Mickey Kaus: I'm posting the following email from reader M, not to endorse it (or to criticize it) but just in case Obama supporters do not realize what their candidate is now up against. The email goes on to say, in part: I was liking Obama quite a bit until the militant black establishment came out for him. Here's the thing... your primary identity is either American or hyphenated-American. In other words, you can be American first, or you can be (example) Gay-American, African-American, WASP-American. So bottom line: Yes, backlash has already happened.
The emerging CW seems to be that the despite all the handwringing in 2007 about our broken primary process, things have in fact turned out okay. Just look at the negligible importance of the early states, says Jeff Greenfield: Remember all the lamentations, the rending of garments, the gnashing of teeth over the outsize power of two small, unrepresentative states over the presidential nomination process? Well, never mind.
Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and while there may be critical consensus that No Country For Old Men and There Will be Blood are the two best of the five best picture nominees, many people (including Chris) have assumed that Atonement was likely to win the big prize. This seemed right to me, but now we learn that the film was not nominated for best director--always a bad sign (perhaps a film buff can tell us in the Comments section whether a movie whose director has not been nominated has ever won best picture).
Leave it to Time magazine to ask (and answer) life's tough questions. This week's cover story, written by Jeffrey Kluger, seeks to explain to readers "Why We Love." Why indeed?! Kluger starts off on the wrong foot by writing: The last time you had sex, there was arguably not a thought in your head. O.K., if it was very familiar sex with a very familiar partner, the kind that--truth be told--you probably have most of the time, your mind may have wandered off to such decidedly nonerotic matters as balancing your checkbook or planning your week.
I can't believe no one has mentioned what surely was the most hilarious moment from last night's debate. Tim Russert asked all the candidates about their greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses. To the latter half of the question, John Edwards responded: I sometimes have a very powerful emotional response to pain that I see around me.
Fox calls Michigan for Mitt! --Isaac Chotiner
Matt Yglesias writes: I won't even pretend to be appalled by Clinton's cynicism -- the disenfranchisement gambit and all the rest -- because, frankly, the idea that Clinton would use dishonest political tactics to beat the GOP is, in my view, probably the most appealing thing about her. I assume this is meant partially in jest, so there's no need to get all high-minded, but I still think there is an important point here that Matt analyzes incorrectly.
Given that cable news and the internet are abuzz with talk of Robert Johnson's despicable allusions to Obama's teenage drug use, I was curious to see what Clinton surrogates would be saying about the matter. And, sure enough, Chris Matthews had Sheila Jackson Lee, an African-American Congresswoman from Texas, on to talk about the campaign (she's a big Clinton supporter). Anyway, Matthews asked her what she thought about the comments. She conspiculously did not even try to address the question, instead blathering on about Hillary's heart.
From this morning's Times: Top Giuliani Aides Forgo Salaries. From this morning's Post: Yesterday, Giuliani's campaign revealed that top aides are working without pay to save money, an indication that donors are growing restless as they watch the candidate finish repeatedly near the bottom of the GOP pack. From Matthew Continetti in The Weekly Standard: The Giuliani Implosion: From frontrunner to also-ran in eight short weeks. Has the campaign stopped giving Continetti a salary?! Is this the result? Say it ain't so... --Isaac Chotiner
You should read Ryan Lizza's summary/analysis of the Clinton/Obama contest, especially the later paragraphs which detail Clinton's cynical "Hispanic Strategy." Also, Ryan somehow got Sergio Bendixen, a top Clinton pollster, to open up: When I asked Bendixen about the source of Clinton’s strength in the Hispanic community, he mentioned her support for health care, and Hispanic voters’ affinity for the Clinton era. “It’s one group where going back to the past really works,” he said.