Monday, January 07, 2008

Northern Lands on Elvis Day

Let there be stomping, railing and lying in New Hampshire! This go-round, tomorrow's primary is important, and could be definitive for several Presidential would-be sorts.

I predict ill for Willard Mitt Romney, Johnny Reid Edwards and Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.

In a passing shout for Elvis' birthday, I would like to recall one of his most famous catchphrases:

Don't you step on my blue suede shoes.
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes


This is the current tone up North of us. The theatrics are astounding and astoundingly bad. They carry over from Iowa and should prove the gross miscalculation of the 2008 race. The schoolyard has been infected with the dual slander and bullying bugs.

Those with the diseases are likely to fall first.

Tomorrow when only the pre-dawn Dixville Notch and Hart's Location votes are public, over at Left Ahead! we'll ramble, ruminate and rant about the primary and its likely implications. For our weekly podcast, we hope to lure Humble Elias from Chimes at Midnight to join us. He just returned from that other state. His comments on observing the shameful mess are at his post on the weekend.

Seldom one to let caution limit me, I can see the don't-step-on-my-blue-suede-strategy tack leading way off course. Those battered worst by flaccid results in Iowa as a group switched to or increased their attacks on the other candidates.

Honk. Wrong!

Hillary blew it early and often by refusing to take questions. This is not 10 grade in prep school. Hiding as poetry editor of the literary magazine doesn't get you any points. When she shows up and lectures, she comes off as simultaneously cold and cowardly.

Now, first in Iowa and more so in New Hampshire, she tries to knock down the leaders instead of building herself up to the voters.

Willard, our own Cap'n BrylcreemBrylcreem ad, seems slicker than ever. He jokes about not touching his coif, but lame calumnies of other candidates also lack substance. If he hadn't taken a thumping in the Midwest last week, he might get an advantage by playing scold. As it is, he has the multiple shortcomings of 1) being from that dreadful Massachusetts, 2) being seen as the policy shape shifter he is (or as Edward Luce so wittily put it in today's Financial Times, "how to put it delicately? – showing genuine policy suppleness."

On the panicked GOP side of the race, John Sidney McCain III will leap over the Cap'n. John is not trying to hit his competitors in the head and jump up on down on them. Mitt is and guess who comes off as more likable, more electable?

Going into South Carolina's primary, Mitt's dead, he'll just linger long enough to become carrion. (Coincidentally, he could have made a lot of poor people's lives better by giving them the money he pissed away on this campaign. Then at least he'd leave a legacy of doing good.)

Edwards may come in second in the palmetto state. After that, he could well be in the running for VP.

Hillary appears to be headed toward to door with a basket of lovely consolation prizes.

Some years and in some places, attacks and debatable slanders can win elections. I don't see it happening here and now. Tick...tick...tick.

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