Monthly Archives: February 2012

GOP Delegate Math

It’s pretty simple.

Mitt Romney needs 52% of the remaining delegates, only a maximum of 122 of which are available from winner-take-all states. If he doesn’t start winning delegate majorities now, he will not be able to win a first-ballot majority, and will probably have to put one of his current rivals on the ticket and make major platform concessions as well.

PPP is suggesting Santorum may be leading in Michigan, but Michigan has less delegates actually in play than Arizona and because it is proportional, whereas Arizona is winner take all (on the same day). If any kind of polling shows Santorum has a chance there, he should get there and try and claim the 29 delegates there, instead of seeing if he can get 15 instead of 10 in Michigan. It would also show that he is more than a regional candidate.

If Santorum can maintain momentum on that day into Super Tuesday, where Romney is running into trouble in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Ohio, Santorum could claim the actual delegate lead.

Will the Newt and Sanatorium Make the Spirit of the Mittens Strong?

The Bull Trout is an adfluvial apex predator native to Pacific Northwestern rivers and lakes.  Bull Trout are fairly “average” looking fish, but they are every bit the champions of their domain as wolves or lions are to theirs. Biologists have described them as the “Tyrannosaurus Rex of the river.” They can and will eat anything smaller than them. Even little birds. Their favorite snack is juvenile Chinook salmon. Of all the daft details of endangered species politics, managing for endangered salmonids and Bull Trout is, for self-evident reasons, one the weirdest. In a largely unspoiled ecosystem (in this case the  salmonids were slaughtered in fisheries to near extinction by the turn of 20th century and bull trout were purposefully retononed by federal and state fisheries agencies in the 1920s – 1960s in order to make way for more desirable exotic species, but I digress), however, there is a symbiosis between the two species. By eating many subyearling and yearling Chinook — presumably, mostly the less fit ones — as they rear in riparian environments the Bull Trout reduce spatial and food competition at every other stage in the lifecycle for the remaining, more fit Chinook. In addition, Bull Trout attacks teach the juvenile Chinook how to evade predators, which is likely a very useful skill for when they enter the ocean as little fish in a gigantic pond. In this case the obligatory American-Indian saying is sage: “The Bull Trout makes the spirit of the salmon strong.” (This advantage for wild salmonids is undermined by state, federal and, yes, tribal fisheries agencies who inundate rivers with genetically inferior hatchery salmon in order to maintain a fishery with an “acceptable” harvest impact on wild fish — generally about 25% of the wild adult fish; the ones that have proven by their survival to have the most fit genes, but I digress.)

In 2008, Hillary Clinton was Barack Obama’s “Bull Trout”: A full grown top predator that had long thrived in a brutish Darwinian political environment where Obama, a temporal fry by comparison, had just emerged from his redd. The Conventional Wisdom holds that by forcing Obama to compete for space (states), food (voters), and to evade or contend with a kitchen sink of attacks (Hillary pressed the full Nixonian resentment card against Obama — long the Conservatrons’ best tactic), Hillary assured that the Spirit of the Obama was Strong. Having overwintered in the Primary Reservoir to survive Salvelinus confluentus Clintonessus Obama was indeed a “Jumbo Smolt” when he finally smoltified and outmigrated to the General Election Ocean in the summer. Once there, Obama outmaneuvered the Humboldt Squids (a voracious predator whose unusual presence off of Oregon and Washington may have largely wiped out the Sacremento River salmon run in 2008) and non-charismatic megafauna of his Conservatron competition and was able to return to the great “spawning ground of ideas” of Washington DC as a powerful November Hog. A few of the conceptual eggs the Obama fertilized have hatched. The full Affordable Care Act is scheduled to emerge in 2014, although the Conservatrons will try their hardest to scour or dessicate it while it’s incubating in the meantime.

Although Mittens has spent time rearing in the Primaries and Massachusetts habitats, he has not proven fit enough to outmigrate to the General Election Ocean. Resident Conservatron Suckers, (invasive) Crappies and Redband trout do not appear to like him or trust him. This has provided openings for other competitors to challenge him. The hope in Conservatron Land was that, after South Carolina, the Newt would be Mittens’ “Bull Trout” as Hillary was Barack’s back in 2008. The Newt is an experienced, tactical hack. The Newt’s hypocrisy is so paramount that he doesn’t even hide it. The Newt’s brand of confrontational hatefulness, pomposity, gimpy pseudo-intellectualism and Racism Lite rhymes with the Conservatron zietgiest. The Newt kinda’ looks like a Bull Trout, too.

