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The International Writers Magazine:

New Hampshire: Same Old Song & Dance
James Campion

Madam Shoo-In Weeps To Upset/Mac Is Back & Rudy Exhales
Momentum Halted. Freight Train Derailed. Revolution stalled.

It took all of five days for the usual screwballs in New Hampshire to deliver a splash of cold water on the short-lived "change" mantra. Both Republican, Democratic and Independent primary voters ignored the surge out of the Iowa Caucuses and harkened back to bygone days of bore by handing John McCain his second victory in the "Live Free Or Die" state (Straight Talk campaign disaster of 2000) and inexplicably revived yet another damaged Clinton campaign (Big Bill's "Comeback Kid" in '92).

    Expected was Mike Huckabee sinking to a distant third place finish while Mitt Romney once again outspent his way into also-ran, strangely making Rudy Giuliani the big GOP winner by keeping his bizarre wait-it-out until Super Tuesday strategy alive and well. And John Edwards was once more left to spin fancy on what has now turned into the world's longest-running political funeral. But nothing could approach the drama of what the Hillary Machine pulled off in the first primary of this 2008 presidential race; drama made possible by an agonizing plethora of bogus polls and lazy journalism.

    Not a single poll had Senator Rodham winning in New Hampshire. None. Winning? Nearly two dozen across New England had double-digit leads for Barack Obama by noon of election day. Pundits of every shape put the dirt on her. There was no truth to the rumor these were the same pollsters who erroneously prognosticated a rousing John Kerry victory in the fall of 2004, buttressed by the same dumb-ass yakkers who gave teeth to the gutless 110th congress, but there were alleged reports of face-to-face meetings with high-ranking Clinton officials and major contributors readying to abandon ship by midnight. Several of them chirping on radio and appearing on cable television calling for heads to roll and primaries to skip.

    Zogby errors and press gaffs aside, in-house Clinton Camp data concurred. Additionally, every candidate from both parties came into the primary's penultimate weekend conceding to Obama's golden fumes, stumbling all over themselves to blather on about being "agents of change"; a nauseating display reminiscent of the spectacularly phony Bush and Gore campaigns grasping at a slice of the populist goof-off rant on being a "real reformer" eight years ago.

    Not only was the young, dynamic, completely in control Illinois senator seemingly invincible after his Iowa stomping -- drawing huge crowds and gushing plaudits from bottom-feeding media whores -- but his chief adversary, once an icy, calculating Teflon queen, was reduced to the butt of jokes, mocking headlines of doom, and the recipient of Fourth Estate taunting the likes of which had not been seen since Richard Nixon stormed from a California stage in 1962 stammering about not having him around to kick anymore.

    But a few key elements entered the Democratic race beginning sometime during an ABC News debate the Saturday before the primary when a smarmy Charlie Gibson asked the only legitimate woman candidate in the history of this nation why no one liked her. She responded tersely that it hurt her feelings. Feelings, it turns out, Ms. Hillary had not displayed enough for the electorate. That is until the day before the polls opened when the wife of the one of the most calculated political minds of the Boomer Generation choked up when speaking to a gathering at a Portsmouth coffee shop, ending with a shattered revelation about her candidacy being more "personal than political".

    Not surprisingly these two events, later trumped up in a puerile feminist rant by Gloria Steinem in the N.Y. Times and the oafish appearance of two shock-jocks at a Clinton event shouting sexist nonsense, were cited by slack-jawed commentators and even a flummoxed Terry McAuliffe on three different news outlets as the very reason Hillary Rodham Clinton went from road kill to Madam Shoo-In once more.

    The Return Of The Woman Vote for Ms. Hillary because she wept like a damsel is as sickeningly condescending a sexist theory as anything postulated by knuckle-dragging brutes like Bill Bennett or Rush Limbaugh. "Hillary rallied because she went 'touchy-feely'" may be the truth, but it is a sad truth made even sadder by the likely Clintonian exploitation of it.

    Of course this is all tired horse dung bulldozed by lazy politicos looking for an angle on why the state would throw a monkey wrench into the only chance the Democrats have to take the White House in November: A central figure representing a movement away from the status quo. The Democrats need a symbol, an immovable force, like the type the Republicans send to the national ticket more times than not -- a Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush or another stylized billboard. This is especially important when the figure in question also happens to be either a black man or a woman.

    The Clinton Comeback Part II further illustrates why the Democratic party is still in disarray and why it still has doubts about sending a powerful candidate into the fray, giving he/she a sense of speed, coronation, or the most critical of all, an untouchable aura. Instead it is back to the same old wounded liberal elephants of the hippie age trying to recapture a failed counterculture gamble on the wings of vacant political ogres.

    Over two hours before NBC called the Democratic Primary for Ms. Hillary, (nearly 45 minutes before any other network, particularly CNN, still scarred from the now infamous botched "Gore Projections") John McCain, not far removed from his own oblivion, burped through a hackneyed speech -- looking once again like the spoiler he's been for the GOP before. In newsrooms across the fruited plain, there was a sense that the Republicans were toast. They would flounder around like soused has-beens in a Eugene O'Neill play attempting to draw the short straw.

    But none of the entrenched sycophants who ramble inside the insomniatic whirlwind of this wonderfully paradoxical mayhem could ever see the writing on the wall. And in New Hampshire on January 8, 2008 only one constant remained: Independents will decide this year's president.

    This is the lesson of Iowa and New Hampshire thus far; not change or cult of personality or comebacks or history or clamor for a new spirit. The Independent vote put Huckabee and Obama in the driver's seat for five days and yanked them into the trunk on an Indian summer night in New England. Neither candidate performs strongly at their party's core. They need Independents. Unfortunately for the both of them, especially Obama, McCain carried the Independent day. The strong money here says that the monstrous Obama poll leads, some of them approaching an outlandish 15 points, may have convinced many Independents to try and tip the scales for an embattled McCain, who was in a reported dead-heat (more bogus polls) with the increasingly abhorrent Romney.

    Whatever the reason, Barack Obama failed miserably in New Hampshire. What appeared to be a coronation that would hand him huge endorsements and build his momentum through Nevada and South Carolina, is now back to square-one with a revitalized political mastermind sitting on more money than God and a backbone of Democratic voter base. All Madam Shoo-in needed was one victory to turn this into a knock-down-drag-out. She has the money. She has the hubris. She has the moral bankruptcy to turn this thing into a gory street fight and you can bet your Arkansas/New York dollar it's coming.

    It is also a new day for the Grand Old Party, which can now exhale that they will not have to deal with a holier than thou sympathetic newcomer on a meteoric rise and instead begin to ratchet up the national attack dogs on the braying Dragon Lady.
    More good news for Uncle Rudy.

James Camoion Jan 11th 2008

Iowa: What Happened?
James Campion
Obama Rises, Hillary Skids/GOP Field Swings Wide On A Holy Huckabee Blip

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