February 6, 2008

Come on, everybody, pay attention to Wisconsin.

Ours — on the 19th — is the next big primary. The Cap Times marshals the historical evidence of the importance of the Wisconsin primary:
  • As upstart contender Franklin Roosevelt did when he beat previous party nominee Al Smith in the 1932 Wisconsin Democratic primary.
  • As Willkie did with his audacious but failed 1944 bid.
  • As backers of Gen. Douglas MacArthur did when they tried unsuccessfully to build a boomlet for the Milwaukee native with an unsuccessful Republican primary bid in 1948.
  • As backers of Dwight Eisenhower did when they upset the campaign of conservative Robert Taft in the state and created an opening for the general to enter the contest for the Republican nomination of 1952.
  • As Massachusetts Sen. John Kennedy did when the state put him on track for the party nod in 1960.
  • As Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy did when his anti-Vietnam War challenge to President Lyndon Johnson forced the incumbent to quit on the eve of Wisconsin's 1968 Democratic primary.
  • As South Dakota Sen. George McGovern did when the state gave him a critical Democratic primary win in 1972.
  • As liberal Mo Udall did when he narrowly failed to derail Jimmy Carter's bandwagon in the Wisconsin Democratic primary of 1976.
  • As liberal John Anderson and moderate George H.W. Bush did when they tried to block conservative Ronald Reagan's candidacy in the intense Republican primary of 1980.
  • As Mike Dukakis and Jesse Jackson did when they fought the essential battle of the 1988 Democratic nomination race in Wisconsin.
  • As Bill Clinton did when he used a slim win in the state to prevent challenger Jerry Brown from threatening his "comeback kid" status in the campaign for the 1992 Democratic nomination.
If you need something to fill your empty hours as you wait for the 19th, may I recommend the documentary "Primary," which shows John F. Kennedy campaigning here in Wisconsin in 1960, fighting off his rival Hubert Humphrey. This is a very low key but highly-regarded film by Robert Drew. It's nowhere near as fun as "The War Room" and "Journeys with George," but it's specifically about a primary, and it takes place in Wisconsin and it's got John F. Kennedy.

ADDED: A test to see if you know your blogger: Is Althouse voting in the Wisconsin primary? If so, will she choose to vote in the Republican or the Democratic primary? If she votes in the Republican primary, who will she vote for? If she votes in the Democratic primary, who will she vote for?

AND: Another question. Assume you're a filmmaker, making a documentary about one of the candidates in the 2008 election season. Which one do you wish you'd picked? That is, knowing what you know now, which campaign would have yielded up the footage for your idea of the best documentary?

47 comments:

Monkay said...

President Merkin Muffley: Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.

George said...

Fella could have himself a nice time in Vegas with this book....

"Blacklisted by History," an analysis of Wisconsin Sen. McCarthy's wolverinian investigations and, what's more, Soviet penetration of the federal government in the 1930s and 1940s as uncovered by multiple FBI investigations...

Welcome to a Philip K. Dick reality....

Balfegor said...

As backers of Gen. Douglas MacArthur did when they tried unsuccessfully to build a boomlet for the Milwaukee native with an unsuccessful Republican primary bid in 1948.

It seems so odd to think of MacArthur as a Milwaukee native. I thought he grew up in the Philippines, where his father was Viceroy. Or Governor-General. Whatever. Looking at his biography on wikipedia, though it turns out the elder MacArthur only ruled for a year or so before Taft succeeded him, and that period overlapped with the younger MacArthur's time at West Point. Nevertheless, the impression persists.

AJ Lynch said...

Wisconsin voters are fairly liberal and very much like Minnesota. So Obama wins in WI easily.

And McCain will too.

I think Pennsylvania primary in April may be THE DECIDER for the Dems.

AJ Lynch said...

Also, Pennsylvania primary could get ugly if Clinton organization tries to suppress black vote in Philly. I predict polls will have to stay open late to handle turnout.

chuck b. said...

Superb films, all of them. Very entertaining stuff. THere should be documentaries for every presidential campaign. Well...

One assumes there will be at least one film for the 2008 national election. Maybe even one for both sides. Are there documentary film crews with the candidates now? Because the primaries have certainly been interesting. I'd even a Romney documentary.

