NASHUA, N.H. -- Thirteen television cameras, enough reporters to fill two press rooms, and 1,200 New Hampshire Democrats came to see Senator Hillary Clinton Saturday night at the massive Sheraton Hotel just north of the Massachusetts line,. But to veterans of these events, something seemed missing -- and not just because the hotel no longer outfits its doormen in 15th Century Beefeater guard costumes to complement the building's simulation of a Medieval castle.
In politics, as in comedy -- assuming that they are distinct pursuits -- timing is everything, and right now the timing of both the candidates and the commentators contemplating the 2008 presidential election appears skewed. They are operating under the assumption that the New Hampshire primary will be next January 22. To borrow a term from Jimmy Durante, a comic with perfect timing, this could be a misahaprehension.
Thirty days before the election, a funny thing happened to Bernie Sanders on his way to the United States Senate -- his opponent emerged.
Not that the aptly-named Rich Tarrant had been invisible. Au contraire (as they still say in some of Vermont's northern precincts) -- he had been unavoidable. Spending $6 million of your own money has to buy something, and in this case it bought familiarity with his name and face. For months, no Vermonter has been able to watch more than half an hour of television without seeing Tarrant's large head identify itself and announce, "I approve this message."
Poor Ronald Reagan. Just because he was "caught extolling states' rights to a southern audience and civil rights to the Urban League on the same day," Andrew Busch reports, Democrats and political reporters accused him of being inconsistent.
A bum rap, insists Busch in Reagan's Victory: The Presidential Election of 1980 and the Rise of the Right. Reagan, "a Jeffersonian but not a bigot, undoubtedly saw no contradiction," and it is "only through a particular political lens" that his statements could be considered "gaffes."