Saturday, January 05, 2008

In Which, Thanks to a Wednesday Deadline, Incisive Political Analysis Takes a Back Seat to Snark and Mockery.

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By the time you read this column, the Iowa caucuses will be over. Since I have a midweek deadline, I won't be able to comment on the results. So I'll just spend another column making fun of the candidates.

And let me tell you, the candidates, Republican and Democrat, gave us plenty of value for our entertainment dollar while stumping in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton, who can't seem to decide whether her gender is a significant factor in whether people should vote for her, suggested that the format of the Iowa caucuses is hard on women because they're all shy and retiring and stuff. In an interview with Meredith Viera, Clinton noted that, in contrast to a primary, at a caucus "you have to go stand in a corner and say 'I'm with this person'," and women "would rather just keep their vote to themselves."

Gee, Hillary, you must be hanging out with a different group of women than I know.

A bizarre moment came when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (Slogan: "God Says Vote for Me") held a press conference to announce that he wasn't going to run a negative campaign. And to prove it, he used multiple big-screen TV's to show the negative ad he'd decided he wasn't going to run against Mitt Romney.

Let me say that again: Huck said he wasn't going to run the ad, then showed it to the national press so they'd report its contents for free. This undoubtedly saved Huckabee millions of dollars he'd have normally spent buying ad time. Genius? Hypocrite? You make the call.

Huckabee also had a great moment when asked about the National Intelligence Estimate that came out in early December, the one that reported that Iran had shut down its nuke program a few years ago. You know, the report that would have embarrassed the Bush administration if they had any shame. The day the report hit the news, Huckabee was asked if he'd read it.

Now, this was an unfair question, as one doubts that the reporter who asked the question had read the report by then either. And Huckabee's response was pretty classic: "President Bush didn't read it for four years; I don't know why I should read it in four hours."

Oh, snap! Too bad he didn't leave it there. Because later, Huck inserted his foot firmly into his mouth: "On the campaign trail, nobody's going to be able, if they've been campaigning as hard as we have been, to keep up with every single thing, from what happened to Britney last night to who won 'Dancing with the Stars.' "

Umm ... Mike? While there are probably a lot of people who'd rank the importance of knowing about a National Intelligence Estimate with knowing the latest news about Britney Spears, we don't really want any of them running the country.

It also seems that, whether or not he keeps up with the latest Brit bits, he's pretty up on the latest news about her little sister. When it was announced that 16-year- old Jamie Lynn Spears was pregnant and was going to keep the baby, Huck jumped in the same day with his opinion, "That is the right decision, a good decision, and I respect that and appreciate it. I hope it is not an encouragement to other 16-year-olds who think that is the best course of action." Glad to know Huck has his priorities in order.

Then of course, there's Mitt Romney (Slogan: "Better Hair Than John Edwards, and Probably Cheaper"). After Huckabee made the statement that President Bush's "arrogant bunker mentality" had been "counterproductive," Mitt saddled up his high horse to demand that Huck apologize to the Boy King. Romney, however, had his own criticism of Bush's handling of Iraq a few weeks later.

"I think we did a less than effective job in managing the conflict following the collapse of Saddam Hussein," Romney said. "I think we were underprepared for what occurred, understaffed, underplanned, and, in some respects, undermanaged." He then tried to explain how "underprepared and undermanaged" wasn't an insult to His Majesty King George, and "arrogant" was.

Looks like Slick Mitty seems to be the Republican who has the best grasp of the only core principle the Republicans have left, which is "It's OK If I Do It."

Romney also isn't above, shall we say, a little laxness with the truth. He criticized Sen. John McCain's immigration plan as granting "amnesty" for illegal immigrants because it allowed said immigrants to gain legal status if they jumped through certain hoops. Problem is, when the same plan was proposed in 2005, Romney told The Boston Globe the same provisions were "reasonable" and that they weren't amnesty.

Ah, so many politicians, so few column inches. We'll be back next week with more mockery.


Josephine Damian said...

Hi JD!

I watched the NH debate last night and found myself shouting out: What a f---ing asshole! more than once when the Republicans had their chat-fest. Romney and Rudy? Total hate mongers! Since the FL primary is right around the corner, we're being buried with scare-tactic Rudy ads. Jeesh!

Ron Paul made some scathing comments about Bush and the war - an interesting guy, but of course, I play for the other team.

Sooooo, I'm flying the Obama flag on my myspace page and have made him my #1 top friend.

Good luck with that deadline!

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

The most pressing question of the next debate: who should get the kids, Britney or Federline?

You can't stir up the American people with boring shit like the economy, the war or Bush's general cornholing of the Bill of Rights. Get those candidates talking about Britney, though, and watch the voters turn out.