Saturday, February 4, 2012

#NVCaucus Liveblog #3

5:10 PM-

OK, time for a new thread! Let's get started (all over again).

And now, we're finally starting to get real results. Right now, it's neck and neck between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich... But that's just Eureka County. Apparently, it may also be close in Carson City. But of course, we already have a good idea of what to expect in the rest of the state...

Oh, and again, the exit polls so far look like Mittens' "victory" tonight will be of the pyrrhic variety. Just saying.

5:20 PM-

Apparently, CNN figured out that all the rest of us were already seeing the caucus results live on Twitter. Heh. They're now estimating Romney's win at about 54% of the vote, with Ron Paul edging out Newt Gingrich for second place. They're now claiming these numbers are "exclusively CNN's!!!"... And ignoring that we already saw all of this on Twitter this morning.

Sorry, CNN... But you FAIL!

5:35 PM-

And now, we're getting more rural numbers. Newt Gingrich narrowly won Mineral County while Ron Paul snatched a big win in Nye County. However while we're still waiting for Clark County, Romney just has to wait and sit pretty.

5:40 PM-

And now, time for another musical interlude.

Enjoy! ;-)

6:00 PM-

Wow. Just wow. Look at HuffPo reporter Sam Stein's interview with two Nevada Republican caucus-goers.

Voss' tone shifted seamlessly between playful and angry. He is not an ideologue. He's worried about the deficit and the housing market, particularly in his home state. He acknowledges that Romney's desire to see the foreclosure crisis play itself out isn't exactly his cup of tea. He wants the banks to feel more pressure to restructure loans and he thinks Obama hasn't done enough on that front.

"Smaller banks are being pushed out of business," he said. "You can't favor big banks."

Voss believes that the country faces a potentially cataclysmic budget crisis, but there are some cuts he thinks go too far. A 22-year veteran, he doesn't want military spending levels tweaked. He also wants his pension protected. Pressed a bit more about his animus toward the president, he concedes that what Obama inherited from President George W. Bush wasn't all that pretty.

"I don't think [John] McCain could have done that much better," he said. But that's hardly an excuse for staying the course. "We need someone to blow things up."

Nicole McGreary, another Henderson resident, wants Romney to essentially blow things up as well. And unlike a large portion of the Republican Party, she is deeply enthused about his candidacy, considering him both virtuous -- "What personal agenda would he personally have other than to see the country prosper?" -- and ideal for the times. Asked what it would take her to switch her allegiance over to Obama, she can only summon one scenario.

"He would have to move to some other country for me to consider voting for him," she said.

Like Voss, McGreary is tough to pigeonhole. She doesn't like being called a "conservative," because of the implication that she might be a member of the religious right. She believes in gay marriage and said she thinks it's fine for states, not the federal government, to legalize abortion. Her disdain for the president is tied to his health care law and his energy policy -- from his administration's support for Solyndra, the failed solar energy company that received federal loans, to its opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Mostly, however, it's about Obama's personality.

"I believe he is a liar," she said. "He contradicts himself time after time."

They really are motivated by hatred. How else can one explain how these folks, who don't consider themselves radical right, are supporting the radical right G-O-TEA? This is the one ugly tool the G-O-TEA has left to distract voters from what's really happening and try to siphon otherwise moderate voters away from Democrats. However, I'm still hopeful that this can only take them so far. Not everyone is that motivated by blind hatred.

A little later, I'll talk about what's happening in my own precinct. But for now, take a look at Ron Paul's growing vote (and delegate) total. This is why he's been focusing so much on the rurals.

6:40 PM-

As the results continue to trickle in, we continue to be distracted from the inevitable. However, not everyone is ignoring it. In fact, Newt Gingrich's #1 Sugar Daddy Sheldon Adelson is already in talks with Mitt Romney's campaign about funneling money his way in the general election. At last, the 1% vulture capitalists can reunite and feel so bad.

