chicago bureau

Reality Catches Up With Us All, Really

People have been trying to figure out who would be the Anti-Romney in the Republican field since forever.  Yet, there was one guy who was the undisputed Anti-Nutjob. There was one guy who stood up and, without saying it explicitly, declared what we all knew to be true: “you people are insane.

It’s a weird tag on the guy. By most observations, Jon Huntsman, who according to reports is dropping out and set to endorse Mittens, was as conservative on most things as the others.  But the fact that committed several cardinal sins — serving the Obama administration, suggesting that climate change might actually have some science behind it, etc. — doomed his run, almost from the start.

The fact that Huntsman’s Ticket To Ride from New Hampshaah was to a political hospice surprises absolutely nobody.  But the departure is somewhat sad, nonetheless.  Some people thought that his dog of a campaign was cute — acting like it was people and everything.  They’ll be disappointed, surely.  Meanwhile, us dirty hippies are left with Mittens, Frothy, Newtie, the leader of the rEVOLution, and (at least for the next week) Ranger Rick as the only real possible opponents for Black Eagle.  If we were forced to choose between any of those clowns (should The Worst happen), we would take Huntsman over any of them, in a heartbeat.  Thus, the last chance for somebody with at least a tenuous grip on reality taking the GOP nod has come and gone.

And so: good night, sweet prince.  Let sane, rational angels sing thee to thy mansion.

Would You Like To Make A Final Statement?

Interesting.  You’d think that Shelly Bachmann would give it up, losing badly in her backyard and all.

It still says here — I insist — that Bachmann is done.  Anybody donating money to her at this point would do better at a slot machine.

But someone who doubled her up in the vote total has been strapped to the gurney.  Yes, fans: Ranger Rick Perry is going to spend more time cutting his family’s budget.  (Officially, he’s going to pray about the best way forward.  Given the results when he prayed for rain, you’d think that the Big Fella has heard enough from Rick for one lifetime.)

You have to admit, though, he was kind of responsible for the crystallizing moment of the race so far, when he drew applause for killing more prisoners than anybody else.  That, I must say, was a genuinely shocking moment, which you don’t usually get from a presidential debate nowadays.

For that, Rick, we say thank you. And fuck you.

Crazy Can Only Get You So Far

Well, we lost a few guys before the election season properly started.  Seeing as The Donald, Sarah Plain and Dumb, Timothy the Dull, and Herman Cain were late scratches, we cannot really say that they were felled by the electorate.

Ah, but we can say hail, and farewell, to Michelle Bachmann tonight.  Born in Iowa, she was the only one from a state which touches the Hawkeye State, and somebody who was banking on the tea partiers and thumpers and disheartened Mama Grizzlies to bring her across the line.  And she looks like that she has converted her straw poll win into… sixth place.  Thud.  (Noted: the votes are still coming in, but it looks uniformly awful.)

And so, the Stinque Decision Desk is prepared to call it.  Shelly’s torch — lighting, incandescently, her bid to make Black Eagle a ONE! TERM! PRESIDENT! — will have to be carried by another sucker.  And thus she can go back to not sleeping with her husband, and to railing against energy-saving lightbulbs and HPV vaccinations from the august halls of the House of Representatives.

We come not to praise Bachmann, but to bury her.  So let’s do it.  And anything worth doing is worth doing right.

[UPDATE (2345 ET): Bachmann, channeling her inner zombie, vows to fight on.  No idea when the money runs out, but I don’t think she makes it to South Carolina.  Book it.]

Hit Somebody!

2011 was mentally and physically draining for me. (This explains, in part, my extended absence from the whole posting thing.)  Watching the political horror show was unhelpful in this, to be honest.  I mean, there was The Donald going birther, and GOP debate audiences cheering executions and booing gay soldiers.  And who had the big mo in Iowa when the calendar ticked over?  Rick Santorum.  It was just dreadful to think about.

But 2012 has to be better.  There’s no way that it could be any…

Then Gingrich went on, incredibly, to lay out his post-Iowa strategy. “New Hampshire is the perfect state to have a debate over Romneycare and to have a debate about tax-paid abortions, which he signed, and to have a debate about putting Planned Parenthood on a government board, which he signed, and to have a debate about appointing liberal judges, which he did…. And so I think New Hampshire is a good place to start the debate for South Carolina.”

