Friday, February 29, 2008

The newest member of the blogosphere


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hillary's last stand: tonight's Democratic debate

Well, it's Hillary's last stand. Which version of her will show up? The one who is proud to share the stage with Obama, or the one who cries "Shame on you!"? Let's find out...
  • Clinton says she's "disturbed" by Obama's tactics. Here will be a good test for Obama. Is he going to be playing prevent defense tonight, or is he going to counter attack? Yes and no. A good answer pointing out that Clinton has distributed plenty of negative literature, but he did it in the context of the differences between their plans. So now they are debating the differences in the plans, not the tactics.

  • Obama has a speech affect or something that causes him to say "Mass-a-too-setts." Tough on my ears.

  • We're in the same place we were last Thursday, arguing along the margins. I guess that's a good least they are debating the specifics. It makes the debate fairly yawn-inducing. I realize it's very important and that the audience may be different this time than the last and the last, but when you've watched all of the debates (as I have) it gets a bit repetitive.

  • Clinton complaining about her treatment by the moderators, bringing up the Saturday Night Live skit. It sounded like she got a couple of groans from the audience. She's got to stop whining. It didn't work with the Xerox line in the last debate, and it's not working here.

  • Obama has become a much better debater as the campaign has gone on. His demeanor is quite a stark contrast to Hillary's.

  • And just like that, Tim Russert makes Hillary look like a sympathetic figure. Russert is who he is, but when he goes on the attack it gives the candidate a great chance to play the victim.

  • Obama seems completely in control of the debate. And yes it seems like I'm swooning.

  • Russert playing the Buffalo card. The whole "gotcha" line of questioning works on "Meet the Press," but I don't think it works nearly as well in a debate.

  • "Senator Clinton equates experience with longevity in Washington." He is so good and so matter-of-fact when he attacks, it doesn't sound like an attack.

  • The whole "Senator Obama basically said he wanted to bomb Pakistan" is a Republican talking point. Clinton should be more original than that.

  • Man, Obama just hammered her on Iraq and Pakistan.

  • Russert is trying to win the debate. Good for Hillary for calling him out on his hypotheticals. And good for Obama that Hillary is the one to whine about it.
It's halftime, and Obama is winning, fairly handily. Clinton just can't lay a glove on him, and he has been quite aggressive in his own right, but with a calm, easy-going demeanor that masks his attacks.

Late edit: I've been watching the second half of the debate, but I just haven't been awake enough to blog it. Nothing I've seen has changed my mind that Obama is tonight's winner. Barring some unforseen event in the next week, this campaign should be over next Tuesday.


Monday, February 25, 2008

The myth of the good governor

A Telegram & Gazette letter writer criticized Deval Patrick last week for having national aspirations, suggesting:
I hope it is now apparent to everyone that the reason why he is stumping so hard for Barack Obama, and the reason why he is never in the state, is because he wants out of Massachusetts and to be part of Mr. Obama’s Cabinet.
The news today that Patrick made an "iron-clad" promise not to serve in an Obama cabinet has taken a little steam out of my discussion of this letter (not to mention rendering the writer very wrong). But, the author ends the letter with an incredibly illogical argument:
Massachusetts has a long line of governors leaving for other offices (William Weld, Paul Cellucci, Mitt Romney). Let’s rid ourselves of this deceitful politician. In the future, let’s consider true, homegrown politicians who have our best interests in mind.
First, how should we "rid ourselves" of Deval Patrick? Impeachment? Has he actually done anything to warrant removal, or is harboring imaginary national aspirations enough to warrant removal? And wouldn't it logically follow that the best way to rid ourselves of Patrick would be to have him leave for Obama's cabinet? So the writer wants to be rid of Patrick, but he doesn't want Patrick to leave. I'm getting dizzy.

Second, while Massachusetts does have a long history of governors leaving for other offices--although I'm not sure Mitt Romney should be included since he actually finished his term, while the other two governors on this list did not. But let's accept that Romney should be included because he clearly had national aspirations while he was in the corner office. Mentioning Paul Cellucci is also curious since he, as a lifelong resident of Hudson, is about as homegrown as any politician could be.

In any event, it looks like the criteria for being a good governor are to be homegrown and not to seek or accept work in Washington.

The mythical good governor that the author mentions has rarely existed in Massachusetts. Looking back at the last 100 years, most of the commonwealth's governors have either sought or accepted positions in Washington and a few were not born in Massachusetts. Of the 29 governors elected since 1906, 10 of them were both "homegrown" and did not seek or accept higher office during or shortly after their terms:

Ed King, 1979-83
Frank Sargent, 1969-75
Endicott Peabody, 1963-65 (although he did run for the Democratic Vice Presidential nomination in 1972)
Robert Bradford, 1947-49
Charles Hurley, 1937-39
Joseph Ely, 1931-36
Frank Allen, 1929-31
Alvan Fuller, 1925-29
Channing Cox, 1921-25
Ebenezer Draper, 1909-11

Notice something about the length of these governors' terms? They are all very short. In fact, of the 10, only three (Ely, Allen, Cox) were reelected. The other seven were all voted out of office after just one term (Sargent was acting governor for two years before being elected in his own right in 1970).

History suggests that homegrown governors without ambition are so poor that their constituents reject them after a short time.

Rather than seeing ambition as a bad thing, the voters of Massachusetts by and large have noticed leaders when they've seen them despite--or because of--their national ambitions. This tradition of serving both the state and the country goes all the way back to John Hancock, who was elected the first governor of the commonwealth in 1780 and resigned in 1785. Later that summer, he served in congress under the Articles of Confederation and was elected president in November.

Perhaps the people of the commonwealth would have been better off if John Hancock had remained in Massachusetts and kept the state's best interests in mind.

The evidence does not suggest that these homegrown governors are successful, despite their lack of national ambition and the implied focus on "our best interests." And the evidence also doesn't support the claim that Patrick is leaving office before the end of his term. I wouldn't be surprised if Patrick is looking to a bigger stage in the future--I think he will run for reelection in 2010, leave the statehouse after his second term (assuming he is reelected) and then running for president in 2016--but he's not now. And the incentive to be successful will ensure that he attempts to accomplish what he sets out to, since failure would doom any chance of him ascending to national prominence.

(Information on Massachusetts governors from wikipedia and



Last night, No Drumlins welcomed it's 25,000th reader. The lucky visitor logged on from an address in Central Florida. Here are other visitor milestones:

1,000: July 31, 2006
5,000: October 21, 2006
10,000: February 1, 2007
15,000: June 24, 2007
20,000: October 20, 2007
25,000: February 24, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"That's what's wrong with America today"

"The President of the United States....pees sitting down...We've got a bunch of leaders who don't stand up and piss against a wall like a man."

Now I know why the Fundamentalists hate Hillary so much.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Did the Bruins win, NESN?

I heard a rumor this morning that the Bruins won last night. I was watching the debate and "Lost" so I didn't get to see the game (the DVR can only do so much) and I figured that since the game was on NESN last night, I'd go to to get the highlights. I assumed the network of the Bruins would be a good place to get what I was looking for. Here's what I found:


I see eight videos about Spring Training and one interview with Bruin goalie Alex Auld about a shootout win. But the last game the Bruins won was also a shootout, so I have no idea if that's about last night's game, or Tuesday's game.

Please NESN, The Bruins are in a playoff race and the Red Sox don't even play a real game for six weeks. I understand that we'll be all Red Sox all the time all summer long. But can I at least get Bruins coverage while they are in season? Is that too much to ask?


Thursday, February 21, 2008

We need to be an "innovation nation" and other thoughts from tonight's debate, part 2

Taking an hour or so to watch "Lost" was definitely the right choice. But watching the rest of the debate is a good second choice, and through the magic of DVR technology, I'm ready to go. Part 1 is here.
  • John King tees it up for Hillary...Is Obama "all hat and no cattle?" Other than a mention of the state senator that whiffed in his attempt to defend Obama a couple of nights ago, she lets it go. Obama does a much better job defending his hat and cattle.

