Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Random thoughts on 2016 election and New Hampshire Primary

This post was actually supposed to be written on Monday but my supervisor at my Day Job is becoming more unpleasantly demanding and nastily watchful in his later years. I will have to ensure that my pay keeps up with his demands. Lately it doesn't seem like that's the case. No sir, not at all. Anyway this is going to be a short post so I can swiftly return to the virtual salt mines that provide a way for me to earn my daily bread. Since the last time I was able to write on the race to become the next POTUS, also rans and longshots like Mike Huckabee, Martin O'Malley, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul all dropped out of the race. None of that was surprising as either the political time had passed them by (Paul) or there was never any evidence that there was strong voter desire for their services in the first place. Santorum and Huckabee had little to say on issues beyond abortion, grits and gay rights. Paul's movements away from his father's hardcore libertarianism didn't win any voters. And O'Malley had little to say besides "I'm not Hillary Clinton". Yawn. But there were two interesting events in both the Republican and Democratic contests which made news and are worthy of discussion while New Hampshire primary voters make their choices. The first was the remarkable display of emptiness by Florida first term Senator Marco Rubio at the Republican debate Saturday night. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attacked Rubio's relative lack of experience, leadership and tendency to repeat memorized lines regardless of context. Rattled, Rubio tried and failed to think on his feet and swat away Christie's attacks. In fact he retreated to the same talking points 3 times(!!!) even as Christie seized the opportunity to tell everyone to watch Rubio mess up in real time. Both in terms of content and appearance it was a serious body blow to Rubio's debate standing. I don't ever think he quite recovered. It was a man putting a boy in his place. I was reminded of Rocky Balboa in the first fight against Clubber Lang. Rubio wasn't strong enough to keep Big Chris off of him. And he got hurt.

Christie was relaxed, confident and in command of what he was saying. His body language demonstrated aggressiveness and control. His tone was direct and dismissive. Rubio was nervous, sweaty, high pitched and floundering. His body language gave me the impression of someone who is applying for a job without the necessary skill set and who just got called out on it by the interviewing manager. It was an entertaining political display. Rubio has to hope that it doesn't become a defining one. We'll see tonight. The reason that Rubio keeps trying to turn every question back to President Obama's alleged malfeasance is that it's impossible to criticize President Obama for lack of experience when you (Rubio) have the same lack of experience.
The second event that was interesting to me is that Hillary Clinton, faced with a photo finish win in Iowa which may be revisited and an expected loss in New Hampshire, has started to take the possibility of losing to Senator Bernie Sanders seriously. She and her supporters have said some very nasty things about Sanders and his supporters, accusing them of sexism (President Clinton), claiming that Sanders' female supporters are thinking with their reproductive parts (Gloria Steinem) or just stating that female supporters of Sanders will burn in hell for not supporting a woman candidate (Madeleine Albright). Clinton is also banking on a firewall of black voter support once the race for the nomination turns south though as this piece from 3chicspolitico makes clear, there are at least some black people who are not huge Clinton fans. Hillary Clinton, to me, doesn't have a lot of passion or excitement to her campaign. She's a real life Tracy Flick. She may well be the "most qualified" depending on whom you ask but elections are not just a sober assessment of arbitrary and oft ill-defined qualifications. After all none of the people running have done this job before. You have to make people excited to vote for you. You have to provide a vision of how you will govern. Sanders is doing this better than Clinton is now. Clinton has missed the anger in the Democratic base towards the perceived unfairness of the economic structure. I still think at this time that she'll win the nomination but Sanders is going to make things much closer than anyone realized.  If Clinton only wants to be not quite as right-wing as a Republican, that leaves a lot of room to her left. And if Clinton and her deputies don't drop the entitled attitude that she deserves votes by dint of her gender, well, say hello to nominee Sanders.  

Okay. I'm sure my boss has probably noticed my absence from the salt-pit by now so I must depart. I will be very interested to see the primary results this evening. Trump and Sanders should win. But I want to see where Christie and Rubio finish. I also want to see if Carson, who missed his cue to go on stage Saturday night, will recognize that the time has come to take his campaign out to the back yard and bury it.
blog comments powered by Disqus