Why wouldn't I be?
"You're in your bathrobe, sleep pants, and...does your T-shirt say, 'got mermaid?'"
Just give me another lemon ginger tea and I'll be fine.
"But you've drank eight of them already. Here. Why don't you take a hit of my Mountain Dew Amp'd?"
No no no, I'm fine, I was just up last night working on a project.
"'Working on a project?' But last night was the South Carolina primary. I would have thought you'd be focused on that. Or at least paying attention to it."
No need to. SC behaved exactly the way I expected it to. Well, mostly. Herman Cain got 1% of the vote. Never expected that.
"Wait...Herman Cain? The guy who quit the race last year? Got 1% of the vote?"
6,324 people voted for him. And people say us third-partiers are throwing our votes away.
"For the benefit of our audience, can you run down the totals?"
Sure. Gingrich 40% (243,153), Romney 28% (167,279), Santorum 17% (102,055), Paul 13% (77,993), Cain 1% (6,324). Anyway, I knew Romney was going to lose it. Or, at least, I had a nearly complete suspicion of it.
"What made you so sure?"
News reports. In the last couple of days, as Newtie's poll numbers solidified and Romney took a hit about his finances, the mainstream media like AP was writing articles about how SC might not matter in the big picture. The timing is no coincidence. It's spin. It's also to let Newtie know he doesn't have the party's support behind him.
"Gingrich is doing pretty good so far."
No, he's not. SC is the dirtiest political fighting state in the union. It first gained attention back in 1988 when Democrat Tom Foley was first elected Speaker Of The House. A memo started circulating saying Foley was "in the closet", both about his sexuality and political plans. One of the authors of the memo was Lee Atwater, the Republican's hitman from South Carolina. The dirty politics so incised the R's Bob Dole that he said, publicly on the floor of the Senate, "This is not politics, this is garbage."
"I take it that's not the only incident for SC."
Nope. In 2000, Shrub's campaign staff allegedly used their channels in the Palmetto State to attack rival John McCain. Among the rumors circulating was that McCain's wife was addicted to painkillers, McCain had been brainwashed while he was a POW like the Manchurian Candidate, and that he had an illegitimate child with a black prostitute. Shrub, naturally, says he had nothing to do with it.
"Wow. Poor McCain."
Don't have too much sympathy for him. McCain allegedly resorted to the same sort of subterfuge during the 2008 campaign. The rumors linking Barack Obama to Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground are rumored to have originated with McCain and the SC'ers.
Nikki Haley ran for the SC governorship in 2010. During her campaign for the R nomination, two men came forward saying they had sexual affairs with her. One of them was Larry Marchant, who at the time was a campaign consultant for her rival Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. It ultimately failed, Marchant was canned, and Haley won in a walk.
"What a mess."
Santorum's superPAC has on its staff a former GOP candidate named Gary Bauer. Interesting, no?
"And the attack ads were flowing heavy since the Iowa Caucus."
Yup. Romney, I think, wrote off SC. He wanted second, not first, to keep himself in the race. Further than that, it gives too many people reason to think his campaign is in trouble. Gingrich has too much to overcome, between cheating on his wives, his civil rights record, and him not being on the ballot in two states.
Yup. Virginia, and they just found out he's not on the ballot in Missouri.
"No wonder people keep wondering what a dope he is."
Gingrich keeps saying his campaign is about bringing a conservative agenda to the White House. He is promoting the philosophy, not himself, because he knows if he does, he's screwed. It's sad because he thinks he can actually take on Obama. Obama will simply bring up Newtie's civil rights record and that whole "son of the South" thing and turn him into a street pizza.
"So the R's will continue to back Romney."
In a way, they have no choice. Romney was painted as not being a traditional Republican. This actually works in his favor, because general voters will not see him as an extremist. The R's need some major damage control after the Kamikazes in the House turned their name into mud. Someone like Romney who isn't such a boat rocker will be a major help for that. They don't want him, but they need him, or it's four more years of being Obama's bitch.
"You have to be disappointed in Ron Paul's numbers."
Nope. Once again, it's pretty much what I expected. SC's biggest industry is the military with bases and such. Combine that with Southern culture viewing military service and duty as an obligation and something you take pride in, and an isolationist who wants to scale back our international involvement is going to skid out.
"So what comes next?"
The race you REALLY want to watch -- Florida on January 31. If Romney takes #1 there...well, it'll be a friggin' miracle.
"What makes you say that? Southern state with two other southerners in the race?"
Nope. Florida has a different make-up than your general southern states. You have three big voting blocks there. There's the elderly, and Romney has his health care record in Massachusetts to back him up there. Hispanics are next. They don't generally vote Republican anyway with the exception of those affected by the Castro regime. And then there's the Jewish voting block.
* long beat * "I'm guessing there's something significant about that."
Romney is a Mormon. A casual Mormon, but still a Mormon. The Mormon church has used baptism by proxy to forcibly convert dead Jews into their faith and keep doing it even while telling the Jews they'll stop. Lots of bad blood, and the Jewish block may go with Santorum, who has a superPAC called the Emergency Committee For Israel.
"Can Romney overcome that?"
He's working on it. Newtie is just firing up his campaign workers in Florida. Romney has had people working the lines there since mid-December. If Newtie wants to stay in it, he needs to win Florida. February is going to set him back, so he needs a stockpile.
"Why will February be rough?"
First week of February has five states holding primaries -- Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota. Nevada is Romney's -- they have a huge Mormon population and Romney took over 50% of the votes there in the 2008 primaries. Gingrich isn't on the ballot in Missouri. Not only that, but "get out the vote" campaigns yield huge results in Nevada, Maine, Colorado, and Minnesota. Romney took all four states in '08, and has had operations going there for months now, Newtie hasn't even started anything yet. Later that month, Arizona and Michigan have their primaries. Romney polls huge in Michigan because of his dad being a popular governor there. Arizona? They aren't exactly known for their love of government there, so it's even money between Romney and Newtie, although Paul could be a spoiler. Perry? I'm starting to doubt he'll be in the race that long.
"Sounds like you have no guess as to who is going to take Florida."
I don't. My crystal ball is too cloudy. I'll be watching that Tuesday with rapt fascination.
"Well, Peter, thanks for joining us again today. Go get some sleep."
No rest for the weary. I have an IV drip full of ginseng waiting for me....