  • Campbell Brown brings up the plagiarism charge. Barack defending his position, calls this discussion part of the "silly season." He seems to be getting the crowd on his side. He's put Clinton in the position of defending her charges.

  • Clinton getting booed for the line "it's not change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox." A little too harsh, I say. I think she may have dropped the line to get Obama mad. She has to know that the line was going to make the audience cringe. It might not be a bad line in a 30-second ad, but it comes across as a bit unseemly iin a face-to-face confrontation.

  • The people in the basketball bleachers stomping their feet in lieu of cheering is annoying.

  • Obama has been much better in the first 15 minutes of the second half. His answer on health care was good. While he does not mandate that everyone purchase coverage, he makes sure that everyone can buy it. As long as the health care system is going to be based on private insurance plans, it's fundamentally wrong to force people to pay the insurance companies. The only way I'd support that sort of universal health care is as part of a single-payer system, and that is not realistic anytime soon.

  • This extended applause out of the commercial break can only help Obama. Keep on running out the clock.

  • President Johnson, check.

  • These guys are talking past each other. We've got the idea.

  • I've never bought into the idea that Hillary's time as first lady should count as "experience."

  • It's interesting how the experience vs. hope themes permeate nearly every issue. Clinton spoke in terms of how what she has done and seen over the last 15 years qualify her to be commander-in-chief, while Obama talks about the things he will change as president.

  • Obama makes the point that he is a better opponent for McCain since he can argue the strategy (not in Iraq at all) vs. the tactics (surge, etc.). Now he's taking on McCain pretty hard. "It's clear by his embrace of Bush's policies that he doesn't [understand ecomomics]."

  • Another commercial? What is this, and NFL playoff game?

  • Hey, it's been an hour and a half, why aren't they finished?

  • The AC keeps blowing Obama's scratch pad around. It's been distracting me all night.

  • Clinton: "We borrow money from the Chinese to pay for oil to the Saudis." Talk about plagiarism. That is taken almost verbatim from an argument that Ron Paul, of all people, has been making in nearly every Republican debate.

  • I appreciate the fact that Obama's cuffs have buttons instead of links. I've always thought cufflinks are pretentious and give the appearance that the candidate is on a differnt plane from most of the rest of us.

  • Clinton finished with an excellent answer about the challenges she has faced and how they compare to the challenges of many Americans. She was also very gracious to Obama about the race. It almost sounded like she was conceding.
I thought the debate was a draw. Clinton won the first half, Obama won the second. But Clinton couldn't afford a draw, she had to take advantage of the opportunity. Obama will continue running out the clock if she doesn't change the dynamic.


We need to be an "innovation nation" and other thoughts from tonight's debate, part 1

You're looking live at Austin, Texas, where Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are about to face off in what will either be a bloody fight to the death, or another day off the schedule for Barack Obama. Not that it will matter that much, since most everyone has spent the last 24 hours wondering if John McCain has been plying lobbyists with pork (double entendre absolutely intended). And away we go...
  • Oh good grief, some lady in a red suit just came in and told the candidates where to stand. How about having the press back up if there is a problem.

  • And they didn't even shake hands! I can't believe they didn't at least shake hands. I don't even think they said hello. Although Barack did pull Hillary's chair out for her.

  • Obama elects to receive!

  • Barbara Jordan, check. Ann Richards, check. Hey, did you know Hillary is a woman too?

  • I wonder if they split the audience, putting Obama's people on one side and Clinton's on the other. If they didn't, they should.

  • Obama has quite a cold. Might not be a bad thing, if he's hopped up on Sudafed. Might keep him energized.

  • Or not. He seems flat. I hope he is ready to punch back.

  • Why is George Lopez on TV? Get him off my TV. I can is grab the DVDs of his show in the two-dollar bin if I want to watch him.

  • Well, there went the Republican viewers. A brown man with an accent? Can't be bothered with that.

  • Clinton has the same approach to Cuba that Bush has to Iran. Do what we want first, then we'll meet.

  • And we have a real policy difference right off the bat. Obama would meet with the Cubans and would ease travel restrictions. "We have to talk with our enemies as well as our friends."

  • Or maybe not. Now Hillary is suggesting the only difference is that the president would not visit Cuba in a Clinton administration.

  • I can't believe we're having a long discussion on relations with Cuba.

  • John King is not wearing a wedding ring. For what it's worth.

  • Barack needs the audience. As soon as he gets applause, he perks right up. He's outlining his economic plan, but not contrasting it with Clinton's. King will probably mention that he didn't compare, as the question was asked. Obama should reply that it's not up to him to outline his plan.

  • Hillary wants a "trade time out." What exactly does that mean? Are we not going trade for 60 days? What would that do to the economy?

  • Michelle thinks Hillary's hair looks awful. I noticed that too, but hadn't got around to mentioning it.

  • What's with all of the rhymes, Hill? An innovation nation? Clean green?

  • Early on, it appears that the Clinton theme of "Obama's not specific enough" or "Obama doesn't have any of his own ideas" has been accepted by CNN. King asked Obama to articulate how his economic position is different from Clinton's. Campbell Brown asked Obama "Isn't your position the same" after Clinton answered a question on immigration.

  • I just can't get going on the fence debate. The fence is a dumb idea, at least in Texas. You already have a river. This isn't East Berlin.

  • CNN just tossed up a graphic telling me to go to for Bill Schneider's analysis. Why would I want to know what Dr. Benson Honeydew thinks about this debate?

  • 120 million Hispanics in 2050? The remaining Republicans watching just went screaming from their living rooms.
Commercial. I'd say Hillary is winning on points, but it doesn't feel like she's done anything to blunt Obama. I'm going to stop to watch Lost. Will share the rest of it later tonight. Here is part 2.


You know what we need? More bears.

Michelle would dispute me on this, but is there really anything more heartwarming than reading a story in the Globe about three cute bear cubs that have been born in the wild, just one town over:

RUTLAND, Mass. -- State biologists conducting their annual mid-winter "bear census" made a happy discovery in the woods here this morning: One of 13 bears they've tagged with radio collars has given birth to three healthy cubs.

After anesthetizing the mother bear with a drug-filled dart at the end of a 10-foot-pole, researchers from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife carefully picked up the estimated month-old cubs to check their gender and weight. The cubs, two males and one female, all clocked in within a few ounces of 5 pounds....

...officials with the wildlife department and the University of Massachusetts Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit estimate there are anywhere from 3,000 to 3,500 across the state, almost all of them living in Worcester County and Western Massachusetts...
I mean, really. Would there be anything cooler than looking out into the back yard and seeing a mother bear and some cubs ambling around looking for something to eat? I think not!

I know we've got a few bears in Sterling, but sadly they all seem to be spotted on the west side of town. Our neighbor across the street claims that he has seen evidence of bears on his property, but I'm skeptical.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Knuuttila kicks off the campaign in Clinton

knuuttila clinton 3I took an hour or so this afternoon to head to Clinton town hall to catch the final stop on the "Brian Knuuttila for State Senate" announcement tour.

Former State Rep. Knuuttila spoke off the cuff for about 15 minutes. The theme of his remarks centered around the need for the cities and towns of the district to work together on goals common to the district, and to iterate that he is the candidate who can best represent the smaller town in the district, such as Clinton, Sterling and Lancaster. He suggested that his experience representing small towns such as Ashby, Winchendon, and Ashburnham made him the best qualified to represent the Southern part of the district.

It was in this vein that Knuuttila criticized Leominster Rep. Jennifer Flanagan, the only other candidate that has announced thus far. He said that Flanagan won't be able to get up to speed on the issues of small towns--listing Lancaster, Sterling, and Townsend among others--having only represented the city of Leominster.

