be, IMO, more helpful to the country.

Posted by: jack | January 8, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I can't figure out what any of you are talking about with this "connectedness" thing. But I have a suspicion it is some sort of transmutation from the older argument about whether someone is a Washington "insider" and tied in to the existing Old Boy network and power structure, or whether someone is fundamentally an "outsider" to the "Inside-the-Beltway" crowd. Very often, pols claim NOT to be tied in to the "inside Washington" group, because they hail from West Pistol Grip and therefore are "just like you and me" and "can be trusted."

And it's all crap, on both sides. Jimmy Carter campaigned on (and truly was) an "outsider." But a lot of senators have tried the same thing and claimed to be NOT part of the Beltway group (they lied), and were usually caught out and debunked. Fred Thompson comes to mind--he likes to play at being the Good Ol' Boy, not the Beltway insider. But of course this is a lie; the man was hard-wired in for years, if not decades. Sure, he started out as a hick and bumpkin and got onto the Watergate committee, but he soon lost his political virginity.

It's a two-edged sword. If you claim to be a hick and an outsider from the Boonies untainted by Washington, you then have the problems of (a) the learning curve, and (b) gaining the trust and respect of the insiders and true powerbrokers, who want to own you, and (c) trying to convince the electorate you can get something done via arguing that you are ignorant of the process.

If on the other hand you claim to be an insider mover/shaker who knows where the levers of power are and how to use them (as Hillary is claiming), then you have the reverse problems of trying to show (a) you aren't already compromised, co-opted and beholden to the "special interests," (b) able to get things done in a massive piece of machine many people regard as unfixably broken, (c) that even though you are an insider, you somehow aren't really responsible for the mess the insiders have made, and (d) you're still just a regular guy/gal (pace Loomis) who shares "our values" and someone who you'd wanna have a beer with.

Ergo, it's all crap.

As is a lot of the over-coverage of the campaign we're seeing, as well as the transparent foolishness of a lot of the analysis. A few months ago, the conventional wisdom was that McCain's campaign was busted, broke, dead in the water, and on its last legs. Now it appears to be about to win New Hampshire, and he's "on a roll" (see the WaPo homepage headline). Likewise, Huckabee just two weeks ago was going to sweep the nation. Hillary was unstoppable and inevitable. Well, that was all bulls--- then, and it is still all bulls--- now. You should never predict somebody's campaign is "dead" until it actally dies. And nobody's "inevitable" viz., Truman versus Dewey, Bobby Kennedy (assassinated), Muskie until he allegedly cried, Howard Dean until he roared [which to this day I still don't understand], etc.

Reporters and pundits shouldn't be in the prediction business; they aren't good at it, there's no pay-off in it, and it doesn't serve the public. One can write perfectly good campaign stuff without having to venturing into the prediction swamp.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge has MY vote in the next (2016) shop-steward elections.

Mudge, Mudge,
He's our man,
{If} you don't listen,
He'll kick your can....


Posted by: Don from I-270 | January 8, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

That was just me at 2:29. I don't want to start mixing cannibalism and politics. I think the place we were going in Maine was called Eunics, close enough to eunuch to keep us, the easily amused, entertained.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 8, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

What mudge said. You are correct, sir!

Posted by: lilith in ga | January 8, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's all crap. Thanks for clarifying, Mr. Shop Steward.

Posted by: jack | January 8, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but the ripple effect of the successive waves of connectedness... oh wait!

All crap!

Reminds me of all the pregame hype for nearly every sporting event "of the century." It's all over when the game's over and none of the prognosticating means a dam thing then.

Of course, at least in an election we're talking about who gets the most votes, right?

Well.. we hope so!

Posted by: TBG | January 8, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Isn't there some sort of monetary prize for the formulation of a unitary theory of existence which can withstand all tests? If so, Mr. Curmudgeon, I think you have a winner in "It's all crap," although we will of course have to thoroughly research any prior claims which Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, or Richard Pryor may have.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 8, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I prefer "Clouds are hard."

