Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday Liveblog: Magnum Flopus Part I

A super Tuesday requires a super liveblog, does it not? Follow along with liveblog-style coverage of a Tuesday so super, they should have called it Über Tuesday.

8:28 a.m. Time to vote! Democracy is totally on the march. Despite having registered some time ago, thanks to a lissome, auburn-haired young Obama volunteer, the board of elections did not have my information. If I were a minority in Indiana or Georgia, I'd most likely be hosed, but the Empire State, despite its shortcomings, does not see fit to disenfranchise. So I (carefully) cast my provisional. No problem. Despite his predilection for hiring college-aged slackers who probably got drunk (or hopped up on goofballs) and threw out my registration forms, I voted for Barack Obama. If Hillary wins her home state, I'll still be pitching a perfect no-hitter in presidential elections.

8:34 a.m. There is a problem. It's not with me. An angry middle-aged urbanite with a jaunty cap screws up his ballot by mis-manipulating the giant Handle of Democracy on the ancient, clanking machinery New York uses to record its citizens' votes. I feel like Jim Kelly in the SportsCenter ad when he's watching Adam Vinatieri repeatedly set off a metal detector. I love that giant handle. I like to imagine I'm in a massive Zeppelin of righteousness, unleashing my high-explosive ballot upon George W. Bush's misbegotten presidency. Or something. But this time, my justice was meted out in ink form. As the poll clerk records my ballot in the log for the provisionals, I notice I'm the second name listed. The first: My roommate, who apparently got a bum machine, as his reason was listed as "machine broken." U!S!A! U!S!A!

9:16 a.m. Nothing's happening yet. I mean, it is early in the morning. But I thought I'd add a photo. Because, um, I can. This image symbolizes Tuesday's role as the second day of the week, as well as the two principal candidates on each ballot of the two major parties. Also, the duality of man.

Photo from holeymoon's photostream on Flickr.

9:19 a.m.
While I was uploading the photo, CNN showed that commercial where Clay Aiken rings some dude's doorbell to ask him if he's heard about "the fiber" yet. So I switched it to NBC, which is going to be showing lingerie. Let's see: Annoying commercials on CNN or pretty ladies wearing clothes meant to be removed from them. I think I'll start my day with the flismy nightwear, and ease in to my Super Tuesday coverage, lest I wind up shooting out the TV screen by the dozenth showing of that commercial. I will consider posting a photo of that, but it's unlikely. Future photos will be more likely to illuminate the text by exploring the themes of Superness, 2s, and days.

9:25 a.m. No one asked, but it always bothers me when people use the term "political junkie." I have an interest in politics, but that's only because I have specific, well-developed ideas about governance. I don't consider myself a political junkie, and I don't even consider "politics" by themselves an interest. When I hear people call themselves that, or saying they really enjoy the campaign season or whatever, I'm always suspicious. Especially when they don't seem to have much familiarity with or interest in policy. I wonder: Are these the kind of people who used to like to catch bugs, put them in a jar and shake it to make them fight?

9:29 a.m. If you read the preceding and wondered if it was my oblique way of expressing my general blanket distaste for pretty much all cable TV talking heads and newspaper campaign reporters, you could be right.


9:48 a.m. Some facts about ÜberDienstag, as the German media are no doubt calling it.

  • Elections are being held in 24 states! That's 23.9 Canadian provinces, 12.9 British Counties, 25.9 Swiss cantons and 2,553.73 Japanese prefectures!)
  • On Democratic ballots the frontrunners are Barack Obama, who is not Muslim, and Hillary Clinton, who does not keep her husband's ballsac in a safe-deposit box, despite what you may have heard on CNN.
  • For Republicans, Maverick Senator John McCain has a lead on Proven Businessmann Mitt Romney, upon whose shoulders Boeing jets made for short- and medium-haul flying have been posited to be able to land.
  • For our overseas friends: This is just a sort of pre-election, to determine who will stand for the real elections in November. But most of you know this thanks to your often-superior educational systems and media.
  • The states voting today are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas ... oh, fuck it. Here's a map from wikipedia.