Knuuttila claimed a number of supporters in Clinton including Selectman Robert Pasquale, former Selectman Steve Mendoza, and Esteban Mendoza of the Parks and Recreation Committee. He also mentioned that he had strong support in Fitchburg, listing former Republican Mayor Dan Mylott and current Representative Stephen DiNatale among his supporters (In their coverage of the announcement event in Fitchburg, the Fitchburg Pride wrote that Mylott has not yet decided on an endorsement. They do not list DiNatale among Knuuttila's supporters).

Following his remarks, a few of us hung around and talked with the candidate for a few minutes. I mentioned to him that I hoped that we could turn Sterling into a Democratic town someday, and Knuuttila suggested that it would take a conservative Democrat like him to win small rural towns like Sterling. I'd prefer to see a progressive Democrat catch fire in the district, but I'm not sure that is realistic.

knuuttila clinton 1There were 28 voting-age people at the rally, and frankly I don't know how many of them were voters from Clinton, Sterling, etc. and how many were supporters and family members from Gardner, Fitchburg, etc. After the rally broke up, a number of the supporters were looking for directions out of Clinton, suggesting to me that they were along for the ride and to hold signs for the cameras (to Knuuttila's credit, he knew how to get home, giving correct directions out of Clinton and back to route 190). My guess is that there were fewer than a dozen of us from the Southern part of the district (if that many).

One memorable moment at the announcement was when Knuuttila's granddaughter found something more interesting than her Grampy's speech, and took off into the street toward Central Park. The candidate saw the little girl heading into trouble, broke out of his speech, and ran into the street to pull her out of harm's way. I'm not sure if Knuuttila will be a frontrunner for the senate seat, but he's a leading candidate for Grandfather of the Year.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

The line on local races

February 16 update: Harold Naughton has decided against a run. This development likely strengthens Brian Knuuttila in a Democratic primary as he will now have Gardner all to himself, and keeps open the possibility that Stephen Kerrigan may mount a run, since there no is no other potential candidate from the Southern part of the district. Updated Democratic line below.

Since I originally broke down the potential candidates to succeed State Senator Bob Antonioni, two potential candidates have pulled out, another may be in, and another looks to be running for another seat.

Most of the movement has happened in Fitchburg, where first-term representative Stephen DiNatale has decided to run for reelection instead of the senate, former Mayor Dan Mylott has announced that he is not running--leaving the race looking for a Republican--and city councilor Dean Tran has indicated that he may be in the Democratic primary. Finally, Leominster city councilor Claire Freda has taken out papers to run for state rep, taking her out of the state senate mix.

Here is my early line on the three races in play in the North County. First the State Senate...

1. Rep. Jennifer Flanagan (Leominster) -- Front-runner for the nomination, since she's from the district's largest city and has Antonioni's blessing. Currently the only candidate who has announced.
2. Former Rep. Brian Knuttilla (Gardner) -- Would have the support of Sheriff Guy Glodis and his machine. Now has Gardner and the north county all to himself, with Naughton's departure (Gardner Rep. Robert Rice had annouced his support for Naughton).
3. Councilor Dean Tran (Fitchburg) -- Would be the only Fitchburger in the race. Currently unenrolled, but has said he would run as a Democrat. I wonder if a late party change would hurt in a primary.
4. Stephen Kerrigan (Lancaster) -- Mounted a brief run for US Congress in 2007. Only candidate from the Southern flank of the district.

1. Gregg Lisciotti (Leominster) -- I doubt Lisciotti would set aside his real estate business to move to the state house, but he's been active in Republican circles in the past, and there are no other Republicans yet mulling a run.

1. Mayor Dean Mazzarella (Leominster) -- Could be the wild card in the entire race. Mazzarella is hugely popular in Leominster and might be the only candidate of any persuasion who can beat Flanagan in November. On one hand, why would he want to give up what is essentially a Mayor-for-life gig to be one of 40 senators? On the other hand, this is not a mayoral election year, so he doesn't have much to lose.

Now the race to replace Jennifer Flanagan as state representative from the Fourth Worcester district (City of Leominster):

1. Councilor Dennis Rosa -- Is the only current councilor running as a Democrat. Will be hard to beat.
2. Former School Committeeman Chad M. Radock -- As a potential state Democratic Committeeman (he's on the list as a candidate for a seat), he could be able to put together a strong organization.
3. Former Councilor Susan Chalifoux

1. Planning Board Chairman John Souza -- Lost the Republican primary in 2004.

1. Councilor Claire Freda -- Lost runs in both 2004 and 2006. In '04, she lost to Flanagan in the Democratic primary. After leaving the party in '06, she was trounced by Flanagan in the general election.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Nominee for the worst campaign video ever

Here is a campign video from a Hillary Clinton supporter. It is eerily reminiscent of the 1986 classic "New England, the Patriots, and We." If you dare, please watch both and vote below:

First, the Hillary video:

And finally, "New England, the Patriots, and We":

Vote Now!
Worst Video?
New England, the Patriots, and We
Free polls from

(Via Andrew Sullivan.)


Monday, February 11, 2008

Apparently no one uses the Pike anymore

According to statistics in yesterday's Boston Globe, the downtown stretch of the Mass Pike has essentially been abandoned:
It's a vital and busy artery bringing motorists from the western suburbs and beyond in and out of the heart of Boston. While the Mass. Turnpike may not be perfect, it's a roadway many commuters can't do without. Pike officials estimate 100,000 vehicles travel the road between downtown Boston and the Allston tolls every year.
100,000 vehicles a year? That turns out to be about 11 cars an hour. I haven't counted, but I think I get at least 11 cars an hour on the paved cowpath in front of my house that we charitably call a street. If it's that easy to get around Boston these days, I'm going to have to visit the city more often. More...
For at least several weeks now, GlobeWatch has noticed a growing number of lights over both east- and westbound traffic lanes on the Pike are dark, making the six-lane roadway more challenging to navigate at night.
But what makes the six-lane roadway less challenging for those 11 cars each hour is that the road is actually eight lanes wide, if you believe the visual evidence provided by the Globe. Oh, and huzzah! to the photograher for catching the Pike at a particularly busy time. I count at least 29 cars in the photo.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

The delegate from Sterling

A week ago Saturday, I decided I would make my first foray into local politics (other than voting and attending town meeting) and attended the Democratic caucus for the town of Sterling. Essentially, each town holds a caucus in early February each year to elect delegates to the state convention.

Before heading to the caucus, I had done a little research on what the caucus was like, how voting would be done, the requirements to be a delegate, etc. I didn't go to the caucus with any expectations, really. I just wanted to see what it was about and wanted to get involved. I'd thought about it before, but now that we have made Sterling our permanent home it seemed like the time was right to take the plunge.

Well, 10:00 am came, and I made it to the caucus site with just seconds to spare (the rules state that only caucus-goers who are at the site at exactly 10:00 can run or vote for delegates and I wanted to make sure I was there in time).

I was one of just three attendees.

On one hand, this was a little disappointing, since I'd read about delegate fights and impassioned speeches by candidates on some of the activist websites. On the other hand, since we were there to elect four delegates, that meant that I was unanimously elected to the state Democratic convention as a delegate from Sterling.

What it also meant is that the three of us who attended (actually two and the town chair) agreed to vote for each other on the ballot for Democratic town committee at the primary last Tuesday (and have our wives vote for us as well to give us the required five votes). While I haven't seen official results, I assume that I am also now a member of the Sterling Democratic Town Committee.

So I'm now a member of the Democratic Town Committee and a delegate to the state Democratic Convention. Pretty cool huh?

(Goofy illustration of generic Massachusetts delegate courtesy of Demver.)


