Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New Hampshire Takeaways

I'm a bit puzzled by the media reactions to New Hampshire, and frankly, over the whole presidential campaign. Even voices I like and respect seem to have blind spots, and odd analysis. Here are my short takes.

Hillary Clinton: Hillary lost New Hampshire by somewhere around what she was predicted to by polls and speculation. There were no particular surprises that I could see. And she gave a decent speech, congratulating Bernie Sanders on his win, and rousing her supporters. I have no idea what all of the hand-wringing was about, from pundits and journalists. Should she lose South Carolina? New story.

Bernie Sanders: The only thing surprising about Bernie's performance was that he finally got some decent coverage. I think the astonished reactions may have had something to do with the press largely ignoring him and his events, and then being forced to witness that he has support akin to Trump's. But, of course, with far more substance, and with followers who are considerably more informed, and demanding politically. That's not to say I don't have significant issues with the "Bernie Bros."

John Kasich: That my Ohio Governor Milquetoast came in second is the absolute flip-side of front-runner Trump, showing that there are more nutbars in Vermont than we thought, but that they're are people who respond to what by contrast seems normal, sensible. He's not. But he's eminently preferable.

Marco Rubio and Jeb! Bush: Both continue to be plagued by saying or doing the "wrong" thing in the eyes of the press. Bush continues to be barely a footnote, and Marco, after a strong finish in Iowa, has been assailed as a talking-point regurgitating robot. Anything and everything considered a mistake or error for these guys wouldn't even register if Trump did or said it. I'd take either of these guys over Trump or Cruz. But I wouldn't be happy about it.

Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie: The field is being culled, and only Ben of these three remains standing. I'll be shocked if he isn't the next to go. Chris Christie I'll be sorry to lose. Bully that he is, I think I liked him best of the worst.

Ted Cruz: Cruz is far and away the candidate I'd have the hardest time dealing with if he won the general. He's a disingenuous Dominionist, bent on eliminating the wall between church and state. He's unctuous, creepy, and just plain awful. Fortunately, he won the Iowa caucus, and that is usually the kiss of death. I'm hoping so.

And finally. . .

Donald Trump: The media is going into convulsions (likely only rivaling those of Reince Preibus and the rest of the GOP establishment), self-flagellating over having treated Trump as a clown and a sideshow. Newsflash, news people: He is still a clown and a sideshow. Oh, he may continue to do very well. He may very well win the nomination. And--to my increasing horror--the voters of the United States may have hit peak Idiocracy centuries ahead of schedule, and lead to his eventual election. I hope not.

While the media continues to mea culpa all over itself over the wrong thing, what they should be doing is actually turning their syntax parsing onto him. His speeches--regularly played in their entirety on cable news, regardless of their newslessness--are filled with repetition that makes Rubio's current drubbing completely unjustified. They aren't even speeches at all. They're ad libbing, and bad ad libbing at that. They're akin to Sarah Palin word salad, but half as entertaining. [Story continues below]

Trump's "victory speech" in New Hampshire, if you subtract his thanks to dead and living relatives and his skeevy staff, was more of this empty, crass, 5th-grade level blather. No other candidate in the entire race (or any other) would survive this horrible speech. At best, anyone but Trump would suffer a days-long dissection of its awfulness, to speculation of his dropping out, or dire warnings that he must course-correct. Not Trump. They don't even mention it.

But here, don't take my word for it. Read a few verbatim quotes from the "speech." Tell me this is presidential. Tell me this wouldn't disqualify anyone else. Try to parse any of it for coherency. It's terrible.

Read it here: Haaretz

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