By 8 votes
January 4, 2012 | I stayed up past my bedtime to watch the unfolding drama of the Iowa caucus results.
• MSNBC at 7pm CST declared the caucuses "too close to call" when, in fact, they had only begun, 7pm being the time they closed the doors to begin proceedings. There were no results to call. Oh, how I long for the days when "news" was about reporting what happened, not predicting it.
• Chuck Todd (MSNBC) lamented that they might not be able to use their models to predict a winner. Awwww! The whole notion that they might have to look at actual results was simply anethema.
• Never have so many talking heads filled so much air time with such sheer piffle. The cast of the MSNBC broadcast included a panel of five in New York and a gaggle of supporting players in Iowa. The one somewhat interesting exchange came when Lawrence O'Donnell and Ed Schultz engaged in a sharp exchange of views. It reminded me of the sniping between Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews during similar election coverage.
• Michele Bachmann who came in a distant last among the candidates in Iowa (Huntsman did not campaign) gave a fiery rant about how she would single-handedly undo anything and everything enacted during the Obama administration. You might have thought by listening to her that she had won! She lives in an alternate universe, indeed. (This morning she withdrew!)
• Newt, who pioneered the tactic of denigrating and delegitimizing opponents, was shocked — simply shocked — and pissed — that the same tactics would have been turned against him. Having lost decisively, his inner peeve resurfaced as he announced his intention to be the spoiler and demolish "liar" Mitt Romney in future debates.
We should not feel sorry for Newt because he really had no intention beyond ramping up his book sales.
• Ron Paul came in a not-too-distant third to Romney and Santorum and positively basked in the warmth of his supporters at the post-count gathering. This guy is so extreme he makes Michele Bachmann look moderate. It is scary that 21% of caucus goers chose him.
• God obviously belongs to the Republican party. God help us!
What I found truly interesting was comparing the demeanor of Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney during their "I don't know if I won but I'm going to pretend I did" speeches.
Santorum — with whom I disagree on virtually everything — did what he has polished during the long campaign: He spoke clearly and directly, coming across as personable, genuine, and just a little self-deprecating ("I'm not buttoning my jacket for a reason"). Speaking without notes he used the opportunity of a nationwide (at least theoretically) audience to give his stump speech in anticipation of the New Hampshire and other primaries to come. He spoke touchingly of his grandfather who was a life-long coal miner, and connected adroitly with the concerns of ordinary, working Americans, even acknowledging that the Republican party had to think about those who weren't thriving in society.
Romney — who had not been chosen by 75% of the caucus-goers — promised that he would restore the lost glory of the United States and ended his remarks with a riff on verses from America the Beautiful. The man is as phony as a $3 bill.
It was very unsettling watching Romney. There was a distinctly robotic quality about his demeanor and presentation, jerky and ever so deliberate. You could almost read the stage directions in his copy: [turn left], [smile], [beam at audience], etc. His eyes showed a bit too much of the whites, like those of a trapped animal, and he blinked his eyes about three times for every once compared to the family members standing beside him. You could see the over-compensation from having been told repeatedly, "Don't be so stiff."
One good outcome of the caucuses is that Rick Perry has gone back to Texas to "reassess" his campaign; what that really means, I think, is "lick his wounds."
Another good outcome is that Michele Bachmann has “decided to stand aside." She continued to level scathing criticism of all things Obama and vowed to "continue to fight to defeat the president’s agenda of socialism," while "look[ing] forward to the next chapter in God’s plan." Imagine, God is Michele's personal mentor!
On to New Hampshire!
Last updated on May 27, 2016