Saturday, February 9, 2008

The other Super Tuesday -- State Senate Free for All

While most of the country was following the presidential primaries on Super Tuesday, there was a huge story breaking in local politics. Long time state Senator Bob Antonioni announced that he was retiring from the Senate. The announcement will most likely touch off a free-for-all for the open seat, with the fallout tricking down to probably two or more open seats in the House of Representatives.

There have been no fewer than nine potential candidates mentioned in the media and on local blogs, including five Democrats, two Republicans, and two unenrolled contenders. Here's a first look at how the race could shake out, with my rankings.

1. Rep. Jennifer Flanagan (Leominster)
2. Rep. Harold Naughton (Clinton)
3. Former Rep. Brian Knuttilla (Gardner)
4. Rep. Stephen DiNatale (Fitchburg)
5. Stephen Kerrigan (Lancaster)

Rep. Flanagan has already announced that she is running to replace Antonioni and has won the Senator's endorsement. The combination of the endorsement and her popularity in Leominster, the largest city in the district, should make her the front runner. However, she has not been seriously challenged in her two races and she will most likely be tested more significantly than she has to this point in her young career.

Rep. Naughton has served seven terms in the state house, done a tour of duty in Iraq as an Army reservist and it is rumored that "he's been doing some fairly seriously job hunting of late." He is very popular in his House district, which encompasses most of the Southern and Eastern part of the Senate territory. He also has the support of Gardner Rep. Robert Rice.

Knuttila, Rice's predecessor in the State House, has also announced the formation of an exploratory committee. He left his seat at the state house to work for Sheriff Guy Glodis, one of the more powerful figures in Worcester County. He is expected to announce his candidacy next week.

Rep. Di Natale is in his first term in the state house. While he has a natural base in Fitchburg, he may not have the clout across the district. I'd expect him to decide against a race for Senate and seek easy reelection to the House.

Kerrigan was a longtime aide to Senator Ted Kennedy and came up short in an attempt to garner the Democratic nomination to U. S. Congress in the fifth district's special election last fall. If Naughton is in the Senate race, I expect Kerrigan to focus on his open house seat.

1. Former Mayor Dan Mylott (Fitchburg)
2. Gregg Lisciotti (Leominster)

I am listing Mylott ahead of Liscotti only because I don't think Liscotti will run. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Mylott might have a strong base in Fitchburg, having won a number of elections in the city. He would have experience running a campaign and would have an organization in place. But the city tired of him by the end of his last term and he clashed frequently with the city council and school committee.

Lisciotti is one of the wealthiest, most powerful developers in the region. He could campaign as a successful businessman who has the experience in the private sector that the state house needs in a time of economic uncertainty. He also would have nearly unlimited resources to run a campaign and is based in the district's largest city. But Lisciotti isn't the most popular figure in Leominster by any means, with some townspeople (especially in the Eastern part of the city) resentful of his Orchard Park shopping center. Ultimately, I don't think he will put aside his development business to run for office.

1. Mayor Dean Mazzarella (Leominster)
2. Councilor Claire Freda (Leominster)

Mazzarella is the wild card in the race. He is extraordinarily popular in Leominster and has been mayor for 14 years. He is also not up for reelection this fall, so he could run without anything to lose--he'll either be State Senator or Mayor in 2009 one way or the other. While he is unenrolled, he leans Republican, having supported Mitt Romney in 2002 and run interference on behalf of Kerry Healey in 2006. If he ran as a Republican, he would probably have clear sailing to the nomination, but part of his appeal is that he is unenrolled and can claim that he is not beholden to any other party. I think he'll be on the general election ballot as an unenrolled candidate.

The other potential unenrolled candidate is City Councilor Freda, who has twice failed to defeat Flanagan in races for her house seat. In 2004, she ran in the Democratic primary and lost, in 2006 she dropped out of the Democratic party in an attempt to avoid Flanagan until the general (and because she claimed that the Democratic party wasn't the "party [she] grew up with"). I think she'd get trounced in a Senate election, but might have a shot running for the seat Flanagan will vacate. Ultimately, I think she'll stay away from this race, and concentrate on the house.

Which would make her one of at least four candidates for Flanagan's seat, as three Democrats have already signaled their intent to run in the primary. And if Naughton declares, there will be another open seat in the region.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Live Blogging Super Tuesday, Part 5: The Wednesday edition

The Wednesday edition of Super Tuesday. Part one is here. Part two is here. Part three is here. Part Four is here. My comments are in red, Scott's are in blue.

12:08 -- Besides the nailbiters in Missouri, it's interesting how the Republican winner-take-all process is skewing things. Right now, on MSNBC, they have called 5 states for Huckabee, 5 states for Romney and 7 states for McCain. Yet, because McCain's states are delegate rich, he is being discussed as the big winner, with Huckabee the comeback guy being touted as the second candidate. Yet, Romney has won as many states as Huckabee and both have won nearly as many as McCain with California still up for grabs.

12:11 -- Well, that's the thing. Many of Huck's states are also winner-take-all.

12:12 -- Paul Begala is a buffoon.

12:12 -- MSNBC calls California for Clinton, following an extended and tortuous Humpty Dumpty analogy from Brokaw that had hands across AMerica reaching for the clicker and Tylenol.

12:14 -- MSNBC calls California for McCain. There's the big one.

12:14 -- CNN calls Arizona for Clinton. Nothing yet on California, but it's pretty obvious she's going to win.

12:15 -- McCain winning California is big, except that it's one of the proportional states, so Romney can still come out of there with a number of delegates.

12:16 -- McCain has been declared as the "apparent winner" in Missouri. With 98% of the vote, he is up by 8500, meaning it is statistically impossible for Huckabee to get more votes even if all the rest are for him. A recount, however, seems a statistical probability.

12:17 -- I was just doing the math in my head on the CNN results page as you were posting. I figured there were about 12,000 votes still out so it would be mathematically possible for Huck to pull it out, but practically impossible. I'd be surprised if Huckabee wanted a recount, if the rumors about him being a stalking horse for McCain are true. I wonder, though, if Romney might call for a recount in hopes tha
t Huckabee would win.

12:19 -- Romney apparently won Montana with a whopping total of 625 votes. Ron Paul actually came in second, with 400 votes. Interestingly, if you were to add in the votes from here in Clinton, Joe Biden would have come in second place.

12:21 -- Oh, God. Larry King is on.

12:23 -- And in an effort to get away from him, I turned to Karl Rove on Fox News. Auuuuugh!

12:25 -- Obama is up by 4900 in Missouri with 98% in.

12:28 -- I just moved over to HDNet (Mark Cuban's network) and Dan Rather is hosting their coverage. It is essentially a cable access show, but in HD. In the last two minutes, he's told us that Clinton's win in California is a "throw your hats in the air, 'Whoopee!' moment" and that he's "not the water, just the wave." Man is he losing it.

12:31 -- Losing it? He lost it a long time ago. My guess is it was in 1968. DRINK!

12:32 -- MSNBC just cut in with "breaking new from Romney campaign headquarters", which turned out to be the fact that tomorrow will be a day of "frank discussions". That's about the biggest anticlimax since the Heroes season one finale.

12:33 -- CNN called Missouri for McCain.

12:38 -- Listening to Obama and Clinton supporters both try so claim momentum is giving me a metaphorical headache. Especially on the Clinton side, since she has been a 10-20% favorite for weeks and ended up just eking out most of her wins, not to mention the fact that Obama has won more states. I don't see how anyone call spin that as momentum with a straight face.

12:40 -- Back to Dan Rather, apparently the Associated Press had called Missouri for Clinton earlier in the evening and now has withdrawn it's call.

12:41 -- Meanwhile, MSNBC has declared Obama the "apparent winner" in Missouri. Which in its way is as inexplicable as the AP declaring Clinton in the first place, since MSNBC is still using the same figures of a 4900 vote lead as they've been showing for the past 20 minutes. They've also just declared Alaska for Obama.