Blue: Democratic election only. Red: Republican election only. Purple: Both parties. Not hard.

10:27 a.m. I'm back. I ran out to get some seltzer and an egg-and-cheese sandwich. I was tempted to get a beer, but that could be frowned upon. Nevertheless, I made plans with a friend of mine to watch returns and play Tiger Woods later tonight. He's a Giants fan and always manages to beat me in Tiger Woods, no matter how well or how poorly I play. (The opposite holds true when he and I play NCAA football.) I'm looking at a whupping, but hopefully it won't be as bad as the one Rudy Giuliani absorbed. Speaking of that: My favorite part was that the more he campaigned in a state, the less popular he got. That makes me fly.

10:40 a.m. Apparently, I wasn't the only one to have troubles voting. CSB correspondent Fiddles Hallihan reports his polling place was also in a state of chaos resulting in a 30-minute wait to vote. I should have noted earlier, that I was like, one of the few people voting at my polling place, and that the only delays were due to me not being listed in the Mighty Book of Registrants.

10:54 a.m. In lieu of anything substantive, more art.

From the stream of brodiemanlsu, whom we congratulate on his national title if his user name means what I think it means. Brodieman, we welcome your advice on beating those clowns, because the secret has sure escaped us lately.


11:05 a.m. I got distracted thinking about the Detroit Tigers and how most of their offseason moves have been terrible. For me, I mean. If you're a Tigers fan, they're really, really good ones.

11:16 a.m. According to CNN.com, John McCain said "as the nominee of my party, I can and will carry the city of New York as well as the state of New York, because we know how to appeal to independents," he said." Um, good luck with that. If there's one state with a dearth of independents, it's New York, where most voters have to choose a party, if only to vote in primaries. Also: Dude, no. It's not happening. McCain also apparently said that he would "take the battle to the enemy." Naturally, Rudy Giuliani and Joe Lieberman were at his side. Something tells me his campaign is going to have some rather warlike themes ...

11:22 a.m. Yeah, I know, I know. McCain's a Republican. Posturing and sowing fear is how they tend to do, isn't it?

11:28 a.m. Just how badly would Hillary's campaign have to implode for McCain to take either the city or the state? In case no one noticed, people love her here. And in New York City, most people don't care for Republican presidential candidates. I imagine it would take some sort of massive scandal that happened so late in the campaign as to preclude, like, replacing her. Though he's not as bad as some Republicans, the thought of a McCain landslide gives me fucking cramps.

Craps. From the Flickr photostream of evilgreg3000.

11:38 a.m. Let's see what Fox News has to say. I heard they hired Karl Rove recently.

11:45 a.m. This is boring, although apparently the south is in for some terrifying weather, at least if the animated graphics and skinny blonde are to be believed. "I can't imagine being in a tornado watch, or a tornado warning and trying to go out and vote." I've never imagined it before myself. So I guess I can't, either.

11:50 a.m. Sean Hannity's giant, smug head has just appeared. He's infuriating just to look at. Alan Colmes is permitted to chime in. I'm always surprised when Hannity doesn't take a telestrator and write "FAG" or something with an arrow pointing to him. Seriously, the dynamic in the studio is like something out of high school, with a bunch of suckups trying to get in with the cool kid by making fun of the designated target. It's a miracle Alan Colmes doesn't weep himself to sleep every night on a huge pile of cash. Incidentally, Hannity doesn't expect a winner on the Democratic side.

11:59 a.m. This is my last entry of the morning ...


12:01 p.m. ... because it's afternoon now.

