Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Clip Show

Wednesday Clip Show

With District of the Day in the home stretch it's inevitable that I'll be turning more attention to the presidential race. For today we'le got the national folks weighing in...

  • starting with a heaping helping of caucus bashing from Jeff Greenfield:
    This year, with only Republican caucuses to ponder, I offer a more fundamental argument: No GOP nominee has ever received any significant boost from these caucuses.

    You can’t make that argument as far as Democrats are concerned... (Carter, Kerry, Obama details that Iowans are familiar with) By using an impossibly complicated formula to assign delegates, rather than the straw poll used by the GOP, Democrats make a mockery of the one-person-one-vote principle.
    Thus Greenfield stumbles, unintentionally, onto a key point: the Iowa Republican caucuses," as in the magic number that gets reported on caucus night, are in fact just a straw poll with no direct connection to the national delegate count.

    And I'll offer another absolute: No candidate has ever won a nomination with a full Screw Iowa strategy. McCain in `08 started out playing here and showed up a little at the end, but in 2000 he offered, almost verbatim, the same anti-ethanol rationale Huntsman is giving. On the Dem side you have Wes Clark and Joe Lieberman in 2004 and Al Gore in 1988. I suppose you could make a case that Bill Clinton was nominated with no Iowa effort, but Tom Harkin's candidacy gives that whole cycle an asterisk in my book.

  • Craig Robinson offers Newt's rationale for staying in the race:
    Unnamed sources told the Associated Press that Gingrich’s campaign is in debt to the tune of over $1 million. If that is the case it easy to understand why essentially all of Gingrich’s campaign staff quit at the same time. The immense amount of debt could also explain why Gingrich has shown no sign of dropping out of the race. With that amount of debt, it would be very difficult to raise that type of money without still being a candidate.

    It seems to me that Gingrich is staying in the race to rebuild his credibility as the idea man of the Republican Party while also trying to raise enough money to pay off his debts.
    I heard a similar agrument made about John McCain in the Sun Setting on the Straight Talk Express era, though in his case the theory was he was hanging on till the first of the year when federal matching funds were distributed. And the roots of the problem were similar: a phenomenal burn rate where the money gets spent faster than it's raised.

  • By definition this doesn't have anything to do with Iowa, but Dana Milbank offers his thoughts on Jon Huntsman:
    I wish Huntsman luck in this noble pursuit, but the high road almost always leads to political oblivion. For Huntsman to maintain his course all the way to the Republican presidential nomination would turn politics on its head. More likely, he will join other decent men — Richard Lugar, Orrin Hatch — whose presidential campaigns were quickly forgotten.
  • And Walter Shapiro digs even deeper into the analogy grab bag:
    The obvious parallel is not Henry Cabot Lodge, LBJ’s ambassador to Vietnam, who won the 1964 New Hampshire primary on a write-in vote. Rather it is Wesley Clark, who pole-vaulted into the 2004 Democratic race based on elite dissatisfaction with the other contenders and never found a way to offer voters more than his star-spangled resume.
    One sure thing: with the full Screw Iowa strategery, Huntsman's got Jeff Greenfield's vote.
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