Indeed, Mittens’ vertebrae appeared to calcify in response to the Newt. He was coached into being an aggressor in debates. He usurped a taster of the Newt’s trademark Nasty™. Mittens won Florida. Mittens won Nevada. It appeared that a swift Mittens was finally ready to strap the dog to the roof of the family car, undergo smoltification and outmigrate to the General Election Ocean. Then Mittens was felled by Sanatorium — Sanatorium! The Frothy Human Punchline! — in Colorado, Minnesota and Missourah.

The Conservatron illiteratti hasn’t whispered about Sanatorium being a potential “Bull Trout”. While co-opting a bit of the Newt’s Nasty™ was a necessary adaptation, having to out-wacko Sanatorium on social issues will force Mittens onto the opposite side of anyone that has ever been sexually active (or hopes to be) once the Conservatron elders finally truck Mittens to the estuary and he flip-flops into the General Election Ocean. After all, we’ve all befallen from several eons of fornicators, and despite the presence of lamprey-like Creepers such as Sanatorium most of us would prefer to enjoy fornicating safely, just as we evolved to do.

So why is it that the Newt and Sanatorium are not making the spirit — or at least the poll numbers versus “King Salmon” Obama — of the Mittens strong? It’s simple. Unlike Hillary, the Newt and Sanatorium are not noble “Bull Trout”. They are invasive, venal Smallmouth Bass. Smallmouth Bass are native to Southern warm water ponds, but have been introduced by bucket biologists and, of course, state fishery agencies to Northwestern reservoirs. They evolved to ambush spiny-backed, large resident fishes. Smooth-backed juvenile salmonids don’t have a chance against them, no matter how fit they are. Because Smallmouth Bass are fetishized by sun stroked license-purchasing yahoos they are managed by state fishery agencies as a sport fish (catch and release only), rather than a nuisance species to be eliminated (bounty fishery). While their periodicity with salmonids is temperature dependent and the extent to which they overlap is not entirely known as that would require state fishery agencies to monitor the impact of their management decisions, they certainly compete for food and space with native fish. When exotics are “flushed” out of a well-managed reservoir, salmonids immediately grow to be larger and more plentiful.

The Republican Party is a poorly managed reservoir full of invasive bass, crappies, channel catfish, legacy pollution and other Things that Should Not be There that Fuck with Everything that Should. Much as these invasive fish are managed by a state agency that profits from selling licenses to catch them and yet has a mandate to preserve the native species that these exotics destroy, so is the Conservatron bubble overseen by a media that treats the nonsense (evolution schmevolution, global warming is a hoax, austerity is expansionary) that emerges from its effluent as one side of an argument even as they claim to be crusaders for truth. As a result this years’ slate of Conservatron candidates has included jokers like Donald Trump, Herman Cain and Michelle Bauchmann and has been laughably weak (especially compared to the august Democratic field of 2008) because they have evolved to survive in a toxic cess pool with other sheltered meanies rather than developing the talents to outmigrate to the General Election Ocean.

Starting in 2004 Democrats are 9 and 0 in Presidential election debates. I am counting Obama’s 2010 impromptu confrontation with the Conservatrons in this tally. It is the most striking example. Obama was ambushed by the Conservatrons, he had no allies in the room, Conservatron Mike Pence (who looks like he was carved out of a pencil eraser) was the moderator. Even in the most hostile of circumstances Obama obliterated his opposition because ideas and skills that are developed by the non-native species in the Conservatron cess pool bubble are no match for those honed to compete for the votes of everyone else. Faced with someone that would actually challenge the basis of their concepts, rather than treat them as a “he said/she said,” the Conservatrons folded one after another in the face of Obama’s rebuttals and Fox News cut away rather than watch Obama continue to dunk on the Conservatrons in garbage time.

The Consrevatrons don’t breed Presidents. They concoct invasive predators with an unnatural advantage over their prey, designed to grow large and just healthy enough to absorb the toxics in their crumby habitat, until they become too poisonous to tolerate and only the ignorant would want to keep them. On the occasions when one of these creatures slimes or steals its way into the “spawning ground of ideas” in Washington DC, as Generalissimo Bush did through his putsch in Florida in 2000, the results are horrendous: asleep at the wheel for a disastrous terrorist attack, an unnecessary nine year war, fiscal mismanagement, torture, hundreds of thousands of needless dead people and countless maimed American troops, and the Great Economic Collapse.

The longer Mittens spends in the Conservatron cess pool the more inbred he will become. For the Spirit of the Mittens can Never be Strong because his stock has no soul.