NEW YORK—So here’s a thing. One time, when we were in the seventh grade, our science teacher offered up an extra credit assignment: write down for him on notebook paper all the numbers between one and one million, and in exchange he would award a report card at the end of the year with straight As. Now we’d already racked up an A- in the first quarter—and endured no shortage of fire and brimstone in our pressure-cooker of an Ivy-League-or-bust household —so we jumped at the chance to strike this blemish from our record. But after a few nights of furious scribbling we realized we’d been had, that this was an exercise in futility, and we gave up somewhere in the vicinity of 50,000. Anyway, moral of the story: this episode has left us shaking our heads over here at just how long it has taken the Iowa GOP to count all fourteen votes (give or take) that were cast at last month’s caucuses. The story developed throughout the night—Santorum really won! What will the Romney campaign’s response be? They’ll call it a “virtual tie”! Wait, we take it back: We’re calling it a “split decision”!—and yet we woke up this morning in a world where none of this actually mattered at all because nobody cares, nothing has changed, Mitt Romney is still going to win this thing, stop talking.
Still another story broke last night about a thing nobody cares about, at least inasmuch as “nobody cares” can be equated with “not as interested as you think we are in hearing about something we already know beyond all shadow of a doubt,” namely: Newt Gingrich is kind of a douchebag! News to some, apparently—it brought out the Drudge Siren™!—but not really news at all. Sure, some of us (*raises hand*) will bask in the warm, comforting glow of schadenfreude flickering from our TV screens tonight when ABC airs its interview with Newt’s ex-wife (the second one), but still, there’s not really a there there. Now a there that is there, however, is this nugget from Drudge: “ABCNEWS suits determined it would be “unethical” to run the Marianne Gingrich interview so close to the South Carolina Primary, a curious decision, one insider argued, since the network has aggressively been reporting on other candidates.” A curious decision indeed! Since it’s not like this is some matter of national security—this isn’t Orvil Dryfoos and James Reston sitting around the table at the Times page one meeting debating whether or not to blow up Kennedy’s spot on the Bay of Pigs—this is an interview in which a bad man has mean things said about him. And yet ABC is playing politics! Can we blame Mark Halperin for this?
Speaking of playing politics, the Times today runs an interesting look inside the pre-debate prep at a network that knows a thing or two about that game. And it turns out that Juan Williams had a rough day on Tuesday: we already knew he spent the evening being told by a rich white man how black people were allowed to feel about the way white people talk about black people, but according to the Times he also had to spend the afternoon before the debate being lectured by editors about how calling Newt Gingrich’s racist dog-whistle rhetoric “racially charged” is somehow “a little heavy.” Which: ok!
So a crazy thing is happening tomorrow: Herman Cain is attending a Stephen Colbert rally? Yesterday’s campaign ad is a pretty good teaser of just how crazy this thing ought to be. But let’s just mull this one over a second time: Herman Cain. Former front-runner for the Republican nomination. Is attending a campaign rally. With a comedian. A comedian who is making fun of the very thing that Herman Cain was doing not so very long ago.