Looks better on a T-shirt.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 8, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

TBG you have no idea how much your graphic skills are being missed today!!!

Posted by: dmd | January 8, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"It's all crap" sounds better if you say it with a Scottish accent.

*clapping enthusiastically for the shop steward*

I dislike watching the campaign coverage on television because 95% of what they report on is the horse race, not the candidates' positions on the issues. And at this point, the horse race tells you squat. As anyone who watches horse racing knows, you can seldom tell who the winner is after the first furlong. There almost always is the one that makes a great move along the rail in the final turn, and smokes the previous leader.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 8, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Hold on, folks, before you start nominating me for the Nobel Prize for my "It's all crap" unitary theory of existence. We're only talking about "It's all crap" in a narrow field here, not the entirety of existence (although now that ya mention it...).

Remember that I am a dyed-in-the-wool Old School Newspaper Curmudgeon type of the Lou ("I hate spunk!") Grant/A.J. Liebling/Ben Bradlee/H.L. Mencken School, so there ARE a few things I do believe are not crap. Not a lot...but some.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Name four.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 8, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

If the race for the white house gets tight in the late stages some of you may want to help with the Canadian invasion, latest poll results on who Canadians who hypothetically vote for,

Posted by: dmd | January 8, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Okay, three.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 8, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Before one heaps too much disdain on horserace coverage please recall what Hunter S. Thompson did with the Kentucky Derby.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 8, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I think the whole world is rooting for the Democrats.

See what I mean?

I don't agree about misogeny, though.

Posted by: Slyness | January 8, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Finally, an election result:

Posted by: byoolin | January 8, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I thought 90% of science fiction was crap because 90% of EVERYTHING was crap.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

The horserace analogy always kills me 'cause its such a sllooowww horse race. It just goes onnn and onnn, heading into the straightaway in lead boots. And of course the year of jive talk that precedes the verryyy sllooowww raaccce. Are we there yet? Can it be November already? BTW, where is the Democratic convention this year? I know the Repugs are in Minneapolis. I *could* look it up...

Posted by: lilith in ga | January 8, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Look, Mudge, I can't go below three. You said a few and three is a few but if I go to two then it's only a couple, ya know? Three is my final offer. Three is the smallest few there is. Going, going..... Okay, two.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 8, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Let me give you some suggestions here, Mudge.

I believe in:

1. The small of a woman's back

2. The hanging curve

3. That artificial turf in an abomination

4. Long, deep, passionate kisses that last three days.

Is that any help?

Posted by: pj | January 8, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Piece of cake. I believe in the healing powers of the mojito, the caipirnha, the Tom Collins, and the gin-and-tonic. (If you argue that the mohito and the caipirnha are virtually the same, then I could add the Black Russian.)

Or if you think that's cheating, I guess I can come up with three more.

OK, Big Number Two: Yes, I'm stealing from "Bull Durham." So sue me. "The small of a woman's back. The hanging curveball. That the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe there ought to be a Constitution Amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve. And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days." Those familiar with the quote will understand that I left out the first two items Crash believed in. And you'll understand why. But yeah, I believe in them, too.

Number Three: I believe in brining turkeys before cooking them, and in the high-heat method.

Number four: I believe in Literature, Writing. Novels, short stories, poems, and most kinds of prose. Music. Most Art (not all, but most). Make it Fine Arts in general. I believe in a proper, full-spectum liberal arts education. I believe the Bible should be taught in 11th or 12th grade--as a work of literature as well as an artifact of sociology as well as a mainstay of Western Civilization, along with many other religious documents (Koran, Bhagavad Gita, the Navaho Creatation Story, etc.). I believe Sacco was guilty but Vanzetti was innocent. I believe I should have bought that d@mned 1962 Morgan as well as that 1928 Friendship sloop. I believe that although I could have played it smarter and better with a certain "ex," the relationship was ultimately star-crossed and destined to fail (and not my fault, although I still think maybe there was "something" I could have done, which is foolish, because there wasn't). I believe dogs are better pets than cats by a long shot. I believe "Casablanca" was the best movie ever made, and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" the best novel in the English language of the 20th century. I believe George Bush is/was the worst U.S. president, eclipsing even the despised Richard Nixon.