12:43 -- I think it's fair to wonder if the Ted Kennedy endorsement had any effect at all. He was supposed to help in Massachusetts and with Latino voters across the country and Obama is getting pounded among both constituencies.

12:45 -- MSNBC spoke about that a little, and they claimed that Obama's numbers among Latino voters that speak English were good in part due to Kennedy's endorsement, but that Spanish only Latinos were heavily backing Clinton. Which is probably a safe thing to say since nobody on Earth would have any way of figuring out whether its true or not.

12:48 -- Sounds good to me. At least you're getting politics. CNN is doing a story on the tornadoes down South.

12:48 -- Okay, here comes MSNBC's new delegate counts. The MSNBC guy is estimating 841 delegates for Obama and 837 for Clinton. He says his margin is + or - 10 delegates.

12:52 -- Sorry for moving in on the MSNBC territory, but Howard Fineman gets his own music? That's pretty cool.

12:54 -- Obama is up 13-8 in states with only New Mexico left. He's going to also earn at least a tie in delegates. I just don't see how this can be spun as a Clinton victory. For Clinton, this is a split at best and a loss at worst. This talk about Super Delegates makes my teeth itch. If the election comes down to Super Delegates, I'm afraid we're going to have another Florida in 2000 type lesson on how little our individual votes actually count in this process, which is a message that would come at a particularly poor time. If Obama wins the popular vote and is leading in delegates but loses the nomination due to the Democratic establishment throwing their Super Delegate weight behind Clinton... I foresee issues.

12:56 -- Chris Matthews just mentioned 1968, so I turned to CNN and caught some guy with a bad toupee on with Larry King.

1:00 -- In the case you spell out, there would be big issues. But I think it's plausible that the Super Delegates may move with the tide. There are still a ton of them that aren't yet declared and if the tide is flowing toward Obama, they may go along.

1:03 -- It appears that there will be more votes cast in Clinton for Joe Biden than there will be votes cast in the entire Alaskan Democratic caucuses. Biden has got to be wishing he had targeted his support better.

1:05 -- According to, Ron Paul won Boylston with 53%. Can't be right.

1:07 -- Do you have any frank discussions lined up for tomorrow? We can break some news here.

1:07 -- For Ron Paul, that has to be at least a bit of a moral victory. Sure, he's disappointed by his national showing, but "Ron Paul, Honorary President of Boylston" is a pretty good consolation prize.

1:09 -- I am going to have a frank discussion with our parents about whether I can borrow their car for a trip to Maine. Exclusive No Drumlins scoop. This may also prompt a frank discussion with the guys at the garage about why they can't fix a set of headlights in three attempts. And I might have a frank discussion with Joe Biden about his political future on the Clinton Town Council.

1:14 -- Chris Matthews just said that "Bill Weld always has a good time. We all know what that means." Heh heh.

1:14 -- Chris Matthews and the guy in Boston for the Romney campaign just started reminiscing about what a party animal Bill Weld is. They were almost giggling as they shared a salacious in joke. Man, I wish I knew what they were not telling us.

1:16 -- For what it's worth, Channel 7's web site lists Clinton as the winner of Missouri. Not that we expect much from Channel 7.

1:18 -- If it doesn't involve footage of someone running over a dog or a bus going off a cliff in Paraguay, Channel 7 doesn't want to know and they don't need to know. Now, if you don't mind, I'm afk a few minutes while I order my "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Biden" bumper sticker.

1:19 -- "Afk?" Have you developed a lisp?

1:20 -- That's internet speak, bro. C'mon, this is a blog. You're supposed to use acronyms like afk, afaik, l33t, imo and brb. In fact, you're supposed to say "ur" instead of "you're". Someone needs to browse myspace a little more.

1:23 -- On that note, I'm going to bed. While you browse myspace, I'll be getting up to go to work. If any of you dear readers want to continue reading the commentary, head to Scott's blog.

1:24. -- No problem. Me and Shaq will be acting as cyber sheriffs while you sleep.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Live Blogging Super Tuesday, Part 4

How do you like it? How do you like it?
More, More, More!

Part one is here. Part two is here. Part three is here. My comments are in red, Scott's are in blue.

10:45 -- It looks to me as though the conservative backlash against McCain has had an effect, just not the effect the establishment was hoping for. The voters have thrown their support behind Huckabee as the alternative, as it seems that everyone in the nation has seen through the Romney bullflap. On the flip side, the states that McCain has won bring a significantly larger number of delegates than the ones Huckabee has taken, meaning that I think McCain will still be the clear frontrunner coming out of this. The interesting thing is that it may not longer be Huckabee that is stealing votes from Romney by staying in the race, but Romney stealing votes from Huckabee by staying in the race. As long as they are both in, though, it all works to McCain's advantage.

10:49 -- Sterling still ha
s not reported results. Probably because they had to hand-count a handful of write-in votes.

10:51 -- ...for Joe Biden.

10:52 -- Hillary is apparently acknowledging that real estate background by wearing her Century 21 jacket.

10:53 -- I thought she had been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

10:53 -- Clinton just upstaged the networks by announcing that American Samoa has voted for her. C'mon, Matthews, where were you guys on that? Talk about dropping the ball.

10:54 -- Did she just announce that she won American Samoa? Has that been officially called? I think it's a power play so that if the result in Samoa is in doubt, she'll have already defined expectations.

10:55 -- Actually, I think you're right about her jacket. MSNBC just showed a glimpse of the back of her coat and it said "Ocho Cinco" on it.

10:56 -- Romney will probably be wearing a shirt or jacket in that color tomorrow.

10:57 -- What color is that, exactly? Flan?

10:59 -- At some point during this speech, Obama was declared the winner of Minnesota. He'll be traded to Boston for a 3rd round pick by the end of the month.

11:00 -- And Obama declared winner in Idaho as well. By my count that's now 9 states for Obama and 6 for Clinton. I heard earlier today that Obama actually campaigned in Idaho, and they rewarded him with a turnout of over 15,000, the largest political event in Idaho history. That's every single thing I know about Idaho. That and potatoes.

11:02 -- Arizona goes to McCain. Romney wins North Dakota. When did he live there?

11:06 -- Huckabee is on MSNBC, rambling. He just used the "size of the fight in the dog" metaphor, which is pretty played out. Clinton's speech was very good, especially compared to the crap dished out by Huckabee and Romney tonight.

11:06 -- CNN just reported that McCain has moved into first place in Missouri, leading Huckabee by only 400 votes.

11:08 -- Is MSNBC counting delegates yet? CNN hasn't started breaking down the delegate count by district yet, so it's hard to tell how well they are doing.

11:08 -- Huckabee also just used the "whiner" line about Romney. He assumes that nobody watches all the networks. Well, he didn't bank on No Drumlins. In your face, bible boy. As a follow up, Olbermann asked him if he was McCain's sidekick.

11:10 -- Earlier in the evening, MSNBC had some delegate counts, but they haven't done it recently. McCain had been demolishing both Huckabee and Romney at that early point, but I haven't seen any updates in a couple hours.

11:10 -- CNN just dusted off Lou Dobbs. At least they waited until after the polls closed so he wouldn't scare off any Latino voters.

11:11 -- CNN calls Minnesota for Romney.

11:12 -- Someone at MSNBC seems to be subtly supporting Clinton. When they showed the Republican side-by-side winner chart, the McCain list of wins was long, while the other winners had their couple states "top justified" to use some MS Word jargon. When they showed the Democrat graphics, though, the Clinton list of states had been spaced out so that the 6 wins took up the same amount of room on the list as Obama's 10 wins. The effect was to artificially boost the appearance of Clinton;s win list, especially since viewers had just seen the tiny win lists for dudes like Romney. In other words, someone gave Clinton a fluffer.

11:15 -- MSNBC calls Arizona for Clinton.

