Mitt vs. McCain. Goodbye,Giuliani.

McCain vs. Romney all night,with McCain leading Mitt by 16,000…12,000…9,000 now. Typical,convention,normal,common says those numbers don’t drop,and they certainly don’t switch. But sometime late tonight Mitt may come through with a handful of votes in the right demographics for the numbers at Fox and CNN and MSNBC to project some hard victory. Another blind turn in the dead of night,like Clinton’s turn on the poll numbers in NH,to leave everyone with that dumb look. McCain’s lead is impressive – he came out of a dark money hole and beat down a vast and experienced Jeb Bush Machine supporting a Mitt nomination. McCain’s numbers are back up ahead by 19k with 34% in.

Clinton was called early & often. Like Michigan,Florida’s move to this early primary date has cost their delegates seats at the convention. While it seems Clinton is racking up the wins according to most national news outlets,Obama has actually won more delegates so far. Clinton does have a lead in pledged superdelegates. But this is all acedemic now. The numbers in NH were some freak anamoly of political polling,and the rest of the country has stayed firm on a Clinton win. Feb. 5th will assign some 1700ish of the 2300-odd delegates,the Big Night,Shit Tuesday,and whisky and beer will be required to watch those narrow margins that Obama has to hold… And afterwards,will Edwards’ delegates carry enough weight? Will the specter of the Clinton inevitability cast a shadow on the late primary states? In an election primed with high & mighty attention where sacrifices were made early,will the election come down to last-minute primaries? Some sort ironic twist against the Democratic machines in Michigan and Florida who so desperately wanted Meaning and Purpose to this particular election…

McCain’s projected the winner some time around 8:30pm,the final numbers somewhere around 80k on up as conservative counties fell into place. Romney’s on some minutes aftewards. The crowds are chanting "But They Haven’t" in off-time response to Mitt’s broken down Washington speech. Mitt praises a Bush administration somewhere in his speech. A nail in a coffin somewhere dark & cold in Washington. Credits Bush for protecting America in these dangerous years since 9/11. A short-sighted call that rallies the troops down home.

Giuliani’s out,they finally confirm,throwing his campaign behind his man, McCain. Not a surprise,and not much weight to carry in Giuliani’s single delegate.

Russert says McCain needs a Southern Gentlement like Huck to take on the Democrats in a general election,hoping he holds out against Mitt in a long-shot bankrupt campaign.

It’s dropped 4′ in the last few minutes,and I’m off to a bar.

Do Obama and I have a bit of political re-alignment to work on?

Radical political re-adjustment for people looking at a sure-fire Obama win,like me… Obama’s got NH independents 44% to 30%,change 58%…women & economy going for Clinton,but not by much…5% margins. Fox News projects McCain,an easier call than Dems – probably expected,yet shocking. Obama’s facing the same problem Clinton faced a few months ago – anything but perfection will be perceived as a campaign failure. Except Clinton’s slip in polls happened over the course of a month or two,whereas Obama’s slip occurred today. The returns between Clinton and Obama are riding the edge – at this point,Obama’s not going to come out of NH with any kind of delegate lead. In fact,according to this, Clinton’s already got 114 pledged superdelegates as opposed to Obama’s 46. At this point,early pledged superdelegates are probably over until something significant happens during the primary – like someone winning.

Ah, well,now this is making things interesting.

If Obama can’t hold down the open primary with his popularity in the independents,he’s going to struggle further with the closed primaries sans independents. So take note: the NH poll numbers were off; unless you really take those error margins to their extremes. That’ll be a statistic used for a few elections from now on. With 22% in,it’s still Clinton up 3000 votes or so. She’s been up since the 10% mark. Where’s that high water mark? They’re saying that if Clinton comes back in NH,she’ll be the "Comeback Kid," yet another Clinton legacy. The problem is,she wasn’t statistically behind,she was behind the expectations of Obama. Whether that makes a difference in terms of the mythical momentum or poll numbers or votes…

Fuck. McCainiacs.
Mitt fans have baseball… mitts…
We didn’t lose,we just ran out of time – Lombardi,via Huck.
"New Hampshire: She’s like the wind" – Tyler

Speech! Speech! Speech!

