New Hampshire

Explaining what happened between Iowa and New Hampshire, or rather, explaining what happened from this weekend — I think the polls were basically right which reported a ten point Obama lead– is something which shall be dissected for years to come.  And no one will ever get a complete answer.

The campaign was flailing for a time.  Segments of the electorate laughed it up as Bill Clinton’s attack dog routine served up the goofy sounding comment “I can’t make her any younger.”

Hillary Clinton teared up, and this is supposed to be what turned it around for her.  From this we get the contradictory positions of it being staged, and it showing some sort of over-emotion.  (The gender issue puts the no-win situation for her.)  For some background on the first idea, Pat Buchanan brings up the case of Richard Nixon staging a tear during his 1968 Acceptance Speech.  The good news for Hillary Clinton in being compared to Richard Nixon is that Nixon cannot be accused of lacking in human emotion, so that gets us somewhere.

More interesting, the hecklers shouting “Iron My Shirt”.  Staged?  No, this is a real current in our society, and attached to Hillary Clinton.  But the viscarel response on the female voter must be massive.  Hell, if I were there I would have wanted to vote for Hillary Clinton to spite that attitude.

Subtle cues apparently worked their way through the other campaigns to benefit the female turn-out.  I did not see the debates, and I can’t say I would have noticed if I had seen it, but apparently there were some irksome moments.  I did see that the John Edwards campaign disgrace themselves by offering up blustering machismo with Clinton’s tears.  And I do not ever need to hear from Mudcat Saunders again.

Thinking about this campaign, and this idea that a muddled result in the tediously named “Super – Duper Tuesday” will stalemat the campaign to the conventions, I realize that the balance is tipped toward Hillary Clinton — the tie goes to whoever has the most Establishment Clout.  This is the undemocratic “Super-Delegates” factor, the votes coming from Democratic insiders — the balance of power that put Walter Mondale over the top over Gary Hart in 1984.  After the debacle of 1968, the Democrats had a commission which reformed the nominating rules, headed by George McGovern.  Curiously enough, the candidate who best understood the nominating rules to take advantage of them in 1972 was George McGovern.  So, after the debacle of 1972 and perhaps the even greater debacle of 1976 — the nomination of an outsider — the party changed the rules and added the great smokey-room esque “Super-delegates”, which helped set up the debacle of 1984.  To clean up that mess, the DLC formed, and forced Southern Primaries to the forefront, setting the stage for the debacle of 1988, where the Democrats had to fight off Jesse Jackson, to get us to election of 1992.

The debacle of 2004 was setting the system up so that the Democrats would hae a candidate as quickly as possible, to better take on Bush.  This impetus doesn’t exist in 2008, or maybe it does — I need to talk with Democratic insiders to see what the heck they are thinking — so, you know, we can have as prolonged and theoretically a “Delegate Count” fight to the eventual nomination of Hillary Clinton, because the Republicans are having a similar muddle with a greater chance of this supposed “brokered convention” conclusion.

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