Saturday, January 07, 2012

This day in music - January 7, 1955: Marian Anderson becomes the first black singer to perform at the Met

While I will claim a decent working knowledge of a number of musical genres, Opera is not one them. I have been to a couple of performances. I am always in awe of the talent on display. It's probably a class thing. I didn't grow up with it, and can't relate to it, though at some level I still grasp the beauty of it.

Marian Anderson (1987-1993) was an African-American contralto and one of the most important singers of the twentieth century.

She was also a significant figure in the civil rights movement, having once famously performed at an open-air concert on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after having been refused permission by the Daughters of the American Revolution to sing to an integrated audience at Constitution Hall.

Later, on January 7, 1955, she became the first black person to perform at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City. For the opera buffs among us, she performed as Ulrica in Giuseppe Verdi's Un ballo in maschera (The Masked Ball). In one reference, it was stated that she was "the first black singer as a regular company member." Perhaps someone could explain the difference.

Anderson was an important presence throughout the civil rights movement, having, for example, sung at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, which also featured Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Among honours awarded were the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, the Kennedy Center Honors in 1978, the National Medal of Arts in 1986, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.

Below is a clip of the aforementioned performance at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. Still powerful.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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NFL 2011: Playoffs -- Wild Card Round

Congratulations, Richard.

Yes, RKB won our little three-man pick'em competition here. Let's look at the final regular season results:

Week 17 

RKB: 13-3 = 13 points 
MJWS: 11-5 (plus upset) = 13 points
The Kid: 12-4 = 12 points 

Regular Season -- Final 

RKB: 177-79 (10 upsets right, 3 locks wrong) = 191 points
MJWS: 175-81 (9 upsets right, 4 locks wrong) = 185 points
The Kid: 162-94 (7 upsets right, 5 locks wrong) = 166 points

You know what? We all did really well. Even The Kid, who got off to a slow start but kept pace with us the rest of the way. And along the way I thought we offered some excellent analysis. Personally, I think we're at least good enough for ESPN's NFL Countdown. (No, I don't take that as a self-compliment.)

But let's move on. (Richard's ego has already swelled too much.) It's the playoffs! And we're going to keep this competition going through the Super Bowl, though now we're going to be picking against the spread -- with a new per-game points system:

-- Wild Card round: 2 points per game;
-- Divisional round: 3 points per game;
-- Conference Finals: 4 points per game; and
-- Super Bowl: 5 points.

Here are this weekend's games, with the lines we're using:


Cincinnati at Houston (-4)
Detroit at New Orleans (-10.5)


Atlanta at N.Y. Giants (-3.5)
Pittsburgh (-8) at Denver

And our picks:

Stickings' Pickings

Picks: Houston, Detroit, N.Y. Giants, Denver.

I'm a little worried about going with T.J. Yates, but Houston has enough talent everywhere else to win fairly easily against an inexperienced Bengals team (with a bright future, just not a bright today). Look for Foster and Tate and whoever else is running the ball for the Texans to have big games, as well as for the Texans to put enough pressure on Dalton to throw him off his game. Unless Yates has a complete meltdown, in which case we'd get Delhomme (who has extensive playoff experience), I just don't see how Cincy even keeps this close.

There's no way I'd be picking against high-flying Brees & Co. in a pick'em, but 10.5 points is just too much in what should be a shootout. Even if the Saints go up big, the Lions could make it close in garbage time, at least coming within a TD.

I'll add some commentary on Sunday's games tomorrow. Suffice it to say that I'm way down on my beloved Steelers.

Update: Alright, it's Sunday, about 2:52 pm. The Giants are up 7-2 with the ball inside the Falcons' 5.

I took the Giants in this one mainly because of their outstanding d-line, particularly Pierre-Paul. My concern, from a Giants perspective, was the secondary. If the Falcons' o-line could do even a decent job protecting Ryan, Atlanta could get the ball down the field to White, Jones, and Gonzalez, opening up the running game for Turner as well. But credit that secondary. White has only two catches for eight yards so far, and Atlanta's often high-flying passing game has been largely shut down. Of course, if the Falcons had been able to convert that fourth-and-short in Giants territory in the first half -- and it looked like they did, it was just a bad spot -- things might be different now. 10-2 Giants. Manning was finally able to throw the ball downfield on that last drive. I suspect this game will open up now, and on the current drive Ryan is moving the ball well.

Now... Steelers-Broncos. Grantland's Barnwell made a good case the other day for a Broncos win. With the spread as big as it is, I'm definitely taking Denver. The Steelers have hardly been a dominant team this year, and this one could be another anxiety-producing affair. Certainly Pittsburgh has the talent on D to shut down Tebow, but the Steelers are vulnerable to running QBs and he may do just enough to keep the Broncos in the game, particularly with injuries to the Steelers. Notably, safety Ryan Clark, the team's leading tackler, will be out due to a serious illness that threatens his health playing at high altitudes, and the two OLBs, Harrison and Woodley, continue to nurse lingering problems.

My bigger concerns are on the other side of the ball. Big Ben clearly isn't healthy. His ankle sprain has basically made him immobile, and he can't even step into this throws. And with the Broncos throwing Miller and Dumervil at him, he could be under pressure all day, unable ever to get in rhythm and spread the field with his great receivers. Add to this the fact that Mendenhall is out and that the early-season injury problems to the o-line have returned and it's a recipe for disaster for the Steelers at Mile High. All it might take is one late-game play by Tebow, or one long kick from Prater. Yeah, I'm going with Denver and taking the points, but I think Denver might win this outright.

I'm already sick to my stomach.

Barry's Tea Leaves

Picks: Cincinnati, Detroit, N.Y. Giants, Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati over Houston: I'll pick the Bengals to win this one. The solid Cincy D is going to give Houston stand-in QB T.J. Yates fits. Come on. The kid has done well enough at times, but this is the playoffs. Bengals QB Andy Dalton has also done well in his rookie effort -- 20 TDs with 13 interceptions. He should hold up fine. In a low-scoring game. Houston by 4? Don't think so.