Obama: The New American Majority. Yes We Can. More promises of Hope carried over from IA and his stark MLK imagery. He’s still right on his mark,even though I thought he needed to break out of the convention of IA. He invokes all the old high points of American History – perceived and real – from slavery,to pioneers against an unforgiving wilderness (invoking the hard cowboy silhouette against that red sky,for good or ill?),slavery and abolitionists invoking racial ties,to women reaching out for ballots in an attempt to tap what he thinks is an obvious Clinton’s base),and stretching out into religion with a reference to Moses on the Mountain. Big Topics,to be certain,and he’s not afraid to grasp at those big icons in his speech.

Clinton: She’s zeroing in on her specific campaign of emotion. Maybe it seem strange to consider her as cold,but she’s buying her press. The hard point is how she changed up "I" for "We" in her speech. Torn exactly out of Obama’s speech in IA and the media’s focus. It was an obviously bold move with what so far seems like few consequences. But the real hit was the line "We have the Will and Wisdom to end the Iraq war the Right Way." There’s she’s right on her mark,positioning herself as the experienced candidate with the moral imperative required for a more rational, experienced President.

This targets the heart of her campaign. And something that may get lost to those core Obama believers: She is in fact a Democrat with the same Demoratic Party ideal. Zing! But Obama’s power and potency is contained in his belief in his message. Clinton focused on her strength of experience and knowledge. I just can’t really buy her emotional campaign as key to her win. It’d be folly to retool a campaign that’s got the right fundamental,but a dull exterior image in contrast with the warm glow of Obama. That speech was exactly what she planned.

I still don’t buy the comeback kid in either party – McCain had NH locked away for a long time,and Obama apparently never had the real following the polls indicated. If I can predict a Clinton loss in IA,she’ll need more than my mistake to crown herself a comeback in NH by such a narrow margin. But still,the delegate race is riding that edge. No hope of slowing down now. Hit that throttle hard and ignore the dull ache of those numb hands at 60,70,90mph down a 20′ freeway iced over & foggy,racing towards a slick frostbite campaign finish at a dumb convention.

Breakdown,according to CNN:
* Hillary Clinton has won 9 New Hampshire delegates (3 statewide,6 district-level)
* Barack Obama has won 9 New Hampshire delegates (3 statewide,6 district-level)
* John Edwards has won 4 New Hampshire delegates (2 statewide,2 district-level)

Will Edwards maintain 15% through to the convention,and who will he hand off his delegates to?


9:36pm: MSNBC says that the independents went for McCain,not Obama dropping his numbers enough to allow a Hillary win…Which could be true,those cross-the-line numbers are hard to poll,but that doesn’t bode well for Obama who relies on independents who already had questions about his success in winning closed primaries. Of course,Brokaw is talking about the greatest campaign comeback ever at a 3% margin.

9:32pm: Obermann hiccuped and looked lost,dropping a few papers and confused, announced Clinton the projected winner. The Clinton camp is hysterical, proclamation! Certainly,they’re looking for a real campaign. Hot damn.

9:29pm: It’s a long night for that quiet Obama audience. Silent. As if they’re waiting for their hero to walk out with the mark of the beast and announce his own death. Ah,the youth vote. The Obama campaign is saying "wait for Dartmouth",but it won’t save them now. They’re just building Clinton’s false hope in an hard-felt loss.

Earlier: CNN’s reporting that older voters are driving Clinton’s rise. Maybe this is a return to the age-old battle of the youth vote. Maybe that’s better described as the challenge of getting those angry young people to vote something other than apathy. A hard proposition. Usually it takes 20 years of maturity before those youths turn towards the suburbs and faith and longevity in the GOP.