Roger said...

aj lynch: I thought George Bush was the decider. Drudge posted the total numbers of votes HRC and BO received: Nearly a dead heat. It is looking like it could be a brokered convention--just wont be smoke filled rooms. A shame.

peter hoh said...

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but that won't stop me from saying it again. My favorite election documentary Street Fight.

AJ Lynch said...

Roger:

I know - I was just getting in a little dig at Dems.

I think Obama is unstoppable if Dems are smart enough to nominate him. I am betting Dems are not that smart.

Kirby Olson said...

Huckabee's a RIOT and would clearly have the best footage for a general release.

former law student said...

I'm assuming AA is voting absentee, or has already voted. I'm also guessing that Wis has an open primary. Because the Rep race is not exciting (the elderly maverick, the corporate flipflopper, and the Jesusjolter), I'm going to guess that she pulled a Democratic ballot and voted for her contemporary, Hillary.

peter hoh said...

I agree that Huckabee is probably the most entertaining of the candidates.

The most drama? Being around the Giuliani campaign when they realized that their Florida Strategy was a bust.

Dave said...

Although it's a caucus, I believe the state of Washington is the next big stage. Wait your turn, Wisconsin.

Middle Class Guy said...

AJ Lynch said...
I think Obama is unstoppable if Dems are smart enough to nominate him. I am betting Dems are not that smart.


Maybe, but there is an increasing movement within certain circles to end the string of legacy presidents. Also the Clinton’s have not enamored themselves to many in the party hierarchy lately. These are the people who are or control the super delegates. They will probably decide the final nominee. So there could be a surprise in the works. I wonder, will Hillary cry again. Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paddy O. said...

Fred Thompson's campaign could be a great Lost in La Mancha type documentary.

For an Althouse prediction... that's difficult. A conservative on the war, but not a social conservative... hmmm... I think there's some feminist bias against Hillary, but a lot of affinity with Hillary's policies, at least how it is expressed in the campaign. Obama is attractive and inspiring to our hostess, but she is well aware of the manipulation even as she admits to being swayed by it. I don't remember too much discussion of McCain. No discussion is sometimes a sign of an off-blog Althousian interest.

Romney, I don't think, brings anything worthwhile to the table.

So, I guess I'm going to take a leap and say a strong foreign policy interest and absence of commentary makes me lean, ever so slightly, towards a McCain vote, but there's no passion or heart in it. Just logic and a sigh.

Maybe, though, the blog persona is exceedingly well-crafted and hiding the true off-blog Althouse ideals. Maybe she's really a Huckabee fan and is looking forward to exercising her clandestine evangelical leanings in the voting booth. But we'll never know, and denials will just be a continuation of the artfully crafted blog persona.

Doyle said...

I think Obama is unstoppable if Dems are smart enough to nominate him. I am betting Dems are not that smart.

Agreed, although there's still a chance.

Richard Dolan said...

1. "Is Althouse voting in the Wisconsin primary?"

I recall your posts before the '06 election, where you said (if I remember rightly) that you didn't particularly like any of the candidates and were thinking of skipping the election. That was, of course, a real election, not just a primary. So I suppose it depends on whether you "particularly like" any of the candidates. From what you've written, I think you probably do, and so I would expect that you will vote in the WI primary.

2. "will she choose to vote in the Republican or the Democratic primary?"

Well, you keep insisting that you're a registered member of the D team. And the reality is that the race on the R side is now basically over. You've shown a low interest level in the election-as-civic-ritual think, and thus there wouldn't be much point (judged from the perspective that I think you bring to the exercise) in voting on the R side. Net: If you vote, I'd expect it will be in the D primary.

3. "If she votes in the Republican primary, who will she vote for? If she votes in the Democratic primary, who will she vote for?"

If you participate in the D primary, I'd expect you to vote for Obama. Two reasons: He's the only candidate whose style and language is interesting, and you seem to agree with him on the social/domestic issues. Hillary is just too much, and she was the enabler for a hubby who trashed the feminist values that seem to appeal to you. In the unlikely event that you vote on the R side, it would be McCain (because you seem to agree with him on some issues at least). That Huckabee is interesting from a politics as performance art perspective wouldn't be enough (and your sons would razz you mercilessly).