11:16 -- Carl Bernstein is wearing an awful pair of glasses.

11:17 -- Is it physically possible to give Clinton a fluffer?

11:17 -- Anything is possible in the MSNBC "virtual room".

11:18 -- Good news from Sterling. My neighbors cast more Democratic ballots than Republican ballots. Highly unusual, since Sterling is a pretty heavily Republican town.

11:19 -- More good news from Sterling: nobody stole the lamb statue tonight. This marks the third consecutive night nobody has stolen it, a town record.

11:20 -- At least we didn't have a steady stream of Old Timer patrons stumble up the hill and pass out on the Joe Biden lever.

11:23 -- MSNBC has finally started to show some delegate totals. At present, they are estimating 594 for Obama and 546 for Clinton. The delegate guru dude believes there's a chance they could actually end the night tied in the delegate count. On the Republican side, they just have ranges. They are projecting McCain at being between 400-650; Romney from 170-420 (depending on California) and Huckabee around 200.

11:26 -- Well, they are not going to end up tied at the end of the night, that's just silly. And the stuff about the Republicans is meaningless. So McCain could win, or not.

11:28 -- Hater.

11:30 -- CNN calls Georgia for Huckabee.

11:36 -- You know, Huckabee is doing very well tonight. He could easily end the night with more delegates than Romney if he can hold on to win Missouri (he's up 400 votes now) and Tennessee.

11:37 -- McCain's third and fourth words were "My friends." Someone has got to get him a new phrase.

11:39 -- McCain's mother is still alive? Does she sleep in those giant tupperware bins from Eerie, Indiana? Well, God bless her. McCain said they were going to bring her everywhere, as though they were afraid she might kick it at any moment. I just hope they don't tie her to the back of the station wagon like National Lampoon.

11:42 -- I think she lives at that cryogenic facility with Ted Williams' head. They just thaw her out when they need her.

11:43 -- CNN just called Idaho and Colorado for Obama.

11:45 -- Obama calls out Bush and FEMA in response to the tornadoes across the South tonight. He seems genuinely happy, doesn't seem to be forcing it.

11:45 -- I like how McCain went on a nice speech about how much he respects people who can withstand the rigors of a presidential campaign, and then ended his description with "...and Governor Romney has money." Very nice deadpan delivery. Olbermann for some reason thought this was "an olive branch", so maybe I missed something, cause it sounded more like a sharpened stick.

11:47 -- When Obama starts speaking, he just blows the other candidates off the planet.

11:47 -- Gee, I've never heard that "no Red States, no Blue States, but the United States" line. Is that new?

11:50 -- This would be spiced up if the crowd were waving foam obamas.

11:51 -- MSNBC calls Tennessee for Huckabee. Agrees with CNN and calls Colorado for Obama. Obama trails in Missouri by 9900 votes with 93% reporting.

11:52 -- Obama is within 10,000 votes in Missouri. He's getting the snot pounded out of him in California.

11:56 -- North Dakota had less than 19,000 total votes on the Democratic side for the entire state. Hell, here in Clinton, we cast that many votes just for Joe Biden.

12:00 -- The Obama speech just entered its second day.

12:03 -- Can we stay here listening to this speech until the Convention? "Yes we can!"

12:04 -- "We are the ones we've been waiting for" is a very good line. Meanwhile, Montana goes to Romney. Obama has now gone up by 3200 votes in Missouri with 97% reporting.

12:07 -- Wow! Who will win Missouri? Find out in part 5.


Live Blogging Super Tuesday, Part 3

On we go. Part one is here. Part two is here. My comments are in red, Scott's are in blue.

9:28 -- What's the body language on Fox News telling you? I can't bring myself to check. In fact, I've had the numbers 4 and 1 removed from my remote to make sure I don't accidentally switch to Fox.

9:33 -- Are you actually asking me to intentionally switch to Fox News? Do you think I'm nuts?

9:35 -- Lancaster went for Hillary Clinton. Only 3 votes for Biden. Leominster for Hillary 65-33. What is going on?

9:38 -- Matthews and the panel of uselessness are hammering McCain because all of his major wins are in states that are traditionally Democratic and therefore states he is likely to lose in a general election. The implication being that if McCain gets the delegates tonight to make him the frontrunner or de facto nominee, the Republicans are very likely to lose the general election.

9:40 -- Does he think McCain would somehow not win Republican states? That's dumb.

9:41 -- I don't think he's thinking about that, he's too busy being gleeful at his own insights. You know how he gets -- he starts grinning and almost literally drooling, and has to sort of slurp at the corners of his mouth to keep from dripping on the desk because he's so jacked up.

9:42 -- Is there any chance that Romney runs as a third party candidate from the right? To listen to talk radio, you'd believe that McCain couldn't get any votes from "real" conservatives.

9:43 -- That would be great, except for the part where it means Romney isn't staked to a table like Dracula. I will say this for Romney -- his press secretary looks like he just walked out of an issue of Superman. MSNBC immediately segued from Captain Steeljaw right to Howard Dean, who seemed to have just come from the eye doctor and is blinking and flexing his eyeballs like a meth freak. Seriously, why do almost all prominent Democrats look like they just got infected with a zombie virus?

9:46 -- What do you think made them Democrats?

9:48 -- I am on the edge of my seat waiting to see who is going to win Utah when the polls close in 11 minutes. I just can't figure it out.

9:49 -- CNN just called Massachusetts for Hillary. In other news, Generalissimo Franco is dead.

9:52 -- McCain takes Oklahoma, home of the world's largest cattle. Readers, if you've never seen beefalo, you're missing out on a real life experience.

9:54 -- If it keeps going like this, Obama is going to have to work hard to spin the results. Even though he may essentially split the delegates, the headlines will be about a Clinton win.

10:00 -- MSNBC calls Utah for Romney. Shoot. I just put $100 on Ron Paul pulling out the win in Utah. Meanwhile, during the commercial break, they also busted out a McGruff the Crime Dog ad. Now there's a real Reagan Conservative.

10:02 -- Barack Obama is the winner in North Dakota. The Vinatieris no doubt went en masse to the caucuses to support Obama due to his resemblance to Tony Dungy. And now Obama wins Utah as well. North Dakota and Utah -- not the first places I would have guessed to be Obama strongholds.

10:04 -- FRAUD ALERT! The Vinatieris are from South Dakota!

10:06 -- Sorry. I got that information from Mike Barnacle.

10:07 -- Is Mike Huckabee wearing a yarmulke?

10:07 -- Looks like Huckabee is about to speak. I found a copy of his speech: "Ha ha, Mitt! Nanny-nanny-boo-boo!"

10:08 -- Two bible stories in the first 30 seconds from Huck. He is Our Little Friend.

10:10 -- I have a Bible story for Huckabee -- the parable of the evangelical nutjob shutting his squirrelly yap. I think it's in Leviticus.

10:13 -- Could this be a more cringe-inducing speech? Great, you know your SEC mascots. That'll get you on the Coors Silver Bullet Ultimate Highlight Hot Seat, but it won't get you elected.

10:14 -- He's referred to himself as "this old Razorback" so many times I think he might be about to announce Nolan Richardson as his running mate. Based on his speech, I'm guessing he is running for President of the Confederate States of America? Either that or the SEC.

10:15 -- Nah, he looks like he showered. He'd never pass as a Confederate.

10:16 -- Needs to work on his bloating.

10:17 -- Huckabee was so heavy, he probably never could see "the governor," if you know what I mean.

10:20 -- Alright, more shenanigans with the Mass. results. Acton has reported 612 votes for Mike Gravel and 424 votes for Biden.

10:20 -- Brokaw just called Huckabee's speech style "great". He must be even more hopped up on dramamine than he looks. Huckabee's speech was awful. MSNBC, between totally whiffing on commentary, has also called Kansas for Obama. Hopefully that's more accurate than their opinions.

