"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Saturday, April 14, 2007

McCain Unable; Newt Nought

I am sorry to admit I cannot share the admiration my beloved coblogger TVD harbors for John McCain. The man gives me the pip. Always has. Believe me, I would have been happy, during the interminable and depressing 1999-2000 campaign season, to have been presented with some plausible alternative to the coronation of Dauphin Bush. Pulling the lever for his father in 1992 damn near gave me a cerebral aneurysm. But the exhaust from the "Straight Talk Express" always smelled like manure to me, and the thing was sewed up by the time the Minnesota primary rolled around anyway.

I have been convinced for at least two years that McCain had no chance in 2008. Back before Patrick Ruffini went to work for Guiliani, he ran a blog where he gave away the kind of political and polling analysis for which Rudy is probably paying through the nose now. A feature of that blog was a rolling presidential candidate straw poll crosstabbed by state. And you saw the usual 'favorite son' dynamic at work there -- Virginians supported George Allen (that'll give you a clue about how many political tectonic plates have shifted since then), Massachusetts went for Mitt Romney, Minnesotans voted for Tim Pawlenty, etc. The glaring exception was McCain. For the many months I tracked this poll, Arizonans supported McCain at about half the level he polled among respondents as a whole. When the people who know you best dislike you twice as much as complete strangers do, the intense scrutiny of a national campaign is not going to trend your way. And the YouToobification of political discourse will ensure that every temper tantrum, every irritable outburst, and every pissy self-righteous arrogant expression that crosses his face when he can't help himself will be broadbanded around the world while Terry Nelson's still tying his shoes.

Granted that dynamic, I am a bit surprised that this YouTube offering hasn't received more attention. As far as I can tell, it marks the complete and utter disintegration of Newt Gingrich's chances to ever be elected to any office again.



Look, I understand what he was trying to say, and I thought he got a bad rap over the original comments. I admire Newt's intellect and accomplishments, and although I don't think he would be a very good presidential candidate, and is probably not presidential timber, he would be a valuable asset to any conservative administration that was intelligent enough to appreciate his virtues and patient enough to overlook his flaws. But if Newt emerges as a serious primary contender, there is no way this Muy Dorko Gringo thing stays off the urban airwaves. Good grief, he sounds like an extra from a Spanish class scene in a Napoleon Dynamite movie.

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