The dog ate my sermons!

A mostly political Weblog.
Dec. 11 2007 5:09 AM

The Dog Ate My Sermons!

What did Huckabee preach?

(Continued from Page 10)

The Feiler Faster Thesis in action, as applied by Steven Stark of RCP:

Obama's mini-surge has come awfully early, giving his opponents ample time to answer back. John Kerry and John Edwards surged later in Iowa last time - and that was ages ago technology-wise, in a year when the race was not nearly as intensely covered as now and few had Blackberries.

It's not that Obama won't win Iowa. It's that to do so, he's going to need a second and a third act. In the early days of television, Bob Hope complained "in the old days you could do one sketch for five years. But if you use that sketch on TV, in one night it's used up." The same principle applies to this year's process, which is the first real campaign of the internet age. [E.A.]

Right, Because people--I'd say voters as well as reporters--are comfortable processing information at a faster pace, there is plenty of time for Obama and Huckabee to wear out their welcome and fade. There is time for them to fade and come back. And fade again. ...

P.S.: There's also effectively more time between the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus and the Jan. 8 New Hampshire primary than there was during the equivalent 5 day period in, say, 1984. ...

P.P.S.: Stark's point seems different than the argument** that by surging so soon a candidate like Huckabee has ironically raised the expectation that he will win Iowa, making a fading second place a bit of a defeat. But if Huckabee fades in the polls, why shouldn't "expectations" about him ebb and flow as quickly as his numbers?  Maybe there is a ratchet for expectations--once you are in the top tier that might win you're expected to win. But how then to explain McCain, who was top tier but fell out and now has low expectations--so he'll be a big winner if he finishes third in Iowa? ... Clearly there are things you can do to "reset" expectations, like firing your campaign staff. ...

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**--I think this argument was made by Weekly Standard's Richelieu. Or maybe it was consultant Mike Murphy. I get them confused sometimes! ...  7:09 P.M.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hillary's Petards: Prediction--If they settle the writer's strike, it could be bad for Hillary because Jay Leno will make Huma jokes! (Remember: Huma = comedy gold.) It certainly seems much more likely that the Huma innuendo would make it into the mainstream via late-night monologues than via investigative reporting. [Won't it make it into the mainstream by bloggers discussing how it might make it into the mainstream?--ed Don't think that trick will work. The blog/bloodstream barrier seems too robust. The late-night-joke/bloodstream barrier isn't. And remember, that ate night rabbit-hole into voter consciousness is not a byproduct of blogging. As far as I can see, it's a byproduct of the Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky scandals, which appear to have convinced Leno, Letterman, et. al. that if they didn't joke about Clinton's rumored sex life they'd look like fools and would miss out on some good material. (And if they did, it's not like they'd be sued for libel.) This is one way Hillary is hoist on her husband's petard, Huma-wise.

But there's another petard. Let's assume what is likely to be the case--that the Huma rumor is a) unprovable if true and b) un-disprovable if untrue. Under the old rules that means it would never be proved and would probably never surface. If it did surface --say because it was the subject of vicious campaign push-polling--a simple denial by both parties and it would be semi-officially "false." In the new Webby post-Lewinsky world it's more likely to surface, which makes the subsequent denial all the more important. Contrary to popular belief, it's not impossible to issue a denial so convincing that even gossip-addicted bloggers drop a juicy  rumor. (Here's an example.) The trouble for Hillary is that when it comes to sex rumors she and her husband (unlike, say, John Edwards and his wife) have no credibility. They threw that away when the philandering charges they righteously denounced in 1992 and 1998 turned out to be basically true. 11:58 P.M.

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