Detroit over New Orleans: I think New Orleans will win this game, but not by 10.5. Very high-scoring game, maybe a repeat of the Lions-Packers game. Could see both teams score 40 or more points, but the margin of victory for the Saints will be closer to 7.  Also look for Darren Sproles to have a big game. While Detroit is looking for Brees to throw the ball downfield to Graham and Colston, look for Brees to be dumping it off to Sproles for good yardage. Definitely a back-and-forth day with no huge leads at any time.

Giants over Falcons (and beating the 3.5-point spread): The Giants are peaking at the right time. They've got a respectable running game back with Bradshaw in the lineup. I love the way Eli is throwing the ball and the D is getting healthy at the right time. Sure, I'm worried about the Giants secondary so I don't think this will be a low-scoring game. I'm just expecting the New York pass rush to make it hard for Ryan to tee up for those shots down the field. That'll be the key. If the Giants' pass rush shows up, game over. If not, it'll be a long day for New York.

Pittsburgh over Denver (beating the 8-point spread): I know Steelers' RB Mendenhall is gone for the duration and Big Ben is not at his best, but I can't see Tebow having much of a game against the Steelers. And this is where playoff experience is going to matter for Pitt. Without getting fancy, it'll come down to a mature and proud franchise showing the kneeling boy how it's down. Last point is that defences are figuring Tebow out. You have to make him throw from the pocket, which he can't do. If you don't think the Steelers get this, you are wrong. Look for some terrible Tebow passing numbers for this game, like 5-10 for 57 yards.

Comfortable Kid

Picks: Houston, Detroit, N.Y. Giants, Denver.

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Behind the Ad: Ron Paul supporters question Jon Huntsman's loyalty to America

Who: NHLiberty4Paul attacks Jon Hunstman. 

Where: New Hampshire. 

What's going on: I can't imagine that I will have been the first to say this, but the best argument against Ron Paul may be the idiots who are supporting his campaign. While not entirely fair to judge people by the company they keep, in politics it's an indicator that shouldn't be ignored either. At a minimum, a candidate should disavow comments made by supporters if, in fact, they disagree with those comments. If they don't, they wear them.

A group calling itself NHLiberty4Paul has just put out a very poorly made video that attempts to raise questions about Jon Hunstman's ties to China. It shows him speaking Chinese and also with his two adopted daughters, one Chinese and the other from India. I guess the implication is that Jon Hunstman is not a real American due to his supposed "foreign sympathies," that he is a Manchurian candidate. Whatever. And I love the Chinese music in the background, by the way. Really cool.

To their credit, the Ron Paul campaign is distancing itself from the attacks, and that's fine.

I guess it's even possible this ad was done and distributed by people who want to hurt Ron Paul given the fact that it is so unseemly. I mean, most reasonable people would probably think proficiency in a foreign language and the willingness to open up your family to children in need would be good qualities in a president. On the other hand, I've seen little evidence that Ron Paul supporters are reasonable people.

Here's Jon Hunstman's response. Talk about a softball opportunity.

What I object to is bringing forward pictures and videos of my adopted daughters and suggesting there is some sinister motive there. I have a daughter from China who was abandoned at two months of age in a vegetable market, picked up by the police and sent to an orphanage. No future, no hope, nothing to look forward to. Now she's in my family, and she's one of the greatest human beings I've ever known. She's also, at 12 years old, my senior foreign policy adviser.

Again, I can accept the fact that the Ron Paul campaign is not behind the ad. And I do want to be careful about suggesting that significant numbers of Paul supporters would be okay with this sort of thing. But it's a fair question. Is this a lone nut job, or is this what Paul brings to the campaign? Is this the type of character motivated by his brand of politics?

Politics in the big leagues is as much about how you manage your friends as it is about how you address your enemies. What say you, Congressman Paul?

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Friday, January 06, 2012

Behind the Ad: Ron Paul targets "serial hypocrite" Santorum in South Carolina

As we proceed through the primaries and then the general election campaign, not only for the presidency but for Congress and various governorships as well, we're going to be posting some of the more prominent political ads -- in our new "Behind the Ad" series -- and offering some beneath-the-surface analysis. This will complement our extensive political coverage. And, besides, who doesn't like watching political ads, especially when they're viciously negative?

The image here, as you may know, is from Lyndon Johnson's famous 1964 daisy ad, one of the most effective ads in U.S. political history -- not that LBJ was going to have much trouble with the right-wing Goldwater, but this association of the Republican with nuclear armageddon was awfully powerful. (You can watch it here.)

Okay, let's get started...


Who: Ron Paul attacks Rick Santorum.

Where: South Carolina.

What's going on: Just as he attacked Gingrich as a "serial hypocrite" in Iowa, contributing to Newt's collapse in the polls (and dismal showing in the caucuses), Paul is going after the surging Santorum in South Carolina, the next battleground state after New Hampshire.

In a way, though, SC matters more than NH at this point. Romney will win NH, his backyard, in a landslide. The only question is by how much. Paul will finish second, most likely, but will struggle from then on. Why is he going after Gingrich and Santorum?

On the one hand, he may well want Romney to win -- if it's not going to be him (which it won't be). It makes sense that he would prefer the business-minded, plutocratic Romney to social conservative authoritarians like Gingrich and Santorum, whatever their allegiance to the unregulated free market. And in any event he may realize that Romney is the likely nomination.

On the other hand, he may (delusionally) think he still has a shot and is hoping to take down the anti-Romney alternatives one by one so as to be the only one left standing. There's no way the GOP would pick him over Romney, but, well, who knows what he thinks.

Whatever the case, he may just want to make sure he finishes a strong second, assuming he stays in the race for the long haul (like Pat Buchanan did in '92), so as to have a place of prominence at the convention and more generally within the party. It's not that he'll be the veep pick or have a Cabinet post in any Republican administration, but he can still be a major player, his right-wing libertarian agenda part of the party platform whether the establishmentarian elites like it or not.

At this point, it looks like Santorum is the only credible anti-Romney left. (Yes, I'm assuming that Gingrich is done. Right now he's just pathetically lashing out, once more the egomaniacal bully, at both Romney and fellow conservative Santorum. Wasn't it just a short while ago that Newt was bemoaning all the negativity when it was directed at him?) And so he's the obvious target for Paul's venom. And the place to take him down is South Carolina, where Romney has the lead but Santorum is coming on strongly (and may even be running a very close second) and, with a strong showing, could turn the race into a one-on-one affair, with Paul pushed out.

