The Chimes at Midnight
Monday, January 30, 2012
 
Y'know...
There really isn't a dime's worth of difference between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
They both want small gummint, low taxes for the wealthiest, a disenfranchised working class, they are both creative fantasists where Barack Obama is concerned and all committed Praetorians they want to deficit spend in order to keep our military the most bloated in the universe.
They both wanna privatize social security and put the insurance companies back on top when it comes to health care decisions.
What exactly they are arguing about down there in Florida is over who gets to throw grandma out into the street, Gingrich would do it with a maniacal laugh, while Romney would probably have one of his lackeys do it for him.
Other than that this is a death struggle between Tweedledee and Tweedledee....

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Sunday, January 29, 2012
 
I care little for the details of Scott Brown's
National Guard service, I am sure the whole thing is on the up and up.

I think it somewhat odd, though, that the nation has been at war for twelve years now and never once has this commissioned officer of the Massachusetts Guard been called up for active duty in a war zone.

Yes I know, he is an attorney attached to the Judge Advocate's Office. Seems ironic though, in twelve years of fighting, that Brown only saw the front lines as a visiting Junior Senator on a fact finding tour.

Then again according to my mother, in the Battle of the Bulge, Eisenhower stripped the rear echelons bare in an effort to stem the German Offensive, all save the lawyers in the Judge Advocate's Office.
My old man confirmed this obliquely when he famously observed that at St. Vith they sent mess attendants, cooks and quartermaster's assistants into the fight..."no lawyers there" he concluded.

No lawyers indeed.
Like I said, I'm sure that Scott Brown's National Guard record is entirely free of any hint of malfeasance or wrongdoing...or heroism for that fact.

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Friday, January 27, 2012
 
Congressional Quarterly Sez...
That Scott Brown is the second mostest "Bipartisan Senator", running behind Olympia Snowe of Maine.
Good Lord this'll have certain columnists at the Boston Globe in paroxym's of joy I can assure you.
Of course what does "bipartisanship" mean these days? Damn near nothing I'm afraid.
Mostly its a negotiation between persons routed in reality and those who wanna end all this "two party system" rubbish.
Look at Newt Gingrich, all through out New Hampshire he tried to sell himself as a bipartisan figure, but it is clear from his rhetoric that he thinks "bipartisanship" is merely the polite manners the GOP will assume once liberalism is destroyed utterly and completely.
What good can come of those negotiations?

No much.
Anyway, its ironic to note that the lack of bipartisanship in DC directly altered the Senate Race in Massachusetts to Brown's disadvantage, the Senate GOP filibustered Citizen Warren's nomination to the Consumer Investment sinecure...Did Scott speak up then?
Oh no.
Couldn't be bothered, book tour doncha know.
As long as the bipartisanship swims in a sea of bad ideas and or impotent notions, it will no one the slightest bid of good.
In that context, Scott being the "second most bipartisan Senator" is akin to being named "The second least Profane"...

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Thursday, January 26, 2012
 
I wonder if Jan Brewer's dust up with the President isn't
the first shot in a "Jan Brewer for Vice President" boomlet?

I mean, Romney has a pronounced taste for female toadies, and Nikki Haley blew herself out of contention when she could not deliver South Carolina.
So why not Jan?
Arizona is a swing state, the Democrats have been trending well in that part of the country.
Of course, likely given the flame out that was Sarah Palin in 2008, another female vice presidential nominee isn't in the GOP cards...but yuh never know.
They say Florida Senator Marc Rubio is everyone's VP dream boat....who is a sort of Gulf Coast Scott Brown from what I'm told.

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Newt Gingrich wants to build a moonbase by 2020...
In the absence of "man-rated" launch vehicles, how are we to get the crew there?
A nice long rope ladder?
Mind you, I'm all for a lavishly funded manned space program, the world seems full of scientists easily diverted into unpleasant "doomsday machine" projects, space exploration tends toward peaceful applications and all like that.
But as usual, Newt's Lavish Promise comes with no revenue plan to back it up, so likely this notion will whither in due course, assuming it is ever honestly debated in congress.
Being a former congressman and unusually attuned to the political power of earmarks, Gingrich normally has a good ear for potentiallocal Federal projects that can attract voters on primary day. In New Hampshire he talked about reopening the Veteran's Hospital in Manchester, an entirely sensible idea.
But when he got to Cape Canaveral, his already discussed tendency towards "magical thinking" got the better of him, promising a moonbase that neither NASA nor the private sector can deliver on as currently configured and funded.
He may as well have promised to make Pellucidar the 51st State.
The best Gingrich had to offer by way of funding was to solicit the private sector for ideas has to how to pay for it all.
Well, I'd start with Mortgage Backed Securities and maybe a sweetheart book deal or two, that'll get things started.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012
 
House Speaker John Boehner derided
the President's SOTU speech yesterday as "The Politics of Envy".

My question is, who the hell would ever envy a miserable impotent lackwit like John Boehner...a character held in Alex Throttlebottom-esque contempt by his own caucus?

For that fact who would ever envy a corrupt Jobber like Newt Gingrich?

And Mitt Romney? That cold unfeeling utterly phony man?

Even with all his money, Mitt Romney is a poor target for envy, sure he can live lavishly off his investments, but how many lathes does his fortune turn?
Damn few I'd say.

