I watched Softball tonight, with Tweety and the gang broadcasting from Memphis where the first Republican cattle-call for '08 is taking place, courtesy of something called the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Most of the 2008 prospects are scheduled to speak.
Tweety was on with Charlie Cook and Howard Fineman, although I bet those two were sorry they put themselves through the spectacle, as any insightful analysis they might have wanted to offer was drowned out by Tweety's panting after John McCain. Tweety reminded us about 59 times how McCain had instructed his supporters to write in a vote for President Bush in tomorrow's straw poll, as if this was somehow another chain in the link establishing what a magnanimous fellow this John McCain is, what a straight-up guy, teamplayer.
He also managed to point out that McCain's move had irritated the other candidates, especially Senator Frist who was aiming for a landslide in his backyard tomorrow.
Cook and Fineman did manage to counter, though, that the McCain gesture seemed rather, well, calculating, and not at all like the straight-shooter, authentic guy they've been telling us about for the last 6 years.
Tweety did get Cook to admit that he basically saw the GOP nomination as coming down to Mass Gov Mitt Romney, VA Senator George Allen, and McCain.
From there Tweety went all aflutter, gushing about the grand old time they all were going to have down there in the volunteer state observing the GOP hopeful review their future candidates. Apparently Romney had already spoken today, and the biggest lines of applause he got were in reference to--wait a minute now--gay marriage and making immigrants (I suppose Mexican ones) learn the King's English. Kind of makes you wonder what someone like Andrew Sullivan sees in this crowd that makes him continue to want to identify himself as a conservative Republican.
Anyway, Tweety did flag down Trent Lott and George Allen for interviews, too, forcing them to talk about his man, McCain (he later interviewed Lindsay Graham, one of McCain's most prominent backers in the U.S. Senate--are you catching a theme here?) and McCain's magnanimous act of calling on his supporters to write in a vote for George 37% Bush tomorrow, and gee, ain't McCain swell.
This really was Tweety at his worst. In the regular studio when there's an issue at hand, he can sometimes come through, but tonight he was like an overwrought adolescent boy at movie audition hoping to get the part of Lindsay Lohan's love interest. He appeared so enthused with the Republican line-up I hope he manages not to explode before the straw poll tomorrow.
I imagine that whenever the first Democratic one of these rolls around, Softball will either not bother with it, or Tweety and the crew will cover it from their perches in Washington, ensuring to bring the usual cast of characters on the panel to bash Hillary or whatever other sad sack of a Democrat is needing of roasting at the moment.
In any event, beyond the McCain salivating (I have a hard time understanding why after all these years there hasn't been anything resembling an objective portrait of the man) by Tweety and his entourage, the crew seemed eager to push George Allen as a contender for reasons that also remain unclear to me. Allen has scored well with the conservative blogosphere (which again sort of begs the question), but I think he's a much less substantive candidate, and far less intriguing than Sam Brownback or Arkansas Gov Mike Huckabee. For their part, Tweety and the boys seemed pretty dismissive of Brownback, perhaps not stopping to consider that a Senator from the Ike state, especially one with such a fundy rep, might play pretty well in border state Iowa's first in the nation caucus, where another Kansas Senator, Bob Dole, won in 1988 (and in which televangelist Marion "Pat" Robertson came in second, ahead of Poppy Bush). Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee's from nearby, too, and as a Baptist minister, and a governor, might also show some strength in Iowa.
But no mind, tonight was the night for Tweety to extol the virtues of his man, John McCain. And if that fails, to make sure George Allen gets some facetime in front of the cameras (to be fair, CNN did an interview with the son of the late Redskin coach as well).
What's the compelling rationale behind an Allen candidacy? He sounds, if possible, even more oblivious to the world than W. It's hard to believe that after the government ineptness of the last year and a half in particular, that the electorate would be in the mood for another empty suit. Then again...