Just imagine the look on Romney's face when he first saw this ad. And imagine him rubbing his hands together gleefully. If he ends up winning the nomination, he should give Paul an expensive gift (or profusive thanks), just like a running back rewards his o-line after a great season. There would many reasons for Romney's success, starting perhaps with behind-the-scenes Romney booster Karl Rove, but it certainly helps that Paul, who has no chance of winning the nomination himself, is helping to clear the path of major obstacles.

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This day in music - January 6, 1958: Gibson Guitars launches its "Flying V" electric guitar (see Albert King below)

I'm not much of an electric guitar player. Give me my Martin D-28 acoustic, but I do have a couple of electrics around the house and can play a blues scale if absolutely forced. But none of my guitars is as groovy as the Gibson "Flying V" -- meant to suggest a futuristic theme by the maker.

Who could blame them? It was 1958. The promise of spaceflight was all around. Lots of Hollowood B movies to fuel the imagination. One could almost imagine Robby the Robot kicking back with one of these in between missions. It's kind of a cool guitar in its own space nerd, trying-too-hard, Big Bang Theory kind of way. I like it.

The model originally sold poorly and was discontinued by 1959 but after some better known players like Lonnie Mack and Albert King starting using it, some interest was generated, which may have been why the company reissued the instrument in 1967 in mahogany. After that a whole bunch of "Guitar Gods" like Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons, and Lenny Kravitz decided they just had to play one too. And that's generally all it takes.

Lest you think this is all trivia, I draw your attention to the fact that the 1958-59 korina "Flying V" is one of the most valuable production-model guitars on the market, ranked at No. 5 on the 2011 Top 25 published by Vintage Guitar, and worth between $200,000 and $250,000.

So if you see one at a garage sale, shoot the guy a few bucks and take it home very quickly.

Here's Albert King with what looks like a "Flying V," unless someone can tell me different. Maybe an expert can also tell me what year the guitar was made and if it's modified in any way. Anything like that. I'm willing to learn. The tune is called " "Blues Power."

And if you're really into the guitar thing, check out this link with numerous Gibson "Flying V"s on display. Go nuts!

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Cain and Schwarzenegger, according to The Simpsons

For you Simpsons fans out there -- and if you're not a fan, particularly of the first, oh, 10-12 seasons, what's wrong with you? -- Ranker has a great list of "13 Simpsons jokes that actually came true."

Like, for example, how Lunch Lady Doris puts gym mats in a meat grinder and how we now learn that one of the ingredients used to make gym mats, azodicarbonamide, is actually found in the horrendous McRib. Or how there really is a Scotchtoberfest. And a Flaming Moe. And a Good Morning Burger. And a Land of Chocolate. And a Leftorium, of sorts. And how The Hangover would appear to be a blatant ripoff of the episode "Viva Ned Flanders."

Well, read the whole thing, but allow me to draw your attention to #6, the eerie similarity between Governor Schwarzenegger, as portrayed on The Simpsons, and Herman Cain. At least with respect to the relationship between leading and reading.


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Santorum targets South Carolina, a must-win primary

He'll lose in New Hampshire, Romney's backyard, likely very badly, but the future for Rick Santorum is not granite but palmetto.

Yes, South Carolina is next up after New Hampshire. It will hold its open primary on Jan. 21, a long 11 days after the New Hampshire vote and a similarly long 10 days before the Florida vote.

It's on its own, then, and it will be the site of intense Republican campaigning. For Romney, a win -- and he's currently ahead in the polls -- would pretty much cement the nomination, though he could lose, win in Florida, Nevada, and Maine, and still be in good shape. For Santorum, it'll be make-or-break. Assuming he improves his sorry lot in New Hampshire, and the polls show him rising but still way behind not just Romney but Paul as well, he'll have to win South Carolina or at least come close enough to Romney to make it a one-on-one race (with Gingrich and Perry dropping out).

No wonder, then, that Santorum is taking his post-Iowa booty and plunking it right down in South Carolina:

Enjoying a wave of momentum from his near-win in the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum’s campaign is raising money faster than ever before. Donors have added $2 million to his campaign’s war chest in the last 48 hours alone.

And a Santorum aide tells ABC News that in the space of 10 hours — between midnight Thursday and 10 a.m. — the campaign took in $250,000 of that $2 million total. The quarter-million figure total represents online contributions only.

What's the campaign doing with that fresh infusion of cash?

For starters they are taking out a 1,000-point television ad buy in South Carolina ahead of the state's Jan. 21 primary.

The campaign is calling is a "major buy," and an adviser to the former Pennsylvania senator's presidential bid told ABC News the spot will play heavily on cable. According to a GOP source who tracks ad spending, the Santorum campaign has only spent $12,000 on the airwaves in South Carolina so far during the election cycle.

The Santorum campaign also plans a heavy mail drop in the state that begins early next week.

It may all be futile, as Romney is the likely nominee, but, then again, Santorum's whole campaign seemed futile as recently as just a couple of weeks ago. And while he faces an uphill battle in South Carolina, not least given Romney's excellent ground campaign (and Haley endorsement), it is just the sort of socially conservative state (with a Tea Party hostile to Romney), like Iowa (sort of), that suits him. If he can't do well there, he's done for good.

And make no mistake, while he may be a detestable bigot and theocrat who wants to keep women in chains, evangelize and/or eradicate Muslims, deny blacks access to government aid, and send gays to hell, I wish him all the best. I think he'd be a truly wonderful GOP nominee for president. Republicans would do well to kick Romney and his pandering faux conservatism to the curb and embrace this exemplary man, a man very much in tune with the Republican zeitgeist.

You think I'm kidding? I'm not.


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Where would New Hampshire be without government aid?

They love their liberty, in New Hampshire, and hate their government. Where Iowa is socially conservative, New Hampshire is libertarian. Maybe not Ron Paul-crazy libertarian, but it's still the "Live Free or Die" state, the state of low taxes, guns, and a general aversion to, well, law.

Must be some kind of free market paradise, eh? What good could government ever do? Well:

New Hampshire, scene of the upcoming GOP presidential primary, seems like the perfect illustration of the Republican low-tax philosophy. With no state income tax and one of the lightest tax burdens in the U.S., New Hampshire enjoys an 8.3% poverty rate, the lowest in the country, and an unemployment rate of only 5.2% as of November, far below the national rate.