10:21 -- CNN calls Connecticut for Obama. Pretty big win.

10:21 -- Brokaw just referenced 1968 again. That makes the 1,000,000th reference to 1968 he's made during this campaign. As a result, every viewer of MSNBC has just been awarded a shopping spree at DeMoulas.

10:22 -- Did you know Brokaw did a documentary called "1968" just a couple of months ago? It was pretty good.

10:23 -- He should try doing a documentary called 2008 so he'd have some idea what the heck was going on right now.

10:26 -- You know, I've gone all night without hearing a comparison to the Super Bowl, and I damn well didn't expect to hear it from Huckabee.

10:27 -- Huckabee on Romney: "Yesterday he was against whining, and today he's for it." POW!

10:29 -- MSNBC has finally called CT for Obama as well. Obama is starting to look like he's doing a little better, as he has now won more states than Clinton so far. I think even if he loses the remaining contests he can point to his wins and equality in delegates to get some good spin.

10:30 -- CNN calls Alabama for Huckabee.

10:31 -- Looks like Bill Weld put his drink down long enough to show up at Romney headquarters.

10:31 -- Bill Weld sighting. Call Mythbusters. Romney already sounds a little hoarse -- must be from screaming invective at his television as Huckabee won state after state.

10:33 -- If Romney is hoarse, it's because he saw Clinton lose her voice yesterday and figured she was on to something.

10:33 -- The foam Mitt Romney baseball mitts his supporters are waving have to be one of the all time lamest campaign props ever. And he just pointed out that the only states he has won are his three "home" states of Utah, Michigan and Massachusetts. Hey, Mitt, might not want to point that one out, fella. He followed it up by saying that they expected to also get other delgates from somewhere. He knows this because he read it on a tablet he unearthed the other day.

10:34 -- Massachusetts, Michigan and Utah voted for you, Mitt, in hope that you will go to Washington and never come home.

10:38 -- Mitt just said that it's important for candidates to have held a job in the private sector. Ha. Obviously he doesn't know about Clinton's extensive background in real estate.

10:39 -- Who was the moron who thought that having the crowd at Romney's rally shout "They Haven't!" in unison with the candidate was a good idea?

10:41 -- MSNBC calls Georgia for Huckabee.

On to part four.


Voting malfunction in Clinton?

Look at the results from Clinton, Mass.:

Hillary Clinton: 1,493
Barack Obama: 806
Joe Biden: 510
John Edwards: 47.

There is no way Joe Biden got 510 votes in Clinton, or anywhere else in Massachusetts.


Live blogging Super Tuesday, part 2

Part one is here. My comments are in red, Scott's are in blue. For this hour we welcome the one-time Republican-leaning Cameron, whose comments are in black.

8:18 -- I appreciate the intro, but I still lean right. To prove it, I have my grandfather's rifle leaning against my desk.

8:20 -- So, what have I missed?

8:22 -- Eight minutes until Arkansas closes their polls. Yeah, they are closing polls at 8:30. Insert your own Arkansas joke here.

8:26 --So, Gomer Pyle wins Arkansas?

8:26 -- Chris Matthews couldn't resist his own Arkansas related joke earlier. Someone made a comment about Bill Clinton messing up the campaign when he inserted himself into the dialog, and Matthews said, "Things always seem to go wrong when Clinton inserts himself." Particularly nice was the reaction of disgust from the female commentators on set with him.

8:28 -- Yes, Huck and Clinton will win easily.

8:30 -- Someone just said "1968". Everyone take a drink.

8:32 -- Sure enough, MSNBC calling Arkansas for Clinton and Huckabee. They threw up the graphic, which includes a head shot of a semi-grinning Huckabee looking into the middle distance with an air of confusion. I think the networks should bring in the head shot technology used in NFL broadcasts -- moving video, with the candidate starting off by looking at the ground, then up, then grinning and flipping a football up in the air.

8:33 -- It seems that the media is intent on using only photos that show candidates at their worst. Naturally, there is a conspiracy in there somewhere.

8:34 -- Georgia is looking very interesting. Only 6,000 votes separate the three Republicans.

8:35 -- I see another reason to vote for McCain. He entered a New York rally to the "Rocky" theme song. If he will only jog up the Philly Art Museum steps, he has my vote.

8:35 - Delaware goes to McCain according to MSNBC.

8:37 - So, people in VA were showing up early to vote--a week early. Definitely going to bring that up in my next discussion with the brother-in-law.

8:37 -- The Globe has a cool interactive map with town-by-town results. Pelham and West Tisbury have gone for Obama. All other results still incomplete.

8:39 -- It wasn't just Virginia; I've read reports that Texas also had a slew of confused people who tried to vote today. In a way that's worse than Virginia, because you know those Texans had to ride a cow like 600 miles to get to the voting station.

8:40 -- The way to fix that is to allow vote by mail. But the Republicans couldn't turn people away from the polls if they did that.

8:40 - Nah, in Texas most of them just can't read. Mr. D would tell you that. And, 600 miles in TX is much longer.

8:44 -- I'm not even watching the coverage anymore, I'm just trying to think of more ways to trash Texas.

8:46 -- Tony Romo. Terrell Owens. Jerry Jones. You can start there. You can start there.

8:46 -- You're right. I don't even need to attack Texas, they trash themselves without any help at all.

8:48 -- Bolton goes for Obama 55-45.

8:48 -- MSNBC just showed a cutaway of Bill Richardson, who was waiting to be interviewed and clearly didn't know he was on camera. He's grown a scraggly beard and had a pinched look on his face while his eyes darted around, scanning the corners of his own head. He looked uncomfortably like Hurley on Lost.

8:51 -- I don't believe that. You're taunting me.

8:51 -- I'm both taunting you and telling the truth at the same time. Win-win.

8:53 -- MSNBC calls Alabama for Huckabee.

8:54 -- Bill Richardson isn't the only person who has grown celebrity-impersonating facial hair. Our very own guest blogger Cameron is rocking a faux-Christian Bale goatee right now.

8:55-- Theory. Huckabee plays well in the south for one reason: Chuck Norris. Down there Walker: Texas Ranger is still considered prime time viewing.

8:55 -- Any more cleavage on MSNBCinemax?

8:56 -- And I'm not talking about Bill Richardson's man-boobs.

8:56 -- Just Tim Russert.

8:57 -- MSNBC calls Massachusetts for Clinton. Dang it.

8:59 -- There must have been a malfunction with the scanners in Clinton. They registered 510 votes for Joe Biden, vs. 1,493 for Hillary and 806 for Obama.

9:01 -- Sorry, down for a couple moments. That's just one of the problems I face being Quinn Abercromby's love child.

9:03 -- Obama wins Delaware, Clinton wins New York.

9:06 -- Actually decent picture of HC on And she takes MA. And "her home state of NY" according to the same place.

9:09 -- And with that, I bid you good night. I know that makes me weak, but I'm feeling the long night with Damon the past two nights. Must be post Super Bowl Traumatic Syndrome.

9:09 -- Spaceman McGee in the cyberstation actually came up with some interesting disembodied graphics. In Democratic primaries, women voted for Clinton over Obama by just a 51-45% margin. However, African-Americans voted for Obama by a margin of 80-17, while white voters went for Clinton by a margin of only about 51-44.

9:13 -- I'm skeptical. Why is Obama getting hammered if that is the case? The exit polls in Massachusetts suggested they should be about tied, but he's getting killed.

9:15 -- Well, Obama had a lot of his support taken by Joe Biden.

9:19 -- McCain wins New York. Narrowly dodged that late Joe Biden surge. Clinton wins New Jersey.

9:20 -- David Gergen looks and sounds like a turtle. A well-respected and politically connected turtle, but still a turtle.

