Daily Archives: January 10, 2012

New Hampshire Primary Results

First, the numbers:

  • Romney “won” (as expected) with 38% of the vote.
  • Ron Paul, who is irrelevant, used up 24% of the vote.
  • Huntsman kept in the race but with little prospect of going forward, with 17% of the vote
  • Santorum and Gingrich are battling it out for fourth place at 10% (as of this writing they are fewer than 100 votes apart).
  • Rick Perry, who is still running for the nomination did not campaign in New Hampshire, received an ort of less than 1%

And now, the burning question: What does it all mean? As I’ve noted before, not what a lot of he talking heads are saying.

Romney’s win here was no more significant than Tsongas’ win here several years ago. New Hamshire is, politically and demographically, a quaint neighborhood of Massachusetts, and this is Romney territory. The fact that he got less than 40% means that his campaigning did not push him forward, might mean that the Bain effect is kicking in or it might mean that Huntsman increased his footprint effectively. There is absolutely no significance to winning both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary … assuming that we base “significance” on precedent and pattern. It’s never happened before in an open election season for this party, and only once for the Democrats. It just does not matter.

None of this ambiguity means that Romney is not the front runner. He is. There have been two contests and he’s won twice. But those who are saying that the nomination is now locked up are placing their bets on the good odds, but the game is still on.

The following questions remain:

Is Huntsman now a factor, or did he shoot his wad, as it were, in the Granite State? Most talking heads have dismissed him. In my view, it depends on the money. If some of the millionaires who plan to back a Republican see Bain as Romeneys Bane, they will put their money somewhere else, and it won’t be Ron Paul. They may have to choose between obnoxious (Gingrich), Right wing evangelical (Santorum) and low pain-level for the thinking person (Huntsman). He could get enough of a boost in funding to campaign in several of the upcoming less conservative or fundamentalist states. A not-so-conservative Republican candidate running in the general election will not need that much support in the rightest leaning states, because, after all, the Republicans in those states will be dutifully Voting Against the Black Guy(TM). Huntsman could do better in the moderate or bluish areas against an Obama people may be frustrated with. Hell, if I was the Republican Party, I’d be pushing for that strategy.

Is the field (below Romney) set, or is it volatile, and how fixed is Romney’s lead going forward? Let’s go back to the numbers for a moment. Here’s the breakdown in rank order of the last two contests and the current poll-based prediction for the South Carolina primary.

Iowa NHam SoCa
Romn Romn Romn
Sant Paul Sant
Paul Hunt Ging
Ging Sant Paul
Perr Ging Perr
Hunt Null Hunt

The leader will remain the leader until he is unseated, but the chance of that happening goes up as the contest goes south. Romney is a Yankee and a Mormon and a big businessman and his shine will not exactly be the right kind of shine when he is campaigning in Dixie. Look for news stories of special gaffs that only a Yank in the heart of the Old South can make over the next 10 days. Look for other candidates gaining on him.

Santorum showed well in Iowa, not so well in New Hampshire but his southernosity may pay off in South Carolina. But the real ringer there will be Perry. Perry, who often comes off like a clone of Bush, could end up doing better in South Carolina than polls currently suggest. We assume Huntsman will stay on ice. And, of course, Gingrich will falter and fail in ever more spectacular ways, but if he gets sufficient funding he may stay in the race for a few more primaries.

Has all the money settled on Romney or are there other strategies being considered? What we are looking for is a sling shot effect. None of the sub-Romney candidates is staying in place so far … they all seem to be bobbing up and down across these two contests and one poll. Certain bobbing is expected. Huntsman spent in New Hampshire do he did well, as did Paul. But some of what has happened was not expected. Santorum was a bit of a surprise, and please keep in mind that he came in “second” by only dozens of votes. The winner is the winner, but we’d be having an entirely different conversation if the count in Iowa was switched by the number of people eating the Fired Mopzzarella at Pazzesco’s on that Tuesday night. The point is that Santorum has been and will be all over the map.

There is an unknown but not small number of wealthy individuals ready to pay for the rest of this campaign, to back a certain candidate through the primaries then run that individual against Obama. Romney is the clear choice right now to the talking heads, to anyone who notices that he’s won twice and is on top of the polls in the next contest. But if you look at each of the candidates running in polls, head to head, against Obama, the outcome is not so clear; Romney is not a True Republican and certainly not a Teabagger; The Republican Party hasn’t put a Northerner up for election in a long time, except when they did, and they pretended those guyz was from Texas. Perry made a fool of himself but he can come back. The Huntsman strategy could be viable if other candidates start looking bad. Santorum represents the core of the party far better than Romney. Gingrich is like a muscle spasm you get in your back in the same exact place and you never quite know how to get rid of it, and Ron Paul is … well, whatever.