Anyway, that's my guess.
PS: For what it's worth, I think you should participate.

titusboho said...

Also, Maryland, Virginia and DC are next Tuesday. Louisiana and Maine are coming up before Wisconsin.

Hold your horses cheesehead-your time will come.

I voted yesterday and was excited about watching the returns but mid way through I got bored with it-similar to what you said in your last posting.

titusboho said...

I bet Wisconsin will go for Obama. Minnesota was a caucus though, correct? He seems to do very well in caucuses so if it is a straight vote maybe it will be Clinton.

Mccain is a given in Wisconsin.

My parents are in Arizona for the winter but have everyone voted absentee for Hilary. My dad loves Bill.

titusboho said...

I think I went to some little motel somewhere in Wisconsin where John Kennedy was supposed to stay during his presidency run. The room is some tourist trap for that hotel-can't remember where it was though?

ZPS said...

Help me.

Does it make sense to call myself a Democrat if I think the majority of Democrats are complete and incompetent idiots?

It appears as if they're going to choose Hillary over Obama. Do they have any clue? Do they really think she can beat McCain in November, or are they just blinded by Clinton love?

Also, what's the deal with the gays and Hillary? All my queer friends are in love with her and think she's fierce. I don't know any gays who voted for Obama.

My mother, after voting for Clinton, started crying during Hillary's speech last night when she mentioned that her mother was there and was so proud to see her daughter running.

In short....why is everyone so stupid?

titusboho said...

Gays should not be in love with Clinton. Have they forgotten DOMA under Bill?

He threw gays under the bus. But I agree Zps gays do love her for some reason. She won Ptown yesterday big.

Bender said...

Wisconsin's the next big primary Feb. 19?

Actually, Virginia/DC/Maryland have big primaries next week.

titusboho said...

By the way zps I am gay and voted for Obama.

Trooper York said...

Hillary will win the primary by a field goal in overtime.

James Wigderson said...

Ann, you don't want them here, do you? The national media will drive 100 miles just to get a picture of a cow. Some politician is going to mispronounce Brett Favre's name or Lambeau Field. Robocalls. Radio and television ads. Oh, the humanity!

AJ Lynch said...

Trooper:

Remember the Budweiser commercial when the horse kicked a field goal- was that Hillary?

ZPS said...

well now i guess i know of two gays who voted for obama. me and titus. i have a pretty big circle of friends...they all voted for hillary. one of my friends is a drag queen and does an awful impression of her. actually, it's better than the real hillary, but it's still awful.

oh, one of them voted for ron paul. he's more of an acquaintance of mine, not really a friend.

MadisonMan said...

Some politician is going to mispronounce Brett Favre's name or Lambeau Field.

Of they'll say (shudder) WESconsin.

Well, Obama won't misprounounce things. He's a FIB. So is Hillary by birthright. It's up to the Republicans to screw up and mispronounce Oconomowoc or Shawano or anything else.

sean said...

I'm guessing that Prof. Althouse votes in the Democratic primary for Obama. The Republican race isn't so interesting and Prof. Althouse seems fairly hostile to Clinton.

On the other hand, my wife, who resembles Prof. Althouse in certain ways (former hippie, later in life law student, registered Democrat, blonde) would have voted for McCain if New York had an open primary. So I can see Prof. Althouse coming out that way.

Ron said...

I would think Ron Paul would wind up the best documentary, 'cause nutty tends to be tersely cinematic. He said what?!? He did what?!? "One coocoo tries to build a nest -- in the Oval Office."

Chip Ahoy said...

OK. I have made a guess as to your voting or not in the primary, which party, which candidate and why, but I can not reveal those guesses, conclusions really, because the power of my guesses could influence your sub-conscience choices in ways your conscious self would not admit. Such is the power of suggestion even when it's anti-suggestion. It's like the scientific observer affecting the thing being studied and so changing the observation. 'Cep't differ'nt.

As a filmmaker I would pick Hillary because in her you have the full range of real and staged emotion. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wet yourself. You also have all of the Obama footage too as seen through the eyes of a determined enemy carefully studying his every move, and adapting, like Borg. So there's learning between beginning and end. There's the very real drama and very real action. The controversies that pop up that must be stomped. Or made to disappear by pure will alone. We'll produce a dramamentary as much as a documentary. The trick will be to produce a film without actually listening, protecting one's ears is a life-long endeavor, you know.

