NEW YORK—It’s a rare thing in the business of 24-hour political pontificating, but every so often the relentless onslaught of inane prattle issuing forth from somewhere in the vicinity of that horrifically manicured hair growth attached to Chuck Todd’s face actually manages to congeal into something sensible. Moments like this are quite rare! And so it’s an occasion worth noting when what amounts to the Halley’s Comet of professional punditry comes circling around the beltway in one of its trademark 76-year appearances. Here’s what Chuck Todd said: “Books about this campaign will have chapters simply titled: ‘January 19th.’” Which is a fine way to summarize everything that happened yesterday! (Even if you’re not the sort of person who thinks Mark Halperin has any business whatsoever writing books about presidential campaigns.) Because really: where even to begin?
We’re going to do our best here to summarize everything that happened as briefly as humanly possible. We strongly urge our readers to feign something like an auctioneer’s voice inside your heads while reading the forthcoming paragraph so that it all goes faster/hurts less.
Ok, so! Mitt Romney officially didn’t win Iowa; funnyman Rick Perry dropped out; polls showed Gingrich taking a lead within the margin of error in South Carolina; overnights later showed Newt Gingrich taking a commanding six-point lead in said Carolina; Sarah Palin claimed that Newt Gingrich’s philandering would prove an asset; Herman Cain officially endorsed all three hundred million or so American citizens apparently running for president; Mitt Romney developed something of a Cayman Islands problem; Newt Gingrich floated the idea of asking Sarah Palin to join his (HYPOTHETICAL, please, dear god, LET IT BE HYPOTHETICAL) administration; Mitt Romney snapped at a communist; Rush Limbaugh suggested that sex addicted adulterous hornballs probably deserve government disability benefits—and then how did the President choose to celebrate a day in which every last one of these goofballs all but assured him a victory in November? Duh, by going to Disney World!!
Oh, and one other thing: another debate happened. And this one actually mattered we think? Since, short story, John King is a kind of a stooge? Because think about it: in the many months of Newt Gingrich’s candidacy the man hasn’t actually succeeded in resonating with voters except when he’s playing the role of Professional Media Victim and attacking the Elite Establishment Press Corps. That’s it! The guy has never managed to muster up an applause line except on those occasions when he’s lecturing journalists (or black people). So then what do you do when you’re John King, moderator of a kind of important last-minute debate in a volatile South Carolina political landscape? You probably don’t lead with an invitation for Newt to attack you? And manufacture a scenario in which Sarah Palin is actually right about something/anything? Ugh. But he went there! And so the guy who singlehandedly perfected the politics of personal destruction ran away with a commanding victory within the first five minutes of last night’s debate—if not also running away the South Carolina primary and maybe even the whole nomination and god help us who the hell knows what else—by, yes, lecturing John King on the politics of personal destruction! What an amazing spectacle it is to behold, watching Newt Gingrich, rich person, heckle rich people for being rich, and watching Newt Gingrich, personal destructor extraordinaire, lecture journalists on the politics of personal destruction.
Good morning, America! Here we are! You all now occupy an actual, undeniable, non-fictional reality land in which Newt Gingrich now leads in South Carolina by six points and every last pundit on the TV this morning is speculating that Newt’s going to win this thing and parlay his momentum into a victory in Florida and maybe even onward to the convention.
TL;DR: Thank god it’s Friday! We’re going to go drink heavily now. Good day. And good luck! To all of us.