"I've decided I'm leaving you for Barack Obama," she told me.
This was a relief to me, since I hadn't yet told her that I'd sent $100 to the Obama campaign. But when she told me later in the evening that she was leaving me for Matt Damon, I got a little crabby.
"The suspense is killing me," I told her. "Just pick one or the other."
Much of the punditry surrounding last night's debate centered on the damage that the Clinton's -- read Bill Clinton's -- racially-tinged attacks have had on Hillary's campaign.
I've heard a lot of goofy theories as to why Bill Clinton is suddenly crashing around, bull-in-china-shop-style, in the midst of Hillary's campaign against Barack Obama. But Dick Morris' explanation -- that Bill is deliberately taking media flak so that Hillary will emerge unscathed -- is just silly:
Like a red cape, he is attracting the attention of the bull so his wife the matador escapes unharmed.
The other method behind his madness is that wants to suck up all the oxygen in the room and dominate the coverage of the Democratic contest. By doing so, he cuts Obama out of the news, pushes him off the front page, and usurps the headlines.
Of course, he also crowds out Hillary, but that's OK, given her large leads in the national polls and in all the big states whose primaries are coming up.
If there were a newspaper and television blackout, Hillary would cruise to an easy win, so Bill, by injecting himself into the coverage and hogging it, is accomplishing the same goal.
His tactics now are reminiscent of those he used to black out John Kerry during the lead-up to the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
By scheduling book signings and speeches in Boston, he effectively took the coverage away from the prospective Democratic nominee, a man who would have eclipsed Hillary's presidential ambitions had he won the election.
Dick Morris is paid to spin crazy, improbable theories about the Clintons, but this plot is just a bit too byzantine to be credible. It smacks of the Wes-Clark-as-Hillary-stalking-horse conspiracy theories we were hearing during the 2004 primary season. You will remember that Wes Clark was supposedly going to muddy up the Democratic race so that no front-runner would emerge after the big primaries; then a draft-Hillary movement would emerge and she would gratefully accept the 2004 nomination without having to muck around with all that hand-shaking and baby-kissing. All part of the Clintons' plan for...gulp!....The Restoration!
Right-wing pundits spilled a lot of ink on this theory in the winter of 2003-2004, but of course it never came to pass.
The truth is, so many variables go into a presidential primary season that no one can game them from behind the scenes , not even a wily political pro like Bill Clinton.
But political junkies -- the only people paying attention right now -- don't want to hear that. They want to hear the political equivalent of an A.E. Van Vogt novel in which humble individuals of dazzling talent fight in vain against unseen, implacable forces.
But implacable is as implacable does, and it seems evident that the increasingly peevish and arrogant Clintons are alienating their own base in their quest too destroy Obama.
The Village Voice tackles the question that all America is asking this week.
1. Nothing bad is conservative.
2. Everything bad is liberal.
3. Fascism is bad.
4. Therefore, fascism is liberal.
Note that it didn't take me 496 pages to make this argument.
However, sanseverything points out the magazine Goldberg writes for, National Review, has never disguised its affection for fascists such as Franco and Mussolini:
National Review was never a magazine that could be described as “anti-fascist” or even “anti-Nazi”. They went out of their way to belittle the crimes of fascists and Nazis. James Burnham expressed the magazine’s stance with his customary blunt brusqueness: “The whole concept of ‘fascism,’ for that matter, has been a fraud from the beginning. Like ‘peaceful coexistence’ and ‘détente,’ it is a tactical invention of the Soviet Agitprop…” So it takes a kind of plumy dumb courage for Jonah Goldberg to decry “liberal fascism”
Not really. Don't forget that it was the Fascists who honed "The Big Lie" to a fine edge.
I felt it in 1980 when Ted Kennedy recklessly challenged Carter in the primaries. I felt it in 1984 when the party nominated Fritz Mondale, a candidate they knew would lose. I felt it in 1988 when Mike Dukakis stood around hoping that George H.W.'s personal attacks would backfire. I felt it in 1993 when Clinton's fragile Democratic majority in Congress quibbled and bickered and accomplished nothing. I felt it in 2002, when Rick Kahn's speech at the idiotic "memorial service" for Paul Wellstone propelled Norm Coleman to the Senate.
