“Beware the Super Tuesday”: Super Tuesday III, 15 March 2016
This third installment in the Super Tuesday franchise took place on the Ides of March. I guess it was Rubio (and his career) that ended the day a bloody corpse … or maybe it’s the GOP … or the American political process … or … forget it, whatever your hot take is, it can probably be made to fit.
I’m sticking with Marco for a clumsily forced Ides of March analogy; primarily because Rubio’s role in Jeb!’s exit helped craft this campaign’s Athenian tragedy, so it seems only apt that Rubio’s own exit provides its Roman tragedy. Although, Chris Christie, who severely weakened Rubio by attacking him relentlessly in earlier debates, puts pay to Caesar’s proclamation to “let me have men about me that are fat.”
CNN projected Florida for Trump early in the night, giving Rubio a few hours to practice his withdrawal speech. As it turned out, Rubio’s speech was a good one by his standards – perhaps due to the weight of the campaign being lifted from him. To bring up a British example, I found it somewhat reminiscent of Gordon Brown’s speech to the Citizens UK conference in 2010; compellingly delivered, expertly explaining to the electorate how life events have shaped their political worldviews, and, ultimately, way, WAY too late.
Unfortunately, Rubio’s campaign won’t be remembered for last night’s speech; it’s the dick jokes with Trump we’ll recall, and which Rubio will have to wear (metaphorically) like a Dukakis helmet for the rest of his life.
John Sticks Around
Kasich managed to do what Rubio couldn’t and won his home state. This gave us the joy of watching a Kasich victory speech. It’s a shame that Jack Lemmon is no longer with us, as he’s the only actor I could ever envisage playing Kasich. So Kasich made his speech, and even in victory, looked uncomfortable – like a High School principal delivering a news conference to the press after a terrible tragedy.
Still, fair play to Kasich in being one of the last three standing. He’s like the guy that refuses to leave your house party even though it’s 2am, everyone else has left, and you’re now washing the dishes.
“Should I call you a cab, John?”
“No, I’m good. Thanks.”
Clinton wins, but it all feels methodical; it’s hard for anyone to get enthusiastic. If Hillary’s campaign were a sports team it would be George Graham’s Arsenal team of the late 80s and early 90s. “One-nil to the Hillary,” not the worst of slogans. Of course, the Graham era did unravel with a scandal – financial impropriety – so not at all like the Clintons then.
Hillary made the mistake of trying to end her speech with soaring rhetoric. It really didn’t come off. She ended up sounding a bit too Dalek-y for my liking. Internet group think informs me that this is an unacceptably sexist observation that I’m making and that it’s one made by many misogynists, but come on, she should stop doing things she isn’t good at. I quite like Hillary; she’s the candidate I’d most like to have a Manhattan with, but I do think there’s poor strategy in her camp. My earlier complaints in this blog about Romney’s failings when it comes to his rhetoric also apply to Hillary. A lot of successful US politicians have something of the preacher about them, Bill Clinton has it, Obama has it, Hillary does not. Don’t give her lines that require that quality of her. On a similar note, none of the candidates do. Well, Cruz definitely has something of the preacher in his style, but a preacher more like Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter than Joel Osteen.
On the topic of misogyny, Trump in his speech saw fit to publicly thank his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who is accused of assaulting reporter Michelle Fields at an event last week – because sometimes public support for a loyal member of staff can also be a disturbing insight into the psychopathy of the Trump campaign. Trump really is insisting on laying his personality warts and all for us all to see – more fool us for allowing him to get this far.
Cruz made a speech. It was slightly reminiscent of the sort Rubio was delivering a few weeks back – second place finishes proclaimed as victories. In fairness, it was a good night for him strategically. He also had Carly Fiorina (remember her) on stage with him. Disappointingly she didn’t stand directly behind him like a hostage.
Sanders also made a speech, but strategically-speaking it wasn’t a good night for him.
And the Scalia sub-plot continues as Obama nominates Merrick Garland – whom I can only assume is a ruddy-cheeked Dickensian character – to the Supreme Court.