No...I give the President props for speaking plainly and putting tax inequality at the center of his re-election campaign, I hope he sticks to the theme, if Romney is the eventual GOP nominee Obama will reap  the benefit of it.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012
 
This is my Senior Senator...
He apparently loves pick up games of ice hockey...a lot.

Based on that battered & bruised mug of his, you'd never know John Kerry has had hip replacement surgery.

Jesus John...you can lay off goin' fer the hat trick, I mean age has some privileges!

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Monday, January 23, 2012
 
Since Romney got beaten like a red headed stepchild in South Carolina...
then I guess that means Governor Nikki Haley is officially off the Vice Presidential shortlist eh?

She must be wondering why she took to the stump for him in New Hampshire, it's not like an condescending shitkicker Governor has any political pull in the Granite State, but then again neither could she deliver South Carolina to the Former Viceroy.
The very picture of lose lose situation.
Well Nikki what can I say? The next time try to tone down the smarmy sarcastic middle school queen bee act, cuz it didn't even work in your own home state bitch.

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One Puny week of pressure from the right...
And Mitt Romney caves in with respect to his tax returns.
And it is pressure from Newt Gingrich no less an unstable egomaniac trying to rise to the threat level of Frank Hague.
The Former Viceroy has no one to blame but himself for this predicament, he could've tossed it all out there months ago with no ill effects, but with all his inept waffling it all looks like he is concealing something.
And he is concealing something, something though he can't properly hide, and that is that Mitt Romney is a preposterously rich and entitled man with little in common with the GOP base in any manner shape or form. Somehow witholding his tax returns was supposed to obscure all that...heaven knows how.
As for the returns themselves, I doubt there is anything illegal on them, merely documentary proof that Mitt Romney takes full advantage of all the advantages offered by a thorough reading of the tax code.
Which is all the more reason to get them out early and get your spin on them well spun...but no this is Mitt Romney and as I've said before, the man could screw up a two car funeral.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012
 
Former State Senator Scott Brown
has come out against higher taxes on the "Above $250,000.00" bracket on grounds that it would unduly burden "policemen, nurses and firefighters".
Yeah some of that cohort have made it into the quarter of a million cohort, but on the other hand it means at the very least that Michael McLaughlin (the boodling head of the Chelsea Housing Authority) and the gang down at the Probation Department, would at least be compelled to pay their fair share.

Well what can I say? These are the thoughts a Junior Senator has when all he has to work with is a smooth round fragment of New England Granite to serve for brains.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012
 
If...
Newt Gingrich does win the South Carolina Primary today, it will be for two reasons:

1.) He threw the right tantrum at the right time in the right debate when John King tried to ask him about his second ex-wife's allegations that he wanted to have an "open marriage".
You'd think a loathsome thing like would damage Newt's candidacy, but no, the whole "I'm being victimized by the liberal media"meme is apparently much more powerful.

2.) Mitt Romney really can screw up a two car funeral, a week ago he was on the brink of wrapping up the GOP nomination, but a bungled debate performance and complete melt down on his tax returns coupled with the revelation of his mysterious Grand Cayman Island Bank accounts and voila the former Viceroy is once again on the ropes.
Clearly the taint of wealth supercedes the taint of personal debauchery in the current political environment.

Still and all that, I don't give long odds to Newt Gingrich his backstory is thoroughly weird and he has many many financial shenanigans in his baggage to explain...but unlike Romney he has credibility with the Southern Base of the GOP and the rhetorical gifts to back that up.
Ah but it's funny, this might be Newt Gingrich's last stand. I mean he has three wives and two exes on his rapsheet to date. If spouse #3, Callista cannot boot strap his ass into the White House then Newt cannot easily follow his instincts and change up wives again, he is a convert to Catholicism and the RCC does not permit divorce.
So its "conquer or die in 2012" for Newt so to speak.

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Friday, January 20, 2012
 
Newt Gingrich's second wife versus Mitt Romney's offshore doomsday accounts?
Certainly Newt's tacky personal vices hasn't crowded Romney's tawdry financial chicanery off the front pages.
So which species of bad news will triumph in the South Carolina Primary?
For once I'm not gonna guess, save to note that once again it would just be funny if Romney & Gingrich damaged each other sufficiently for Rick "High Pitched Rich" Santorum to sneak through to a plurality.
But even then, advantage Romney, Santorum lacks the resources to deny Mitt the nomination...unless of course the Former Viceroy gets panicky as he did in 2008 and starts sweating and promising the eschaton to anyone still awake...

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Thursday, January 19, 2012
 
Perry bails
and thus sets a minimum intelligence standard for GOP presidential aspirants.
You cannot be dumber than Rick Perry and still hope to prevail...
Governor Perry is endorsing Gingrich of all people, which might do the former speaker some benefit in the South Carolina Primary if Newt's second ex-wife wasn't about to sing like a canary to Nightline tonight.

Honestly, it doesn't not get better than this.

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So Romney has Eight million large stashed in the Grand Cayman Islands?
Is that all??

