Ever since Michele Bachmann announced her intention to form a presidential exploratory committee, pundits, including Ed Kilgore at TNR, have been making the case that she has a good chance at winning Iowa—or if not winning, then doing well enough to hurt one or more of the stronger candidates. Republican caucus-goers in the state, they argue, are at least half-nuts, and therefore may well support Bachmann or some other candidate who doesn’t pass conventional standards of seriousness. Certainly, Iowa Republicans are very socially conservative, more so than in some other states.
Last weekend began with Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, clinging to his job primarily via implicit racial blackmail. Steele’s tenure has consisted of a string of gaffes and managerial blunders, but Republicans had concluded that his color made him un-fireable.
Is it just me, or is there something poignant about Alan Keyes's pushing a SpongeBob Squarepants stroller in the NYT photo of the conservative groups protesting Obama's speech at Notre Dame? A little less than five years ago, Keyes was making a (admittedly desperate) run against Obama to be Illinois's junior senator. Today, Obama is president and Keyes has been relegated to a small crowd pic accompanying a piece that only bothers to mention his name in a photo caption. Poignant, and yet deeply satisfying. --Michelle Cottle
A couple more GOP debate observations that didn’t quite fit my narrative: Giuliani and McCain seemed either unusually subdued (Giuliani) or a little lost (McCain). I couldn’t tell if that’s because they both realize they’re going nowhere in Iowa, or because they were blind-sided by the arbitrary exclusion of immigration and Iraq from the proceedings—issues Rudy and McCain like to talk about, respectively. Whatever the case, they felt like nonentities. Fred Thompson, like Frank said, seemed to find his mojo from time to time. Way too little, way too late.
Some of my best campaign memories come from air travel. I once awoke from a nap on a transcontinental flight to find Alan Keyes hovering over me. After I rubbed my eyes, he was still there. Apparently, I was sitting a row behind his kids. Where Keyes traveled in first class, he kept his kids back in the cheap seats. As I arose, Keyes delivered a lecture on the curvature of the planet. It was a stunning performance--the same slap shot gesticulation and stentorian tone that he deployed in his compulsively watchable turns at GOP debates.
Hold the presses! There may indeed be something better than Newt '08. From AlanKeyes.com: AMES - Supporters of Alan Keyes plan to attend the Iowa Straw Poll Aug.
Ross Perot's reform party is about to do something no third party has done in a century: transcend its founder. And it will be thanks to Pat Buchanan. Although Buchanan won't give either major candidate a scare in this year's presidential election, he'll probably line up enough disenchanted social conservatives, blue-collar workers threatened by imports, and disillusioned independents to win 7,000,000 votes.