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success is fleeting

i hope that you all enjoyed our little sojourn in iowa and its ethanol-producing corn fields, folks, because now, we're moving on to harder stuff: the granite state. having duked it out late into the night [well, on one side, at least], candidates vying for the two plum presidential nominations for this fall's election have shaken off their wounds [theoretically] and regrouped in order to fight again on tuesday.

compared to the iowa caucus, the new hampshire primary looks like a much more settled affair. there is a very clear frontrunner for both parties and we can expect that both of those men will be giving victory speeches relatively early tuesday night. not saying that things can't change, just saying they'd have to change a lot.

as you've been able to tell, i've been paying closer attention to the republican side of things than the democratic side. that's not indicative of who i'm supporting [as if that weren't obvious enough] or because the democratic race isn't interesting [it is, but almost more for what it points to in the future of the democratic party and in america than for what it is going to accomplish in this election cycle]. the thing is, the republican race is hilarious and there are all sorts of places you can go for serious political commentary. [occasionally you can come here, but i'm much more prone to embracing the hilarity.]

coming out of iowa, national republican frontrunner donald trump had to choke down a hefty slice of humble pie, having been bested at the polls by a man who he insists isn't even american. [nice try, donald, but you elected it, you bought it. we are not accepting any returns north of the 49th parallel.] but the real story going into last night's in-between-the-voting debate was that marco rubio had not only surged into third place, but had nearly overtaken trump in second. the momentum was all his to lose. and boy, did he lose it. [sorry. should've given a spoiler alert.]

here's my [alphabetical] take on last night's proceedings ::

jeb! bush :: so close, jeb! so close. you finally landed a genuine hit against your bête noire trump, nailing him for trying to use the legal provision of 'eminent domain' [basically 'we're the government and we need you land now, kthxbye'] to try to evict an elderly woman from her home so that he could secure the land to build a parking lot for his atlantic city casino. for a party always leery of government overreach, it was a savvy shot to take. however, when he went back to his taunting ways, you fluffed what should have been your best line- "how tough do you have to be to evict an old lady?"- leaving the media to fill in the blank you left when you jumped ship mid-sentence. then you fell back into old patterns, getting mauled by the donald by seeming oblivious to the fact that much of the work on the keystone pipeline was to be done by private industry. seriously, how could you not know that? is it possible that w is the smarter brother??

ben carson :: you distinguished yourself from the beginning by not seeming to recognise your own name. once you did meander onto the stage, you joked that you hoped that the other candidates would continue to mention you, so that you were able to get more time on the mic. then i think you fell through a hole in the floor. true, you were momentarily visible when you went head to head with ted cruz about his campaign's attempt to convince voters that you had dropped out of the race. commentators afterward said you looked very angry, but i would more describe it as looking 'more or less awake'. i guess that's what passes for passion with you. also, you mentioned that one of your volunteers in iowa died, so now i'm worried you're getting stabby again.

chris christie :: dayum. you killed it. and by 'it', i mean marco rubio's momentum. you ate that guy for breakfast [not literally]. you were the tough-as-nails, practical christie that everyone vaguely remembers being excited about four years ago. unfortunately, for all that you had a strong performance, i think that the reaction of most voters was likely "he's right, these washington senate types aren't great- who else can we vote for?" consider it a cruel kick in the arse from fate: this was your strongest moment, and it likely benefitted people who aren't you.

ted cruz :: a lot of pundits said you got beaten up at the last debate, but i disagree. i thought you were targeted a lot, but i didn't think most of the salvos landed and apparently the iowa voters agreed with me. last night, however, it felt like you were off your game. it wasn't that you were terrible, it's just that you seemed even less interested in what was being said than i was. and by about ninety minutes in, i was checking premier league stats. i'm not sure what you were doing, but it was pretty clear that you know that new hampshire is not for you and that you've moved on.

john kasich :: don't tell anyone, but i think you might have emerged as the unlikely winner of the debate. with christie pounding the crap out of rubio for you, you had the opportunity to lay back a little and talk make the same points that he was- that you have experience making decisions with real consequences, not just drafting legislation- without having to look like a bully. christie even complimented you, which is something that none of us have witnessed. for months, you've been the one sitting on the sidelines rolling your eyes and screaming "the emperor has no clothes!" while people worshiped at the altar of trump. i think that it may finally be dawning on people that you're a pretty electable chap. well played, sir.