I mean the man is worth a quarter-of-a-billion, where this the rest of it, Zurich, Qatar, Barsoom?
Anyone else think this is Mitt's "Doomsday Money", designed to used only in the event of an asteroid collision or a mass rising of flesh eating zombies?
I wonder where his Bunker is?
Provo Utah undoubtedly, just down from the Osmond Family's disaster redoubt.
***
Still if nothing else this whole situation neatly illustrates the vast gulf between the Mitt Romney's of this world, and the everyday individual.  The average person wracked as they are by recession and worry looks to a democratic government for some impetus to prosperity and jobs.
Mitt Romney simply expects the Government to continue to enable his own entitlement at the expense of damn near everyone.
I mean the nerve of this guy barnstorming from town to town in South Carolina braying about patriotism and meanwhile the Former Viceroy is hiding money abroad like he was Ernst Stavro Blofeld or some damn thing.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
 
Note to the Laity
in solidarity with the current on-line Anti SOPA protests, the Chimes at Midnight will not be updated tomorrow.

BTW how the hell did Humble Elias get 212 hit yesterday? Was my Huntsman riff that good? Normally I'm good for about a quarter of that number on a Sunday.
 
I don't care what
what the Brian McGrory's of this world are saying, in the weary wicked end, this is the very same Mitt Romney who ran in 2008 with all his flaws, delusions and chiseling nature intact.
He is the first to run negative adverts, the first to decry negative adverts and when faced with pressure on the right, he toadies and truckles.
Same campaign tactics except this year the field is so weird and weak they are working....

Which is an object lesson to the Obama campaign, Mitt will go negative from the git-go and then cloud the air with smarmy insincere denials. Always remember, Romney makes all this smarm & passive aggression work for him.

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Monday, January 16, 2012
 
Huntsman bails...
and gives a surly endorsement to the man he was calling a disengaged son-of-a-bitch not three days ago.

I wonder what Eric Fehnstrom had to promise Huntsman to get that endorsement? A cush ambassadorship, the Department of Transportation, a gig on Fox News as the In-House Moderate Straw MAn?
I doubt Huntsman has the stature to get Foggy Bottom and anyway Fehnstrom's promises  are exactly like Romney's promises, worthless.

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MLK Blogging...
On the late Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, I always try to cede this space to him however briefly. This quote seemed quite apropos of the year gone by all things considered:

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

"Letter from Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963

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Friday, January 13, 2012
 
I'm no shocked that Haley Barbour
(Governor of Mississippi) has pardoned 208 convicted murderers and thieves and thugs on grounds that as prison Trusteee they did a bang up job of shining his shoes and mixed up his salad at the Magnolia State's Governor's Mansion.
Nope I'm appalled though that Mississippi has a Governor's Mansion, t'is intolerable extravagance & frippery!
What do these shitkickers think the public's money grows on trees??!!
Crude Toryism that is what it is!
Next up they'll be swearin' allegiance to the British Crown.
Say what you like about Massachusetts (and New Hampshire for that fact) but we are still strong in our republican simplicity....i.e. no "Executive Mansions" staffed by servants recruited out of the state's dungeons!

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USA Today's idea
of a front page below the fold soft news story is "2011, Deaths by Lightning Strike Decline".

Which I guess is an oblique way of reporting that we are all surviving lightning strikes with alacrity.

That or there is an epidemic of "Captain Marvels"out there.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012
 
Joan Vennochi...
tracks Scott Brown's course back to the center in her Globe Column today. I'd link back to it, but it is protected by a pay wall as high as the Ramparts of Lost Troy.
But the gist is, "Scott is tracking back to the center, is he a real moderate or just faking it til election day? This is bad news for Elizabeth Warren!" yadda yadda yadda.
Nowhere in said column is the name Karl Rove mentioned who has parachuted bigtime into the Massachusetts Senatorial Election armed with money and campaign adverts and hell bent on re-elected Former State Senator Brown.
Now...to me, a mere amateur pundit, "a sarcastic rant driven chatterer" the real story is that so far, Karl's efforts have done nothing to dent Citizen Warren's numbers.
***
Now, I put up with a lot in Massachusetts, corrupt politicians, the malevolent lure of casino gambling, the lack of a policy to address deindustrialization/population drain, the Mass Turnpike and the awful roads in Belmont.
But I'll be good god damned if I'm gonna put up with some shitkicker punk like Karl Rove dictating to the descendents of John Adams and Charles Sumner and John F. Kennedy who will be our US Senator.
If Karl wants in on this Senate Race, let him move up here, register to vote and play the game Like A Man instead of all this maddening passive aggression from a distance.
***
Alas and alack, I am still hoping for a full and complete debate on the issues, if we don't get it from the democratic senatorial primary, then the matter must be addressed in the general election.
We don't get that if Karl Rove is muddying the waters...
Ah but that is the earnest liberal in me, ever hoping after patent impossibilities like free & fair debate.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012
 
The Empty Suit in the Clown Car...
Congrats to the former viceroy, he finally won one in New Hampshire. And for once, Humble Elias' predictions were broadly accurate although my "Huntsman scenario" did not quite come together at the last minute.
As for Mitt Romney having a crackpot like Ron Paul as his main rival going into South Carolina can't be a bad thing. Willard has a rhetorical talent for slaying straw men that matches pretty much the real straw men he has the good fortune to be running against this year.
Ghod to hear Romney tell it, he triumphed over a pack of ravenous velociraptors armed with nothing more than a broken broomstick.  A lavish sense of self congratulation is a key Romney component, get used to it for now.