There, that oughta do it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

RD--Hunter Thompson, Kentucky Derby?

Posted by: Raysmom | January 8, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Ah, PJ, PJ, my man, my man. If I'd a known you were reading my mind I wouldn't hadda cut and paste and edit that speech.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and maybe instead of the small of the back, can I substitute the back of the neck? Right there were the hair comes down and goes to a point and gets real fine and almost invisible?

Although the small of the back (and some other places, like that hollow right over the collarbone) is certainly a fine piece of territory. It's just that I spent a couple of formative years staring at the back of MS's neck (we were often seated alphabetically), and it's just kind of a thing, OK?

And crow's feet. Yeah, those three lines outboard of the eyes. Can't help it. And those two worry lines between the eyebrows. And the underside of the jaw line about an inch forward of the hinge.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved
by Hunter S. Thompson

Posted by: Boko999 | January 8, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge has touched my heart, even though he is dead wrong about cats. Cats are as good as dogs, petwise, any day. And you know how I feel about dogs.

Posted by: Yoki | January 8, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

"CASABLANCA" ??????????????????
I can name three or four Japanese films made by people not named Kurosawa that are better than "Casablanca" for gosh sakes. I can name a couple of Hollywood movies made in the same year that were at least as good as "Casablanca."
"Double Suicide"
"Woman in the Dunes"

"The Ox-Bow Incident"
"For Whom the Bell Tolls"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 8, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Alfred Hitchcock's personal favorite of all his films, "Shadow of a Doubt" was made the same year as "Casablanca" and is (wait for it) a better film.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 8, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... Perhaps it's time to invoke (yellojkt?'s RDPad's?) rule against arguments which can't/won't lead to any concrete actions.


Posted by: Bob S. | January 8, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

K-guy, most of us here have never even SEEN most (or in my case, any) of those films. And I suspect you just plain miss the point of "Casablanca." I bow always to your superior and wide-ranging knowledge of movies, K-guy--but you don't live in the same movie world as the rest of us. It's Casablanca, dude. You've got to come to terms with it.

"Double Suicide." C'mon, K. Ingrid Bergman wasn't even in it. Case closed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 8, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

gnu kit

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 8, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, depends on how long the race is; I usually can tell who may fail to win by the final turn, even if the horse seems to be ahead, especially in the triple crown.

Stamina is an issue and how much acceleration and energy is wasted "catching up."
Obama broke sharp, but we'll have to see if he sustains his lead and increases it or has it narrowing to determine whether he's just a 1-D front runner or he is simply the superior candidate.

But as Lilith says, it's one Slooooowwwww race, so stamina is much more important than getting the speed jump.

The more support you have early on, the more funds you get to fuel your campaign, so it's actually a positive feedback effect, so that jump helps... but it has to be really significant.

Gloria Steinem is easily debutted: 35 women have been U.S. Senators, only 5 African-american senators have served, and one was a woman. 2 served right after Reconstruction, and they come from a total of 3 states (Mississippi, Massachusetts, Illinois).

There have been 122 black congressmen/women in the whole history of Congress.

I was not able to find a precise count of how many women have ever served in Congress. However: 16,7% of the current U.S Congress is female, and as many as 90 women have served in the U.S. Congress at the same time (senate--16 women, 74 in the House). The current U.S. Congress, according to Wikipedia, is only 9.2% African-American.

Steinem is correct in saying that black men got the vote well before women, but she ignores that many widows were often asked to serve out their deceased husbands' terms without the benefit of elections. They still benefitted from political connections through their marriages.

And um. I won't mention any presidental candidates by name, but I would love to see a female presidental candidate who was 100% "climbed up here by myself."

Just sayin'. I don't think Hillary has had a career path that many female politicans could or would wish to emulate.

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