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Super Tuesday Map In The Brain

[Cross-posted to The Trail.]

3: p.m.

Here in DC, just about every conversation begins with a single word:

"Predictions?"

In about an hour that will change, to "Heard any exits?"

You're required to have a prognostication of some kind, or else face immediate social exile and/or public stoning. You can't just say, "We'll see what the voters decide," as that's the moral equivalent of giving up. If you can't speculate recklessly, THEY WIN.

A good all-purpose response is, "Don't overlook the Ron Paul factor." You can also impress with a highly specific, but incomprehensible answer, such as, "I'm struck by how well Romney's doing in California's 48th congressional."

There is, however, a data point that we can examine at this hour. It's the result from West Virginia, and it is portentous. According to the website of the West Virginia Republican Convention, "Because West Virginia will know its results by midday, it gives West Virginia an enormous impact on the presidential race in 2008. "

The result: Huckaboom 2.

Yes, Mike Huckabee is back, and with his West Virginia momentum he's unstoppable. He hadn't won so much as a game of Minesweeper since the Jan. 3 Iowa Caucuses, but today he edged out Mitt Romney, and won the entire slate of 18 delegates, at some sort of convention in Charleston. The West Virginians picked Huckabee even though Romney left Long Beach after midnight and flew all through the wee hours of the morning in order to speak to them at breakfast time. Romney shoulda stayed wheels-down in Long Beach.


---


So many states, so few brain cells. Super Duper Tsunami Fat Tuesday is a historic challenge, both politically and neurologically. Quick, how many delegates are at stake in Idaho? Is North Dakota winner-take-all? Why is West Virginia holding a Republican convention rather than a primary? How many California delegates are awarded according to the statewide vote and how many by congressional district? When do the polls close in London and how soon thereafter will we learn about the delegates representing the Democrats Abroad?

How will Hispanics influence the vote in [insert name of state here]?

Delaware: Discuss.

What we all need is a mental map, something akin to CNN's magic wall, that fancy touch-tone screen that enables John King to check precinct reports county by county in, say, Alabama, and even, if he wishes, peer into individual living rooms to judge the mood.

I find that a form of phrenology comes in handy at a time like this: Different parts of my skull correspond to different states. Press a forefinger just behind the left ear, and boom: Oklahoma.

It's critically important to know the precise delegate-awarding rules in each congressional district, because the "winner" may actually wind up with a tie, as John McCormack explains in The Weekly Standard:

"Even if the popular vote in a congressional district with four delegates ended up 60 percent to 40 percent, Obama and Clinton would each get two delegates. In districts with three or five delegates, a one-point win would have the same effect as a 20-point win on that district's delegate allocation; they would split, two to one and three to two."

Perfectly clear - but you must press the right part of your skull at the right moment to access this data.

In the New York Times, Adam Nagourney tries to help us organize our thoughts:

"The delegate count might matter more officially, but the state results could count more politically, and that will be the central tension of the night."

Got it? You need to separate your "official" thoughts from your "political" thoughts. It's like separating cerebral analysis from intuition. There is thinking, and there is feeling. This isn't just about numbers, after all: It's about our emotional reaction to the numbers, and more importantly, how we feel about our emotional reaction to the numbers. And how that will "play" politically.

Whatever you do, don't overthink it.


By Joel Achenbach  |  February 5, 2008; 3:34 PM ET
 
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Next: The Return of Rove and Other Super Tuesday Dramas

Comments

First with the luck of the Irish!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 5, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Second?

Woohoo!

Happy Super Duper Fat Tuesday, Boodle!

Posted by: Moose | February 5, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

But, but, but...I just posted this on the previous kit! Well, I'll just have to re-post it here, dadgummit:

Any time, Maggie. I actually felt there was nothing wrong with "he attain"; I just had to find the relevant explanation for why.

And, oh, what the hey, boys and girls, why don't we *all* recite the six contexts where the subjunctive is used:

1) counterfactuals (if I were king...)
2) suppositions (which sound like counterfactuals, but aren't exactly) (if I were to go)
3) wishes (I wish that I were married to Evangeline Lilly)
4) the aforesaid demands and commands
5) suggestions and proposals (I suggest that she think about it...)
6) statements of necessity (it's necessary that you be there...)

Plus a few leftover oddments: Long live the Queen, as it were, be that as it may, would that it were true..., be it ever so humble..., and statements of fear or anxiety using combing the word "lest": lest you be worried that..."

This has been another dazzlingly fascinating discourse from Mr. Language Curmudgeon. U kin proseed on yer weigh now.

