Happy new year. I hope you, my loyal readers, didn't think I'd abandoned you.
We've been away, both celebrating New Year's and baby-sitting for some of the cutest grandchildren you ever saw. But now, we're back (it's my wife, Sue, and I, not the Royal We), at least for a while.
It's been a heck of a time in politics. First, came the Iowa caucuses, where Barack Obama surprised everyone including, I think, himself, in winning the Democratic vote and Mike Huckabee rounded up his troops to win in Iowa, which is in the Bible belt.
Then came New Hampshire, where everyone, including the candidates' own polls, showed Obama with a lock to repeat his victory and near-favorite son Mitt Romney would probably scoring big.
Well, it didn't work out that way and the way it worked out had precious little to do with the "meltdown" of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Such a meltdown! In my arena, that's just a pensive moment. You want crying? Try a six-year-old who was just told "no". Let's see. Iowa is next to what state? Illinois, right. Give that person an Obama campaign button. What state elected Obama to the Senate? Illinois. Right again. Give that person an Obama campaign skimmer. Can you say "Favorite Son?"
Now let's switch to New Hampshire. It has lots of women who vote and union folks as well.. This isn't Vermont, it's the state of the Union Leader and "live free or die" so Democrats who live there (Dartmouth excepted) are not knee-jerk anything. So, what have you? A surprise: Hillary wins. Her margin is consistent all day long, which tells you it's solid and broad-based (no pun intended).
I say thank heaven. With Chris Dodd back in East Haddam, where he should have stayed and Bill Richardson struggling, it's a three-way race. If John Edwards doesn't win big in South Carolina, you can say farewell to him as well. He says he won't drop out. Maybe, but he won't campaign either. So, we have Barack and Hillary. Don't bet on Barack winning Nevada, no matter what the Culinary Workers Union local has done. I heard the national union encouraged that local to stay out of the endorsing business, but it was probably too late to stop the previously announced endorsement. If Obama doesn't do well in South Carolina, he may be in a big hurt come Super Tuesday, when the real thing as far as union states like New York go to the polls. After that, you might hear that fat lady warming up to sing for Barack.
Let me tell you a story. About 35 years ago, in 1972, this guy named George McGovern ran a race much like Obama is running now - change, youth, anti-war, anti-Washington (even though he had been a senator since Moses was in the third grade). I met McGovern a few times...nice guy. He had some development project across the street from Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Conn., and was around glad-handing for it. But McGovern got beaten up pretty good at the polls by this guy Nixon. Yes, I know, Nixon used tricks, but the irony was he would have killed McGovern at the polls without the tricks.
Folks remember that. It led to Watergate which led to Gerald Ford, which led to Jimmy Carter, which led to Ronald Reagan, which led to Bush One, which led to the mess Bill Clinton faced. As Hillary (or one of her people) said, maybe a Clinton is needed to clean up the mess left by a Bush. They don't want history to repeat itself.
It'll take a hard, seasoned, gloves-off campaigner to beat John McCain, the presumed GOP nominee. Rudy Giuliani can't say "911" enough times to get the nomination, and Romney will eventually run out of money. Forget Thompson, who has already set the stage for a pullout, and Huckabee, a guy with a narrow constituency from a small state -- it'll be McCain.
Don't underestimate McCain: He's one tough cookie. You don't survive years in the Hanoi Hilton by being a wuss. It'll take a hard charger like Hillary with experience to beat McCain. I don't want to watch chipmunk cheeks and his secretary of state, Joe Lieberman, for the next four or eight years telling us how important it is to win the war in (country name here). You heard it first here, folks.
That is, of course, unless there's another surprise or two.
Let's start a new feature. Questions. These are things I want to know. If you have answers, please share them.
Question 1. Why do the liners of cereal boxes have to be so darn hard to open?
Did you see my piece in the New Haven Independent? www.newhavenindependent.orgThe meeting was fun to cover, but it was too bad the search for ideas became a complaint session. Anyway, I am priced to sell, so if you need some writing, editing or public relations help, please see www.thewordhive.com.
Until next time...