Friday, January 4, 2008

Stay the course

Wow. Maybe we should invade Irkutsk while we're at it.

Real story

The second-most underplayed story (the first is here) has already been flagged by a few bloggers who say it better than I could, but I want to draw more attention to it. Keith Olbermann at one point last night pointed out that the real story in last night's numbers could be that twice as many Iowans came out to support Democrats as they did Republicans. The Plank covered this here and this is from Sullivan:

Tonight was in many ways devastating news for the GOP. Twice as many people turned out for the Democrats than the Republicans. Clearly independents prefer the Dems.

Now look at how the caucus-goers defined themselves in the entrance polls. Among the Dems: Very Liberal: 18 percent; Somewhat Liberal: 36 percent; Moderate: 40 percent; Conservative: 6 percent. Now check out the Republicans: Very Conservative: 45 percent; Somewhat Conservative: 43 percent; Moderate: 11 percent; Liberal: 1 percent.

One is a national party; the other is on its way to being an ideological church. The damage Bush and Rove have done - revealed in 2006 - is now inescapable.


I'm pretty tired of hearing the word, to be honest with you, but it's pretty damn on the money. I suppose change is something on everyone's mind this morning, but one thing that hasn't been talked about enough is that change in Washington was the sub-hed of last night's results. The headline is that a black man won 38 percent of the vote in IOWA! Had Clinton won, we would say the same but replace "black man" with "woman."

We've known that a black man or a woman winning was pretty likely, but now it's here. We shouldn't forget this point. Last night's vote was certainly a vote for change in Washington. But the most wonderful thing about the 2008 Iowa caucus is that social change got another defining moment.

Eugene Robinson called Obama's speech a "goose-bump moment." To deny that obvious and thrilling sentiment is to ignore the real change that last night represented.

Speech of the night

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Same as everyone else

Greg Sargent reported last night that the Huckster did exactly what he said he wouldn't do -- he played the negative ad against Romney. You may recall a bizarre press conference a few days ago in which the Huckster pulled the media together to say he wouldn't air negative ads. He then proceeded to air the exact ad he promised he wouldn't air. The presser backfired because the media didn't take the bait.

Well, apparently the Huckster tried to get a little more out of the ad his campaign produced. Sargent has a reader who claimed the ad was aired during Law & Order:

This morning, a reader reported to us that the ad ran last night in Cedar Rapids, on TNT, during a rerun of Law and Order. And a day of run-arounds by the local cable company and unreturned calls by from the Huckabee campaign makes it pretty clear our reader is right.

We've spent a fair amount of time trying to track this one down. First we checked in with a low-level official at the cable provider, an outfit called Mediacom. They put us in touch with the people who do their ad booking, a company called Onmedia. The people at Onmedia were friendly and helpful and went back to check for us -- but once they did, the higher-ups abruptly clammed up and stopped returning our calls.

Then we went to a higher level official at Mediacom. This official, Thomas Larsen, would not confirm or deny that the ad had run. But he did confirm that on Monday they received an order from the Huckabee campaign to yank an ad -- and that the ad hadn't in fact been yanked until today. So was it the ad Huckabee ostentatiously announced he was yanking at his news conference on Monday? Larsen refused to say. To the best of our knowledge there wasn't any other ad the Huckabee folks yanked on Monday. And the Huckabee camp has refused to answer our queries.

So the mystery still remains. Did a bunch of techies forget to yank the ad because of extreme New Year's festivities. Or did Huckabee's media folks fail to put a rush on the yank order? No one's talking.

Say it ain't so

Down the stretch they come and the candidates made their final pitch to voters. Mike Huckabee held a late-night rally with his sidekick (get it?) Chuck Norris. But what was not widely reported was the other guy at his side. Check out this report from the Dallas Morning News:

Then Mr. Huckabee showed up with a bass guitar. And a band, with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on rhythm guitar. And they started playing "Sweet Home Alabama." Mr. Norris stood to the side, hands in bluejeans pockets, bopping to the beat. The scene would be like a bad acid trip for a diehard Democrat.

I expect these things from a guy like Sean Hannity, but Joe Scarborough? Oh, and who was his guest on his program the next morning? The Huckster himself.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Scarborough's show has been a Huckabee ad for the last two weeks.