Friday, January 04, 2008

The body politics

A few notes from watching a few hours of coverage of the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3:

* Anyone who wondered why Barack Obama was doing so well only needed to watch his victory speech. He captured the moment beautifully. All of a sudden Hillary Clinton's inevitability seems far less ordained.

* Speaking of Mrs. Clinton, my wife thought it was interesting that she was constantly called "Hillary" by TV commentators while the others were called by their last names. Sexism? Or is it simply recognizing that "Hillary" is all over her signs and other campaign material, no doubt to stop people from thinking her husband is running again?

* Mike Huckabee's victory speech supported my impression of him from one of the debates. This is a friendly, approachable person who knows how to stick to the point. Besides, as Bill Clinton said, he's the only Republican candidate who knows how to tell a joke. I don't know how well he can hold up nationally, but it was nice to see him get a moment in the sun.

* Quick story about Huckabee -- I once wrote the press secretary asking for an interview with the Governor about running. We didn't connect on a time, and then Huckabee started moving up in the polls. Oops -- no time for an interview with a New York State reporter. Can't say I blame them for that decision. Maybe Joe Biden has time for such an interview now.

* If John McCain were a stock, I'd put a "buy" on his chances of winning the Republican nomination ... particularly if he wins in New Hampshire. Mitt Romney's chances seem to be shrinking by the hour. If Fred Thompson isn't too interested in winning, why should anyone else be? And Rudy Giuliani seems to be hitting the wall that we all knew a relatively liberal Republican might hit in the primary process.

* Keith Olbermann was quite restrained and professional during his time on the anchor desk for MSNBC. He gets credit for a William McKinley reference too. Chris Matthews seemed a little obsessed with what the headlines overseas might look like, and he took a few too many sides at times -- acting like he was still on "Hardball." Meanwhile, it's always good to have Tim Russert around.

* CNN certainly misses Jeff Greenfield (now back at CBS), the sharpest commentator in the business in my book, although it is smart to have David Gergen on as often as possible. Meanwhile, Suzanne Malveaux looks like she is being groomed for big things at the outlet, with good reason.