Ha! Spellcheck thinks endeavor is spelled endeavor.

EnigmatiCore said...

Wisconsin Primary Clue?

Prof. Althouse, in the Democratic Primary, for Clinton.

ZPS said...

I'd just adapt Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail." Gritty stuff. Insanity.

Althouse won't be able to vote for the Republican in the primary because she's not a registered Republican (or so she'd have us believe)...therefore she'll be forced to vote for a Democrat.

She's not nutty enough to vote for Gravel or Kucinich, boring enough to vote for Dodd, Biden, or Richardson, smart enough to vote for Edwards (!), liberal enough to vote for Obama...

which leaves...

Hillary!

As much as Althouse hates her, she'll be strangely compelled to vote for (if she already didn't on an absentee ballot), as if conducting some strange social experiment. She won't be able to resist. After all, how many blonde, middle-aged women can say they will ever have the chance again to vote for another blonde, middle aged, woman for President?

She'll never admit it, of course. She'll be too embarrassed about what all of you might think of her.

Palladian said...

"i have a pretty big circle of friends...they all voted for hillary. one of my friends is a drag queen and does an awful impression of her. actually, it's better than the real hillary, but it's still awful.

oh, one of them voted for ron paul. he's more of an acquaintance of mine, not really a friend."

My advice: get new friends. Or, better yet, get none. Friends are overrated. As are politicians.

Mr. Forward said...

"...mispronounce Brett Favre's name..."

That's ok as long as you spell it right on the ballot.

Trooper York said...

But why would you want to vote for a loser?

Instead spell it:
E-l-i-M-a-n-n-i-n-g!

Eli Blake said...

Actually Virgnia/DC/Maryland have big primaries next week.

Absolutely, they do.

Clinton will likely win Maryland (though it is not certain) and Obama will win DC (that is certain) so whoever wins Virginia will get a big shot of momentum.

Eli Blake said...

Remind me, about a year ago weren't there people out there talking about Russ Feingold and Tommy Thompson?

AJ Lynch said...

Eli:

I think you have that backward. Maryland is more likely to go for Obama - I think it has larger black population.

Ann Althouse said...

In Wisconsin, you can vote in whichever party's primary you want. And I will vote in Wisconsin, in person, on February 19th (unless I'm somehow incapacitated).

I genuinely haven't decided who I'm going to vote for, so if you know, you know more than I do.

Beldar said...

I predict that Prof. A will vote for Obama in the Democratic primary.

But for McCain in the general election.

P. Rich said...

It doesn't much matter whom regular Democratic voters choose. Dem super-delegates control the convention outcome.

Voters don’t choose the 842 unpledged “super-delegates” who comprise nearly 40 percent of the number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.

The category includes Democratic governors and members of Congress, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former vice president Al Gore, retired congressional leaders such as Dick Gephardt, and all Democratic National Committee members, some of whom are appointed by party chairman Howard Dean.


Between winner-take-all states (also a Rep issue) and these special delegates, "small-d democratic representation" is just pabulum for the masses

Change? The whole process is structured to avoid it. But don't tell the voters. Bwahahahahahahaha...

AllenS said...

Prof. Althouse, in the Democratic Primary, for Obama. I think that you're looking for somebody that has character. You must tell us who you voted for after the primary. Please?

Trooper York said...

She will take Paul Lynde in the center square for the block.

Robert Fovell said...

zps said, "one of my friends is a drag queen and does an awful impression of her. actually, it's better than the real hillary, but it's still awful."

This reminds me of the scene in "Dave" in which Kevin Kline, playing the substitute president, is driving with the genuine first lady when stopped by police. They both claim they're just impersonators. The cop says the fake president is convincing but the first lady's impression of herself needed some work. A nice scene.

Lachrymose said...

I was a student of Ms. Althouse. I would say she will vote in the republican primary, for McCain. Don't think she relates much to the evangelical stuff--has a certain respect for the separation of church and state--philosophically as well as technically. She's pro-choice also, I believe. So no Huckabee.