-----------

LOL at "hadn't won so much as a game of Minesweeper," JA. Very nice.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I still think "OmnipiTuesday" has a certain ring to it...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I've grown extraordinarily fond of "Name Your Zeus Tuesday." Works a couple of ways. (The home game, of course, would be "Name That Zeus."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Aha! I knew there was more to the photo selection issue- it was the dreaded Focus Factor. This would explain why the pic taken in the car while driving turned out so well- Joel used "auto-focus"!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 5, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I can name that Zeus in two thunderbolts, Wink.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

LOL re photo comment by JA at end of last kit.

Speaking of last kit, somebody go back and get Hector. Damned illegal alien.

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 5, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Of course, the ultimate contest is tonight: Carolina plays Duke. To heck with whatever this election thingy is.

We have our priorities around here.

Posted by: Slyness | February 5, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, man, it's been a long, hard day here in cubicleville and I think I've been subconsciously more stressed about this election stuff than I was admitting to myself. This kit just has me helpless with amusement. Everything has come to a halt, and I think I will just go home now.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 5, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Joel said Oklahoma!! We're famous. I'm so proud.

Great Kit, really, and captures the nuances of Super Fat All Powerful Tuesday very nicely.

"Perfectly clear - but you must press the right part of your skull at the right moment to access this data." For me, that would be a pencil through my eye.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 5, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

the kit was totally great.

has anyone heard about clinton's latest chess move?
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/02/05/clinton-camp-calls-for-one-debate-a-week/

i think it's interesting, especially the part about fox. it seems she's saying you can go to the left of me or to the right of me, but not to both the left and right of me. of course on basic policy they are very close, but this is about perception.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 5, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Dang, now I have to go and repost my brief comment where I predicted Mudge would vent forth on the subject of verb conjugation. He did... before I posted.

"Attain= it's a dependent clause and takes the subjunctive mood, methinks.

But note:

It is imperative /that Hector attain/ his goal before he can be admitted.

This can be rewritten as /for Hector to attain/.

Either way, attain never attains a -s.

.....
Now I am remembering poor Hector, tamer of horses, and his fate to be dragged around the walls of Troy three times in the Iliad and his body thrown to the crows, as Hecuba wept.

I think Maggie O'D's poor friend will have better luck if he gets a name change. Especially if he's a son of Hecuba, um, Cuba.

Joel-- I never prognosticate on republican races, but Huckabee for W.Va is like a gimmee. I mean, the guy shoots pheasants, antelope, and probably has treed a raccoon or two in his day, too, and on Sundays he speaks to Jesus.

Why, he's right down home and folksy, and BOUND to be sure none of them nasty Dems try and take hunting rights away.

(I do support hunting rights, myself.)

I predict Huckabee will do good in Mississippi and Georgia as well as (Maybe) his home state. Other than that, beats me. I don't see him winning San Francisco's heart, for instance, even for those whose hearts aren't already "left".

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 5, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Reposting...

Scotty Nuke and Mudge, I knew I could count on your help. It's a much cleaner, stronger letter now.

Thanks!! znd to Wilbrod too.

Error and Hector in 2008!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | February 5, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Slyness,

Isn't Carolina/Duke tomorrow night?

Posted by: pj | February 5, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Well, Dr.-of-letters Mr. Curmudgeon, sir, would you please tell me the meaning of obsedded? It wandered its way into my post around 2 p.m. and I have no idea why. I wasn't feeling particularly spastic at the time. If it means anything like Zeus, I may not want to know.

Posted by: jack | February 5, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

pj, you are correct. I was getting ahead of myself, something I do often. *sigh*

Posted by: Slyness | February 5, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Piece a cake, Jack. Here, I'll use it in a sentence: "For lunch I had two steak-and-cheese with hot peppers, four jalapeno tacos, a strawberry milkshake, three Twinkies, a slice of pizza (Supreme), a raspberry jelly donut, and lime rickey, and now I think it has all obsedded my stomach."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of not-quite-counterfactuals, Donald Akenson's "If the Irish Ruled the World: Monserrat" takes up a largely Irish colony in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean and South Carolina were double-sided. They offered refuge to Jews and Huguenots, while being prisons for Scots, other Huguenots, and assorted other unfortunate Europeans, as well as Africans.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the Fog of Humiliation to descend on misguessing pundits tonight.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 5, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't think I can mention to Son of G that I wrote here about his Zeus, can I?

Posted by: TBG | February 5, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I think if you tell him what you meant to say, and what you actually did, he'll find it hilarious.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 5, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

So *that's* why Rudy was ramrodding his finger wildly up in the air the other day. He was trying to access his brain!! ppffftt...

Posted by: Don from I-270 | February 5, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

TBG, let's just hope he doesn't notice it, 'k?

Posted by: Slyness | February 5, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Either that, Don, or his "pull my finger" went wildly wrong.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 5, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

The Dole dustup playing out on TV. Understand the first caucus of West Virginians went to Romney on the first ballot but McCain did some dealing and the state went for Huck. Romney in a lather.