But here's a surprise: The "Live Free or Die" State, having lost much of its manufacturing base, seems to be thriving mostly on a steady diet of government spending and public jobs. For one, government employment in New Hampshire is up 14% since 2000, compared to 6% for the country as a whole.

What's more, real personal income growth in New Hampshire over the past decade has been driven almost entirely by government spending. Here's how it breaks down: From 2000 to 2010, real personal income in the state rose by $4.6 billion, in 2005 dollars. Out of that, $3 billion, or 66%, came from the growth of government transfer payments such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Another $1.4 trillion, or 31%, came from increased wages and benefits to government employees (numbers are rounded and in 2005 dollars).

In other words, 97% of real personal income growth in New Hampshire from 2000 to 2010 came from government transfer payments and government jobs. 

Not that you'll hear any of this from the Republicans on hand to preach free market absolutism, talk up their beloved "makers" and "job creators" of the private sector, and pander to the anti-government prejudices of their local constituency, of course.

Can't have the truth interfering with their lies. How would they be able to scare up votes if people knew what was really going on?

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Scott Brown: Massachusetts moderate

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Of course, a bunch of Republicans feigned outrage with Obama for sidestepping the Senate with this recess appointment, as if such manoeuvring hasn't been the approach taken by presidents of all parties over the years. But who needs facts when you are mostly all about being indignant?

The most interesting part of all this is that Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown decided to support Obama, much to the annoyance of his own party. As he said:

I support President Obama's appointment today of Richard Cordray to head the CFPB. I believe he is the right person to lead the agency and help protect consumers from fraud and scams. While I would have strongly preferred that it go through the normal confirmation process, unfortunately the system is completely broken. If we're going to make progress as a nation, both parties in Washington need to work together to end the procedural gridlock and hyper-partisanship.

Gee, I wonder if this had anything to do with the fact that the Democratic challenger for his Massachusetts Senate seat is Elizabeth Warren, the president's first choice to lead the agency?

That's what you get when you're a Republican trying to hold onto a Senate seat in a generally liberal state going into a presidential election cycle that will surely bring out a lot of Democrats on election day. You try to out-progressive your progressive opponent. 

Could Brown be one those "Massachusetts moderates" Newt Gingrich likes so much to talk about? Why, those people will say anything!

Everywhere else in the country, the GOP panders to the right. In Massachussets, it panders to the left. 

Give him credit, his campaign spokesman is spinning hard as he said this about Brown:

Scott Brown promised to be an independent voice when he ran in 2010, and he is keeping that promise. He looks at every issue on the merits and does what he thinks is best for Massachusetts and America regardless of partisan politics.

I'm just not sure this is the election for independent minded Republicans to be hawking their wares. More like, "be a true believer or be gone."

Like the old joke: "The only thing you get by standing in the middle of the road is run over." Truer words were never spoken for Republicans this time around. 

Bye, Scott.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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Santorum compares homosexuality to polygamy

Nothing new here. This is Rick "man-on-dog" Santorum, after all.

But it nonetheless deserves repeating, now that he's a big-time Republican gobbling up media attention after a surge that led him to a tie (if not a win) this past Tuesday in Iowa, that this strident theocrat is an unabashed bigot opposed not just to same-sex marriage but to homsexuality generally.

He recently compared romantic same-sex love to the love he has for his mother-in-law, brother, and friends. Since those relationships aren't marriage, gay couples shouldn't be allowed to marry. (Huh? Yes, this is what passes for logic, it seems, in Santorum's mind.)

So if you're not happy unless you're married to five other people, is that OK?" Santorum asked one student [yesterday in Concord, New Hampshire]. "Reason says that if you think it's okay for two [individuals to marry], then you have to differentiate for me why it's not okay for three," he argued later.

Perhaps an argument can be made for the marriage (or civil unions) of three or more people, but that would be separate from the issue of same-sex marriage, which isn't some "gateway" relationship that, if sanctioned, would require the legalization of polygamy or, say, human-canine marriage. 

In any event, at ThinkProgress rightly points out:
To be clear, Santorum's offensive and circuitous responses are all meant to reject the natural desire of two same-sex individuals to join in a union and enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples.

He's not actually making an argument about human relationships broadly and about what should and should not be permitted, he's just tying same-sex relationships to illegal (and extreme) relationships so as to discredit them.

"What, you're gay? So you must like to fuck sheep." That's basically the, er, "argument" he's making.

Like I said, he's a bigot. That's abundantly clear.


Oh, and he might just be taking a swipe at Romney, the Mormon with the family history of... yup, polygamy.


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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Counting error means Santorum may have won Iowa caucuses

Yes, believe it or not.

Remember how close it was the other night? At one point Romney and Santorum were separated by just a single vote (with just less than 60,000 between the two of them), and, in the end, so we thought, Romney won by eight votes, 30,015 to 30,007. Even if you think the Iowa caucuses are ridiculously overhyped, even if you think the whole thing's ridiculous, a tiny fraction of the electorate seemingly with so much influence, it was quite amazing.

It was basically a tie, and it didn't really matter that Romney won by a hair. Santorum exceeded expectations, and gained momentum, not to mention some necessary credibility, in the process.


It appears that Santorum may actually have won. As Des Moines's KCCI is reporting:

Caucus night was chaotic in many places, with hundreds of voters, candidates showing up and the throngs of media who followed. The world's eyes were on Iowa. But in the quiet town of Moulton, Appanoose County, a caucus of 50 people may just blow up the results.

Edward True, 28, of Moulton, said he helped count the votes and jotted the results down on a piece of paper to post to his Facebook page. He said when he checked to make sure the Republican Party of Iowa got the count right, he said he was shocked to find they hadn't.

"When Mitt Romney won Iowa by eight votes and I've got a 20-vote discrepancy here, that right there says Rick Santorum won Iowa," True said. "Not Mitt Romney."

True said at his 53-person caucus at the Garrett Memorial Library, Romney received two votes. According to the Iowa Republican Party's website, True's precinct cast 22 votes for Romney.

"This is huge," True said. "It essentially changes who won."

