Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Hoffman is Howard Dean?

Thus spake Ross Douthat today on Tom Ashbrook's show on NPR. I think Douthat's store of Christmas miracles has already been exhausted by the fact that Ashbrook didn't introduce him as "The New York Times' Most Noted Sex Advice Columnist (After David Brooks...)" but be that as it may. Douthat had time to make only one point before I shot my car radio: Hoffman's loss is like Howard Dean's loss in Iowa. Why? Because in both cases outside agitators tried to nationalize a local referendum and their preferred candidate lost. I mean, sure, if you are one eyed and you squint a whole lot. But the fact of the matter is that a national party primary is, definitionally, national in scope. That it takes place in Iowa doesn't make it any the less national. And since one of the things that the local base is evaluating is the national appeal of the candidate, well, national attention and excitement are generally considered to be necessary factors in winning the local contest. Sure, Dean lost Iowa--but he didn't lose it to noted Iowa home boy Kerry. He lost it to Kerry's better ground organization and to the fact that Dean was roundly attacked by the party and by the mass media--exactly the opposite of Hoffman's situation. Hoffman was supported by his own party and its fringe elements.

Still, it was pretty good political analysis for a guy whose real passion is saved for lecturing women on sex and procreation.

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