Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Nerd alert: New Hampshire edition

Maggie says:
So while I'm not as flamboyantly excited as I was last week for Iowa, I admit I'm hoping the day will fly by so I can race home to bask in the glory of NH accents and CNN exit polls. Dinner will be less thematic tonight, too (I couldn't find cod, so had to expand the theme to whitefish, which led me to trout). And um, maybe less drinking, too?

All that said, I'm still as nerdily pumped as you might expect. Here's what's on my mind heading into the primary:

  • Disappointment. I'm pretty much crushed by Edwards' comments about Clinton's tears yesterday. We've discussed before how gendered much of the primaries would be because of Hillary Clinton's presence, and how we'd decry any sexism we saw despite not being Clinton supporters. That moment is now for me. In response to Clinton showing some emotion regarding the exhaustion of the campaign yesterday, Edwards retorted: "'I think what we need in a commander-in-chief is strength and resolve, and presidential campaigns are tough business, but being president of the United States is also tough business." It was a low blow, especially coming from a man who understands the emotions of life: his wife has cancer, his son died a tragic death, his campaign is based on the very real losses of working men and women in towns like the one he was raised in. I wish like hell he'd taken the opposite approach and offered some support: "We're all working our hardest out here, and it's tough, and we should support each other because we all have the same goal of restoring decency to the country." Instead, Edwards revealed a side to himself that is, to me, rather chilling. Not to mention the overarching problem: haven't we spent nearly 8 years suffering the consequences of the tough-guy approach? Give me a break. The Nation's Katha Pollitt, by the way, can't see past it: Edwards just lost her vote.
  • Weird Fascination. On Iowa night, I was supremely uninterested in the Republicans. Tonight, I'm practically drooling waiting for their numbers. They're a fantastic, bloody mess, and watching them is like peering through a spyhole into something you're almost ashamed to see. Keystone Cops, only being mortified along with being humored. It's exhilarating fun to see them all fall apart like this. Everyone despises Mitt, which I really enjoy. Huckabee is challenging the party in ways they're completely uncomfortable with. McCain is damn ancient, and his turnaround has been the stuff of legend. Rudy probably has a tattoo of 9/11 on his ass, and seems to not understand he's not in it anymore. Thompson's standing around as the tall, lonely guy, not really sure where it all went awry for him. Ron Paul has those rabid supporters, but never seems to actually be around. What the hell is going to happen here? How much fun is this?! A thought occurred to me watching Keith Olbermann last night: is this how Republicans have felt for the last decade? Laughing at us like this? Feeling so much inevitability? Crazy.
  • Inevitability, really? I said before I could get behind an Obama candidacy with optimism, and I still mean that. Since I think being an Obama supporter in the end is going to mean settling for zero specifics and political sea change and instead supporting a romantic packaging of values, I agree with Gail Collins' elegantly biting notion from Sunday: "Big change is hardly ever accomplished without political warfare. When the red and blue states join together and all Americans of good will march hand-in-hand to a mutually agreed upon destiny, the place they’re going to end up would probably look pretty much like now, with more health insurance." So for me, it's an all-out cheer for our nation's first black president, and I'll get to be happy with a cabinet of less white men than ever before, but have to live with the same amount of "free" trade. Sigh.
  • Accents, accents, accents. I just love New England. Tonight's going to bring it all back for me. Live Free or Die, indeed. (A toast to you, Ms. Amy Sullivan!)