Clinton remains that 3k over Obama at 36% districts. Now down to 2% lead,at 2800 votes with 42% moving in… Big margins coming in for big towns,College towns. The youth vote probably won’t trump the old Democrat vote. The Machine is at Work. Salem,Dartmouth,Hannover looming on Clinton’s horizon on my fourth beer,but the crowds at Clinton’s campaign HQ are screaming like banshees. Obama’s audience is in a silent shock at the quiet college town returns,his message of Hope pointed towards this one long campaign fight for NH. Will Michigan’s stripped delegate primary suddenly become relevant? Perhaps not those pledged superdelegates eh?

Clinton pulling out 5k ahead of Obama at 57% in – the 2% statistical range blurring the hard,final details. Manchester going Clinton. Nashua. Durham doesn’t have the votes to offset these numbers. The late-night drunks will storm the polls in fronts of doubles,stumbling through the door with ID in hand. Pencil in hand,scratching illegible marks against a blurry paper slip,race and gender drop to the floor…reach down and pick them back up with a brash attitude. Cast off that humility,and scratch hard and strong at that oval mark. Perhaps we need a Votes-For-Beer campaign.

"An ugly game,this politics thing. It brings out people’s true colors."

How true,Tyler. Clinton’s up 3% @ 63%. Doom doom doom! How exciting for my depraved junkie soul.

Clinton’s Options

…prove "Obama is just not a plausible person in this environment of international peril," and that the longer the primary campaign can be extended,the better chance Clinton will have to prove that "there is not even a second level to Obama,there is no depth." Like Mondale in 1984,Clinton is configuring her campaign to win in states where independents cannot vote. "Clinton got killed among independents and those few Republicans who crossed over"

The Nevada Culinary Workers Union have said they will throw their support behind Obama if he wins NH,which apparently is key the key to winning according to Tim Russert.

Now it gets tougher on Obama says Brokaw – clarification of his policies,closer inquiries into details about foreign policy…could these derail Obama? No,there’s probably not enough time before February 5th to build a dedicated force to confront Obama. Clinton will try and throw everything she can to pinpoint these issues, but it will seem directionless and negative. The problem is that so many states across the nation have primaries on Super Tuesday – the candidates won’t be able to mount a direct,locale-specific campaign. It has to be a televised national thing. Clinton seems stumbled and lost in her emotional moment…ah,well,who knows. Tired,worn out, frustrated,exhausted. Then,"women just don’t cry," a quote from some old guy according to Brokaw. Old fools. The old man sitting next to me says that Obama won’t win NH,"They’re not that liberal." But politics doesn’t interest him now,he’s got his eyes glued on Racheal Ray talking about cooking in the nude on some morning talk show. Applause. Applause. He sighs the long sigh of convincing himself he’s not part of this sin and depravity,Lord.

Speaking of GOP Chaos: McCain in NH,Romney in MI,Thompson in FL… Where will it end? What about the 3rd place finishers: The popular libertarian Ron Paul beating Giuliani again? It’s not about Giuliani’s poor placement in IA which he conceded long ago,but about him needing to get in the game at some point. He can’t wait till the first 4 primaries are done to start his campaign without a significant placement. There’s money involved. Same thing goes for Thompson,but his campaign was dead from the start, relying on some still-born idea that he’d sail into the candidacy on a wave of popular support like Jesus himself.

Apparently McCain wants independents in NH,and they’re going for Obama currently… and they’re talking about Democratic independents not necessarily going to Obama,but who knows where that information is coming from – perhaps just an attempt at making NH seem interesting.

RCP has a good article on what advantages Clinton’s got left at this point. Democrat delegates are divided up within the states based on percentages of the popular vote,unlike the general election which is winner-take-all. So while Obama is looking poised to storm right up into the Feb. 5th series of primaries,Clinton can pose an outside threat at the actual convention. If Clinton can remain in the game by tying Obama in most states on that Tuesday,she has time to court the 798 Super delegates (Democratic party members,Governors,and members of Congress),as well as all those late-game states like WI. If – an if that I don’t buy – Clinton can remain within 5 points of Obama going into the convention,the poll numbers for those super delegates could hand the nomination to Clinton. Late phone calls and deal-making to buy off those high-image super delegates would probably tear up Obama’s conscience & image. At that point,would the DNC stand by their decision to strip MI and FL of their delegates?

