Jan 31, 2008

January 7, 2008: I Am Waiting, All The President's Men, Lizard King

It is now on to New Hampshire where the Obama express is picking up steam and Hillary’s train appears to be heading for a siding. Today it was reported that Obama has surged ahead of Clinton in the New Hampshire polls by 11 percent clearly indicating a groundswell of support in the wake of last week’s Iowa performance. There was a report on the internet this afternoon that Hillary with a cracking voice fought back tears as she tried yet once again to explain the rationale behind her campaign.

“I am waiting
I am waiting
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere”---Rolling Stones

Whether it will be Obama or Clinton or Edwards is not clear at this moment. Obama seems to be building the momentum to sweep all before him, but the President’s men are working frantically at damage control hoping to build a redoubt in New Hampshire, Nevada and Florida to stop the Obama express. If Obama carries New Hampshire, again with an overwhelming white population this time in an open primary, it looks like he can sweep South Carolina in the following days leaving only Michigan before the contest in Florida. This puts Hillary in the position of having been swept in all the states leading up to the major contests mightily taxing the ability of her campaign to absorb the onslaught. She has the money and has had the time to build an organization to withstand a major assault but it remains unclear if it will withstand the impact of the steamroller that is the Obama express.

Today it didn’t look good with shades of Ed Muskie’s 1972 meltdown in front of the offices of the Manchester Union Leader. Hillary has been reduced to tears further eroding confidence that she can play a man’s game; for just like baseball there is no crying in politics.

“I am the Lizard King
I can do anything”—the Doors

Likewise Giuliani is lurking in the swamps of Florida with what are becoming ever diminishing pretensions to the throne, like some deranged gator hissing 9-11 at anything that passes by. The regulars are now thrown into the awkward and surprising position of having to retreat to Florida before they do battle for the soul of their parties. Armed with massive resources, and little other justification, it remains to be seen if they can prevail. But then Obama, Edwards and Huckabee may find, as so many before them, that in the end it may indeed be the Celebration of the Lizard.

The problem is that we have front-loaded the primaries. In 1968 there were thirteen such contests beginning in mid February in New Hampshire. As noted earlier Robert Kennedy did not even begin his presidential bid until mid March and the first contested primary in which he took part, Indiana, occurring on the 7th of May, with California and New York in early and mid June leading up to the convention. In those days one had several months to raise money, buy media time, print campaign literature and lawn signs, organize phone banks and fundraising, in short build on the momentum of earlier triumphs. Not so this time around. With inspired stupidity the Democratic National Committee has allowed over half the primary states, especially New York and California to follow New Hampshire by a little more than 30 days. This puts a premium on fundraising and makes it nearly mandatory, if one is to capitalize on the momentum of early victories, that one has a hundred million dollars in the campaign chest before the first votes in Iowa are cast. And so the lizards lurk in the marshes of Florida, hiding where civilization fears to tread, and waiting for that moment to swallow whole the hopes and dreams of America’s middle class.

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