Nonetheless, I expect South Carolina to get pretty ugly pretty quickly, Newt Gingrich isn't going to expire quietly although he is waaa-ay out of position to be a serious candidate going forward. The Sun has Set on Rick "High Pitched Rich" Santorum would-be American Dictator even if he makes one last bid to solidify the evangelicals behind his candidacy. If he bailed now though, he could bid up his endorsement to a cabinet post I suspect, ah but Secretaries of Commerce never seize power do they?
Perry? That guy is so punch drunk he has no idea he is stretched out on the canvas with the Ref standing over him at number five. I'm not even sure his endorsement is worth anything at this point given the man's reputation for plain stupidity.
I don't know why Jon Huntsman is even down in South Carolina, if I was him I'd take my "sensible committed conservative" act to Maine and try to strike sparks there.

I doubt he will do any business whatsoever in South Carolina. That leaves Ron Paul who is just berserk enough to fight this thing thru to the convention...relentlessly and fruitlessly.

I must say, as burlesque's go, this year's NH Primary was tops, I enjoyed almost as much as I enjoyed the 1984 democratic primary up there. This time around it was nothing but wall to wall gaffes and rhetorical excess from the git-go, a madder tea partei cannot be imagined.
So...sigh it is Romney's race to lose at least for the moment, on the other hand never rule out the Former Viceroy's ability to bungle things completely at the last minute.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012
 
On the other hand...
maybe there is something to this "Huntsman Surge" palaver after all.
 I have a reliable source who lives right off the Tannhauser Gate just a gunshot away from Big Willy Pond, and she says that all of Carroll County is sick unto death of Ron Paul's incessant robo-phone calls and daily mailings.
I am also told by the same source that those mailings are morning starters for the woodstove all over the Granite State.
So absent Ron Paul and with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich being fitted for designer straitjackets that leaves Huntsman in the runner up position.
If that happens, and I'm not sayin' it will, then there is something quinessentially New Hampshire about Jon Huntsman crowding into second place at the last minute.
Look New Hampshire's "first in the nation" primary status is increasingly being diluted by caucuses and primaries held in states where hyper conservative religious voting patterns heavily colonize the ballot box.
So it would be a very pious New Hampshire style jest indeed to send two Mormons out of the state as the nominal front runners for the GOP Presidential nomination.
And the Granite State will be striking a blow for religious tolerance in a Epsom-Circle-Rotary-Club kind of a way...
But mostly its just a funny idea, and you know how funny ideas can take ahold of the primary electorate up there.
Just sayin'...

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William Jennings Bryan...
Went to Dayton Tennessee to argue against evolution in the Scopes Trial instead he literally died of a torrent of bombast attempting to convince an astonished courtroom that "man was not a mammal".
So to does that Conservative Hero Newt Gingrich go to New Hampshire trying to become President, and instead he ends up writhing in fury attempting to convince the flinty Yeoman of the Granite State that Mitt Romney is a greedy reactionary kulak and a class enemy of the working man.
What drives us to supreme screaming fury speaks everything about our character...

***
Meanwhile a recap:
I still say it's Mitt Romney tonight, it'll be a clear win, but the game is to drag him beneath forty percent. Even then it's a question of whether or not said second place finisher is properly positioned and funded to make their case in South Carolina an electorate so conservative and religiously weird as to make New Hampshire look like a Symbionese Liberation Army enclave.
I'm guessing it'll be Ron Paul as the chief runner up, if he has a good night he might do twenty one percent of the vote. However he himself might be too weird even for South Carolina, so possibly advantage Romney there.
There is talk of a late surge by Huntsman I suspect this might just be enough to get him into a close third place past Santorum. Thus he can claim "Mister Congeniality" honors and bail or else start re-reading all those op-ed columns urging him to run as an independent.
Santorum is finished, you could tell just looking at him on Saturday, he was livid with the strain of pretending to be a nice hale-fellow-well-met. He clearly longed to preach homophobic hellfire and damnation to that crowd at the NH Institute of Politics. Moreover he had no discernable entourage, his campaign hardly even took tim to fill up the aud with supporters or line the streets with signs. The wind is clearly out of his sails.
And Gingrich well, I think he has reached his Waterloo...could be wrong though.

Well thats my line up, likely I'm completely wrong...but then at least I'll own up to it when the time comes. Enjoy the show kids, it comes but infrequently.

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Last notes on Mitt Romney...
Y'know, for a famous political misogynist, Mitt Romney sure does like to have plenty of female avatars and toady's around him at all times.
Take this rally on Saturday morning, he was introduced by New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte and then Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley.
You'd think these two women had died and gone to the Throne of Glory they way they fairly groveled at the mere mention of Mitt Romney's holy name.
Otherwise the two of them are pretty much of a mind that bluntly asserts the World Will Come To An End If The GOP Doesn't Win in 2012.
Not sure that thesis will wear well as the campaign grinds on.
Otherwise Kelly Ayotte seems personable enough, she might have a future in Presidential Politics if she could stop that irritating quaver in her voice that makes her sound like she was about to burst into tears. Once Mitt ankles the joint maybe Kelly can compose herself and do something useful like getting the Manchester VA Hospital reopened or something.
As for Nikki Haley, I'm not sure it's a good campaign tactic for Romney to be introduced by such a gliib, unpleasant,  condescending southern politician. It only underscores his transitory commitment to the Granite State.
Haley as well might have a future in GOP presidential politics if she could just get over herself and wipe that shit eating grin off her face.
Otherwise these two women were window dressing conservatives that Romney could stand next to in order to somehow pass himself off as a conservative to New Hampshire, nothing more.