Hey, this is just a reminder of what kind of crap the G-O-TEA will be throwing at us in the general election. And hey, they have to resort to crap. After all, their "enthusiasm gap" problem continues to worsen. Washoe GOP turnout was indeed below 7,000 today, so they'll have to stoop to new lows to try to revive their sagging fortunes.

7:00 PM-

I usually don't do this, but I feel obligated to do this right now. This conservative tweeter just revealed the radical right's worst fear:

Hey, #NV #TeaParty, if Sharon Angle couldn't beat Harry Reid, what makes you think @MittRomney can beat #Obama? #NVCaucus #tcot #tpn

Funny enough, he unintentionally pointed out the greatest weakness of Nevada Republicans. Ever since 2008, they've been obsessing over ideological purity instead of even attempting to show any real interest in governing. We saw it in 2010, when they embraced extremism and tried to shove the most radical US Senate candidate we've ever seen down our throats. And we saw it again last year, when they were more interested in playing political games than solving our state's problems. It's really all about their radical "tea party" ideology for them. And by making Mitt Romney embrace it, they're only sowing the seeds of their own defeat this fall.

Oh, and by the way, NBC News now officially projects Mitt Romney to win the G-O-TEA Caucus tonight. Wow. What a surprise! ;-)

But again, this "victory" is looking increasingly pyrrhic. As we talked about yesterday, President Obama is proving that his vision of economic recovery and rebuilding is one that really works. So what does Mitt Romney have to compete with this? Lies? Radical right extremism? Donald Trump?

Give me a break.

7:15 PM-

Here's what I'm talking about. Thank you, Kevin Drum.

Alas, poor Mitt. Now he knows what it feels like to be Barack Obama. For the past two years Obama has basically been forced to say that, sure, the economy is bad, but it would have been even worse without his policies in place. That might be true or it might not, but it's sure not a vote getter.

Now Romney's on the other end of that argument. Sure, the economy is getting better, but it would be even better still without Obama's policies. Again, maybe that's true and maybe it's not, but no one cares. If the economy is getting better, then people are happy and they're going to vote for the guy in the White House. Romney had better figure out something better than that if he wants to have any chance of victory in November.

Mitt Romney's whole strategy has been to bet on a bad economy. He sincerely thought he could get away with all his ideological flip-flops and pretzel twists by blaming the horrible economy on President Obama. But now that he's on record veering so far to the radical right, and now that the economy is not horrible and is improving, he has nothing left to run on. Seriously, what's the point of Romney's campaign? That's why tonight's "win" is so hollow.

7:50 PM-

Mittens is now speaking. And as usual, he's rehashing the usual "Obama is EVIL!!!" bullshit. Again, that's all he has left. He's trashing and bashing Obama because that's all he has to rev up his new radical right BFFs, and he's trashing and bashing Obama in hopes of distracting the rest of us from what's really happening.

Under President Obama's guidance, the economy is improving. And Mittens can't stand it, so now he's outright lying and trying desperately to distract with his increasingly extreme statements. But again, his problem is that his statements make no sense. How can he blame Obama for an economy he inherited, but not credit him for the recovery that's occurring under his watch?

8:10 PM-

Wow. Just wow. MSNBC is abandoning Nevada GOP Caucus coverage... For "Lockup"! How pathetic. Sure, there's a problem with MSNBC trying to maintain journalistic standards while continuing to dip into the "reality freak show" pond. However, there's also a clear problem in the Nevada GOP Caucus becoming such a ridiculous farce that hardly anyone cares any more.

Again, congratulations are in order for the Nevada G-O-TEA for producing such a bombastically irrelevant event.

Oh, and speaking of bombastically irrelevant... Check out Molly Ball's tweets of the hilarious Adelson School Night Caucus! Apparently, the Ron Paul fans are really turning up the crazy with all sorts of wild conspiracy theories. Heh. And everyone thought this was supposed to stuff the ballot box for Newt Gingrich?

Oh, jeez. I may have to stay up longer to follow this some more! :-D

8:30 PM-

OMG! And Newton speaks! And my goodness, he's now unleashing the radical right dog whistles. And of course, he's using his defiant concession speech to try desperately to deflect attention from his big money men flirting with Mittens.