Interesting state, West Virginia, one of two--the other being Illinois--where ol' Joe Kennedy used the mob, the Teamsters--and Frank Sinatra thrown into the mix--to help carry the state for his son in 1960. See Sy Hersch.

Posted by: Loomis | February 5, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I've got a great idea--let's all play Minesweeper tomorrow. 'course, I'll cheat by having that flagging pixel show up.

Very funny phrase, Joel!

Posted by: dbG | February 5, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I think Obama will do better than expected tonight. People who are wavering will think of Bill and pull Obama.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 5, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

What you need to know about the Bonfluer scale is, the higher the number, the more they will want to court-martial you for what you did; the difference between positive and negative numbers is that if the number is negative, you will be convicted. If it's positive, there is absolutely no legitimate legal basis for a conviction, and everyone involved knows it--they'll just want to, real bad. The scale is logarithmic.

Thus, a +3 is about as good as it gets. The Bonfluer scale was Vietnam (draftee) era--in the modern army it may no longer be applicable.

In fact, given this bit of "military justice" it probably isn't:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/world/asia/05gitmo.html

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | February 5, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Bill is Hillary's Roger.

Posted by: Jumper | February 5, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm voting for non political except I really like the 'Press a forefinger just behind the left ear' bit.

I stopped by the Sally Ann down the street, and picked some neat books. The entire Second World War by W Churchill for reading pleasure, a 1913 copy of Mansfield Park, illustrated, no less, and a book called Scott's Poems which on the inside has the publishers name as John W Lowell and Company and the outside T Y Crowell and Co. Its bound like the one on the link,has the red line, and the gilt edging so it has to have been printed in 1893.

http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/lucile/publishers/crowell/redline90.htm

It doesn't have to be worth a single penny, but I love finding out stuff like this.

Posted by: dr | February 5, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

That is just awesome, dr. What a find.

Posted by: Yoki | February 5, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Science Tuesday: don't get your plastic bottles in hot water.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080130092108.htm

And off for dinner!

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 5, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

David Brooks just gave Ann Coulter to Mark Shields. Is that legal?

Posted by: Boko999 | February 5, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

With friends like that, who needs enemas, Boko. Sheesh.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, 'Mudge. I forget my grammar rules so easily. Obsedded is the past tense, like runnded.

Posted by: jack | February 5, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I runnded once, but I was sick so I don't think my speed record counts.

Posted by: dr | February 5, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I see the WaPo home page is all set up to start receiving numbers here on SupaPhatTuesVotapalooza.

NBC just now projected Obama the winner in Georgia, and on the GOP side a three-way tie.

Let the madness begin.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Dave of the Coonties,

//Thinking of not-quite-counterfactuals, Donald Akenson's "If the Irish Ruled the World: Monserrat" takes up a largely Irish colony in the Caribbean.//

Can you post more info on the book? I'd love to give it to a friend of mine who lives in Montserrat.

Thanks.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | February 5, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm so glad Joel brought up the "'winner' may end up with a tie" point. My concise, if you call 16 pages concise, guide to the MN DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor, holdover from the prairie populist era) Caucus tells me that while the prez part of this evening will be strictly a preference poll the party platform issue bit could go the "winner ties" route.

Time to go. I will be back with an exit poll from our fair precinct about 2100EST.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 5, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

The URL says phrenology, undoubtedly a reference to Daffy Duck:

DD: I'm a phrenologist. I can read the bumps on your head.

EF: But, Doctor, I don't have any lumps on my head.

DD: *wham, wham, wham, wham, wham, with a wooden mallet*
Ya do now!!! woohooowhoohooowhoohoowhoohoowhoohoo

Posted by: jack | February 5, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute. Georgia isn't in play for the Dems. Wonder if I misheard? But he declared some state for Obama.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Jack, which Jane Austen novel were you just quoting from? I don't recollect a phrenologist in any of them.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Nope, Georgia is correct. It's the WaPo front page map that's wrong.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

You guys gotta turn on NBC. Tim Russert is saying Obama won white males in Georgia. Holy moly.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Biography of a Joyous Anatid, of course. I thought everyone read that.

Posted by: jack | February 5, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Sometime around June both political parties will run out of Primaries and Caucuses. Some time in August, both parties hold their nominating conventions.

So Tell me, if nobody has enough votes to win out right on June 30, just what will they all do until August 30?

In fact, consider the possible outcome in which McCain, Romney, and Huckabee each holds about one third of the delegates he needs. Just how snarky will things get in those wonderful six weeks?

And Hilliam and Tiger Barrak? Is there a playwright alive who could write a script to match the possibilities? Mel Brooks, the Marx Brothers, Neil Simon, all together? Not even close.

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!!

