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January 09, 2008

Winners and Losers
Posted by Michael Cohen

The Big Winner Not Named Hillary or John McCain: Michael Whouley. First he helps win Iowa for Gore and Kerry, now Hillary in New Hampshire. Apparently the guy is good.

Big VERY Darkhorse Winner: On the GOP side, clearly McCain is the big winner, but in a weird way tonight's result kind of helps Huckabee. If it was a two-man race, the GOP establishment would get behind the non-Huckster candidate. But now, it's a three man race. And more to the point, you have to figure Romney will aim his fire on McCain (after all he is the front runner). It might give Huckabee an opportunity to fly under the radar screen and do something in the South.  Plus all the confusion over what happened with the Dems might take some of the luster off McCain's win. I still have my money on PlasticMan, but Huckabee is hardly out of this thing.

The Other Big Winner:  Hotel owners and taxi cab drivers in South Carolina and Nevada! 24 hours ago there was talk of Hillary skipping those two votes. Now we have a race. Of course the real big winner here is all the reporters who get to go Nevada and hang out in Vegas for a week.

Big Losers: Too many to name, but clearly the pollsters and pundits are first, but here's my pick, Bill Richardson. Think he might regret telling his supporters to support Obama in Iowa. The Clinton's have a long memory . . .

Biggest Loser Message: Change. Remember how after Iowa, everyone was getting on the "change" bandwagon; change was the theme of 2008 . . . uh, not so much. Tonight a 71-year old Senator who's been in DC forever (and who won the 2000 NH primary) and Ms. Status Quo herself won. So much for that change thing. You actually have to feel sorry for Mitt Romney here . . . Obama wins in Iowa, Mitt quickly changes tack and embraces change and then change loses in new Hampshire. It ain't easy being a flip-flopper.

The Biggest Creep: John Edwards. First he jabs at Hillary for showing emotion. It was a political attack that was both classless and ungentlemanly (isn't Edwards from the South). Second, after getting pummeled in New Hampshire he insists he's staying in the race. Now I respect Edwards desire to compete, but honestly, the guy has run for President twice - the voters have clearly spoken, they're not interested in what he is selling. Moreover, by staying in the race he is clearly siphoning off "change" votes from Obama. If the guy really wants to defeat the forces of the status quo why is staying in the race and helping Hillary? The dishonesty and cravenness of his campaign just continues unabated.

Most Likely to be Doing Dry Heaves Around 10:45 Tonight: Andrew Sullivan. Do I really need to explain that one?

Best Post-Election Speeches: Hillary was pretty good tonight. She really came across well. I still find her message a bit hard to nail down, but she was confident, happy and she looked like a winner. Obama's speech was great, but I have to tell you, and I might be alone here,  the man needs to lighten up. His earnestness is getting to be a bit much. I know what I wrote the other day about the brilliance of his Iowa speech, but I'm starting to wonder if his uberseriousness is rubbing people the wrong way.

I know he lost, but still you got to smile once in a while. Tell some jokes, have some fun up there. I can't believe I'm writing these words, but when I watched their two speeches again, Hillary actually seemed like the one I wouldn't mind having a beer with, while Obama seemed more likely to give me a lecture.

The dark horse in this category is Romney. I actually thought he was great tonight. He even seemed somewhat human and not the pre-programmed robot he usually comes across as. Don't forget the guy lost by only five points. The Mittser lives!

Worst Acceptance Speech: Mccain. Ugh! John, great primary night acceptance speeches are pretty rarely read from a lectern. Actually, Hillary's speech began to falter when she started reading as well. Do what Obama does guys . . . get a teleprompter.

Biggest Overnight Rehabilitation: Bill Clinton. Today's attack on the press for not scrutinizing Obama's record was classic Clinton self-pity. I love the guy, but it made me cringe. If Hillary lost, it would have been an ignominious way to leave the political arena. Instead some of the exit polling shows he was a boon to Hillary. Seriously, if you want to stop Bill Clinton, you best bring Kryptonite.

Worst Op-ed of 2008: Gloria Steinem. I know the year is young, but it's going to hard to top the drivel she put in the New York Times today. First she argues that women don't get a fair shake in American politics. So what happens  . . Hilary wins New Hampshire and largely because of female votes. But here's the worst part, she won in some measure because she rallied female voters by playing on some of the worst stereotypes of women, namely emotion over strength (which of course Steinem railed against) You know it's a pretty bad op-ed when within about 18 hours of being published you are proven wrong not once . . . but twice.

Most Disturbing Explanation for Why the Polls Were Wrong: The Bradley Effect. For those of you unfamiliar, the Bradley effect describes a phenomenon whereby white voters tell pollsters they are voting for a black candidate, but then when they get in the polling booths vote for the white. I have no idea if this explains what happened. But when the polls are this wrong . . . Of course, tell that to the Des Moines Register.


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