Now, that's that's hardly the end of the story:

A spokeswoman with the Iowa Republican Party said True is not a precinct captain and he's not a county chairperson so he has no business talking about election results. She also said the party would not be giving interviews about possible discrepancies until the caucus vote is certified.

So, as of right now, nothing's official. We'll have to wait for the certified result. But True says he's "certain."

If there was a mistake, it was probably a simple one, a simple error. But who knows? One would hope that an investigation would be conducted.

Otherwise, would it matter? Maybe not. The candidates, the media, and our attention have moved on to New Hampshire. But it would give Santorum a small boost to be able to say he won Iowa, the surging candidate no one was taking seriously beating the frontrunner with the elites behind him, a massive ground campaign, and a ton of money. It wouldn't really affect the vote in New Hampshire, which Romney will win easily, but it could narrow the gap just enough to give Santorum some extra hope heading down to South Carolina.

If nothing else, though, this turns our attention back to Iowa, if only briefly, which is bad for Romney. And this is just the sort of thorn in his side that could make his upcoming win in New Hampshire a tad less triumphant, with the narrative shifting in Santorum's favor.

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BREAKING: Romney not a real conservative

Via twitter: 

25% of Iowans said the candidate being a "true conservative" was most impt issue to them. 1% of that group voted for Romney. Yowza. 

-- Chris Cillizza (@TheFix)

Smart people, them Iowa Republicans. Seems they can recognize a pandering faux conservative with a hollow political soul when one shows up and tries to sucker them into voting for him by denying who he used to be, and may still be, and spewing every little nugget of right-wing nonsense that comes to mind in an endless and pathetic attempt to prove his conservative cred.

(Come on, did you catch his truly awful speech the night of the Iowa caucuses? It was incoherent right-wing drivel. He made Santorum look like Reagan at his most rhetorically elegant.)

Are New Hampshire Republicans as perceptive? Do they care?

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Bully For Him!

By Carl
As Jonathan Chait points out at the linked article,
So, recognizing that Congress is simply treating every negotiation as a zero-sum contest undertaken with the goal of defeating him, Obama has abandoned any hope of negotiation or legislative progress.
The question must still be asked, what took him so long?
When the minority leader in the Senate has stated, without apology or retraction, that the primary aim of the party is to make Obama a one-term President, the gloves should have come off right there and then. Granted, McConnell said that while the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, so it could be construed as hyperbole, still you have to be an idiot to believe that, given half an opportunity, which Republican literally were, there would be little compunction to press that agenda.
Apparently, Obama is an idiot. Certainly, he's had ample other opportunities to simply ignore these pro-forma "sessions" of Congress and place advisors, judges and other officials into offices that desperately begged for leadership.
Again, Chait: "[A]llowing Congress to functionally eliminate full-passed laws simply by denying the president any appointments to carry them out is a dangerous precedent that Obama would be derelict if he allowed to stand."
A violation of the Constitutional separation of powers: the legislature having legally passed a bill that the president signs into law cannot void that bill later by refusing to administer it. Administration falls under Article II of the Constitution proper.
Interestingly, any legal challenge to Obama's action (the US Chamber of Commerce has already threatened this) would likely be denied under Section 3.2 of Article II, which states a President may declare Congress adjourned if the parties cannot sort out an adjournment date.
So again, the question needs to be asked, for Christ's sake, why hasn't this been done earlier?
It's not like there was some grand agenda that required the felicitations of the Republicans. It's not like now there's a suddenly clear path. It's as if this lumbering giant woke up and said "Oh. Get in my way, willya?"
Thinking on this just makes me angrier and angrier. What say you?
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Santorum likes his women barefoot, pregnant, and at the mercy of domineering men

Via twitter: 

Feminists are "undermining the traditional family + convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness" -- Santorum 

-- ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress)

And of course he wants to deny women birth control, which was very much the key to their liberation from the shackles of oppressive, repressive patriarchy.

A Catholic theocrat, Santorum is very much in line with the zeitgeist of '12.

1912? No, more like 1612.

And he dares accuse President Obama of being anti-freedom?

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Romney-Perry 2012?

Via twitter:

"John Judis's pet theory: Romney persuaded Perry to stay in the race. Suggests keeping close eye on who Perry superpac attacks."

-- Noam Scheiber (@noamscheiber)
It's hard to imagine Romney going with Perry after the Texas governor's embarrassing performance, but he would need tho pick a solid right-winger and Perry certainly has the bona fides, if not the skill.

Though Perry may be too far out there on the right for the national stage, what with past flirtations with neo-secessionism and Tentherism, among other things. And who can forget his ugly gay-baiting in Iowa?

More likely, it would be a young conservative stud like Ryan or Rubio, or maybe Haley if she can deliver him South Carolina and help beef up his faux right-wing cred. Or maybe a more established fiscal conservative like Daniels.

Though Perry would be an amusing choice, for sure. Imagine the veep debate. Biden may often stick his foot in his mouth, but Perry, who can barely string a coherent sentence together, when he can even stay awake and remember where he is, makes him look like a Shakespearean orator in the mold of Sir Laurence Olivier with the cerebral firepower of a Stephen Hawking.

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Homophobe Rick Santorum admits to weird sexual relationship with mother-in-law, brother

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Via twitter: 

"I love my friends, my brother. Heck, I even love my mother-in-law. Should we call these relationships marriage, too?" -- Rick Santorum

-- ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress)

He may have done very well in Iowa yesterday, but make no mistake about it, Santorum's still a bigot and a moron.

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Iowa Caucus - a Defense of Mediocrity

By Capt. Fogg

"Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance?"

-Roman Hruska-


So the Iowa caucusoids can't really decide between Stepford Candidate Mitt who will say anything to ingratiate and hopes you have no memory, or Ricky Santorum, the subatomic particle with less mass than a neutrino. As of this morning there is only an 8 vote difference between the two and is portraying Santorum's loss as a victory. If there's anything interesting at all, or any inference to be drawn from this contest, it's that relatively moderate Jon Huntsman might have been better off joining another party entirely. Rarely has any contestant gone so unnoticed, lost in the glare of idiocy, mendacity and derangement.