carly fiorina :: oh, wait. you weren't invited. small mercies.

marco rubio :: dude. what the actual fuck?!? as you did your speech on the night of the iowa caucus, i was pretty convinced that i was looking at the eventual nominee for the republican party. by the end of last night's debate, i wasn't even sure i was looking at a candidate. there have been rumblings that you're too slick, too stiff, too stuck on talking points to cut it in a real fight and when chris christie decided to needle you on that, you responded by going into full robotic meltdown mode. i'm pretty sure even christie thought you might be pulling his leg at one point, because no thinking person could possibly have collapsed so quickly and so spectacularly. but collapse you did and while pundits might debate who won the debate last night, no one is debating who lost.

donald trump :: well welcome back, son. absent from the last debate because you were scared of megyn kelly and having had your knuckles rapped by iowan voters, it was a slightly diminished donald that we saw on display last night. you got a massive round of boos for mocking jeb! bush, but you managed to turn that around fairly effectively by telling the television audience that those in the amphitheatre were big donors and special interests. i don't have any hard facts to back me up on this, but i feel like that might have been more effective than people realised. you generally sound out of your depth on policy issues and in the discussion on healthcare, i think people finally clued in that what you're proposing sounds a bit socialist-y, but you benefited greatly from the fact that discussions often turned on questions of finance and economics. i don't think you actually know much more about that than you do about anything, but you know more than your opponents and it showed. you did well, you fascist orange fuck.

so what happens now? well, if the polls are to be believed, donald trump wins new hampshire on tuesday. john kasich was in third going into this debate and was already nipping at rubio's heels for second, so i suspect that he's going to do well. rubio has forty-eight hours to convince voters he's not a complete nincompoop and no one knows how that's going to turn out.

on the democratic side, this will be bernie's great stand, but really, it's a state he's expected to win and it doesn't really carry the excitement that coming within a hair's breadth of victory in iowa did. the biggest issue for the sanders campaign at the moment is to figure out why their message is lost on black and latino voters, because it absolutely is. i'm not sure that hillary clinton's campaign is even facing obstacles right now. i can't imagine that they're going to cry about losing new hampshire and they're miles ahead in south carolina, which is where one really expects to see momentum start to shift in her favour. at this point, she can afford to kick back and watch people on the internet argue about the extent to which criticism of her is driven by sexism.

if you follow me on twitter, then you can expect my usual stream of consciousness textual diarrhea on tuesday. if you don't follow me on twitter, your life is probably better for it.

until then, let me just say... ech. i'm not saying anything. i'm having too much fun watching these people and pretending like there's no chance in hell they could end up running the world's largest economy and military. 

Comments

SoSuSam said…
I think I've said (written) this before, after reading one of your earlier Republican debates summaries, but it bears repeating: your responses to these insane events are wonderful. As I live in the US, the Republican primary situation probably holds more horror for me than it does for you, so I'm very grateful when you remind me of the inherent absurdity.

As for the Democrats, well, I hope you're right about Bernie not ultimately standing in HC's way. I mean, I love Bernie! Like him, I'm a transplanted NYer living in VT; and he's great for this state. I'd hoped he'd also be good for the Democratic party because he'd move the discussion of issues a bit to the left. But the fact that he's promising a lot of wonderful things without substantiating any of those promises leaves me disgusted. Dreaming big is great. But pretending he knows how to make it happen--and that people should vote for him as a result--will only give the US a repeat of 2000, when Nader diffused the Democratic vote and we ended up with a Bush. (And no one can explain how Bush got a second term.) Okay, my god, I have no idea why I'm ranting at your blog! I'll stop. The main thing I mean to say is: thanks, these are great. Now please find a way to keep all of us laughing when Trump is elected. PLEASE.
Kate MacDonald said…
I'm very glad you enjoy it! Although I'm not directly affected, whatever happens south of the border splashes over to us, eventually. Please feel free to rant here any time.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …