Frothy’s Night

For once Nate Silver was a tad off, but he had said it would be close. So Frothy has won Alabama and Mississippi, and it looks like Noot will be second in both and Mittens third. I tried to see some TV commentary on this, but every time I turned to MSNBC either Frothy or Noot were talking, and I’d rather have my fingernails ripped off than listen to them. But I suspect this isn’t going to help Mittens much.

Do see this cartoon. It’s a hoot.

Meanwhile, the Republicans Are Still Looking for a Candidate

We’ve been having so much fun I’ve been forgetting about the presidential primaries. So today is Super Tuesday. Nate Silver has Mittens winning Massachusetts and Virginia for sure and probably Ohio also, with Frothy a close second. Newt will pick up Georgia, and Frothy likely will take Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Mittens should end up with at least half of the delegates he needs to clinch the nomination.

Meanwhile, a few Republicans are beginning to suspect that the GOP brand is perhaps being compromised by extremism (ya think?) and have suggested that a good bottoming out, à la Barry Goldwater in 1964, might not be a bad thing. But they don’t think it will happen this year, because if Mittens is the nominee and loses, the whackjobs will see it as proof that they should have found a certifiable screaming lunatic real conservative to run.

Via Annie Laurie, Doghouse Riley:

THE 2012 Republican Presidential primaries will be remembered, if at all, for having taught us any number of things we already knew.

Rush Limbaugh is a human cloud of flatulence. Rick Santorum is a 10th century religious lunatic. Newt Gingrich is to serious politics what Newt Gingrich is to academic history.

Nobody likes Mitt Romney.

Of course the preeminent truth is that the whole goddam party is insane, and that the Press, having ignored the over-abundance of evidence of this for a generation, now finds itself incapable of dealing with this. Aside from the customary writing of scripts designed to encompass all such facts as aren’t truly inconvenient. Those, as always, get ignored.

The thing is, everyone on the planet whose head is screwed on all the way can see plainly that the GOP has driven itself into a ditch in the clown car. The only ones who can’t see it are most Republicans, and that’s because they are demented. So I don’t see them learning any lessons, no matter watch.

Michigan Primary Nail-Biter

Nate Silver says the Michigan primary is too close to call, and conventional wisdom says Mittens must win Michigan or lose his argument that he is the most electable candidate.

There is a lot of talk about Democrats doing “mischief” and voting for Santorum in the Republican primary. Somewhere this morning I read that this was not being endorsed by either the Obama Administration or the Michigan Democratic Party. However, Steve M says the Santorum campaign has a robocall going to Democrats asking them to vote for Santorum.

Meanwhile, CBS reports that President Obama’s approval rating with women has taken a big leap recently. Do tell.

Newt Blows Off the NYC Vote

The great gas-passing orifice erupts:

Speaking in Las Vegas ahead of the Nevada caucus, a contest he is sure to lose, Gingrich attacked “elites” in Manhattan who live in high rises and “ride the subway.”

Oh, I so hope Newt stays in the race until the very bitter end. Who else would say anything this stupid? Well, OK, Rick Santorum. And Mittens. But let’s go on …

It must be beyond perplexing to a native New Yorker that anyone would conflate elitism with subway riding. The truly elite don’t take the subways; they have chauffeurs. The exception is Mayor Bloomberg, who famously takes the subway to work to show that he’s a man of the people. However, according to Gothamist, Hizzoner is picked up at his Upper East Side townhome and rides 22 blocks in a chaffeur-driven Chevy Suburban to the 59th Street and Lexington station, and he catches the subway (I assume the downtown express train to Borough Hall) from there.

I think the real slam here is to paint all of New York City as somehow outside America (I guess 9/11 really is forgotten). It’s a mysterious, intimidating place where people use alien words like “bodega.” And except for the truly elite, the New York City subways may be one of the few places in America where people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds and nearly all economic circumstances mingle together as equals. Is that what’s really bothering you, Newt?

Everybody’s In!

I am pleased to report that none of the remaining GOP contenders are dropping out yet. Party on!