This race seems to have nothing to do with qualifications in terms of character, experience, education or cognitive function: it's more about seducing the stupid, the ignorant and the marginal people, enraged because they are marginal. As a non-Republican, my preference in what is essentially a tie would be Santorum -- and of course any other connoisseur of circus freak shows would look forward with gleeful anticipation to watching that raving idiot contend with his Democratic opponent's measured words.

Does the Iowa Caucus really mean anything? I think it does. It means, for one thing, that the word Conservative means no more than it did when Senator Hruska tried to sell mediocrity as a virtue to get G. Harrold Carswell appointed to the Supreme Court and get us to overlook his distaste for Women's rights and his support for segregation (and perhaps the aggressive homosexual proclivities that landed him in jail and the hospital on several occasions.)

No, Romney isn't that bad and Santorum may not be either but I have to suspect that somewhere, some wax museum is missing a dummy and some circus side show is missing a freak.

(Cross posted from Human Voices)

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Hustings Musings

By Carl
It seems silly that Rick "Show Me The Fetus" Santorum placed so strongly in Iowa. A mediocre candidate who was a mediocre Senator should have performed in mediocrity, but I suppose all this indicates is the level of dislike Mitt Romney has to endure to be the Republican candidate.
Indeed, part of my thinking is that Rick pleaded for the pity vote when he made a kerfuffle over the Google meme. After all, Santorum has been starving for campaign contributions and ran his Iowa office on a shoestring.
The rough vote tallies show Romney and Santorum in a dead heat at 24.5%, with Ron Paul closely stalking both at 21.5%
Paul's totals suggest that there are indeed about 20% of the Republican party who are fucking loons. I suspect that, since the caucuses were open affairs, the balance were Democratic pranksters.
No one else cracked 15%, which basically tells me that people settled on Santorum as the least exposed candidate in the field. They don't want Romney, but they also don't want the tin-plated dictators, the egg-headed serial misogynist, or the crackpot grandmother who's just one divorce from being the crazy cat lady.
How sad is it that Mitt Romney, who by his own admission had lowered expectations for this year's caucus, couldn't even match his percentage from the last caucus in 2008, when he ran against five other Republicans who had national reputations already?
Almost as sad as Rick Perry, who's headed back to Texas to lick his wounds. The guy did the fund-raising, had the splashy entrance and....what was the third thing?
Um, oops?
Oh. Right. Couldn't stand toe-to-toe in a single debate. He's out. He never struck me as the kind of guy who would put in an honest day's work to win the thing and if you can't do that, if you can't organize your life that much, how do you expect to run an administration?
Mickey Mouse-- er, I mean, Bachmann, finished dead last, and didn't come close to cracking double digits. She's toast, altho she doesn't know it yet. I suspect her strategy is to hang in there until South Carolina (indeed, she's already announced she'll skip New Hampshire,) and then pray that Nikki Haley can pull her bacon out of the fire.
Oh. She's already endorsed Romney?
Then Bachmann's even dumber than I thought: she's going to have to go head-to-head with Santorum without the Tea Party organization and with a sudden drain of campaign contributions.
Back to Ron Paul for a moment: he has some ideas that have some attraction to me and every other liberal I've talked to. In a perfect world, he'd be an advisor to Presidents on a limited range of issues and nothing else. That he's within striking distance in 2012 of the party nomination speaks volumes about two things:
1) The fervent desire of right-wing "libertarians" to see this nation burn and
b) The shallow gene pool the Republican party has to draw on.
You'd think after four years of inactivity in the Congress, Republicans would repudiate people who would make them even more marginal, but you'd be wrong.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Live-blogging the 2012 Iowa caucuses: The greatest day in American democracy


9:06 pm - Okay, here we go. The 2012 presidential nomination season is underway. And by "underway" I mean, votes are actually being cast.

Is it a great day for democracy? Well, that's the intention. Old-school democracy. Caucuses (particularly in Iowa), unlike primaries, represent a sort of idyllic (if mostly obsolete) Jeffersonianism, the people actually coming out, talking politics, and making their choices. Unlike the atomized process of voting in a booth, in privacy, this is about community, about political engagement as something other than, more than, the mere casting of a ballot.

And by "the people," of course, I mean a tiny fraction of an otherwise alienated and disengaged electorate, the hardcore of the hardcore, extremists of partisanship, ideology, and political temperament. In this case, a tiny fraction of the electorate in a small state that, all due respect, isn't exactly representative of America. So why should it be so important? Why should it be the focus of our political obsession?

Exactly. There's really no good reason for it. If not for the fact that it's the first in the nation, a tradition that defies common sense. The nomination process is a long slog, but we do love the horse race, don't we? And any indication of who's ahead and who's behind is like a drug. For months, all we've had is polls, poll after freakin' poll. Now it's the real thing, baby. As crazy as it is, as ridiculous as the Iowa caucuses are, at least we're getting some votes. At least it all means something now.

And so here we are.

9:24 pm - Yes, it's what we thought it would be, a tight three-way race between Romney, Paul, and Santorum. With 18% reporting, here's the breakdown (via CNN):

-- Paul: 5,348 (24%)
-- Santorum: 5,283 (24%)
-- Romney: 4,988 (22%)

Yes, in a nation of 312,796,207 people, we're talking about a few thousand people launching the 2012 presidential race and holding enormous sway over where the race goes from here.

Let's just say Iowa's impact is a tad disproportionate.

All due respect.

9:31 pm - It's now even closer:
-- Romney: 6,297 (23%)
-- Santorum: 6,256 (23%)
-- Paul: 6,240 (23%)

Gingrich is back at 13%, Perry at 10%, Bachmann at 6%. Remember when each one was not least leading in Iowa but looking like the inevitable winner there?

9:45 pm - In case you missed it, the past couple of days were all about playground politics in Iowa. Which is to say, they were all about juvenile name-calling. For example:

-- Santorum: "Ron Paul is disgusting." (Oh yeah? Your mama is so fat...)

-- Paul supporters to Santorum: "nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye." (Okay, that's pretty amusing.)

-- Gingrich: Mitt Romney's a liar. (A Romney Super-PAC has been relentlessly attacking Newt, contributing to his rapid decline, but Romney has denied any connection to it. Newt: "This is a man whose staff created the PAC, his millionaire friends fund the PAC, he pretends he has nothing to do with the PAC -- it's baloney. He's not telling the American people the truth.")