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Ah the press. Standing a lonely watch over the ramparts of liberty. Sentinels of the First Amendment, with the American News Media on the job I sleep better at night.
Monday, January 09, 2012
 
My predictions for tomorrow's New Hampshire Primary:
(shit everyone else gets to do it, and gets paid to do it, why should I decline to indulge??)

For all the dreadful sameness of Mitt Romney's early morning rally on Saturday, I'm still calling New Hampshire for him come tomorrow night. I suspect he will do about forty percent of the vote. It is a resigned vote, from voters with a lot of problems that ought to be heard and addressed in DC but all they can concentrate on now is moving Mitt along to South Carolina in an orderly fashion.
The race is pretty much to come in a strong second and export some uncertainty danger and excitement to South Carolina. Keeping Romney under forty percent would be seen as a major upset under the present circumstances.
I think Santorum has peaked, likely he will do about ten percent tomorrow, he just does not have the horses to nail this thing down.
Huntsman is allegedly enjoying a late surge, but then a lot of fringe characters start polling better the day before the primary, it does them little good in the end.  Huntsman is coming in for some day-before luv because he spent so much time in New Hampshire kissing ass, and who doesn't like getting their ass kissed by US Ambassador.
No...the second spot fight is between Gingrich and Paul, my guess is, Paul will come in second, he might do twenty percent if he has a good day, where he goes with that given his ideological baggage I cannot say.
Gingrich, might do fifteen percent, just enough for him to make a last stand with nuclear weapons in South Carolina.
The field collects the rest of the spread.
Of course about all of this I could be wrong, I was wrong bigtime in 2008....
Of course all this

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"Walking with the KIng" or the Magical Thinking of Newt Gingrich
Dateline: Derry New Hampshire:

Program note: the most well know GOP personality who could be found to introduce Newt Gingrich at this event was batty old Bud McFarlane, who spent a few minutes sharing his apocalyptic vision of despair ($200 a barrel for crude oil, cyber attacks, flying monkeys) before introducing a William Taft corpulent Newt Gingrich to a packed hall of some 300 locals.

Newt Gingrich has the mentality of a rock star, he starts his rallies casually late, he has more ex-wives than Ozzie Osborne and knows the crowd pleasing value of rambling thru his greatest hits.
The truth is though, Elvis once wanted to be Dean Martin and so Newt Gingrich wants to be Ronald Reagan and explicitly sells himself to New Hampshire auds as The Gipper's tanned rested & ready Illegitimate Son.
It is true though, that Newt Gingrich is a visionary, it is just that the things he sees rarely make a lick of sense in any manner shape or form.
And like all visionaries, Newt is an egomaniac, a good ten minutes of his campaign speech is given over to a long history of U.S. conservatism in the post Viet Nam Era, the only other GOP politicians he mentions in this ramble is Jack Kemp (once) and Ronald Reagan (who could accomplish but little without the help of Newt Gingrich).
Otherwise it was all "How I invented conservatism".
Newt talks a lot about "transcending partisanship"which on elaboration apparently consists of lying about the President's record, putting the "vital middle" under the whips and chains of the conservative right and rewriting all history to demonstrate the universal efficacy of wingnut dialectics.
And then Newt got to his central ideological thesis, the "magical things" that happen when supply side economics is read into Federal Policy. That those "magical things" usually end in crippling budget deficits like the ones we have now is never ever mentioned.
But this is Newt Gingrich we are talking about, he is a politician of hope after all, otherwise why would he keep coming back to the bizarre metaphor of supply side "magic"?
My Ghod then the cannonade od specifics began...twelve separate proposals and variations on lower taxes, deregulation, the "Reform of the EPA, the Federal Reserve and the FDA", fire Ben Bernanke, abolish the inheritance tax, introduce a voluntary flat tax (If I heard him right), drop the capital gains tax to "zero" and drill our way to energy independence.
(BTW it is a truism of GOP "magical thinking" that the USA could be an oil exporter but for Federal bureaucrats and endless regulation.)
Oh and he wants to abolish ObamaCare before he is inaugurated if at all possible by a notional all-republican congress.
Big surprise there.
Oh and while he is a firm advocate of this continental oil and gas pipeline from Canada which the Obama admin is mulling over, any power lines strung from Quebec hydroelectric to "Boston" ought to be buried underground so as not to spoil the tourist vistas and landscape of Northern New Hampshire.
Well, Newt Gingrich wouldn't be a rock star if  he wasn't casually contradictory.
In a full half hour of this nonsense, the only worthwhile measure that Gingrich espoused was reopening the Manchester VA hospital as a full service facility.
I heartily endorse this measure it is unconscionable that Granite State veterans must take the Greyhound Bus all the way to Boston to get health care out of the VA Hospital in Jamaica.
Why Senator Kelly Ayotte hasn't been heard on this matter I cannot imagine, clearly she is too busy toadying up to Mitt Romney all over the state to give it all much thought.
Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich wants to challenge Barack Obama to seven Lincoln-Douglas style debates, with timekeepers and no moderation.  The Former House Speaker clearly thinks that he would win in such a debate format hands down given his own particular rhetorical gifts (most of which revolve around lying loudly with as many false historic analogies as can be crammed him).
Me I dunno, I'm not sure Gingrich's style would "wear well" over seven debates, there is a bloated arrogant touch of Steven Douglas to the man.
That having been said, this eructation went over big time with the crowd, unlike Romney's sleepy aud early Saturday Morning, this bunch was primed to be fired up by the One and Only Gingrich.
Over and above all that, Gingrich if nominated, will try and turn 2012 into a play by play re-run of 1980, which is a mistake in my humble opinion as elections & football games never ever repeat themselves in the USA, each one has it's own unique dynamic.
But the crowd ate it up since hating on Jimmy Carter is practically GOP theology these days and everyone loves to relive a past triumph.
Other than that, Newt Gingrich offers exactly nothing at variance with Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney they are firmly for low taxes, deregulation, a strong dollar, a stronger military and couldn't care less who pays for it all.
But unlike Romney (an outright android of a politician) or Santorum (A religious fanatic posing as technocrat), Newt Gingrich thinks himself a Rock Star a man in simultaneous communion with the audience and the very muses above. His stomach is huge, his ego is preposterously huge and in two weeks he will likely be back collecting "Conservative Welfare" down in DC.
On that I could be wrong, but I can't see Gingrich, ego and all taking this fight all the way to the GOP convention let alone the general election in the fall, sooner or later rock stars have to get off tour, rest up, dry out and rewrite their act.