12:04 p.m. McCain is blustering at Mitt Romney for daring to say something bad about Bob Dole because Bob Dole was an "American Hero." Look, this is true. Dole served honorably, and was a badass. The sections of Richard Ben Cramer's "What It Takes" that dealt with Dole were great, and made me have far more respect for the guy than I probably would have based on his Congressional career. But declaring someone off-limits because they saw combat, or were wounded in combat is just a non-starter. As convenient as it would make life for McCain, whom I fear is going to cheapen his service over the next nine months, this just can't be an acceptable rule of discourse. And I say this knowing full well that declaring veterans untouchable would benefit the Democrats far more than it would benefit Republicans.

12:19 p.m. Everything I've read today suggests there will be a lot of late breaking votes. Polls are somewhat all over the place. And when it's all over, the large number of proportionally determined delegates means that probably neither Hillary nor Obama will be in the catbird seat or destined for the dustbin of history. Which is ... fine, I guess. I don't think a brokered convention, as much as it makes the the soft and tender bits of the "political junkie" set throb, is a good outcome. In New Hampshire, the late breakers put Hillary over the top. But now it's possible that

12:25 p.m. MSNBC is showing a sign that says "Polling Place" in seven different languages, including Spanish, the defacto second language of Los Estados. I hope lots of people who watch Lou Dobbs were watching that. Hell, I hope he was watching it -- I bet that burned the Dobbster up good.

12:31 p.m. DEAR. LORD. From an ad just now: "As a prisoner of war, John McCain was inspired by Ronald Reagan." The ad goes on to play McCain's voice saying: "I enlisted as a footsoldier in the Reagan Revolution." The narrator comes back to intone: "The leadership and experience to call for the surge strategy in Iraq that is working." The screen flashes the words "True Conservative" followed by "Commander in Chief." The subtext is more than just a little terrifying. Even more frightening is that the appeal might work. I really don't like the implication that we're just a militaristic cult. I hate it even more than the idea that we're all easily gulled by appeals to fear. But, uh, yeah, I would like to say something else here, but there's not much to say. Criminy.

12:39 p.m. OK, I've chilled now. I have to say, after all the havoc they've gleefully wreaked on the country, I do enjoy that Republicans now have to choose between two candidates they don't like. Democrats, who have hemmed and hawed and generally been more complicit than they should have been in the looting of America, at least have a choice between two strong candidates most of them like. Of course, if the Democrats win, they'll inherit a mess, for which they'll get the blame.

12:41 p.m. Yeah, I guess I'm still kind of cynical. It's going to be a long, ugly campaign.


From the stream of Billy V.

12:48 p.m. I mentioned Richard Ben Cramer earlier. I should note briefly that his portrait of Joe DiMaggio was one of the best biographies I've ever read, and I didn't really even have much, if any, interest in the guy until I read the The Hero's Life. It's far from the usual hagiography of sports figures. What it Takes was an opus, several hundred pages of stories woven together, sometimes not all that smoothly. In The Hero's Life, Cramer's usual rat-a-tat style is turned down to soft pops. What stands out is DiMaggio's deep, deep insecurity. It drove almost everything he did, from his seriously dysfunctional interpersonal relationships, (including marriages), to his business dealings to his incredible drive to excel. Cramer did his homework, and he still manages to support a sad, yet almost sympathetic, character.

1:01 p.m. Is it clear that I'm getting a bit discouraged by the prospects for the general election yet? Whatever. Open the floodgates. At some point, we'll discover a sense of national shame, I just know it. It's down there somewhere. Maybe along with plans for reinvesting in rail and eating less red meat.

1:23 p.m. Odds on a Mardi Gras joke referencing Hillary Clinton and her ta-tas on a late-night talk show tonight: Leno: 3-1, Stewart: 4-1, Letterman 12-1, Larry King: 999-1. Jimmy Kimmel: OFF, but only because I think he sucks dong. By which I mean, of course, the Vietnamese currency.


