The Black Friday Political Thread


It's the biggest shopping day of the year, if not one of the bigger blogging days. If you're still thinking about gifts, how about a 3-CD history of America through cover songs, edited by Janet Reno? (Sadly, she passed on AC/DC's "Burnin' Alive.")

Unconvincing quote of the week…

"Hell, yeah, I'm confrontational."— John Edwards to a voter in Iowa, on Tuesday.

The week in brief…

– New Hampshire locked in its primary date: January 8, 2008. Michigan Democrats (now set for January 15) may still throw a tantrum, but New Hampshire is a go, and reason will be covering the primary from the ground at the start of next year.

– The Supreme Court took up the D.C. gun ban.

Too smart to be president? The Politico's Jonathan Martin has a thumbsucker about the state of the Fred Thompson campaign. According to most of his sources, the campaign missed its opening and is now, at best, an insurgent campaign that could get lucky, or at worst, a Hindenburg filled with screaming widows. Martin, however, argues that Thompson is finding his footing by talking policy.

[The National Right to Life endorsement] was followed by two recent policy roll-outs — on Social Security and the military — that have generally won warm reviews. Thompson's Social Security outline was praised by both the National Review and The Washington Post editorial page. It's in talking about substance and diving headlong into policy minutia that Thompson is plainly most happy — and Thompson seeming happy while campaigning has not happened much.

This leads me to wonder if I'd underestimated Thompson. For starters, the stupidest rationales for his campaign were not Thompson's own. They came from his backers, salivating over his old pick-up truck and his "commanding voice," or fantasizing about him towering over Hillary Clinton (and her "stubby little legs"). But I don't think I was unfair. Thompson didn't enter this race because it was lacking a federalist. He entered it because conservatives wanted a Reaganesque figure who could inspire them and unite their factions.

One troublesome piece of evidence: Fred's online fan club seems to be shrinking. In the summer, I thought that the excitement and momentum for the Thompson campaign online was strangling the other conservative campaigns—Brownback, Tommy Thompson, et al—in their cribs. He probably did kill those campaigns off a bit sooner, but the momentum's slackened. A grassroots "moneybomb" scheduled for 11/21, the day before Thanksgiving, looks to have been a bust. He received only 82 pledges for $100 apiece, so it's likely he raised less than $100,000.

Ron Paul rising. Earlier this week Mike Huckabee told reporters he was the only presidential candidate who's seen a steady surge of support. Not true: Ron Paul has decisively broken from the 1 percent/margin of error ghetto into, at the very least, spoiler status. RealClearPolitics still doesn't include Paul in all of the averages, but 4.5 percent in Iowa, 6.8 percent in New Hampshire, and 7.3 percent in Nevada. The latest South Carolina poll puts Paul at 8 percent. David Bergland, the (disastrous) 1984 Libertarian Party candidate for president, is overjoyed.

There is no one, true path to liberty. The Ron Paul campaign, the internet, and the millions of people involved in both prove it every day. The old, political establishment is under siege. The power-mad goons are surrounded by heroic lovers of freedom whose numbers will continue to increase exponentially. I'm glad I have lived long enough to see it.

It's a little surprising, how little sting the "nazi" and "9/11 truther" attacks are hurting Paul. Maybe they're an internet phenomenon with no purchase in the real world. You know, like the Paul campaign used to be.

Below the fold…

– Debi Ghate wishes you an Ayn Rand Thanksgiving.

– Bruce Falconer explains the rise of Help Save Manassas, the anti-immigration powerhouse in suburban DC.

Ezra Klein advocates for a Joe Biden vice presidency. Some people call this the "silly season."

– Yes, Kerry Howley conclusively demolished all that whining about Hillary Clinton "playing the gender card." Still… Clinton's caucus page for women is called "You Go Girl." She can't be playing cards—all that winking gives her hand away.

This week's installment of Politics 'n' Prog is a hit by The Nice that encapsulates the meaning of the holiday.