A more frequent publishing of Rich Galen's take on politics, culture and general modern annoyances. This is in addition to MULLINGS which is published Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays at

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fit to be Tied in Iowa

Subscription Renewal is STILL Going On!

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You would think that with the Federal government spending $1.3 Ga-jillion dollars on all sorts of things, that one Member of the House or Senate would see fit to insert an EARMARK into an Appropriations Bill saying approximately the following:

The General Services Administration (GSA) is directed to purchase a subscription to MULLINGS for every civilian employee of the Federal Government a the bargain-basement prices of $30 per employee.

But, nooooooo.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are just under 2 million civilian federal employees (not including the Postal Service). That one teenie tiny EARMARK would let the rest of you off the hook until the year 2527 when, one assumes, Zager and Evans would pick up the slack.

Seriously, please take a moment and go to the Subscription Renewal Page while I decide what I'm going to write about. You won't miss a thing, but you will help keep MULLINGS strong and independent.


From Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

  • The news hit the political world with the force of a category V hurricane pushing a world-class tsunami: The CBS/New York Times poll to be released at 6:30 last night would show a virtual three-way tie between Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards in Iowa.
    Clinton - 25

    Edwards - 23

    Obama - 22

  • According to the later reporting, the margin of error in this poll was plus or minus four percentage points meaning Obama might be leading and Clinton might be in third.

  • The Iowa caucuses will be held on January 3, 2008. These are precinct caucuses. That is to say, you go to the elementary school gym, or the fire station in your precinct and you vote for the person you think would be the best nominee for your party.

  • You do this in the dead of night in the dead of winter when you could otherwise be hanging out at your precinct bar discussing the potential outcomes of the first weekend of the NFL playoff games.

  • Everyone knows the Howard Dean story from the 2004 Iowa caucuses. Leading in the polls. Leading in fundraising. Leading in media attention. Dean got the endorsement of former Vice President (and future Nobel Laureate) Al Gore in mid-December.

  • On January 19, Dean came in a distant third with 18% of the caucus vote behind winner John Kerry (38%) and John Edwards (32%). Dick Gephardt, who finished fourth, dropped out of the race.

  • This was CNN's take:
    The finish would have shocked pundits less than a week ago, when Dean, former governor of Vermont, was leading the polls, just ahead of Gephardt, a congressman from neighboring Missouri.

  • This, remember, is not mid-January nor mid-December. It is mid-November.

  • Nevertheless, the notion of Hillary being tied with her two principal opponents this far out cannot be spun as good news especially on the heels of an uncharacteristically bad couple of weeks in Hillary-land.

  • The problems started with the most recent debate in which Clinton was for, against, for and then against giving drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants in New York.

  • That led to very grave chin-scratching articles about whether her inability to clearly articulate an answer on almost any question - from what to do about Social Security to whether it is day or night - would cost her support.

  • That was followed, just a few days ago, with a story that the Clinton campaign had gotten caught planting questions in the audience of "town-hall" type appearances which her opponents jumped on with every available foot.

  • Prior to this was the ugly story of a west-coast crook who had bundled some $800,000 worth of donations for the Clinton campaign only to have it come to light he had been on the lam from a felony rap and the campaign had to give back the money.

  • Nationally, Hillary still holds a lead averaging over 20 percentage points over Barack Obama. But "Nationally" ain't votin' on January third. And if Clinton does not win on January 3rd then the next round - New Hampshire on … who knows … is up for grabs.

  • Believe it or not, the New Hampshire Secretary of State in whom the power to decide the date of the 2008 Presidential primary has yet to make up his mind, although the heavy betting is on January 8 - five days after the Iowa Caucuses.

  • The reason this is important is because under New Hampshire law, voters who are registered as Independents can vote in either the GOP or the Democratic primary.

  • In 2000, a huge percentage of Independents voted in the Republican primary and a huge percentage of those who did voted for John McCain.

  • A favorite parlor game in Washington, DC these days is trying to sound smart while explaining why Independents will (or will not) gravitate to one primary or the other.

  • It is safe to assume, however, that if Obama or Edwards (or Obama AND Edwards) upset Clinton in Iowa there will be an avalanche of Independent voters in New Hampshire participating in the Democratic primary - whenever it is held.

  • As Bette Davis once famously observed: "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the CBS/NY Times poll, and CNN's coverage of the 2004 Iowa Caucus results as well as the Bette Davis line. Also a Mullfoto from South Carolina and a Catchy Caption of the Day.


    Anonymous said...


    I fully understand your disclosure about where your loyalties lie these days but... ANY comment on the seeming Huckabee surge in Iowa?

    November 14, 2007 6:01 AM  

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