Chris Christie Goes in the Backdoor
February 9th, 2016


One last bit of reporting from New Hampshire, where Christie has gone full-kamikaze. If Donald Trump or Jeb Bush wind up as the nominee (both unlikely, in my view) Christie will get the credit. That said, if Rubio was the Great Hope, then he’d figure out a way beat this thing. If he can’t, then he isn’t.

Also, someone was going to hit Rubio with that attack. Better sooner than later; better another Republican than a Democrat.

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From the Snows of New Hampshire
February 8th, 2016


I (kind of) fall in love with Bernie Sanders.

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Rubio on the Morning After
February 8th, 2016


A quick report from Rubio World yesterday, with the optimistic and pessimistic cases for what the debate means for him in New Hampshire.

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Reasons Twitter is Awesome
February 7th, 2016


Yesterday I was a shill for Rubio. Today I’m a shill for Trump.

Can’t wait until everyone moves on to Snapchat.

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Jeb!
February 6th, 2016


Went to see Jeb! this morning. Ugh.

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The Ultimate No Labels Candidate
February 5th, 2016


Here’s the Kasich piece. In a weird way, he could be running the same campaign, both policy-wise and stylistically, in the Dem. primary.

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The Snows of New Hampshire
February 5th, 2016


I’ve been in New Hampshire since Monday and it was fantastically warm–last night I was walking around in shorts and a t-shirt after going for a run. This morning, a blizzard rolled through starting around 7:30 and has dumped between six and eight inches of snow (so far). Weird.

Anyway, I’ve been doing the campaign thing and have written up some observations on Clinton, Trump, and Rubio. (I saw Kasich this morning and will have something on him in a couple hours.) The short version is: (1) Clinton isn’t the candidate she was in 2008; she’s gotten much worse. (2) Trump kind of looks like he’s mailing it in. (3) Rubio is the best political talent I’ve seen in 20 years of journalism. The only person close is the Bill Clinton of 1992.

Over on the Twitters, people seem upset by this observation and their response seems to be: “RINO! He’ll do amnesty!” Well, maybe? I don’t know. I’m not making any value judgments about what kind of president he would be, or how conservative he is in his heart of hearts or, or wether he’d go full-amnesty on January 21. I’m not a mind-reader or a cheerleader. My brief when I do these things is to try to be a reasonably careful and informed observer. And it looks to me like Rubio is a once-in-a-generation political talent who is likely to be the nominee and, if he is the nominee, is likely to beat Hillary Clinton by 5 points, at a minimum.

The trick is, that in order for him to do that, he has to put away Bush, Christie, and Kasich in NH. If he finishes above them on Tuesday, his odds of being the nominee go up even more. At that point, I’d probably put him at even-money in a three-way race with Trump and Cruz. As always, I’m not telling you that this is what I want or what I hope for or what I think is best for America. It’s just how it looks to me from being up close on this stuff.

My big bias is the general belief that candidate quality matters. (See my Romney 2012 belly-aching.) Not always and not everywhere. Events matter, macro-conditions matter, organization matters, etc. But I do believe that at the presidential level, a candidate with a significant VORP (either plus or minus) can be decisive.

So take that for what you will.

 

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Suicide Squad Trailer
January 20th, 2016


The new Suicide Squad trailer is out:

A couple thoughts:

(1) I can’t tell if this is DC’s Avengers or DC’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

(2) But how much more fun does this look than Batman vs. Superman Dawn of Justice Blooming of a Franchise? It’s not even close, is it? And is it a problem for Warner Bros. if Suicide Squad out-grosses Batman-Superman by, like, a lot?

(3) I never really liked casting Will Smith as Longshot because the Longshot character was always kind of feral and crazy, not charismatic and sympathetic. But it looks like they’ve just redrawn the character to let Smith be the moral center of the movie and I’m fine with that. Longshot canon isn’t sacred to me and this might be an improvement.

(4) Along those lines, I had kind of wondered what it would have been like in an alt-universe where Will Smith played the Joker. I’d still kind of love to see that.

(5) Prediction: Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is going to steal this movie. WB will rush to get a Harley stand-alone movie out once they see audience reactions. And Robbie will be considered a giant movie star the Monday after the first weekend of release.

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