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | February 5, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

*heading for the bunker to warm up the shrimp dip*

Posted by: jack | February 5, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

They've got Ann Curry covering the primaries. Doesn't she get sleepy around 7 pm or so?

Posted by: TBG | February 5, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

We have been avoiding news, especially sports, for the past two days for obvious reasons and from what I hear, this has been the typical reaction. There has been a sort of mourning going on in these parts which might sound strange to many of you, but believe me, it's been awful. I don't want to discuss it or explain it, just wanted you all to know.

I came home sick with a migraine today but did vote on my way. There is something about filling in that little oval that makes me feel powerful. Of course, living in MA, that power is relative. We are not going to watch much, if any, of the election coverage tonight as the rhetoric and (for me) the noise drives us nuts. A lot of our polling places are in schools which are generally open during the voting. Today in a nearby town a little girl was hit by a car driven by an eighty-six year old man outside an elementary school. No word on her condition. Very sad.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 5, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

She can put her head on my shoulder anytime, TBG.

Here what Drudge has in early exit polls:

OBAMA: Alabama: Obama 60, Clinton 37 Arizona: Obama 51, Clinton 45
Connecticut: Obama 53, Clinton 45 Delaware: Obama 56, Clinton 42
Illinois: Obama 70, Clinton 30 Massachusetts: Obama 50, Clinton 48 Missouri: Obama 50, Clinton 46
New Jersey: Obama 53, Clinton 47

CLINTON: Arkansas: Clinton 72, Obama 26 California: Clinton 50, Obama 47
New York: Clinton 56, Obama 43
Oklahoma: Clinton 61, Obama 31
Tennessee: Clinton 52, Obama 41

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Not if there's Navy coffee in the studio.

Posted by: jack | February 5, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

bad sneakers, I do hope you get to feeling better, and that the little girl is okay. Your day sounds like it has been kind of rough, perhaps the sun will shine brighter for you tomorrow. That is my hope for you. And for me, too.

Posted by: cassandra s | February 5, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

good night, boodle. don't stay up too late. sweet dreams to all.

Posted by: cassandra s | February 5, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks, been missing you for a couple of days, hope the headache goes away and the girl is okay.

I'm with you on the noise from the TV.

Posted by: Slyness | February 5, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra you are very sweet. I'm just praying for that little girl. Typically, there is now talk of closing schools on voting days - duh! All the talk here is tempting me to tune in for a while. I guess I'll see how much my headache can stand.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 5, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

'Night, Cassandra, sleep tight. I'll probably have a report for you in the morning.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey, 'sneaks. Don't watch too long. The results will be the topic of discussion for a loooong time. Take care of yourself. I hope the girl is ok.

Posted by: jack | February 5, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks... I remember going to work in downtown DC the morning after the Redskins lost the Super Bowl. The street vendors actually had boxes of "Super Bowl Champions!" hats and shirts packed up next to their stalls.

It was sad and depressing--like being in mourning, just like you said.

Posted by: TBG | February 5, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, cassandra. Pleasant dreams to you also. BTW, great letter.

Posted by: jack | February 5, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Five minutes- all I could take. Chris Matthews is a buffoon. Going to watch "Dirty Jobs" and check the election results during commercials.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 5, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Five minutes- all I could take. Chris Matthews is a buffoon. Going to watch "Dirty Jobs" and check the election results during commercials.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 5, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Feel better bad sneaks.

Posted by: dmd | February 5, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama wins home state of Illinois; Hillary wins Oklahoma.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double, the thingy said I had no comment or signature.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 5, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double, the thingy said I had no comment or signature.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 5, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge, for the updates. The Tivo is busy recording our regular evening fare (Seinfeld, Simpsons, Scrubs) so I couldn't switch channels just yet.

I wish someone at the WaPo was watching CNN.

Posted by: TBG | February 5, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Or at least the person who is filling in the map should be talking to the one who is writing the headlines.

Posted by: TBG | February 5, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Would someone please tell me what that picture is supposed to be on the front of http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/ ?

And Wolfie looks like he has a patriotic arrow through his head farther down on the page.

Posted by: TBG | February 5, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Hillary wins Tennessee.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 5, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Ok, well.. the picture has changed. It hadn't for a really long time. My bad.

Posted by: TBG | February 5, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

What's with Richardson's beard? Is it a sign of liberation?

Posted by: Maggie O'D | February 5, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Clinton takes Massachusetts with no help from me.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 5, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Super Duper Tsunami Fat Tuesday Report from California Precinct 3510

They are running low on ballots with almost two hours left to vote.

I got there with almost 20 folks ahead of me in line at my precinct. As I left there were 15 folks waiting to sign in.

The Fire Station Apparatus Room was also home to another Precinct which only had five folks in line at any one time. Maybe those folks voted early.

Posted by: Pacifica | February 5, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

New Kit!!!

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 5, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

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