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New Hampshire

Well, I'm not going to make anymore predictions this election season.  I've been wrong every time and that just gets embarrassing after a while.  I will say, though, at the risk of sounding like a complete political geek, that this is fun.  Five events so far -- two for the Democrats, and three for the GOP -- and five different winners.  When was the last time that happened?

What excites me most is the level of turnout on the Democratic side.  Democrats set records for participation in both New Hampshire and Iowa.  Republican turnout in New Hampshire, on the other hand, was down by 20,000 from the 2000 election.   In a state where Republicans outnumber Democrats and Independents outnumber Republicans, this means two things.  First, Independents are drawn more to the Democratic candidates than to any of the Republicans, even John McCain.  And second, Democrats are energized this year.  I know I am.

Aside from that, the sweetest thing about last night was Fred Thompson's anemic showing.  You have to understand that I live in Tennessee, Thompson's home state (when he's not filming something in L.A.).  Ever since Thompson started talking about joining the race, the conservative editors of the Chattanooga paper have become the Fred Thompson for President Publicity Department.  Boosterism for a local candidate is one thing, but this has been so over-the-top as to be disgusting.

I should explain here that the Chattanooga Times Free Press was once two papers:  the progressive Chattanooga Times, founded by the Ochs family of New York Times fame, and the conservative Chattanooga News-Free Press.  (And yes, that really was the name as it appeared on the masthead.  The paper was News-free....)  When the papers merged, each side refused to relinquish editorial control, so today the paper has two Op-Ed pages, one progressive, the other conservative.  

Naturally, it's the conservative side that has championed the Fred Thompson cause.  He is, they argue, the last best hope for true conservativism in this election, and the only Republican who can save the nation from the horrors of a Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or John Edwards presidency.  And it's not like they write editorials about this once a month or so.  We get this crap three, four, five times a week. 

So last night's results were particularly gratifying for a Tennessee Democrat.  Not only did Thompson come in a distant sixth among Republicans, but if you don't count Mike Gravel and Duncan Hunter (and really, who DOES count Mike Gravel and Duncan Hunter) Thompson got fewer votes than anyone still in the race on either side.  He was more than a thousand votes behind Dennis Kucinich!  (That doesn't sound like a lot, but Thompson only received 2808 votes total.)  How sweet is that?  The great hope of Tennessee conservatives couldn't even beat a liberal nutter like Kucinich.

I've got a spring in my step this morning....

Today's music:  Alison Krauss (Lonely Runs Both Ways)

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David B. Coe
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