There is nothing more interesting or captivating than a dramatic and tightly fought political campaign. This past week has been one of those perfect storms of strategy and personality as the Republican South Carolina primary played out, allowing for politicos around the nation to enjoy the show. We have been captivated with two debates, candidates withdrawing from the race, bombshells of intimate desires being released, and polls that show a dramatic ending. Something for everyone has been on display.
And the truly big show has not yet started. That happens when the polls close tonight. I suggest you prepare yourself for some political fireworks. I know we are.
Here in Madison, Wisconsin there is a perfect winter day taking place, though it is very cold outside. James has a recipe he wants to make with orange peels and chicken. (Chicken a l’orange.) Add some asparagus and potatoes to the meal and we have a primary dinner that is fitting for the antics of the Palmetto State.
The news from South Carolina today is something that no one would have predicted three weeks ago.
A new poll released as South Carolinians are voting in their Republican primary shows Newt Gingrich’s weeklong surge taking him past Mitt Romney into a substantial lead among likely voters in the Palmetto State.
The American Research Group poll, conducted Thursday and Friday, shows Gingrich leading Romney 40% to 26%. ARG’s last poll, released Thursday, showed a virtual tie with Gingrich at 33% and Romney at 32%.
I am almost gleeful that this nominating process will not end tonight. ( I stand with Chris Matthews in enjoying the drama.) The continuing political story keeps the interest of people like me at a high level as we read and follow the drama. Some might suggest that there is something to be gained for Democrats by dragging out the Romney nominating process. The more bruised he gets now, the harder it will be for the party to unite later. That may be true, but that is not why I am excited about the events playing out.
(I still hold to my belief that Romney will be the nominee at the end of this process as he has the money, organization, establishment wing of the party, and political skills to prevail.)
Every four years we get to witness a huge political process play out in living color across the nation. While football fans have a yearly super bowl, (yawn) folks like myself must wait years for the next huge event. So when it happens there is no desire to short-circuit it, or shut it down.
I suspect many a home on this winter night will be warmed by the heat of political combat from South Carolina. There is something for everyone! From Romney showing his ability to grin in the face of an upset, to Gingrich gloating as his helmet-headed wife stands alongside him, while Santoruum struggles to suggest he still has a reason to stay in the race. For those into betting why not wager how many times Ron Paul can mention the federal reserve during his speech tonight? If there is a sneer with the mention you can count that two times!
As the lights fade in the television studios late tonight fear not my fellow politicos.