Hey, Funboys, Get a Room

With one day to go before the all-important New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney (left) has reason to laugh and point at Newt Gingrich's stupid face; the most recent polls show Romney capturing 40.2% of the vote, nearly doubling the second place showing of Ron Paul at 20.8%. Gingrich, probably burping up some noxious gas here rather than laughing, is fifth at 8.6%, trailing not only Romney and Paul but also Rick Santorum (10.6%) and even Jon Huntsman (9.4).          Source: realclearpolitics.com
What Romney is probably smart enough to realize, though, and worry about, is that the New Hampshire primary is rarely about winning, or gaining delegates; it's about expectations and whether you exceed them or fail to meet them. In 1968, Eugene McCarthy's strong showing against a sitting President, Lyndon Johnson, helped push Johnson into retirement. In 1972, George McGovern's close second place finish legitimized his campaign and propelled him toward the nomination; the immortal Ed Muskie's disappointing showing, and legendary crying jag on TV, doomed his chances. Jimmy Carter used a surpise victory to launch a campaign that ended in the White House, and four years later Ronald Reagan resurrected his chances with a win after a bad showing in the Iowa caucus. And in 1992, Bill Clinton resurrected his faltering campaign with a decent second-place finish; after this, he dubbed himself "the Comeback Kid" and proceeded toward the presidency. Of course, he had actually led in the polls a month before, and wound up losing, so "Comeback Kid" was only technically accurate, but that's why we loved Bill Clinton, right? He told us how things were, we knew it was bullshit, and we voted for him anyway.
Yes, it's all about expectations; and what you can expect is a mad attempt to spin the results by each camp to make it seem like things are going as planned.

"We wanted to leave room for the campaign to grow."
So Romney, basically, has set himself up to win what the media will call the "presumptive nominee" tag with a margin on the order of what the polls show, but if he fails to win by at least 12-15%, and Paul or anyone else can make a close show out of it, the media will start to use words like "faltering" for Romney and "surging" for anyone who exceeds expectations.
More great Santorum headlines are a virtual certainty; another failure to make headway could result in calls for him to pull out.
And someone, likely Rick Perry (1%) and possibly even Gingrich, will be officially "hapless." As in "written off."  As in "loser."

History note: Today, January 9, 2012, is Richard M. Nixon's 99th birthday. Or, rather, it would be if we still had him to kick around. We don't, at least not in corporeal form, but we do need to make sure that his name remains properly sullied. He was, despite his famous protestations to the contrary, a crook. Not to mention a liar, a racist, a bully, and a Generally Wrong Person. What baseball scouts call a five-tool player.

Happy birthday, Dick. Oh, and fuck you. You're still a pile of shit, and history will not vindicate you.

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