The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Twisteroos. And spankings for narcissistic pundits.

What a day in the blogosphere, eh? Personally, I like Kevin Drum's coverage of last night's results. It's a lot less snide than others in chiding the press, but also makes a lot of salient points. Particularly on the electability of McCain:

It's true that matchup polls show McCain doing well against Hillary, but honestly, does anybody think those polls are even remotely meaningful nine months before the election? I don't.

There are two things that keep me from being worried about a Clinton vs. McCain matchup. The first is that this simply looks to be a Democratic year. Tick off the reasons: Americans don't like to keep a single political party in the White House for more than eight years (it's only happened once in the postwar era). The war in Iraq is unpopular. The economy is sinking. The 9/11 effect has worn off. Conservatives are tired and plainly lack new ideas.

Second, I don't think McCain is nearly as attractive a candidate as a lot of people think. Again, tick off the reasons: He's 72 years old. He's a dead-ender for the war. (Do you think "a million years in Iraq" will play well with moderates in November?) A lot of his independent cred has been shredded over the past couple of years. He'll get evangelical votes, but he won't get their enthusiastic support, the way George Bush did. Ditto for nativist votes. He's got a long, very conservative voting record that's never really been exposed to a national audience. The Keating Five scandal will get revisited. Press ardor for McCain will likely diminish as his campaign becomes less open, as it's bound to do.

That all makes sense to me, with the exception of the press continuing to ignore facts in favor of narrative.

But my main disappointment with the outcome is that Edwards didn't manage another second-place finish. Already ignored by a press corps obsessed with the Clintons and the erstwhile Horatio Alger story of Obama, this is probably going to be a serious blow to his campaign. On the other hand, if upcoming primaries result in a few more Obama-Edwards headlines, I won't be shedding any tears. Several bloggers and columnists ahve noted a sudden uptick in Obama's use of words like "progressive" and talking about the struggling middle class. Hopefully it wasn't just calculated to siphon votes from Edwards, and the inane DLC notion of an ever-more-conservative America is in the toilet.

Hopefully I'll find myself able to get back to more serious topics soon. But it's always nice to take at least a wee vacation from terrifying tales of credit card and mortgage woes, looming recession at a time of unprecedented fiscal insecurity, a new low for the US health care system, a dim Defense Department forecast on Iraq-- you know, that sort of thing. Have a lovely evening!