Update: Open thread: Brace for impact. The New Hampshire GOP debate. 8:00 ET. The “Live Free Or Die” state is now the “Do or Die” state.
The “year of the monkey“, on Monday. That dull football Superbowl on Sunday. Bernie Sanders on Saturday Night Live. Screw all that. Tonight is our Superbowl!!!
We know next to nothing about sports. We know less about football, American style, and wouldn’t mind knowing even less than that. But we do know that in football there are two teams and both teams develop an offensive strategy and a defensive strategy to achieve their tactical aims, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of the respective players and
generals coaches directing the armies teams, and succeed in the strategic aim, which is to score and win.
Football, we suspect, is like a military campaign in which the goal is to drop the bomb in the other team’s most closely guarded spot. It’s like ice hockey without the ice. It’s like a chess game in which the goal is to kill the most closely guarded player – the king. In other words, football at its best is a weak, silly, insignificant, diversion, which pales in comparison to the death match brutality of politics.
Tonight, the remaining GOP candidates for president, meet, in New Hampshire, in advance of Tuesday’s first in the nation primary election, and battle with verbal swords, to the death. The serious issues the nation faces should be paramount but they will also be weapons in this joust. There will be blood.
Tonight is very important because it is the last big chance the candidates have to sway the New Hampshire electorate. Unless you are a voter or candidate (or unfortunately in Big Media) your influence is relatively small. So, once again, we ask you put aside your personal preference for a candidate, and play strategist. What would you do?
Assume you are on team Donald J. Trump. What would you do? Attack Ted Cruz even though you pretty much have inflicted all the damage on him that is profitable at this point and more attacks only lead to Malthusian diminishing returns knowing Ben Carson will do that particular job – or attack the rising-in-the-polls second place or third place Rubio, or attack one of the other losers, er candidates, or play nice, discuss only the issues, and try to win the Nobel Peace Prize you have just been nominated for? What would you do?
Assume you are on team Marco Rubio. What would you do? Pretend to be very nice, tout endorsements, and hope niceness deflects or weakens potential incoming attacks and thereby, with a defensive strategy, try to continue to rise to a firm second place, and secretly hope to rise to first place? Or, attack first? Attack Cruz again? Or leave that to Ben Carson? Attack Jeb, knowing Christie will come to his defense? Attack Barbara Bush? What would you do?
Assume you are on team Ted Cruz. What would you do? Attack Trump knowing he will hit back hard but since you know you will lose New Hampshire anyway the goal would be to prevent Trump from winning New Hampshire with an infuriating series of attacks in order to finish off Trump in New Hampshire so that you can move on to South Carolina without Trump in the race and therefore you can consolidate the “outsider” vote? Or attack Rubio in order to come in second and continue to pose a problem for Trump as well as smash Rubio’s 3-2-1 strategy? Or attack one of the other, er, candidates, denounce them as “establishment” and burnish your appeal to South Carolina? What would you do?
Assume you are on team John Kasich. What would you do? Attack Trump knowing he has bested you before? Attack Rubio who stands in your way to the silver position? Or attack Cruz for the same reasons? Or attack one of the other candidates for whom New Hampshire is the “do or die” state? For Governor Kasich it is do or die in New Hampshire and tonight is his last chance to buckeye the odds. What would you do?
Assume you are on team Jeb Bush. What would you do? Prepare a smart answer for when Trump declares that “your mother has more energy than you do Jeb”? Attack Trump as the number one target? Attack Rubio, along with your ally Chris Christie, and bring down that weasel? Attack one of the other candidates for whom New Hampshire is “do or die” or attack Ted Cruz even though Ben Carson has a better case to make against Cruz? Continue poking the mighty bull, Donald Trump, and get the horns again? Or attack your ally Chris Christie because, well, Christie blocks your way too. What would you do?
Assume you are on team Chris Christie. What would you do? Understand that Trump is likely to win New Hampshire and that Rubio is the one that should lead the anti-Trump battle tonight? Would you concentrate all your attacks on that high-heeled bubble boy weasel from Florida? Stand with Jeb if Jeb is attacked or keep your mouth shut and watch Jeb suffer as the life leaves his limp body? Attack Kasich? Attack Cruz? Get on the floor and roll all over every other candidate, squashing them all to death? What would you do?
That last Dem debate on repulsive MSNBC got few eyeballs to turn in. Tonight’s bloodbath is on the ABC network so not only will the interest be high so will the availability of the broadcast. The debate tonight is at 8:00 p.m. ET. Eight O’Clock.
Tonight through Tuesday, New Hampshire is not the “Live Free Or Die” state. Tonight through Tuesday, New Hampshire is the “do or die” state for GOP presidential candidates.
We’ll be in our little pink boat tonight on the scarlet seas making snide comments and doing what we can with a play by play unofficial transcript.
We’ll recover tomorrow from tonight’s bloodbath. Tomorrow, we’ll forgo the tedious football Superbowl. We’ll watch the high tension drama of the Puppy Bowl instead.