1:41 p.m. CNN is reporting on something about Al Qaida. The video they used: the one with the guys in ninja suits on the monkey bars that we've been seeing for seven fucking years. Just stop it. Especially when the issue is torture. Besides, I know you totally want it to be scary, and it's just not. It looks like terrorist recess.

1:50 p.m. I think when some of the people on TV talk about a brokered convention, you can see them trying to nonchalantly position an elbow or a couch cushion in front of them. Just saying.

1:57 p.m. Seriously, McCain is setting himself up for Jim Webb to go all Lloyd Bentsen on his ass re: Ronald Reagan. What did McCain do during the Reagan administration, other than endorse checks from Chaz Keating? And Mitt Romney was living as an au pair in Bruges at the time, I believe.

2:02 p.m. Who are likely vice-presidential picks for these guys, anyway? You think McCain's going to have Dick Cheney head up his search committee? Does he pick someone who appeals more to the "True Conservative" base and gets that fat fuck Limbaugh off his back? Or does he pick someone maverickier, someone more warlike and, say, Liebermannish? (I can see pundits swooning now.) Who would Obama or Hillary pick? And, who would be the most disastrous pick?

2:11 p.m. OK, that's it for me now. Real life calls. Looking forward to lively discussion in the comments. See you back here as the returns roll in. Encouraging news: Apparently, there's been a shitload of turnout. If I wanted to be like the man who will no longer be president a year from now, I would point out that maybe something good will happen as a result of the unmitigated disaster that has been and will continue to be his legacy. Huzzah, turnout. Huzzah, democracy, Huzzah Super Mardi Gras Tuesday.

From Blonde Librarian's stream.

41 comments:

Tommy O said...

HA! "Ringing some dude's doorbell." I bet he does that when not in commercials.

flop said...

I've always hoped he was gifted sexually ...

J. Businger said...

A failure to understand the politics of campaigning should not be treated as some high-minded triumph. It dooms you -- either and an activist or elected official - to misery when it comes to the politics of governing.

flop said...

That's about as badly as anything I've ever said has been misinterpreted. Except for that one time I thought the legitimate businessman at the private club where I worked wanted another drink, but indicated so by saying he was all right, [Flop].

Anyway, my point in plain English: I think the term "political junkie"is kind of shallow-sounding.

Tommy O said...

That was a nasty mess to clean up.

JHC said...

Is McCain dressed in Giants gear?

CrimeNotes said...

Except for that one time I thought the legitimate businessman at the private club where I worked wanted another drink, but indicated so by saying he was all right, [Flop].

Shooting you in the foot is the most satisfying thing I've ever done.

Tommy O said...

well, you wanted a drink and he thought you said you were okay. And, you really weren't and that is just unacceptable.

(side note: my verification for this post is "thdude" which i will abide by)

Crunk Raconteur said...

Wait, I'm missing something here. Is Businger attacking Flop for preferring policy to process?

Cock D said...

"footsoldier in the Reagan Revolution"

Methinks he should be tried for war crimes...

VerbalD said...

re: 12:31 -- i'm a little confused... mccain was inspired by regan the actor? or did i misunderstand mccain's tenure as a POW, and he was held captive past january of 81 (at the earliest). and i dont know if i would elect an individual who was inspired by a b-list movie actor......

Crunk Raconteur said...

McCain has often told the story that, when he was a POW, he and the other POWs would sit around and talk about how exciting they thought this bold young governor of California was (although it is unclear if he loved Reagan's optimism and dynamism like certain change aficionados...).

I love this story because it is reminiscent of one of Principal Skinner's Nam flashbacks.

Soldier 1: Sarge, let's make a break for it while the guards are partying with Jane Fonda.

Sgt. Skinner: Nope. Too dangerous. We're gonna sit tight and reminisce about candy bars.

Cock D said...

Uh - that green number two weirds me out in the "what is the 2 train doing on the Lexington Avenue line?" way.

Anyone else?