Indeed,and how would America react to old-style secretive Convention Politicking?

Jay Cost over at RCP writes "She’s the insider,the candidate of the establishment – and they have a habit of winning," and he’d be right. McGovern was the last who managed to take the nomination away from the establishment in 1972 through some wicked Convention politics – read Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72. But this election is far from Establishment – the early debates,public and media attention that’s unprecedented,the progressive diversity of the Democratic candidates. And this is following an extremely divided administration and Congress: the Iraq war may not be making people’s top votes,but the political fallout of trading fiscal responsibility for brutally stupid foreign policy are very real. Those public opinion numbers along with the 06 campaign represent a frustrated electorate. This hyper-sensitive post 9/11 world has its eye focused on American politics. People want something that’s not tied to the Old Machines of hard-line Partisanship and Scandal. Tear it all down and start over again.

I could be wrong…

A 20-point turn in poll numbers in 4 days is nothing short of a certain win for Obama. Even if the numbers aren’t accurate,that kind of explosive bolt is impressive. I would have expected Obama’s win in IA to put him in a tie in NH,where simple mistakes and late-night counting would determine a winner. Not now. People are talking about Obama’s speech,mostly,and as foreign a notion as it is to me,there are people just turning on their TV’s and reading about him for the first time – and reading that fiery piece. Damn. Clinton’s certainly not out yet – old poll numbers for all those states taking part in Feb. 5th’s massive primary were overwhelmingly favor Clinton. Sadly,the days with those kinds of numbers are fading for Clinton. Back in mid-December when America still bought into that press about Clinton’s certain victory. Maybe she did,too. Now that it has begun and the public is apparently seeing a viable Obama for the first time,those poll numbers are going to change. If NH is any indicator,they’re going to change significantly.

There’s few accurate statements about Clinton’s falling campaign 1, but they all essentially point out the difficulty in running any sort of campaign against such a potent ideal like Obama. Clinton’s focus on experience still seems like the only path she can take – she can’t compete with Obama’s charisma and persona – and it’s far too late to re-tool her campaign for that sort of mammoth undertaking. Her latest volley into the Obama camp is against raising "false hope." Good God, it’s possible she’s just setting these things up for him to knock down. If the public is really exposed to this attack,it’ll drop Clinton down another few points. She’ll seem angry and manic. She targets and attacks every point that makes Obama successful which in turn simply points out those very same shortcomings in her campaign.

Oddly,it feels like America is more willing to accept an African American Male than any female. Certainly not because we’ve overcome racism in this country. The idea of women in positions of power and in the workplace isn’t quite so foreign to most of us. America just seems used to the idea while never really addressing the underlying sexism that has remained.The idea that a successful woman is still identified by her gender… Maybe it’s that there isn’t as much stigma of class division for women. Obama isn’t so much a black man as he is a successful,wealthy,and powerful man. Those traits go a long way to dissuade most people’s safely-blurred racist opinions. You can hear them talking now,in back-country bars, echoing a Sykes or Belling line: "I like Obama. He’s not like them other ones,ya know?"

There’s a goodness & faith & maybe that lost hero in Obama’s speeches. Anyone with any hope left for America seems to feel it. I just wish I could believe it myself. When Obama steps into office,there’ll be some mark of history for a healing nation where an African American can become President,but where millions of poor black men still die on the streets every day just like they did under the service of Rich White Men…

Ah,well. Obama’s riding too high too soon to lose…but the GOP: there’s an interesting doomed race,and maybe I don’t feel so bad.

Last Words for Tonight.

Fox News says do or die in NH for MITT,but McCain has NH locked in his sights,and with a mitt loss in iowa,he seems doomed. Fox is setting him up.

10:04pm: Obama takes the stage. He speaks vividly. It’s as grand,precise and accurate as Edwards’ excellent speech,for what it’s worth. But the words come too fast,and I couldn’t take my eyes and concentration off Obama’s pose in some sort of feared trance and important moment. I wonder…Is Obama’s speech a connection to what we truly believe in,or is Clinton’s speech in comparison an indicator of how out-of-touch the big-name,money-making,old-guard candidates are from what Americans really want to believe in,look for,and vote for today?