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Sunday, January 08, 2012
 
The Last Temptation of Rick Santorum
Dateline: Goffstown New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

D'ye know what the problem with Rick Santorum is?
He is a mean rigid authoritarian minded man with vocal hatreds, who is somehow trying to pass himself as a nice well mannered clean cut neighborly type of candidate.
In this he resembles nothing more than Leave It to Beaver's "Eddie Haskell" who we will recall was an obsequious toady to those above, insolent & insufferable to those below.
But a strong finish in the Iowa caucuses has temporarily raised Santorum's stakes to the level of "Potential President", a heady rise given the fact he was the last and most battered harlequin out of the GOP Clown Car not five weeks ago.
Here he was making a solo appearance at a forum sponsored by the Atlantic Monthy entitled "The Economy and the Electorate".
And I will give Rick some props, he is a fountain of specific proposals compared to the cataract of applause lines and sound bytes that gush forth from Mitt Romney's pie hole.
If I had to compare Santorum the candidate to anyone, his closest DNA match might be the late Paul Tsongas of all people. Both candidates were focused on reviving the USA's assembly line manufacturing  economy almost to the exclusion of all else.
It is just that Tsongas' proposals might actually have sparked some sort of a renaissance in the manufacturing sector, Santorum's ideas are pretty much GOP boilerplate, tax cuts and deregulation and after that, The Utopia!
Oh and education, like ninety nine point nine percent of Washington DC, Rick thinks this is the sole and only way to redress income disparities.
Here too he betrays no great reserve of original thinking.
Oh and Hope, Rick is big on Hope, just like Bill & Hilary Clinton and Barack OBama and John Kerry, despair never gets equal time in the New Hampshire Primary lets face it.
On the other hand, maybe his handlers are telling him "talk about Job, Education & Hope because when you talk about gay marriage people cover their children's ears and leave the room".
For all that, Santorum is marginally more sincere than Mitt Romney which isn't saying much he tends to drone on though.  Sometimes though, those beady weasel eyes of his narrow his brow darkens and you can just tell Rick Santorum is dreaming of mass arrests and sweet smell of burning witches.
But that is a "downer" in the patois of the spin doctors, so Santorum and the rest of the GOP field are running pretty much as cheerful dismantlers and smiling salvage experts. There is actually almost no substantive disagreement between any of them so far as I can see. They all favor slashing the federal budget, cutting taxes, wholesale deregulation, ending "Obamacare" by any means necessary. There is truly broad consensus on the right these days, its just all the GOP candidates hate each other personally.
Thus as of today, the race is to come in a strong second in New Hampshire on Tuesday and rebound into the shitkicker primaries as some sort of GOP Thunder God of Vengeance.  Here I think Santorum falls short, it seems clear to me watching him at Saint Anselm College the he hasn't the time, money or volunteers to make his case in the Granite State.  I suspect he may well come in third behind Ron Paul and I'm not even prepared to put money even on that.
The Man has Shot His Bolt in other words, he needed two or three weeks to catch Romney and he is not gonna get it under the pitiless primary schedule currently in place.

As I left the hall Santorum was starting to work his way towards the issue of abstinence education and the promotion of marriage, you could just feel the room get colder.
This is how it ends for a crazy Catholic version of Paul Tsongas and the very living avatar of Allen Drury's "Senator Fred Van Ackerman".

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Saturday, January 07, 2012
 
"Romney wasn't Built in a Day"
Dateline: Derry New Hampshire
Pinkerton Academy, (Alma Mater of Astronaut Alan Shepherd)

Who the hell books a rally at 8:20am EST?