J. Businger said...

Policy is inextricably linked to process. The choice is artificial. Those who look sneeringly at political "junkies" and profess to be policy-driven purists will have all the success at governing that Michael Dukakis did.

flop said...

Nah, Mike D would have been a much better president than I would have been, given that I was about 11 at the time, and would have spent most of my time in office asking to ride in the cockpit of Air Force One and revoking John Elway's citizenship.

Crunk Raconteur said...

Policy is indeed inextricably tied to process. On that we agree completely, as I'm sure does Flop. But what I think he was saying (and what I am saying even if he is not) is that the term "political junkie" has come to mean people, like the vast majority of the political press, who care only about process and not about policy at all.

So, yeah, we're sneering at people, but not because we're policy purists...we're sneering at people who are merely process purists.

Much like the argument I had with Crimenotes last week about McCain and Clinton, this is one where we actually all fundamentally agree...

J. Businger said...

I certainly wasn't suggesting that you'd be a better president than him. Although I'm guessing you would have been less tolerant of anyone raping and murdering Kitty Dukakis.

CrimeNotes said...

Hey, remember how Warner Brothers issued that press release saying that Ronald Reagan would play the lead in Casablanca? But they knew that was false because Reagan was going into the army? Ever wonder what would have happened if Reagan actually had that role and went on to a successful acting career? He probably never would have been president. Maybe Humphrey Bogart would've been president instead.

J. Businger said...

Crunk: I don't disagree with much of that. But I find policy debates like the Clinton-Obama exchange over health insurance mandates to be exasperating and pointless.

Sure, we can all pretend that we're exemplars of Jeffersonian democracy, making rational, informed choices based on meaningful policy points. But the argument is artificial: Plans introduced in campaigns are meaningless.

This essay from Mark Schmitt, an otherwise wonkish liberal, says it a whole lot better than I can:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/opinion/24schmitt.html

CrimeNotes said...

I share John McCain's disgust over M___ R_____ attacking Bob Dole. M___ R_____ may not criticize Bob Dole, Elizabeth Dole, Dole Pineapple, Chiquita Banana, banana splits, split national championships, National Rent-A-Car, Hot Wheels, Sally Kellerman, Sam Kineson, Samuel Pepys, Peppy LePew, the Pew Foundation, puke or David Schwimmer, since all of them outrank M___ R_____ in moral authority, life experience and fitness to serve. Shame on M___ R_____ and bully to John McCain for chastising him.

flop said...

Crimenotes: Reagan's unique brand of sunny optimism would never have worked for Rick Blaine.

J-Bus: That essay relied way too much on cliches and shaky assertions, but I think it might have some truth to it anyway. If I stipulate that Schmitt is right, and most Americans can't be bothered to do much critical thinking in these situations, is it possible that the problem might lie with the generally vapid coverage of politics?

Crunk Raconteur said...

Well, the policy debates between Clinton and Obama are rather tedious, but that's largely because they are so close together on things (leaving aside the fact that the health care mandate issue is the highest-ranking reason on my list of reasons why I support Clinton over Obama in the non-Barry-aping-GOP-talking-points division).

Come general election time, the policy differences will be extreme and very meaningful. And, speaking as a Democrat, I want to do everything in my power (as tiny a bit as that is) to keep the focus on policy, because that's the turf on which a Democrat can't lose in 2008. Once the whole narrative starts boiling down to who's a hopeaholic changemonger and who's the most maverickish maverick that ever was so different from George Bush...that's when things get dicey...

CrimeNotes said...

Reagan's unique brand of sunny optimism would never have worked for Rick Blaine.

We only say that because the actor defined the role. Maybe more sunny optimism would've taken that movie to the next level.

flop said...

Mitt Romney really shouldn't criticize Britain's welfare system or high-mounted brake lights, either, but if he wants to be an idiot, he has the right.

CrimeNotes said...

M___ R_____ has no rights.