9:23 -- Chris Matthews is making a big deal about Clinton "beating Kennedy in Massachusetts". Which... yeah, I dunno. Seems like a bit of a stretch. I don't know anyone here, even people who vote for Ted Kennedy, that would be swayed either way by his endorsement.

9:25 -- Alabama goes for Obama. Alobama. Olobama? I'm sure someone will come up with a crappy headline using those types of jokes.

9:26 -- New Thread here...


Live Blogging Super Tuesday

Let's hope the rest of the night is as compelling as this afternoon's Republican Convention in West Virginia. Mitt Romney was supposed to win the state's delegates with ease, until John McCain dropped out and sent his votes to Huckabee in an attempt to deny Romney the victory. It worked! Huckabee wins West Virginia, Romney is steamed. More on this and the rest of the night's activities starting around 8:00 pm.

Hello, loyal fans of No Drumlins. I'm Scott, brother of Mr. No Drumlin himself, and I will be joining you this evening in this soothing shade of blue. I am a registered Democrat and on the Lance scale of politics I am Left of Lance, hence my claim to the blue font. Earlier today I cast my vote for Barack Obama, much to the chagrin of Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Jim McGovern and Jack Nicholson, all of whom called me within the past 24 hours to implore me to vote for Hillary. Had Jack Nicholson asked me in his Joker voice, I might have been swayed. As it is, I treated the phone calls with the level of respect they deserved, as typified by this exchange I had with my unappreciative phone:

Recording: I'm Jim McGovern, and I'm calling on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

Me: I'm Scott, and I'm hanging up on behalf of America.

Now that you have an idea of where I am coming from, let's head right to the election coverage. Lance and other exciting guest bloggers will be joining us later in the evening.

7:06 -- Our second big results of the day have come in, and MSNBC has declared Obama the victor in Georgia. The pundits are currently talking about the fact that Obama is black, something that up until this very moment had escaped me. One minute, I need to run to town hall to change my vote.

7:08 -- Well, I'm back. They wouldn't let me change it, so I guess I will have to stick with Obama. To be fair to MSNBC, their racial commentary is based on cold hard numbers: after getting just 25% of the white vote in South Carolina, Obama apparently has taken well over 40% of the white vote in Georgia, suggesting that his appeal is starting to cross over more widely. Let's wait and see how the hispanic vote in California goes before we go crazy, though.

7:16 Tom Brokaw's is on, trying to talk without using his vocal cords as usual. It's like he's trying to do a ventriloquist routine without a puppet. I especially enjoy it when he gets to a particularly difficult glottal stop, he lurches forward to cough up the syllable. This seems like a good time to go over some of the MSNBC coverage in general. The ringmasters are, as usual, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, and they are joined by a series of dusty wonks who seem to exist solely to provide biased opinions based entirely on their ingrained party platforms. Pat Buchanan in particular is a total shill, as he takes every possible moment to explain why he honestly thinks every single thing McCain does is a bad idea. Of course, he comes across as almost rational compared to some of the more extreme freaks who slither onto the screen; a commentator earlier -- who may have been Buchanan's sister -- began ranting in such a dedicated, intense monotone that I feared she would begin spinning in a circle while pea soup spewed from her gaping yap.

7:17 -- While Scott has been carrying the ball, I've been watching "Captain X" on Sesame Street with Jackson. By the looks of things, I may not be needed here for a while. Which is fine, since the "Penny Candy Man" is coming on now.

7:20 -- To continue with MSNBC's coverage, they have a couple recurring gimmicks this evening. First, they have a guy stationed in what they are calling the "virtual room", which is a lot like the holodeck in Star Trek the Next Generation. Whoever the talking head is there, though, he doesn't have a patch on Patrick Stewart. If the floating exit poll graphics were being narrated by Jean-Luc Picard's Dixon Gunn persona, it would be vastly more entertaining.

Meanwhile, in another part of the cavernous MSNBC studio, some lady is running what Olbermann calls "the Hall of States". I'm thinking that time with Disney owned ESPN has subtly left it's mark on Keith. All it needs is Maya Angelou lisping "We... we the people" just before a graphic of Obama's Gerogia victory. Then an animatronic Mark Twain could come up through a slot in the fllor and say, "but we the people didn't yet mean ALL the people" just before a glorious chorus of pro-American music would swell and bring the auidence to tears.

7:27 -- Maria Teresa Peterson is on, talking about something. I don't know what, though. I'm distracted by the fact that her cleavage seems to go all the way up to her adam's apple.

7:29 -- Scott gets cleavage on MSNBC, I get a muppet singing "Holy Moly Eight Balls of Fur." Once this is over, I'll be headed to CNN where the only cleavage is Wolf Blitzer's. But at least the graphics are in Hi Def.

7:33 -- Have they not yet called Georgia for Romney? If Huckabee has a good day down South, Mitt is dead.

7:37 -- And my serious question brings the live blog to a screeching halt. Based on what I've seen over the past hour, I project Elmo the winner of the New York Republican primary.

7:42 - No winner has been declared in Georgia on the Republican side. McCain, Romney and Huckabee are apparently in a three way race. Meanwhile, I just received a phone call from a friend at Disney World. She was unable to verify if the Hall of States is actually being built in Epcot, but did say that she sent in her absentee ballot for Massachusetts and voted for McCain, not because she supports him but because she wanted to help Romney lose. A stance I fully agree with.

7:44 -- The polls in Georgia have been closed for 45 minutes, and is showing less than one percent of the vote in? Sherman could have carried the results from Atlanta to the sea faster.

7:45 -- MSNBC insists on dragging Mike Barnacle out from whatever shed he is being kept in, as though he is a credible expert on anything other than fraudulence.

7:47 -- He's originally from Fitchburg. That has to count for something.

7:47 -- It would count for something if this was a show about American bicycle competitions.

7:50 -- You have no chance of getting anyone other than me to get that reference. Although you have been rubbing elbows with Fitchburg mayor Lisa Wong. She might get it.

7:53 -- Well, pretty much all of my references are aimed at impressing Mayor Wong. Meanwhile, on MSNBC, they went again to the panel of wonks, which is headed by Joe Scarborough and includes Buchanan, an african-american guy, and some lady from Air America who looks a little too much like Project Runway season three winner Jeffrey Sebelia.

7:55 -- I'll be interested in seeing if there are early calls in the Eastern states. If Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey stay out for a while, I'd say that could be good news for Obama.

7:57 -- One thing we should mention, in case you are using No Drumlins as your primary source for election coverage, is that the Democrats are using a system that is not winner take all, meaning even when winners are declared in a state, the delegates are probably going to be nearly even anyway. For the most part, then, winning states for the Democrats is about momentum. The Republicans are mostly winner take all, though, so when people win over on that side they really get some tangible benefit. The different processes strangely reflect the personalities of the parties as well.

8:00 -- McCain in Connecticut. Romney in Massachusetts. McCain in Illinois. Obama in Illinois. Clinton in Oklahoma. Good opening for Obama. No early calls for Clinton in the East.

8:02 -- MSNBC is also calling New Jersey for McCain. They said it's still too close to call NJ for the Democrats, which is good for Obama.

8:04 -- With 5% of the vote in, Romney is leading in Montana by 4%. It looks like his push to mobilize the all-important moose vote is working. Hopefully nobody in Montana reads this blog, or else I guess I should expect to receive 160,000 letter bombs next week.

8:06 -- The exit polls from Massachusetts are showing a dead tie between Obama and Clinton.

8:14 -- MSNBC: too close to call for Democrats are CT, TN, NJ. For the GOP it's AL, MO and TN. Olbermann is having some excitement in pointing out that Clinton was ahead by nearly 20% in the polls in both NJ and TN at one point.

8:16 -- And Olbermann no sooner says that than they call TN for Clinton. I wonder if the producers were saving the results just for that. "Wait till he says something... wait... wait... NOW! TENNESSEE!"

8:18 -- We're off to a new post. Link is here.



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