Commentary: Frantic Fortnight
Some first impressions as things happened during a frantic fortnight:
Monday, February 3: Iowa Democrats intended to influence the presidential nominating process by being first in the nation to select convention delegates. Instead they influenced the general election process by trying to use untested technology to report caucus votes. It was a total FUBAR. Republican ads will write themselves: “How can you trust a party that can’t run one state’s election to run all the business of the country?” This is the same party that was so good at technology in 2008 and 2012.
Polls report President Trump’s highest approval rating ever, although it is still short of 50 %.
Tuesday, February 4: The State of the Union was not a speech; it was an extravaganza. In German, die phantastische Komposition. In French, la fantasie. In Italian, la compozione fantastica. In Russian, feyeriya. It was not just the unofficial launch of Trump’s presidential campaign; it was the pilot for a new reality TV show that he hopes will run for four more seasons. And the Trump-Pelosi spat really works better on a grade school playground. A legendary Columbia College alumnus, Colonel, now General, Charles McGee, of Tuskegee Airmen fame, got a shout out and a promotion. I know Charles McGee; this couldn’t happen to a finer man.
Wednesday, February 5: The impeachment proceedings came to a merciful close with the acquittal of Trump that had been preordained since the Big Bang, thirteen billion years ago. Only Sen. Romney strayed from the party line. He’s probably glad he doesn’t have to run for reelection until 2024.
Thursday, February 6: President Trump actually said the B-S word during his post-acquittal talk and of course since it was carried live there was no chance to bleep it. If I recall this is one of the seven words you can’t say on TV. I wonder if the Federal Communications Commission will bring the hammer down? A few years ago there was a six-figure fine when U-2 singer Bono used the F-word on live TV. Sorry -- I’m rather old-fashioned about public vulgarity.
Wednesday, February 12: Sanders and Buttigieg won the New Hampshire primary, with Klobuchar a close third and Biden a distant fifth. Biden now has serious, possibly terminal, problems, and maybe Warren as well. Meanwhile, in the uncontested GOP primary Trump won more votes than any incumbent president in the last four decades.
Valentine’s Day: Can we un-invent Twitter? President Trump and Michael Bloomberg are not exactly sending Valentine tweets to each other. Trump may be meeting his match – certainly his financial match.
Presidents’ Day: We will know so much more in a couple of weeks after Super Tuesday but right now the most formidable Democratic ticket is Bloomberg-Klobuchar.
Terry Smith is a Political Science Professor at Columbia College and regular commentator for KBIA's Talking Politics.