Wow. Gingrich is even accusing Mittens of spreading rumors that he's about to drop out. And frankly, I can believe that. They're really just as desperate as Newton's inner circle.

8:50 PM-

What. The. FUCK??!!

One reporter asked Gingrich about his absence from reporters for a few days, while he was reportedly meeting with donors.

"Did you miss me?" Gingrich answered with a clear note of sarcasm. "Okay, I was worried that you may not have noticed."

He then explained why he was working on strategy. "Well we got together for a very practical reason. I was surprised by the degree to which the establishment has closed ranks, and made quite clear that they're desperate over the prospect of a Gingrich presidency. I was amazed by George Soros saying in Davos that he was happy with either Obama or Romney, because it was not a difference of policy, it was just a change in personality."

He then explained that he and his campaign concluded that the establishment would go all out to defeat him, with Wall Street money and other resources — but that the people would not go along.

"Do they want two George Soros-approved candidates in the general election, or do they want a conservative, and one George Soros-approved candidate?"

Whoa. Newton is going there. Is he now auditioning for a reality show?

But wait, there's more!

Newt Gingrich took questions from reporters in Las Vegas, following Mitt Romney's big victory in the Nevada caucuses. One reporter asked, can he successfully go forward if Mitt Romney is as much in his head as he has been tonight and for the last few days? Newt then shot back at the reporter's ability to read his thoughts.

"Well first of all, I'm not sure that Mitt Romney's in my head," said Gingrich. "I mean, I think that's an interesting analysis on your part. And I'm sure that with a psychiatric degree, that will get a tremendous opportunity to have new clients.

I think there's a clear contrast. I think that the clear contrast is really important. And I think that over time we're going to drive that clear contrast in a way that is to his disadvantage."


8:55 PM-

And now, Nevada Caucus Season is finally coming to an end. The campaign is leaving us as we speak... For now. But of course, the fun and games will be back in full force for the general election.

9:15 PM-

OK, before we close the book entirely on this, let's finish off what we started (talking about). First off, whatever happens to Newt Gingrich's campaign in the coming days and weeks, his central argument against Mitt Romney's "private sector experience" is built to last. Mitt Romney's argument against President Obama, on the other hand, is not.

But if the president is presiding over an economy that voters believe is improving, the magic vanishes. Which explains the awkwardness the Romney campaign faced this morning, when the most encouraging jobs report of Obama’s presidency was released. With a net increase of 243,000 jobs in January, the unemployment rate is now down to 8.3 percent, marking the fifth straight month it fell and bringing it to its lowest level since Obama’s first full month in office.

Faced with such obviously good economic news, the Romney team took its time responding, first churning out a press release on an unrelated topic (“President Obama’s attack on religious liberty”) then finally putting out a statement that read in part: “We welcome the fact that jobs were created and unemployment declined. Unfortunately, these numbers cannot hide the fact that President Obama’s policies have prevented a true economic recovery. We can do better.” A series of negative economic statistics then followed.

Besides the acknowledgement that “jobs were created,” the statement was no different than anything Romney has been saying for the entire campaign. But juxtaposed against the big news of the morning, it read as petty, and almost absurdly comical. If — and, to be clear, it’s a very big if — the good economic news continues in the months ahead, Romney’s rhetoric will only fall flatter.

Apparently, the caucus count will go all night. And apparently, there are now problems surfacing up north in Washoe. Oh, and overall turnout may end up being lower than that of just the Sharron Angle vote in the 2010 NV-Sen GOP Primary. Surprise, surprise!

Again, this takes us back to why Mittens and the Nevada G-O-TEA leaders are trying so desperately to spin what happened today. They have to try to make it all some morbid Obama hate-fest. Otherwise, we'd all focus on this EPIC FAIL of caucus organization.

9:30 PM-

And on this note, I'm ending the liveblogging for tonight. Keep checking here for live updates throughout the night. I suspect it will go even longer. I'll be back tomorrow morning to wrap it all up.

Good night, blog buddies. :-)

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