Posted on | January 11, 2012 | 40 Comments
“There was never enough time. Every deadline was a crisis. All around me were experienced professional journalists meeting deadlines far more frequent than mine, but I was never able to learn from their example.”
– Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72
BOSTON LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Pete Da Tech Guy woke me up about 9 o’clock this morning: “We both overslept! We’ve got to hurry!” But first he had to figure out how to connect the computer to the printer to print my boarding pass. Pete did some excellent driving to get me to the airport on time, and we listened to Boston talk radio on the way. with the question of the day being, “Is Mitt Romney inevitable? Is it all over but the shouting? Have all efforts to stop Mitt been a vain and futile waste of time? Should we jump off a bridge now, or wait until after the Florida primary?” (I paraphrase slightly.)
For conservatives, Tuesday was “A Cruel Night in New Hampshire“:
MANCHESTER, N.H. — About 40 percent of voters in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary cast their ballots for either Texas Rep. Ron Paul or former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who finished second and third behind the “It’s His Turn” Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Adding in Romney’s 39 percent, the top three finishers in the Granite State got nearly 80 percent of the vote — even though none of them can credibly claim to represent the mainstream of GOP conservatism that has developed over the past three decades. Romney, of course, has been on both sides of every important issue during his political career, having even denied any fealty to “Reagan-Bush” during his unsuccessful 1994 Senate race. Ron Paul’s foreign policy views are not merely at odds with mainstream Republicanism, but arguably put him to the left of President Obama. And Huntsman has not only embraced same-sex civil unions and global-warming theory, but has praised the Democratic president who appointed him ambassador to China.
Thus in New Hampshire, a state where independents are eligible to vote in the GOP primary, barely 20 percent of voters chose either of the conservative candidates — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich or former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — who competed here. Gingrich and Santorum each got less than 10 percent of the vote, providing the only real suspense of the night with their see-saw battle for fourth place. Texas Gov. Rick Perry didn’t even bother to campaign in the Granite State, and got about 1,500 votes. And so the first-in-the-nation primary ends with the fight for the Republican nomination exactly where it was when the campaign started, with Romney as the pre-emptive favorite. . . .
That’s from my American Spectator column today and you should read the whole thing, in case you aren’t yet sufficiently depressed. Last night at the Radisson Hotel, I came to the conclusion that Republicans are on the verge of nominating their own John Kerry: A candidate whose supposed strength — for Kerry, his military service; for Romney, his business background — proves to be a dangerous weakness.
The Gingrich “super PAC” is about to unload $5 million worth of attack ads on Romney in South Carolina, and as weird as it seems for a Republican to be attacking “ruthless” capitalism . . . Well, Newt was always kind of weird anyway, so this only confirms what we already knew about him.
In New Hampshire, they still have only 98% of precincts reporting, with both Gingrich (23,271 votes) and Rick Santorum (23,118) at 9.4 percent. Michele Bachmann, who quit the race a week ago, got 349 votes Tuesday, which is more than twice the margin between Gingrich and Santorum. Take that as proof that New Hampshire voters are extraordinarly stupid. Top headline this morning at Memeorandum:
Which is not the craziest thing Ron Paul has said in the past 24 hours. Hell, he probably said a half-dozen crazier things before breakfast today. But that’s how this campaign has been: Non-stop insanity from start to finish. It’s like being assigned to cover a psychotic breakdown, so that the challenge as a journalist is to report accurately all the paranoid gibberish, the bizarre hallucinations and delusions of grandeur.
And there is never enough time to report it all. I’m flying home today for a couple of days of rest, before it drives me nuts. Time to board that flight. Hit the freaking tip jar!
- Jan. 10: NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY HQ UPDATE: Romney Wins; Ron Paul Second; Huntsman Third; Gingrich, Santorum Fight for Fourth Place
- Jan. 10: Maybe This Explains My Problem
- Jan. 10: Ron Paul and the ‘Not Romneys’
- Jan. 10: Rick Santorum Dodges an Issue?
- Jan. 9: Among the Paulistas in New Hampshire
- Jan. 9: Ron Paul Campaign Flyer Emphasizes Opposition to Gay Marriage, Abortion
- Jan. 9: Media Mayhem in the Granite State
- Jan. 8: Bitter Fruits of a Bitter Seed: Envy, Feminism, Maureen and Meghan
- Jan. 9: Sunday Morning Coming Down in New Hampshire ‘Meet the Depressed’ Debate
- Jan. 7: POST-DEBATE SPIN ROOM
- Jan. 7: ABC NEW HAMPSHIRE DEBATE
- Jan. 7: Santorum Surge Hits Hollis, N.H. UPDATE: Photos, Videos Added
- Jan. 7: Cain Still Loved in New Hampshire
- Jan. 7: Rick Santorum Speech in Nashua: ‘New Hampshire, Send a Message’
- Jan. 6: Two Excellent Arguments in Favor of a Jon Huntsman Presidency
- Jan. 6: Newt Meets the Media in Nashua
- Jan. 6: Ron Paul Rally in Nashua, N.H.
- Jan. 5: Rick Santorum in Windham, N.H.
- Jan. 5: Rick Santorum in Concord, N.H.
- Jan. 5: Greetings From the Granite State!
- Jan. 5: Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Eight Days in a Mustang Later …