WTF: Keith Obermann has never seen a chuck norris movie. WTF.

Richardson’s play for Obama?

There’s talk about Richardson throwing his caucus goers over to the Obama corner of the room through phone calls & underground connections,which will spell doom for Edwards and a win for Obama.

8:19pm: How’d this bastard from CNN get the turnout numbers models from the Edwards campaign?

8:25pm: internet dies.
8:32pm: Internet back,CNN and Fox have both projected an Obama win.
8:35pm: internet dies again.
8:36pm: I throw my router against the wall and on the grown,hit it hard on its cheap plastic shell.
8:40pm: after rebooting & cajoling,internet returns through the cat 5.

No rest for Edwards tonight as the second place fight rages on. No shortage of talk about the importance of a second-place Clinton finish against an Edwards name that no one really sees as a viable candidate. Just like Huckabee’s "one-state" finish that’s so popular on Fox…

Edwards stays in? No rest for Edwards tonight – it’ll be a rough 2nd place finish as my internet explodes yet again. Death. Fuck. War. Beer. What we need is historical perspective – full disclosure – Nina Easton – Romney’s hope that evangelicals will not support a Mormon – exactly. It’s a dogging that’s going to hit Giuliani too. Yes yes,the silent majority,Christ Still Counts say the bumper stickers tomorrow and on and on.

This guy is wrong,now,talking about seeing no evidence of religious movement. He blames Romney’s blue state image as a newcomer to conservativism… is this the same race that includes Giuliani? These are fools who weren’t willing to write off Giuliani at the start, and Romney’s Mormon struggles really did need to be addressed… god only knows how,ho ho ho.

Will McCain move up? Yes,so this guy says. Huck wins,MITT fails,McCain hits NH hard – where will Huck come in NH? Low,meaning McCain comes into play while Romney and Giuliani drop. If Thompson drops before NH,he really did have derelect monkeys running his campaign.

Young voters 57% Obama. 1/4 seniors vote 45% Clinton. Women voters,35% Obama.

David Yepson,the guy from Des Moines Register who was speaking earlier. Coming to Iowa,something to sell,big message,prepared. "Where’s the beef? Message du Jour. Message. Something to say."

Meanwhile,Giuliani has words repeated on the wall behind him: Tested. Ready. Now.

Clinton’s preparing her speech upstairs in another improvised campaign office,in an attempt to make the morning papers on the East Coast – MSNBC. NH, 1992,invoking the Memory of Bill… In retrospet,it won’t happen. Obama waits for Clinton’s submission speech to announce his win.

9:14pm: At surprising timing that probably knocked Clinton around,Bono crooning in the name of love once more in the name of love,Edwards, walking through a cheering crowd to his podium. Clinton was probably walking out to the podium when she was yanked back by a staffer who heard U2 blasting while Edwards came out unexpectedly. He talks about money. It’s a good point. He’s talking about profit. Death. Health care. Doom. His second place does throw a wrench into Hillary’s spending in IA… but it won’t help him elsewhere,but I can’t help but notice he’s saying the Right Things…His message is dead on,and he’s talking about hope & ideals,that America is "better than this." God damn,he’s right,and I can’t help but notice this is aligning him with the Obama messsage.

9:26pm: Clinton waited for Edwards to finish,and walks up to the podium now…

9:39pm: Long Clinton speech with winding roads that don’t hold up to Edward’s impassioned speech. She talks about the victory for Dems tonight,and about the long campaign ahead. Vague words of Doom.

9:40pm: Huckabee talks now,accepting the win,with Chuck Norris standing behind him,next to his wife,not Huckabee’s. He’s got a good speech,about focusing on the positive supporters and not the enemies of the conservatives. It’s a potent piece of writing & speaking,and he’s got what conservatives want… He falls back on God in the end,and falls back with a bit of humor. But hey,what’s that behind a presidential candidate? Chuck Norris’s Fist.

Ron Paul beat Giuliani.