Dylan Byers at Politico figured out that each Romney Florida vote cost the Romney campaign and its superPAC $19.94, whereas runner-up Newt spent just $6.38 per vote. And for the $15,389,287 it cost the Romney tribe to win Florida, he still got less than half of the vote.

Also, Gingrich won more votes in the panhandle than Romney, which suggests Mittens really does have a Southern problem.

Also, too: President Obama is out-fundraising the lot of them, and he isn’t having to spend a ton of money winning primaries.

Florida Primary

Nate is giving Mittens a 97 percent chance of winning the Florida primary today, so it’s all over but the votin’. The establishment, faced with a choice between Mittens and Newt, have now congealed around Mittens. Barring an intervention by God, Mittens will be the nominee.

However, word is that Newt is crazy/deluded/narcissistic enough to keep campaigning. I hope so; Mittens is such a crashing bore.

Speaking of the Great Gas-Passing Orifice — Newt’s latest contribution to our nation’s political discourse is another doozy —

The transcript, via Think Progress

GINGRICH: Now, I think we need to have a government that respects our religions. I’m a little bit tired about respecting every religion on the planet. I’d like them to respect our religion.

And what religion would that be, Newt? The Church of Asshattery? But you see why I would be sooo disappointed if Newt drops out now.

Newt says President Obama and Mittens have been waging a “war against religion,” most recently for not permitting the Catholic bishops to dictate the reproductive choices of their non-Catholic employees. Apparently this violates the bishops’ “freedom” to force their beliefs on people who don’t agree with them.

The Twilight of the Newt

Nate Silver expects Mittens to win Florida, and conventional wisdom says that will effectively be the end of the contest. If true, we have only a few more days to snark about Newt. Unfortunately I am snarked out at the moment. Even Charles Pierce is out sick, and his replacement’s efforts fall a bit short on the coffee-snorting meter.

But if any of you are in the mood to snark, be my guest.

No No Newt

I didn’t watch last night’s GOP debate, but the consensus this morning is that Newtie did not impress anyone. “He sounded bad, he looked bad, and generally came across like a weasel who had finally been cornered by Animal Control,” said Ed Kilgore.

I agree with Steve M that Newt needs someone to bash, or he doesn’t know what to do with himself. And after South Carolina, the questioners have been careful not to throw him a cudgel.

Timothy Egan has an unusually frank (for the New York Times) portrait of Newt:

Gingrich, as he showed in a gasping effort in Thursday night’s debate in Florida, is a demagogue distilled, like a French sauce, to the purest essence of the word’s meaning. He has no shame. He thinks the rules do not apply to him. And he turns questions about his odious personal behavior into mock outrage over the audacity of the questioner.

Nate Silver has Mittens pulling ahead of Newt in his Florida projections. But Newt’s SuperPAC is expected to blitz the state with television ads over the weekend, so it’s possible the race will tighten again.

Hoisted, Own Petards, Etc.

The latest numbers at Nate’s place suggest Mittens might win Florida after all, although it’s currently close. And the GOP establishment is petrified. But, really, this train wreck is entirely their own fault.

Jonathan Chait writes that Newt’s campaign is being kept alive by Citizen’s United.

Money is the primary mechanism that parties use to herd voters toward the choices the elites would prefer them to make. The nomination of George W. Bush offers a classic example. Bush and his network had organized so many Republicans to donate so much money that the contest was essentially over well before a vote had been cast. …

…In 2000, the Bush network froze challenger John McCain out of party fund-raising networks. Now, the GOP is trying to do this again on behalf of Romney. … Ten years ago, this sort of edict would have suffocated Gingrich. But under the present system, Gingrich can simply have a single extremely wealthy supporter, Sheldon Adelson, write a series of $5 million checks.

The Super PACs are supposed to be independent of the campaigns, and of course that’s a charade. But once again we see the sharp teeth of unintended consequences. The Right believed that SuperPACs would be key to crushing progressivism once and for all, and so far it’s not working out that way.