The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Fear and Loathing in the Airport Lounge: The Final Wisdom of My Iowa Journey

Posted on | August 18, 2011 | 7 Comments

The National Affairs Desk, Atlanta Airport, 8:30 p.m.

My flight home starts boarding in about an hour, so this will have to be quick. There is no deadline quite so final as the call for final boarding, so I’ll have to jam this together without thinking about it too much.

Michelle Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty quit and Rick Perry jumped in. All of this transpired in a single weekend, and so we have to ask ourselves — here in third week of August — exactly what it all means, if indeed it means anything at all. And I’m trying to think about this in a crowded airport lounge where the music is way too loud and is currently blaring Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.”

Who were those political geniuses who thought Tim Pawlenty was the man to carry the Republican Party banner in 2012? Someone needs to make a list of their names, so that henceforth, whenever these people support any other candidate, we can immediately declare that candidate doomed beyond all hope of redemption. The geniuses who assured us that America was on the verge of T-Paw Fever are now tainted and discredited by their guy’s multimillion-dollar flop.

Why has Bachmann’s Straw Poll victory made no difference to her perception by the mainstream media? She won the doggone thing, after all, and yet the media evidently believes that Rick Perry is the de facto front-runner. Why else would they be attacking him so furiously?

How will the Perry campaign deal with this laser-like scrutiny? He’s only been in the race four days and already stands accused of making up facts, to say nothing of Paulistas trolling for evidence of extra-marital hanky-panky.

Also: Guy Huntsman. WTF? This guy is an even bigger dud than Pawlenty and the only people who take him seriously are the liberal media. Huntsman represents the GOP of Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist and Dede Scozzafava. At what point will “Governor Asterisk,” as I’ve dubbed him, take the hint and stop overcrowding the stage at these televised debates, when everybody knows he will arrive at Tampa with exactly zero delegates?

Likewise: Newt Gingrich. That Titanic long ago hit its iceberg, and the only reason Newt hasn’t quit is because he knows he’ll get 10 minutes of TV time every time there’s a Republican debate.

By contrast, although they finished fourth and fifth respectively in the Ames straw-poll, it looks like Rick Santorum and Herman Cain are prepared to go the distance — win, lose or draw. Changes in the delegate-apportionment rules, which limit the winner-take-all process that has in earlier years pushed the GOP primary campaign toward an early decision, are likely to encourage Santorum and Cain to stick it out. Even if they never actually win a primary or caucus, they can pick up delegates all the way to the convention. The same is true of Ron Paul and . . .

Is it too early to float the prospect of a “brokered convention”? Yeah, I know: That’s every political journalist’s fantasy, and therefore I’m probably engaged in wishful thinking. But if none of the top-tier candidates can score an early knockout, it is entirely feasible that none of them will arrive at Tampa with enough delegates to score a first-ballot victory. And I’m not ruling it out at this point.

Prognostication is way above my pay-grade, of course. Those of our readers who hit the tip jar to fund this trip were paying for reporting, and I hope you got your money’s worth. In the space of a single week, I filed six articles for The American Spectator:

My unexpected Alabama detour — road-tripping down to Huntsville with Ladd Ehlinger and spending four days at the Hartselle, Ala., home of my buddy Stephen Gordon — was a function of the fact that I’d booked my flight to Iowa one-way, and had to wait for the tip-jar money to clear the bank before I could afford a plane ticket home.

And I’m damned near flat broke now, but I’ll be home in a few hours, and back in the arms of my wife and children, so I’m feeling good.

Well, time for final boarding. Wish me luck, and hit the freaking tip jar!



7 Responses to “Fear and Loathing in the Airport Lounge: The Final Wisdom of My Iowa Journey”

  1. Mike
    August 19th, 2011 @ 1:57 am

    48 bylines on one topic in a week…Dude, you’re my hero! Thanks for the great reporting from Iowa. You were head and shoulders above the MSM.

    P.S. I just bought your book…it came in the mail yesterday.

  2. Fear and Loathing in the Airport Lounge: The Final Wisdom of My Iowa Journey « That Mr. G Guy's Blog
    August 18th, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    […] Fear and Loathing in the Airport Lounge: The Final Wisdom of My Iowa Journey. […]

  3. Adjoran
    August 19th, 2011 @ 6:33 am

    Look, people get candidates wrong all the time – and if you figure most candidates hire a certain number of paid consultants, staffers, and fundraisers, most of those guys will be proved wrong every cycle.  People who picked Reagan also picked Gramm, Forbes, and Giuliani. 

    At least picking T-Paw wasn’t as futilely stupid as, say, voting for Bob Barr.

    Bachmann isn’t getting the love for Ames because Ames is meaningless.  Pat Robertson won the thing.  Romney won it last time but it didn’t seem to help when it mattered. 

    And let’s just face it, she has the thinnest resume of any candidate.  She has no accomplishments to point to.  She gives a great speech and says the things a lot of people want to hear.  So did Obama, and we can see how that worked out.

  4. Bob Belvedere
    August 19th, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    -Ah…the  ‘brokered convention’ ? the eternal wet dream of every reporter.

    -What Mike said ? in spades [am I allowed to write that?].

  5. Obi's Sister
    August 19th, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

    So let me get this straight… you were in ATL and didn’t call me?!?!?

    I’m crushed.  Just crushed.

  6. ThePaganTemple
    August 19th, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

    At least picking T-Paw wasn’t as futilely stupid as, say, voting for Bob Barr.

    You’re right it was worse.

  7. GOP Presidential Primary Apocalypse : The Other McCain
    August 20th, 2011 @ 9:43 am

    […] the possibility of an endless primary fight that results in a brokered convention at Tampa.I had raised this same possibility Thursday, with the caveat that it’s probably wishful thinking: A brokered convention is every […]