Sunday, January 06, 2008

T. J. Hooker explains the Iowa caucus


Sometimes when things are difficult to explain, you need to call in an expert. And when it comes to wisdom, few shows were able to deliver more succint thinking (and subtle line readings) than the 1980s William Shatner vehicle, T.J. Hooker. Two lines from that show, spit out in the inimitable Shatner style, go a long way toward explaining what happened on Thursday night.
Q. Hey Hooker, what happened to Mrs. Clinton's campaign?
A. She came here with stars in her eyes and left with a bullet in her chest.
Q. Hooker - did you see the negative campaign ads they were running in Iowa? What about ethics? What about morals?
A. Ethics and morals are living together in a trailer park on the wrong side of the tracks.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mark,
Greetings from an energized Left. I have got to say, last week was really beautiful. It feels like morning in America. Winston Churchill once said that American’s will always do the right thing, eventually. I have been clinging to that thought ever since Bill Clinton wasn’t convicted of a charge of perjury that he was clearly guilty of. And this last week has made me believe again.
I am a white, straight, Midwestern suburban kid who went to a Catholic parochial schools. I was born in 1964, just four years prior to the deaths of MLK and RFK, so I didn’t pay much attention back then. But I’ve listened to their speeches, and was moved. My parents taught me that fairness and equality among all people was the most American of values. So it should come as no surprise that in the Southern Strategy Republican Party-era that I was raised in, I’ve been a lifelong Dem. For much of the last several days, I have been scouring the internet, television and radio stations for reactions to what happened in Iowa on Tuesday. I am sitting here awed at what this moment means. And what it means for our country cannot be overstated.

I really believe that this was the beginning of a massive realignment in American politics, and the final nail in the coffin of what was left of Goldwater conservatism. The GOP is now a Southern, Evangelical party, and it will take several election cycles for them to worm their way out of this predicament.

Perhaps I am reading too much into this, and who could blame me given the level of rage I feel toward the Republicans who have been in power for these past 7 years. They are the most cynical and deliberately sneering group of dickheads imaginable, and have fouled every notion of decency that this country used to stand for. They are, quite simply, beyond contempt. I eagerly anticipate their demise, and the level of schadenfreude I feel as I watch the rapid implosion of the house of cards that Reagan started with his Southern Strategy, and which culminated in the current Rove/Bush triumphalism, can’t be understated.

Given that level of rage, Edwards should be my candidate, and I like John Edwards personally. I want him to be on my side. But Obama moves me. I find that my contempt and vitriol for the Right, and the Clintons, and the satisfaction in its venting is trumped by the value of being drawn toward the empathy and forgiveness that Obama engenders.

I have no doubt that Obama will win NH from what I saw in the polls this weekend and what I know about the Iowa bounce. He will also surely win in South Carolina as well, and then the inevitability machine that the Clintons built will fall like a house of cards on Feb. 5th. Once that is accomplished, Obama will have mojo like we haven’t experienced in my lifetime. And as the GOP is locked in an internecine struggle to determine whether they want Elmer Gantry, or the Game Show Host, or the Small Man in Search of a Balcony, or the Crotchety War Hero, Democrats and Independents will coalesce around Obama’s historically ground breaking candidacy.

The bucket of cold water thrown on Republican hopes for 2008 last Tuesday night also can’t be underestimated. Just crunch the numbers: There was a 30% increase in Republican turnout over 2000 (there was no GOP caucus in 2004). But the Dem increase since 2000? 290%...290-30. What an eloquent statement about the devastation that Rove/Bush unleashed on their own party, and our nation, and the world. And on November 4, 2008, you will see a landslide and a national mandate, no matter the Republican opponent. Not even McCain can withstand this. (A 72-year old man cannot stand up to the under 45 generational wave that is going to hit this election cycle). And Huckabee, who is a good but slightly flaky man, is their cynically created Frankenstein monster. A golem they can no longer control, who, if nominated, is going to lead the GOP to its worst presidential drubbing since Barry Goldwater’s “64” loss.

Mahalo,
Rich

Mark said...

Rich,

Take a deep breath. Really. I'll have more to say about this soon enough, but my goodness, you don't want to get this excited about one guy receiving a plurality of votes from a small minority of the registered voters in a very small state.

If Obama carries Super Tuesday, then you may be right. But Iowa has not been a reliable indicator historically. I guess I don't remember the Gephardt administration, do you?

Best,
Mark

Right Hook said...

Anonymous -

I think you are reading far too much into Iowa. As Carl Rove pointed out on Bill Bennett's radio program this morning the total number of voters in the Iowa caucuses was less than the population of Carver County, MN.

Though I'm not thrilled with the Republican field they have more going for them than any of the Democrats.The Dems have an icy matriarch of a corruption ridden political machine, an inexperienced way out of the mainstream socialist with ties to a very militant "civil rights" driven church, and an extremely slimy and intellectually challenged trial lawyer who shakes down the very businesses that employ his clients. And the second and third tiers don't get any better.

All in all, I just don't see the makings of a landslide for either party given the lackluster combined slate of candidates.