Live-blogging Iowa caucus day

Live-blogging coverage of the Iowa caucuses: First voting of the new year, first voting in 2012, as we are often reminded.

Romney in Iowa

The unspoken refrain here btw is ongoing apologies for repeating things that have already been said, sort of like a continuing objection by defense attorneys in a deposition hearing.

Wish the network and cable commentators felt the same way. Some items from left-over Xmas stockings:

  • as ever, some network analysts are trying desperately to home in on their default analysis for every election cycle–the scenario boiling down to an establishment front-runner and an insurgent challenger from the wings of the party. This narrative has been applied to every GOP race and most Democratic races in adult memory. It seems not to be working this year, but that’s not stopping them.
  • commentators, guest interviewers and guest interviewees alike are by-and-large working to boost Mitt Romney. We’re seeing it right now, on the day of the caucuses, especially. The Reverend Mr. Franklin Graham weighed thus in last night on CNN, not endorsing any candidate including Romney but saying repeatedly that “We are not voting for a pastor-in-chief. We are voting for a commander-in-chief.” He used the word “qualified” more than once, too, generally shorthand for Romney among supporters. Graham said nothing to boost any Christian-conservative candidate against other candidates.
  • Trying to shoehorn this election season into a winnowing-the-field narrative. So far, the winnowing has not occurred.
  • Trying to figure out whether to characterize this primary season as a marathon or a sprint. Both are cliches. Neither illuminates much of anything.
  • Avoiding discussion, in a political context, that would shed light on what Republicans in Congress have actually done this year.
  • Legitimizing dreadful policies and mean statements.
  • Leveling out the differences between the parties, downgrading or burying the Dems and rehabilitating or dignifying Repubs.
  • Refusing to say directly that the GOP top crust in office is trying to break the middle class. You don’t hear that. You do hear NBC’s David Gregory saying, with straight face, that Mitt Romney has a message for the middle class.

Not once do regressive tax policies get brought up. Only infrequently do the costs of GWBush’s two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy, and unbridled incompentence and fraud on Wall Street get brought up.

Simple, but accurate–almost every Republican in federal office is working for one overarching trend: rich-get-richer.

Regardless of the wishes of ordinary people who voted for them, now being terrorized by rhetorical hammering on ‘the debt’, the function they fulfill in public office is to benefit the few who will hire/retain them in parasitic functions such as consulting and lobbying, once they leave office.

It is no demagoguery to boil down their message for the middle class: Drop dead!

Speaking of winnowing, Sarah Palin is trying to get into the game. Palin is calling on Huntsman and Bachmann to leave the race.

I see Huntsman (counter-intuitively) as vice-presidential material for Romney. None of these candidates has a very good shot against President Obama.

[added]

Commentators also tend to position ‘electable’ versus everything else including every kind of merit. There is more than a kernel of truth to the observation that politics is not for the perfect. But the gross differences between better and worse do not necessarily boil down to a difference between character and being ‘electable’. The large media outlets do not have a good track record when it comes to picking the electable candidate, anyway.

Of course, they have been on the receiving end of a lot of obfuscation themselves. Bush and Cheney did not run on a platform of assaulting the Middle East abroad and the middle class at home. If they had, presumably they would have been perceived as less electable even by the corporate media outlets.

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