Well, he's right. Just as he's mostly right about this:

It's just like this pretense that he's a conservative. Here's a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in "Romneycare," puts Planned Parenthood in "Romneycare," raises hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes on businesses, appoints liberal judges to appease Democrats, and wants the rest of us to believe somehow he's magically a conservative.

I just think he ought to be honest with the American people and try to win as the real Mitt Romney, not try to invent a poll-driven, consultant-guided version that goes around with talking points, and I think he ought to be candid. I don't think he's being candid and that will be a major issue. From here on out from the rest of this campaign, the country has to decide: Do you really want a Massachusetts moderate who won't level with you to run against Barack Obama who, frankly, will just tear him apart? He will not survive against the Obama machine.

For a variety of reasons, Romney has largely escaped any sustained criticism from his rivals thus far. (See what I wrote about this earlier today.) But this conservative critique of Romney isn't going away. It just needs the right spokesperson. Maybe it's Newt. Maybe with his bad loss in Iowa he'll actually go on the offensive.

10:35 pm - Santorum now has a narrow lead over Romney, but we're only a little over halfway through this. Paul has fallen back a bit. (It's 24-24-22.)

10:37 pm - For a good look at the Iowa caucuses, and how they came to be so significant, see Ezra Klein's interview with Rutgers political scientist David Redlawsk. Key quote:

In fact, every cycle we have this question of whether somebody will try and leapfrog or jump ahead and that's how we get frontloading. The national parties try to penalize those who do that. This year, for instance, Florida is only getting half of its delegates because it violated the rules by trying to go early. So the system stays in stasis through a combination of Iowa and New Hampshire jealously guarding their privileges and the national parties penalizing anyone who tried to change the status quo. No one loves the current system, but no one has come up with something they would like better.

Even here, in this supposed democratic paradise, politics -- and power -- is about privilege.

10:46 pm - In case you were wondering, the population of the U.S. is now 312,796,488.

10:50 pm - Suddenly we're up to 88% reporting. It looks Paul has slipped to third and will end up there. It's now a two-man race between Santorum and Romney:

-- Santorum: 26,443 (25%)
-- Romney: 26,398 (25%)
-- Paul: 22,728 (21%)

Just 45 votes. Pretty amazing, really. We knew it would be close, but this is crazy.

And even though Paul is well back now, I'm sure his fanatical supporters will declare his third-place finish an historic victory heralding the Age of Ron Paul, the present and future of the Republican Party. They don't have a monopoly on delusion, to be sure, but they seem to have more than their fair share. 

10:56 pm - And Paul remains a bitter, nasty, and vindictive man. Here's what he (or one of his minions) tweeted (via) a while ago:

we found your one Iowa voter, he's in Linn precinct 5 you might want to call him and say thanks.


Huntsman actually has 629 votes, a whopping 1% of the vote. Honestly, though, what's the point of kicking him when he's down? (Whatever the outcome, he's a bigger man than Paul will ever be.) 

11:07 pm - So we've moved up one to 89% but now Romney has the lead. What? How did this flip-flop so quickly? It's still 25-25, but he's up 27,101 to 26,976.

11:09 pm - Dan Amira at New York mag, with the funniest line of the day:

A few weeks ago, Rick Perry said he wanted to be the Tim Tebow of Iowa, and now a Michele Bachmann super-PAC ad is trying to make the same comparison. So which campaign is actually like Tebow? Both of them!: They were both wildly, inexplicably successful for a brief period of time, and now they are just embarrassing.

As a Steelers fan, I shouldn't laugh at jokes like this. I mean, what if Tebow beats them on Sunday? We're six days out, but my anxiety is already ridiculous.

11:13 pm - Did I mention that on the Democratic side Barack Obama has been awarded all delegates in Iowa? Yes, today isn't just about Republicans.

11:14 pm - At Crooks and Liars, where I do the blog round-up now and then, Rick Perlstein argues that Iowa doesn't matter, as Republicans always go with the "next in line":

Another pattern: the desperate attempts of the political press to drum up evidence of a competitive race, whatever the historical lessons that point obstinately in the opposite direction. It's not a hard argument to make: "on the ground," things always look competitive. The vaunted party "base" plain their disgust with the sell-out moderate party elites want to shove down their throats, dutifully falling in love with a series of far-right saviors in the earlier innings: President Pat Robertson, who nearly won Iowa in 1988; President Pat Buchanan, who took New Hampshire in 1992; and All Hail Huckabee the choice of Iowa caucus-goers in 2008—but not before Fred Thompson's moment in the sun later in the year, and after Rudy Giuliani dazzled conservatives who hadn't yet figured out that he was a cross-dresser with gay roommates The same thing always happens next: The insurgents fall by the wayside. The base comes around. Democrats fall in love; Republicans fall in line.

Is he right? Historically speaking, yes. And he may be right about 2012. Maybe it really will be Romney. But is that because Romney is "next in line," or because the various alternatives have been so weak? And while it's true that Republicans generally "fall in line," things may be changing in an age of social media and the decline of central-party politics. The moneyed elite, represented by Karl Rove, still wields enormous power in the GOP, as do mainstream pundits like Charles Krauthammer and George Will, but there isn't really a center anymore. Media giants like Dear Leader Rush are just as influential, if not more so, and they can reach millions (particularly grassroots primary/caucus voters, those in the base who have so much influence in these contests) without going through the party apparatus or requiring the approval of the establishment.

I agree with Perlstein that Iowa is far less important than people think -- or rather than the media tell us it is as they try to drum up drama -- but his assessment of how the GOP works may be based on a reality that has shifted over recent election cycles.

And as for Romney, I'm not sure he's "next in line." Why not, oh, Sarah Palin?

11:28 pm - 93% reporting, and Santorum has swung back into the lead, 28,201 to 28,086.

11:33 pm - Interesting results from CNN's "entrance poll":

-- 57% men, 43% women. (Doesn't sound fair, does it?)

-- By age: 17-29 (15%); 30-44 (16%); 45-64 (42%); 65+ (26%).

In other words, this whole damn thing is being decided by older white men. (Actually, that sounds pretty damn Republican.)

Also check out the results man. It's like a general election dividing the Democrat and Republican. Faux conservative Romney is winning the urban areas (like any Democrat would), notably Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport, while social conservative Santorum is cleaning up in the rural areas (like any Republican would). Paul is doing well in the eastern part of the state, along the Illinois border. Perry has actually won a couple of counties in the southwest.

