Emailer X (or is it Y?)--who seems to know his GOPs--sends this usefully pithy analysis:
I don't think the importance of SC can be over-stated now. If Huckabee wins, there will be panic in GOP circles. If Romney wins, the base will be very uneasy. If Thompson wins, everyone will be completely confused. If McCain wins, the base will be very unhappy. And Giuliani won't win.
Zero-sum alert: NBC's estimable First Read on last night's debate--
All three candidates will feel good about this debate; Clinton seemed to come prepared with a "Nevada" plan; Edwards had a "I'm still relevant" plan, and Obama had a "I am presidential" plan. They may have all made progress. [E.A.]
I don't think so! The campaign is a zero-sum game--candidates can only make progress at other candidates' expense, and there are only so many votes you can steal from Dennis Kucinich. Maybe the debate was a wash, but it wasn't win-win-win. ... P.S.: I thought Hillary was back to being grating, especially when she insisted on taking the floor from Tim Russert in order to make the provocative point that "We've got to do more to give families the tools and the support that they should have." She may have to cry again soon. ... Meanwhile, Obama's 'I'm not an operating officer' admission seems near-disastrous. a) Obama makes the presidency sound like a grand, slo-mo transformation of vision into legislation. But there are crisis requiring quick, coordinated action, and the type of leader who can act effectively in a crisis is likely to be a good "operating officer" rather than a visionary; b). Once you pass a law you have to implement it, which requires getting results out of the civil service departments. This would seem to be especially true of national health care. The president who ignores the bureaucracy and focuses on 'vision' is apt to be defeated by that bureaucracy. c) Immersing yourself up to the elbows in the various departments is one way to find out the information that bureaucrats are unlikely to pass up the chain of command. ... I'm not saying Obama's model of the presidency can't work if he chooses the right "operating" officer to actually run his administration. I'm saying voters would be justified in preferring a president who was a good "operating officer." ... 2:53 P.M.
We know what you did on bloggingheads last summer: David Corn mines his bloggingheads "diavlogs" with free-thinker Jim Pinkerton for opinions that might embarrass the latter's new boss, GOP candidate Mike Huckabee. If I were Corn I'd have focused more on Pinkerton's Neil Youngish space plans rather than his unsubtle mosque-control notions. But you make the call. ... Update: You knew that it wouldn't take long after Pinkerton took over for the robots to arrive! They'll do the jobs Americans won't do! [via Corner] ... 1:36 P.M.
Ezra Klein has a future at HuffPo's "Russert Watch": The ambitious whippersnapper adds to his electronic resume with a subtle, Kemptonesque assessment of the Meet the Press host that's unlikely to endear him to, say, Tom Brokaw. Chris Matthews, on the other hand, might take Klein out for a drink.. ...P.S.: Similarly, when I went to the press room at the St. Anselm's debate after sniping at Klein, I was worried I'd get grief from his fellow leftish whippersnappers. Turned out I was the most popular guy in the room! More popular than I usually am, anyway. ....They don't like him! They really don't like him! ... Update: Klein response here ("I regret that it was made public ....") . ... 1:01 P.M. link