Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's A Man's World....

Or a newt...

So, by all apparent reading of the tea leaves, bird entrails and the alignment of the stars, Newt is going to win in the Palmetto State Republic Insane Asylum.  And it doesn't look like it will be that close.

This is significant, I think in two ways.  First, I believe South Carolina is a winner-take-all primary, unlike the first two contests.  Which means that while you are in church, pleading God to forgive you your sins, Newt Gingrich should have taken the delegate lead.  Second, and more importantly, Mittens' pitch has almost always been "I know you think I'm not sufficiently crazy, but that veneer of sanity will make me more electable in November."  Electability is his real qualification to be the GOP nominee.

The last week has put massive, gaping holes in that argument.  His lackluster debate performance combined with his completely inept response to the perfectly foreseeable calls to release his tax returns has made him seem like the paper tiger that he is.  Newt's impressive debate performance verbal disemboweling of John King, have made him suddenly seem more formidable than Romney as a general election candidate.  I think that's false, because everyone who is not in the GOP (and quite a few who are) hates Gingrich with the heat of a thousand suns.  But this is the GOP base we are talking about, and South Carolina Republicans in particular.

Florida suddenly becomes interesting.  And suddenly, Gingrich is looking like another angry old coot - this time not from Arizona - and Romney is looking like the ineffectual northeastern - this time not the former mayor of New York 9/11.

In retrospect, Iowa meant nothing, except the continued dominance of God-bothering fetus fetishists in that particular thin slice of the electorate.  New Hampshire meant that Romney could win in his backyard.  South Carolina could mean that Gingrich is the final Not Mitt for the base.  And Florida, a legitimately important state with demographic issues out the wazoo, will actually get to play a meaningful role in selecting the man who will take on Obama.

Will the older voters there remember 1998?  Or will they shy away from the glib huckster?

Obama seems really worried in any event:

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