Romney is not the clear leader. He is the current leader and the leader-apparent, sitting on top of a bubbling cauldron. If his campaign weakens, some of those wealthy backers are going to start side bets, and if those side bets start to work out, they are going to pick a new horse and it could (almost) be any of them.

The Huntsman-Santorum Effect: Will Republicans Become Self Aware?

The New Hampshire Primaries are today, and Mitt Romney seems to be holding his strong lead, though there are some interesting changes in the numbers. But that is utterly irrelevant. Let me explain why: Continue reading The Huntsman-Santorum Effect: Will Republicans Become Self Aware?

Legal guns to criminal’s hands: Is it uncontrollable?

One of the arguments that Gun Rights Apologists (GRAs) make is that guns will always fall into the hands of criminals no matter what you do, so you might as well not bother with rules or laws or procedures that limit the sale, purchase, distribution or ownership of any kind of firearms. This is, of course, a foundation-less assertion and a rather self-serving one at that. There are two reasons why it is wrong. The first and most obvious is that even if there is a flow of guns from legal to illegal ownership, making that process illegal does send a message, secure funding, and keep the process on the radar screen for law makers and law enforcers; The difficulty of enforcing a law can certainly be taken into account when deciding whether or not to bother with the law, but only after it has been designated as unimportant or insignificant on other grounds. Laws about victimless crimes that are impossible to enforce are probably not worth enacting or expending much energy on. Laws about victim-rich crimes, on the other hand, should not be abrogated just because enforcing them is hard.

But there is a second reason that the argument that “guns will fall into the hands of criminals anyway so don’t bother” is wrong: The flow of guns from legal ownership to illegal possession can be affected by the implementation of statue, according to a recent study. Continue reading Legal guns to criminal’s hands: Is it uncontrollable?

The Mohawk

Paunee or Omaha Chief
This man is a Pawnee or Omaha Chief, not Mohawk.

I grew up in, or at least, very near the traditional home of the Mohawk Native Americans, who were in turn part of the Iroquois. You are most likely to have heard of the Mohawk because of their famous hair style, a strip of hair like a crest down the middle of the head, with the rest of the head shaved.

You may also know of the Mohawk because of their famous ironworking in New York City. We who grew up along the Hudson-Mohawk confluence learned of the Mohawk because it was their river, and their valley, and the stories that had been passed down told us that they were more powerful than the Algonquin, and also, the bad-ass-est of all of the tribes in the region. Well after the American Revolution and maybe even after the Civil War, Mohawk warriors were said to travel around the area being tough, engaged in tricky balance between acting as security and acting as actors for the numerous travelling “Indian Shows” and “Wild West Shows” of the day. Of course, the reality of the Mohawk Tribe and its history is far richer and more interesting than that, but here, I just want to say a word or two about their hair.

The Mohawk did not wear Mohawks, and a Mohawk is not what you might think.

JT Eberhard's Girlfriend, Michaelyn
Michaelyn will get a Mohawk if you give JT Eberhard money.

First, Native Americans who ‘shaved’ all or parts of their head usually used plucking instead of shaving. All that bald area … that hair was torn out not shaved off. Just so you know. Second, Mohawk Indians did not wear that crest thingie that is now called a “Mohawk.” They wore something more like a patch of hair near the back of their head. The Pawnee and Omaha Indians wore something more like the “Mohawk” crest. Nobody seems to mind, these days, though calling this hair style a Mohawk. I’m not certain, but I don’t think people are too overly concerned about cultural patrimony or ripoff. The Mohawk is today a respectable haircut, if you want that special fierce look, and it is cool enough that a lot of younger Mohawk have taken the tradition on as “real” either because it’s been around so long, or because it isn’t worth correcting people, or they have a rather post-modern view of it all.

But more relevant to the moment is this: The woman you see in this photograph is planning to get a Mohawk haircut, to make her look more like the dude in the painting. And she is doing it for money. Your money. JT Eberhard has the details. Michaelyn will cut her hair into a Mohawk if they can raise $1,000 cash for the upcoming SOMA Reasonfest.

Last year’s Reasonfest drew 700 people, and this year looks to be even bigger! There will be a game room for socializing and good times all around – and it won’t cost anybody a dime to get in.

However, free to get in does not mean free to produce. Putting on an event like this takes a LOT of leg work and a LOT of fundraising by the organizers – and they do it all for the benefit of this movement. Right now they’re a few thousand short of covering the event, which is where we fit in: we’re going to help them with the fundraising.

My girlfriend, Michaelyn, who is part of SOMA, will get a mohawk and dye the tips red if we can raise $1,000 in two weeks.

So click here and learn more and give a few bucks. And help turn Michaelyn fierce.