Mitt Romney does, blissfully assured that the helots of the Granite State will turn out in droves to hear him "preach it".
Ah but the former Viceroy is changeless, I haven't seen him in person in exactly four years and he is a veritable Dorian Gray, a perfectly coiffed hologram of a candidate, not a line on him.
And yet I have never seen anyone look so uncomfortable and agitated in an open necked shirt, it's as if he immediately dons a necktie, windsor knot and all as soon as the crowds disperse and heaves a heavy sigh of relief.
As for Mitt's allegedly much improved rhetoric, he simply isn't speaking as long or taking questions from the audience anymore. Mostly these days he yammers on about his family (preferably introducing as many as possible in order to eat up time), slags the President of the US for doing all the stuff Mitt Romney promised to do four years ago, nervously pimps himself as a conservative by saying the word conservative a lot,  and meditates on various patriotic song lyrics.
He did not promise to balance the budget, merely to cut Federal Spending to the point where we will no longer need to borrow money from his former Business Partners the Chinese.
This is a patently vague pledge and pretty meaningless since he promises to maintain global military superiority at the same time without recourse to new taxes.
I love how Mitt Romney claims to have "cut taxes" in Massachusetts, he has been pushing this bullshit for six years now. Yet no one ever takes time to list all the fees he jacked up to quietly balance the budget via executive fiat.
Mitt Romney talks a lot about a "merit society" (all men born to wealth and privilege love this sort of rhetoric) and "The soul of America" (a thing Romney claims that Barack Obama does not understand) so aside from projecting a sense of chilly entitlement and obnoxious smarminess, Mitt is very very good at slaughtering straw men.
His weirdest trope?
Mitt Romney wants to make America "Attractive Again", I guess by sending it out to a fat camp, maybe buying it a face lift and some new bling or something.
To hear Mitt Romney tell it, the Founding Fathers all happily worked part time at Walmart until they could get the Declaration of Independence debugged and uploaded.
In all a mere eighteen minutes of useless rubbish, which is good for the audience as Romney tends to speed up his delivery as his speeches go on, as he wound up he was getting mighty close to the machine gun delivery that characterized his 2008 performance in the New Hampshire Primary.
Mostly, though, Romney whined on about Barack Obama, tellingly he never mentioned once any of his GOP rivals in the entire eighteen minute eructation. Clearly in his own mind, he has already been nominated and wants to start the general election immediately, thus his current game plan from now til Tuesday night is to "run out the clock" and hope his polls hold up.
And they just might, a mere twenty six years ago, the New Hampshire Primary lasted for months, ginned up around Halloween and ran flat out til Primary Day in late January with six minutes minimum on all the nightly news broadcasts.
Now thanks to the Iowa Caucus and early primary crowding, the damn thing really lasts about ten days tops, scant time for a anxious batty Falangist like Rick Santorum or a nasty Golem like Newt Gingrich to overtake "Brand Romney".
Now,the last time the Former Viceroy did the New Hampshire Primary they went with the dippy Game Show Theme "Ask Mitt Romney Anything", this time it is "Mitt Romney will Say Anything...To Win".
Still and all that, it was a typical listless Romney crowd, the gym at Pinkerton Academy was hardly filled to capacity and the attendees were evenly divided between actual New Hampshire Voters, Out of Staters (likely campaign volunteers) and of course The Press all crammed in close to look good for the video feed.
They were hardly stomping their feet and pumping their fists in the air for Mitt, he got a few desultory laughs with his jabs at Obama...But the crowd only seemed to come alive when they were shouting down an expeditionary force from the local Ninety Nine Percenters.  The police hustled off the protesters pretty quietly and Romney went back to blathering on sans worry woe or an unseemly excess of applause.

Much as I hate to say it, I think Romney is gonna win the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday at which point a great howl will go up demanding the closure of ranks and "party unity".
And what the hell, he may get it.
New Hampshire voters seem resigned to Romney, his competition one and all are twitchy and weird. If there was anyone else of the caliber of a statesman to be had, Mitt would be dropped in an instant, but there is not and so there stands Romney a veritable colossus until you give that image some real thought and the giggles begin.
As for the general election campaign it seems clear to me that Romney is gonna harp on the deficit a lot by way of bitching at China and will likely attempt some political jujitsu with respect to social security and retirement.
Debt mongering doesn't win Presidential elections, ask Fritz Mondale if you don't believe Humble Elias but the emerging Romney line on Social Security must needs close observation.

That having been said, Mitt Romney has lost none of his smugness, condescension nor his campaign's capacity for the conceptual gaffe: In the lobby of the gym were two tables selling "Mitt Romney for President Buttons", one of them depicted the famously adaptable and supple candidate as "Mister Fantastic" Marvel Comics' elastic super hero.
Bad metaphor for a candidate who flips and flops and zigs and zags, I wish I had bought one.

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Friday, January 06, 2012
 
JPK III...
Former US Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy's namesake son wants to run for Congress in Barney Frank's fourth district.
I like the kid's spunk, but he faces long odds. The state legislature has redrawn that district into something that just possibly a republican can win.
Assuming of course they aren't a tea party weirdo.
Of course it's in the interests of the democrats and especially the upcoming senatorial contest to run a well financed competitive campaign in the fourth since that would compel Scott Brown to contest ground he won easily in 2010.
And what the hell, Joseph P. Kennedy is young, reasonably well spoken, untainted by the family's tendency to garish scandal and he can fundraise.
This is just about all his father brought to the table when the Spartans went marching in the streets for him back in 1986.
If I have any advice for JPK III he ought to take a page from his father's book, stay populist, take nothing for granted and run like an underdog that has caught on fire.
Good luck kid...