Well, that’s an outlier.  Like I said, 2012 cannot be…

Iowans I talked to at two of Romney’s campaign stops Sunday were in full agreement. So I asked them what scares them about a second Obama term. I got answers ranging from the creep of socialism to concerns that Obama’s best-known vice will encourage kids to take up smoking.

Fuck it.  There’s plenty of Sport today.  Good hockey and football on tap.  It’s a tonic for the soul, really.  The menu — besides chips, dip, pizza and beer — together with a major fashion don’t from (oh, obviously) Eugene, post-jump.

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One of the great hockey cliches (of which there are literally THOUSANDS) is that a playoff series doesn’t really begin until the home team loses a game.  (Which doesn’t take into account a series in which the home team wins Games One through Seven, inclusive.  Cliches, in Sport, are like that.)

So: the GOP nomination process has now begun in earnest.  T-Paw is out, after finishing behind Bachmann and Paul in the Ames Straw Poll. Which means he leaves after finishing behind Bachmann.  (Come on.  There will be no rEVOLution.  Let’s just stipulate to that right now.)  And finishing behind her in a poll that means, truthfully, just about as much as anything that Gallup or USA Today or NBC/W$J polling does.  And finishing behind a woman who decided to trump his conservative bonafides at the debate last week by citing her defense of incandescent light bulbs on the floor of the House.  That’s what made him up and quit.

(NB: Jokes about Bachmann never having a man finish behind her are NOT WELCOME.  Pleases and thank yous.)

Showdown At The O-Koch Corral

OK, you lovely cynics.  After a three-month absence (oh man, work has just been peachy in that time), I’m back.  And not a moment too soon, for we got ourselves some Wiscocentric denouement tonight.

The read at this early stage is that turnout has been positively massive.  But that could cut both ways.  The energy on both sides is probably at a fever pitch (whipped up no doubt by… excuse me…. 33 MILLION CLAMS shelled out for the nine recalls), so more than half of the turnout could be Wisconsinites angry at unions for, well, whatever foul they may have committed.  And “more than half” is the name of the game in elections, as you know.

So, the p0lls close — nominally — in 15 minutes.  (Polls can stay open so long as people are in line — a rule that approximately 7,000 lawyers know by heart and are poised to enforce to their hearts’ content.)  Then, the story shall unfold before you, old-school OPEN THREAD style.

(Note: picture above, right, is a scene from a Wisconsin hockey game.  Hockey is popular in Wisconsin, where winter is about six weeks away.)

ADD: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has the best live-results page in the state, and therefore that page is linked…. HERE.

Fourth Annual Celebration of HORSIES!

Yes, yes — here we are again.  For the fourth year running (three years on Stinque proper, with the first event happening at another place), it is the Kentucky Derby Open Thread.

First of all, this must be said: you want silly hats, Princess Beatrice?  Come get some.

You go to a royal wedding wearing felt-covered moose antlers, attached to a toilet seat.  On your damn head. But it can barely be called a “hat.”  You had to come up with a new name for it.  A “fascinator.”  Honey, please — the only thing fascinating about it was that it was lumped into the general category of “hats.”  That was not a hat.  THIS, RIGHT HERE, IS A HAT.  It is securely attached to the head by wrapping itself around the skull, and is not simply pinned to your forehead.  It protects (amply) the head from the heat and ultraviolet rays of the sun.  THIS IS A HAT.

So, anyway, the race.  19 horses will go.  It’s usually 20, but the favorite — Uncle Mo — was scratched because of a stomach bug.  Which made this race much more difficult to handicap.  The Derby is always impossible to pick with any sort of intelligence; all the horses are good, and most are more than capable of winning, even at extremely long odds.  Top picks, as of this draft, look like Dialed In (from the 4 post) and Nehro (19), both of whom hang back off the pace and close at the end.  But who the hell knows.

Several notables besides these two: Twice The Appeal (3) will have Calvin Borel, America’s Favorite Cajun, in the irons.  His M.O. is riding the rail, and that’s where he will start.  There are no horses this time who have ladybits, but one jockey who does — Anna Napravnik is up on Pants On Fire (7).  Mucho Macho Man (13) has a female trainer who is coming off — wait, wait — a heart transplant.  Devotion, yes?

And so: ALL RISE FOR THE DEGENERATE GAMBLER NATIONAL ANTHEM. (Doo-doo doo-doo-doot, doo-doo-doot, doo-doo-doo-dooooooot…..)