Primarily Speaking

image of Rick Santorum standing in front of a US flag holding up one finger, to which I've added text reading: 'One voter is all I want anyway, so.'
So joke's on you!

Poor Rick Santorum. His presidential campaign had so much promise. (It never had any promise.) But his latest campaign event at a diner in Hamlin, Iowa, had only one person show up! And she is the chair of the county's Republican Party! Sad trombone. Although it was less sad by the time his meal showed up: By that time, three more people had arrived, bringing the grand total to four. Which Santorum called a success, because he is a dipshit. Was he wearing his sweater vest? I bet he wasn't wearing his sweater vest. ALWAYS WEAR THE SWEATER VEST, SANTORUM!

Corporate power-failure Carly Fiorina is not running for vice-president! No kidding. She's running to fill the crucial "continually say Hillary Clinton has zero accomplishments and deflect charges of sexism by pointing out you're both women" slot.

(Protip to the author of that article: Actually, lots of people say that lots of the male candidates are only running for vice-president. There is certainly sexism directed at Fiorina, but this isn't a particularly good example. It's also one of the rare cases where "it happens to men, too" is actually relevant, because the only argument for how it's sexist to suggest Fiorina's best hope might be the veep slot, based on her actual qualifications, is if she's the only one subjected to those suggestions. Which she isn't.)

(It's also weirdly a recognition that she is a serious candidate. Because businesspeople with résumés similarly devoid of political experience, like, say, Donald Trump, are generally presumed to be vanity candidates who wouldn't even consider, or be seriously considered for, the veep slot.)


There's been lots of stuff in the news about Hillary Clinton's poll numbers, and naturally if they dip even a little fully 17 months before the election, despite three other credible Democratic candidates entering the race, it's evidence that her candidacy is DOOMED!!! Let me just tell you something about poll numbers a year before the Democratic convention and eight months before the first primary: They mean virtually nothing. Right now, the poll results reflect that Clinton is a popular politician who has far better name recognition than Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee. And that's about it. Which is fine! WE ARE SO FAR AWAY FROM ANYTHING HAPPENING OMG WHY DO WE NOT HAVE LIMITED ELECTIONS LIKE BRITAIN FIVE WEEKS OF CAMPAIGNING SOUNDS SO MUCH BETTER THAN A YEAR AND A HALF HELLLLLLLLP MEEEEEEEEEE.

Last week, Jamelle Bouie had a good piece at Slate about polling, and about how one of the reasons Clinton polls really high is because lots of people really like her. "Last year, Hillary Clinton was the most admired woman in the United States, an honor she also claimed in 2013. And in 2012. And in 2011. In fact, Hillary has been America's most admired woman for 18 of the 21 years she's been on the national stage, from her eight years as first lady through her Senate tenure, her first presidential campaign, and her time in the Obama administration."

Point is: The polling at this stage is about name recognition and likeability more than ability to govern. Even though, especially in Clinton's case, ability to govern can be inextricably tied to likeability.

Which is one reason I don't do a lot of reporting on polls in my primary coverage. Or even my general election coverage, until very close to the election, which is when polls finally start to matter.

Meanwhile, I'm sure all eleventy-seven of the other Republican candidates are up to all kinds of terrific things (they're really not; they are all so boring and so predictable and there is literally nothing newsworthy enough to share that can't be summarized as "STILL TERRIBLE!"), and today's WORST CLOWN IN THE CLOWN CAR AWARD goes to Professor of Bible Bigotry Mike Huckabee for being a hideous waking nightmare whose mouth is a putrid font of despicable filth.

Congratulations, Governor! Another golden garbage award for the shitty mantle in whatever gateway from the netherworld you call home.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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