11:39 pm - 96% reporting, and it's tightened, now 28,958 to 28,879 for Santorum. Yes, fewer than 100 votes separate the two leaders. There's no reason to get too excited about any of this, unless you're a loyal follower of either one, but, again, it's pretty amazing that it's this close with almost 60,000 votes between the two of them.

11:44 pm - In case you were wondering, I'm rooting for Santorum. (Actually, I would have been rooting for Newt, until his fall. I'm still hoping he recovers and re-emerges as Romney main rival.) Because it's just so... ridiculous. And funny.

12:11 am - A CNN panel featuring Ari Fleischer and James Carville. Horrendous. I'm turning back to Family Guy or Chopped.

12:12 am - Crazy. It's even closer now. 97% reporting, and Santorum is up by just 37 votes, 29,210 to 29,173.

Whoever comes out on top, even by just a few votes, will declare victory, but I'm not sure it really matters. It's basically a tie.

It looked bleak for Romney in Iowa for a long time, but he's managed, if only because his conservative rivals are so weak, to come out with a fairly strong showing. And Santorum, of course, came out of nowhere to pull even with the supposed frontrunner, if only because Newt collapsed. Romney will go on to win New Hampshire easily. But he continues to struggle with a fairly low ceiling of support across the Republican board and needs to prove that he can win after New Hampshire, in South Carolina but even more importantly in Florida.

Meanwhile, Santorum needs to build off this result, in a state where he campaigned furiously (and where he put all his eggs), and show that he's for real. He won't be able to, because he isn't, but he might just be able to divide the anti-Romney vote long enough to guarantee Romney the nomination.

And what of Newt? Can he recover from this? Let's say he finishes a distant third in New Hampshire, behind Romney and Paul? What then? Will he have anything left? Will South Carolina be another Iowa, with the vote split and no clear winner? And can Newt, if he hasn't been thoroughly crushed by then, contend with Romney in Florida, where the polls have shown a one-on-one battle?

And what of Perry, who's now mailing his eggs to South Carolina. (Oh, he's still quite mad. He compared the 2012 election to Omaha Beach. I wonder what "The Greatest Generation" thinks of such nonsense.) Update: Scrap that. He's done.

12:17 am - Santorum on the TV. Just declared victory. (A surprise? Maybe not so much.) Before quoting that good Catholic mythologist C.S. Lewis. And thanking his wife. And then giving a public thanks to "God." And then thanking Iowans: "You... you... by not compromising... are taking the first step to taking back this country." Typical Republican BS, of course. What, take back the country from centrists like Obama? From the right-wing Republican majority in the House? From the 5-4 right-leaning Supreme Court?

Anyway, isn't today's result in Iowa the definition of not taking a stand?

12:25 am - Santorum favours cutting taxes and balancing the budget. No word on if he believe in unicorns and fairy dust. Then again, he believes in Jesus, so it's not like he lives in a rational world.

But... am I really saying this? He actually looks and sounds fairly impressive. He's certainly sincere, however delusional and extreme, and he's really come into his own, sweater vests and all, during this surge in Iowa. I still don't think he can pull this off, but maybe, if Gingrich can't recover, he'll be the guy who unites the right even at this late date. Raise your hand if you saw that coming.

12:32 am - In case you missed it, Santorum said that states have the right to ban birth control. Don't believe all his freedom talk for a second. He's a theocrat who values freedom only for plutocrats and within the confines of Christianist authoritarianism.

12:36 am - What motivates Santorum? -- "the dignity of every human life" (including "every working person"). Well, unless you're poor, or black, or whatever else he doesn't like or that in any way disturbs his God-fearin' worldview. But look, he's certainly more a man of the people than Romney...

12:38 am - ...who just emerged in front a big American flag. His wife: "we don't know who's won yet."

12:39 am - Well, Romney's being magnanimous, congratulating Santorum and Paul for a good campaign in Iowa.

12:41 am - With 99% reporting... get a lot of this: It's still 25-25, but now as close as it's been all night, 29,662 to 29,657 for Santorum. Five votes. That's it.

12:42 am - So what's Romney doing? Why, fearmongering about a "nuclear" Iran, of course, as if he wants to declare war right now, blaming Obama for not doing anything. (And what exactly should he have done?)

I can't listen anymore. It's typical Romney. Piling on Obama, saying nothing of substance, speaking too quickly, without pause, and also not connecting the way Santorum did, not telling his story the way Santorum did. He's just bullshitting. Like on energy: take advantage of oil and gas and nuclear and renewables. What does that even mean? Does he actually believe anything? Does he have any sort of concrete policy agenda? No and no, it would seem. Now he's talking about what programs he'd cut. But not really. He's just take a look at all of them. The only thing he mentions is Obamacare, which, of course, is based on Romneycare. (He neglects to mention that.) And now he's getting philosophical. This election is about the soul of America. Please. This isn't working. It's like he's just reciting lines that have been pre-approved by various focus groups. He's just ticking off the key bullets. Now he's attacking the "entitlement society." Now he's talking about the founding patriots. "Let us restore the greatness of America." He's all over the place. There's absolutely no coherence to this speech whatsoever. It's awful. And it's just Romney being Romney.

Happy, Republicans?

12:50 am: The website is ahead of Wolf Blitzer's wall. Santorum is now up by 27 votes, 29,892 to 29,865. But John King, who if nothing else can read numbers off a screen, is saying that the remaining precincts may favour Romney. We shall see.

12:52 am: Idiot Brit right-winger Piers Morgan, would-be Larry King Part Deux, just showed up. That's my cue. I'm done.

12:53 am: Stay tuned for much more 2012 election coverage here at The Reaction.

12:54 am: Good night, everyone.


1:39 am: Dammit. I just can't resist. Romney has taken the lead, by a single vote -- 29,957 to 29,956. An outright win would certainly mean more to Santorum than to Romney, but, again, I'm not sure it matters all that much. It's a tie, and that's how it'll be reported.

1:41 am: Oh, now it's Santorum ahead again, but by just four votes -- 29,968 to 29,964.

1:42 am: Alright, enough. Good night.

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