January 30, 2008
TNR's Super Tuesday Primer
Super Tuesday has arrived, and TNR is here to help you make sense of all the states that are holding primaries or caucuses today. With 52 percent of all pledged Democratic Party delegates and 41 percent of the total Republican Party delegates at stake, Super Tuesday's results will be crucial for both party's candidates in securing the presidential nomination. Alabama"Sick of the meaninglessness of its traditional June primary, Alabama was one of the first states to move its 2008 primary forward to February 5.
Georgia, the empire state of the South, is once again a Super Tuesday state and one of the biggest prizes at stake on February 5. In 1992, it provided Bill Clinton's first win in a primary and backed him in the general election, but has since become solidly Republican at both the state and federal levels. Georgia is the third-largest Southern state (behind Texas and Florida), and is widely considered a must-win state for Barack Obama.
Aside from being John McCain's home state, Arizona is one of America’s fastest growing states, increasing its delegate count and importance over the past 15 years. The state is one of the few to house more registered Republicans than Democrats, but because both parties’ primaries are closed, this shouldn’t make a difference on February 5. Delegates: Democrats: 67; Republicans: 53. Format: The Democrats distribute their delegates proportionally via a closed primary; the Republican winner receives all of the state’s delegates via a closed primary.
The home state of Larry Craig, Napoleon Dynamite, and the undefeated 2006 Boise State Broncos may not be the top prize at stake on February 5. But given that Idaho is one of the reddest states in the country, it should provide a test of how well the Democratic candidates can compete in normally hostile territory. (The Republicans will select their delegates in a June primary.) Delegates: 23 (18 at stake in caucuses; 5 superdelegates). Format: Idaho does not register voters by party, so the caucuses are open--any registered voter in the state may participate.
For most of the folks with “1.20.09” bumper stickers on their cars, the date of the next inauguration represents the day they can stop obsessing over the depredations of George W. Bush. The 43rd president can head back to Prairie Chapel Ranch and a life of endless mountain-biking opportunities. His detractors can move on to new political battles, presumably featuring less calamitous results. It should be a great day all around.
Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus are to be commended for challenging the conventional environmental policy paradigm and provoking a necessary dialogue on the future of environmental protection. As I have written elsewhere, Break Through is an important book. Their critique of contemporary environmentalism is important and insightful. They decry its overreliance on a "doomsday discourse" and lament the movement's mutation into yet another interest group within the Democratic Party's political coalition.
Mitt Romney's colleagues truly loathe him. When John McCain fields questions about the former Massachusetts governor, you can see his smile tighten and that famous rage begin to well. Or take the healthy dose of gratuitous gloating that emanated from Mike Huckabee's camp upon Romney's second-place finish in New Hampshire, when the Arkansan's aides openly relished the fact that Romney squandered millions of dollars and even vastly more precious neighborly good will.
When Hillary Snubbed Me
Poor Hillary was snubbed by Barack Obama. I suppose she thinks he should have snubbed Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri instead. He was closer to McCaskill then he was to Hillary who was, in any case, already engaged in false pleasantries with Senator Kennedy. What's more, Hillary is known to snub people all the time.
The Tnr Primary: Erica Jong
In the newest issue of the magazine, fourteen eggheads and eminences wrote short essays announcing whom they'd be voting for and why. We'll be unveiling these responses on The Plank throughout the next two weeks. This is what Erica Jong, author of Fear of Flying, had to say: Women are always in the wrong--particularly in politics. Our culture is sexist, and we don't even see it. Gloria Steinem said, "We'll do anything not to elect a woman." Women are attacked whenever we go public. Think of Eleanor Roosevelt, Bella Abzug--and Hillary Clinton. So Clinton has run a gauntlet.
As expected, at today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Attorney General Michael Mukasey declined to say whether he thought waterboarding was illegal, on the grounds that it's not currently being used by the administration. The most interesting part of the hearing, though, was a line of questioning from Joe Biden.