The Democrats' failure to light themselves on fire and squander their advantage in the polls has to count as one major surprise, but believe it or not there were even more compelling stories this year…
1. Dead candidates win elections in Florida and Alabama. It's not quite as consequential as John Ashcroft's defeat at the hands of Mel Carnahan's corpse, but Florida Democrat Earl K. Wood and Alabama Republican Charles Beasley both handily won their respective elections despite facing living opponents. "It is a touchy situation. When you are running against a dead man, you are limited as to what you can say," Walter Sansing, Beasley's opponent, lamented.
If nothing else, it's fodder for those Republicans who want to run Zombie Reagan in 2016. Like Sansing said, who is going to go negative against a dead man?
Tags: Alabama, Animals, Florida, Kentucky, Virginia
As was widely expected, Barack Obama had a rough time during last night's primaries in Arkansas and Kentucky, winning just 59% of the vote against little known attorney John Wolfe in the former contest and taking only 58% against "uncommitted" in the latter primary. In fact, uncommitted captured a majority of Kentucky counties, performing especially well in regions with more Cracker Barrels than people and more coal mines than dentist offices.
Uncommited's result compares favorably to the 42% anti-war Democrat Eugene McCarthy earned in his 1968 New Hampshire foray against incumbent president Lyndon Johnson and the 37% Pat Buchanan won against George H. W. Bush in the 1992 New Hampshire primary.
And these comparisons underestimate the strength of uncommitted. Between the 67% of the vote earned by Mitt Romney in the Kentucky primary, the 17% going to challengers that have withdrawn from the race and the unallocated remainder, it's fair to say that roughly 100% of Kentucky Republicans voted for uncommitted.
Which raises the question, why not Uncommitted for America? Now that Generic Republican has faded in the polls in favor of, well, still a generic Republican, but not a very popular one, it's time to reconsider the positives uncommitted would bring to the table. He or she has never placed a dog atop a car. Nor has she placed a dog atop a grill. She's never supported a bailout or taken money from lobbyists. Never voted for a tax hike or a cut in Medicare benefits. She's never used a Teleprompter nor shut down a steel mill.
In short, uncommitted would be the perfect candidate. If only we could find her birth certificate.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Arkansas, Barack Obama, Kentucky, Mitt Romney, Primaries
For those frustrated by the constrained range of policies offered by mainstream politicians, Ron Paul's campaign offers a welcome opportunity to learn how a doctrinaire libertarian would respond to difficult events, such as the recent spate of deadly storms that tore through the South and Midwest. Unfortunately, espousing this doctrine often makes Paul look an F5-scale clown…
"There is no such thing as federal money," Paul said, on CNN's State of the Union. "Federal money is just what they steal from the states and steal from you and me."
"The people who live in tornado alley, just as I live in hurricane alley, they should have insurance," Paul said.
Paul said there was a role for the National Guard to restore order and provide care and shelter in major emergencies, but that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) led to nothing but "frustration and anger."
Of course by "insurance," Paul might mean "millions in earmarks and other federal disbursements," since that's what Galveston, Texas received in the aftermath of a series of hurricanes, at Paul's behest. Or maybe the residents of Kentucky and Indiana could be more self-reliant than that: I hear bootstraps make excellent construction tools.
Alternatively, we could invent a newfangled system of compulsory contributions, commensurate with income, that could be redistributed to people who are unfortunate enough to suffer from a natural disaster. We could call it "a government."
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Indiana, Kentucky, Natural Disasters, Republicans, Ron Paul, Weather