J. Businger said...

The coverage is vapid, no question. But I don't think election results would be much different if the press ditched the horse race stuff and did straight policy.

Voters are inherently irrational -- even the ones who insist they are voting on the issues and can back it up with specific examples (just listen to the rationalizations of a conservative Romney voter).

One of the first comprehensive excursions into polling came in 1968, back when there were only 3 TV channels and they each played extended (as in 2-3 minute) excerpts from candidate speeches on their nightly news. The poll was conducted door-to-door in the Jacksonville area, and voter after voter was asked which presidential candidate he/she would support: The majority said they were undecided -- between Robert F. Kennedy and George Wallace.

Their judgments, even in the era of responsible news coverage, were irrational and personality-driven. They saw RFK, the integrationist, and Wallace, the arch-segregationist, as honest, genuine, and independent. And that trumped anything you'll find on a position paper.

And the pattern has persisted. How many independent voters say they would be torn between McCain -- Mr. 100-year occupation and ofrced democratization -- and Obama, who wants to "change the thinking that got us into this war in the first place." On policy, they couldn't be farther apart. But most people just see style -- and that's all they'd see even if the media wasn't populated with clueless and lazy hacks.

CrimeNotes said...

Bob Knight press conference on MSNBC. He's endorsing Obama, says he resigned so that he could campaign for him full-time.

flop said...

Yes, sunny optimism is just what I think about when I think "heartbroken alcoholic attempting to live out his remaining years in God-forsaken north African city without ever having to see or think about that girl ever, ever again."

I shudder to think of Reagan in that role. It'd be like having Adam Sandler play Charles Kane.

I kind of like Bob Knight. I can't help it.

CrimeNotes said...

Sunny optimism in Casablanca would be excellent, and prove that Rick can bounce back and find a new girl in Brazzaville, preferably played by Lana Turner.

flop said...

That previous comment sounded much more contentious than I meant it, which is totally not how Dutch would have done it. Because his sunny optimism brought the freedom I am using to mock him, mostly by making Erich Honecker learn to like cowboy movies, thus collapsing the Berlin Wall.

Cock D said...

I know somebody who has kissed Mitt Romney... No, its not his wife, and no, it was not one of those political kisses, but more along the lines of a hook-up kiss.

flop said...

Brazzaville is notorious for virus-carrying Belgian whores. Rick Blaine, not knowing of penicillin and subject to substandard condoms due to wartime shortages, would never have a chance.

I bet Renault already had the clap anyway, so he could pork to his heart's content before nobly dying in a raid on German facilities in Dar Es Salaam.

CrimeNotes said...

No, you're missing the whole point. If Reagan were in Casablanca, he probably never would have been president and wouldn't have had a thing to do with Erich Honecker. So stop making shit up.

Cock d: That is the worst thing I've ever heard. Except that rumor about Eli and Payton getting gangbanged by the Romney Brothers.

Cock D said...

well - as mom put it: "it was Ann Arbor in the 60s and anything could, and usually did, happen"

The things we don't know about our parents...

CrimeNotes said...

How horrible would it be to learn that you're part R_____?

Crunk Raconteur said...

That's it, we're calling you "Tagg D" from now on...

Cock D said...

Luckily, I dont have to worry about that. She found herself a nice Michigan PHD candidate in nuclear engineering and married him.

She wanted no part of mormonism.

Also none of this shocked me when she told me as I found her three foot bong and skimpy bikini in the attic years ago.

evil girl said...

"like the vast majority of the political press, who care only about process and not about policy at all"

fuck you both. policy is boring.

dmbmeg said...

cock d-
I'm sorry, what?

Oops Pow Surprise said...

Holy ghouls, Batman, Bay Buchanan is on MSNBC.

flop said...

I'm not lying; Brazzaville really is a hotbed for that kind of activity. And I shudder to think of a world in which the notoriously non-tough, non-evil-staredownable Jimmy Carter would have allowed the Cold War to continue.