I felt it again last night.
The Republicans, shaken by the prospect of having to face Barack Obama -- the most talented politician in a half-century -- in the general election, are elated today. Because they see a possibility that they'll get Hillary Clinton instead, the only force in the universe that can bind together their fractured party.
And they are especially happy because in all likelihood her opponent would be John McCain.
Suddenly, the Republicans see hope. Because they know that McCain would beat her like a rented mule.
The Democrats know it too. But they don't care. They'd rather lose with Hillary than win with Obama. And they're about to get their wish.
One dork did get chosen to be Tila's, um -- what's the word, concubine? New flame? Boy-toy? (or girl-toy, I suppose -- Tila's allegedly bi-sexual, which may or may not be true but is certain to get those pimply Maxim readers excited).
Not that it made any difference. The guy who "won" a relationship with Tila found out that the joke was on him -- he never saw her after the last episode was taped. Apparently he was told that she would call him; she never did. When he called the production offices for the show, he was told that no, he couldn't have Ms. Tequila's phone number.
The delicious irony of this moron's predicament is, perhaps, the only good thing to come out of this ridiculous story. He had bought into the illusion that the reality show genre was controlled and structured but was in some fundamental sense real.
My question is, when is a crafty contestant going to infiltrate the 16 dorks, just so that he can tell Tila, in front of a national audience, what a preening, brainless clown she is?
Dear Iowa Republicans,
I’ll put this in language even your tiny little Iowa brains can understand: What the f*** is wrong with you people?
The news coming out of Des Moines (literally, French for “tell me about the rabbits, George”) tonight is distressing in the extreme. 32 years ago, your Democratic brethren took one look at Jimmy Carter -- the worst 20th Century President bar Nixon, and the worst ex-President ever -- and declared, “That’s our man!”
Three decades later, and along comes Mike Huckabee. Same moral pretentiousness, same gullibility on foreign affairs, only-slightly-less toothy idiot’s grin. Then you so-called Republicans took a look at Carter’s clone and said, “That’s our man, too!”
Translation: How dare you vote against the candidate we told you to vote for? Who the hell told you peabrains that this was a democracy?
To add to the fun, we've still got wide-open races on both sides. The Washington Post blog The Fix posted a number of predictions from political operatives, so I suppose I must post my predictions as well.
On the Democratic side:
On the Republican side:
No particular strategy behind these prognostications, except a couple of sneaking suspicions.
First, I believe that Obama will score s higher percentage of independent caucus-goers, and a lot of the second-tier non-viable caucuses will break toward him at the last minute.
Meanwhile Huckabee's goofball press conference -- where he declared that he wasn't going to air a Romney attack ad, then showed it to reporters -- made him look stupid, and this will hurt him a bit among mainstream Republicans who were giving him a second look. He'll still finish a strong second, though, because evangelicals always come out strong for their candidates. Romney will win because his organization is just a whole lot better. Meanwhile, Fred Thompson will do well among the Dukes of Hazzard wing of the party.
Seems to me that the McCain boom has been largely manufactured by the media, which still adores the guy. But I don't see the average Republican warming up to him yet.
But who knows? We'll see what happens tonight.
I have not held forth, as all good bloggers were supposed to do, with detailed theorizing about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
I have not posted breathless reports of the latest polls out of Iowa and New Hampshire, which seem to offer alternating dollops of terror and consolation for just about every knucklehead running for President.
I have not opined at length about the Writer's Strike or that new Will Smith movie or the Iphone or that woman who is a champion beaver-skinner. Nope, not a peep from me during this, the darkest, coldest time of the year.
I am an inconstant friend. I admit it. But I'll try to do better. And of course I wish you all the best during these Twelve Days of Christmas and hope you have a joyous 2008.