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Thursday, January 05, 2012
 
My gut is...
that Santorum is yet another GOP flash in the pan whose timing was simply better than the competition in Iowa.
I have a feeling that come next Tuesday night, he will be back down with the cheap acts when the votes are counted in New Hampshire.
That having been said, it would just precious and lovely indeed if the certifiably paranoid & authoritarian Santorum put a nice deep dent in the shiny metal ass of the RomneyBot 2012.
But I doubt that will happen, not because the people of New Hampshire love Mitt and his ever shifting values so much, but because of his tedious & irksome ubiquity they've simply become resigned and numb to Romney.
The sooner they vote for him, the sooner they can be rid of him....

But if I was Rick Santorum I would not stop harping on Romney's sealed tax returns until the polls close Tuesday Night.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012
 
Grace Notes on the Top Four GOP finishers in the Iowa Caucuses...
Mitt Romney:  A banker and cold selfish wealthy man as well. Ghod help the person who owes Mitt money not with the Former Governor's Swiss watch brain calculating the interest down to the minute. A classic passive aggressive personality he has a SuperPAC to generate his many negative adverts thus keeping his own hands "clean".  His best moments consist of an chilly plastic bonhomnie that impresses only the credulous, Brian McGrory for example.

Rick Santorum: A cruel nasty weasel of a politician, he is a wonderfully irksome toady to those above him and utterly insolent to those below him. A Catholic whose theology largely revolves around punishing those with differing opinions and lifestyle. He is, very much in personality and outlook an authoritarian.

Newt Gingrich: Possibly one of the meanest most vindictive bastards in contemporary US Politics regardless of his pseudo intellectual props, he also loves money like a hog loves slop, and those are his good points.

Ron Paul: Ron Paul is a utopian, a sky-grifter a man with a profound "believing mind". Ghod save us from believers sez I not when the consequences of their ideas ends in a racialized, genderized second rate nation where corporations run amok and the Army is used to guard wombs.

And yet all four of these men, want to run "positive optimistic, idea driven campaigns", or they will as soon as they are done calling each other sonsabitches and screaming for mob rule. Otherwise nothing in their personalities really suggests they can sustain a high toned intellectual debate no matter how much they insist otherwise.

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Congrats to the Former Viceroy
for having spent all that money on an eight vote win in Iowa against an underfunded weasel who was once considered too weird and too strident for the US Senate (which is sayin' sumthin').
Ghod the New Hampshire Primary is gonna be fun, nothing but dingbats, drama queens, would-be American Dictators and Mitt Romney, it is a Seth Rogen comedy in the making.
And me stuck her in Menotomy, it is to weep.

Meanwhile John McCain is set to endorse Romney today, apparently Mitt needs more and more GOP maachers to swim over to his leaky lifeboat & bail it out.

Oh and Rick Perry is thinking about dropping out of the race, I can't imagine why.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012
 
Mitt Romney's latest revision is that
he is running for President as a cockey optimist and a politician "of hope".

All the while though, his personal SuperPac is running adverts all over Iowa calling Newt Gingrich a bed hopping baby-hating scoundrel.

So much for Mitt Romney the Happy Warrior, the Glad Gladiator & the Nation's Pal.

Well, his PAC is doin' the dirty work leaving Romney to claim he knows nothing of the attack adverts, passive aggression, in other words, typical Mitt Romney.

My only question is, how long before the punditariat wake up to Mitt's latest crass hypocrisy?
The last time he pulled this Bullshit, which was four years ago, it took forever for the David Broders out there to wake up to the fact that Romney was saying one thing and doing another (and badly at that ) with depressing reliability.

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Monday, January 02, 2012
 
The Storm before the Calm...
The current polling out of Iowa suggests a tightening race with Romney, Santorum and Paul all within two percentage points of one another.

However since Iowa is a caucus state, there is a certain amount of raw uncertainty built into the polling process since the balloting process requires a greater commitment of time and is done more or less as a collective.
Romney's numbers in Iowa have remained almost static since last summer, almost a quarter of Republicans seem ready to caucus for him, and those numbers haven't shifted at all in six months. The implications seem clear, if a creditable wingnut could emerge from Iowa that candidate would easily command a two-to-one majority over Mitt Romney in the caucuses. Under pressure like that, Brand Romney might have abandoned the state save for a cheap-ass face saving effort.
However the forces of religious reaction have not coalesced as they have in years past which has given Romney some room to manuever in a crowded volatile race.
I think Romney's goal here is simple, he doesn't so much wanna win as "not lose" the Iowa caucus, even if that means potentially ceding top laurels to an unelectable nitwit like Ron Paul or Rick Santorum.
He can afford to spot a few percentage points to either candidate, both men haven't got the money or the reach to be anything else but a vocal insurgency as the primaries grind on.
At this point, Rick Santorum might have a great day tomorrow and it only take him as far as the fifth man down on Romney's vice presidential short list.
Perceptions being more important than reality to Team Romney, their goal here is run a good race, keep the opposition volatile and divided and then try to run up a big crushing Reagan-Bush style avalanche style victory in New Hampshire.
All of this seems fairly obvious to the casual observer, likely this is exactly how things will play out in New Hampshire...Save for the fact that the Granite State GOP voters as often kicks establishment candidates as they may kiss them.
And those adverts Brand Romney is running on Boston television reek of hubris and smarm, but will it work?
Maybe...

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