Twelve days after Iowa, 7 days after “It’s Obama’s To Lose-Day Tuesday”, 14 days before “Rudy’s Retired New York Jews Day Tuesday” (you remember–that “Florida Firewall”South Beach retirees hokum) and 21 days before the much-vaunted “Super Tuesday”/”Tsunami Tuesday”/”Giga Tuesday”/”Snooze Day Tuesday”, as Fred Thompson will surely be caught nodding off at several public appearances and, if McCain finds a way to win both Michigan and South Carolina and Obama takes Nevada and South Carolina in the interim, “Just Another Newsday Tuesday”–three weeks before this ballyhooed Battle Royal when potentially people will lose limbs and organs, grown men and women will cry like small children, and America will ostensibly select its 2008 Presidential standard-bearers, January 15 is shaping up to be the nadir of the 2008 Presidential Primary season.
Today on the hustings it’s all about Michigan. Sort of. There is, for all intents and purposes, no Michigan Democratic Primary, as the party penalized its own for moving its primary up to January 15. In protest, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, and Joe Biden withdrew from the contest, leaving Hillary in what promises to be a brutal donnybrook with Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, Uncommitted, and Write-In. Excepting the latter two choices, and Gravel and Dodd, who have already dropped out, the Clinton campaign is keeping a watchful eye on the 27 Michigan voters tentatively committed to Kucinich, lest their small but vocal support turn into a groundswell that sweeps over and devours Hillary’s tenuous lead.
On the Republican side, it’s The Showdown-In-And-Around-Motown. Mitt Romney comes home to claim his birthright, though his relentless invoking of his father, former Michigan Governor and AMC President George Romney, has raised speculation that the movie-star handsome, politically-shameless changeling could actually come in a humiliating third behind John McCain and write-ins for his own dead, still-beloved paterfamilias.
Romney is garnering modest support for his familial legacy and the untold millions he’s dumped into the state, but as he’s done so often in recent days, voter skepticism increases in proportion to the wider the candidate opens his mouth. John McCain is still a big hit among the Lunch Bucket Caucus (just as he was in his 2000 victory here), but in a state with an unemployment rate nearly 50% higher than the national average, no one’s sure about his economic bonafides. Arkansas Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee looks as out of his element as Ned Beatty’s character in “Deliverance”.
There’s been curiously little red-meat Republican pandering and pressing-the-flesh in the American Muslim stronghold of Dearborn. But really, what would the stump speech be? “If you’ll give me your vote this year, I promise I won’t slay your Muslim brothers and sisters with impunity. No more than I have to, anyway.”
For as much cage-rattling about Michigan’s giant stature in the primaries, this year…well, fee-fi-ho-hum. The only interesting place to be today will be Romney headquarters where they’re oiling the Mitt for what could be the last laps of his too fast, too spurious race for the White House. It will certainly be the place to be tonight if the wheels come off the campaign, and McCain’s Straight-Talk Express blasts its horn and pelts Team Romney with empty soda cans and catcalls on its way past and on to South Carolina.