Friday, February 19, 2016

Random Thoughts from Stanfield Int'l

Quite busy this past week, hence the absence in these parts.  Mostly tied up in preparation for an epic little span of days ahead over in the mother country, if this midnight plane ever shows up... a nicely ridiculous agenda that may become more apparent here as time ticks over.  Want a cryptic summary?  All right then: Founders Arms (or so I thought before this delay - an ominous sign?), Chekov, Hull Tigers, Rachmaninoff, the Turf, High Street, a Roast, Row 1 at the Shed End, tidal power conferencing from castle-view hotel rooms, Barca, and even the Power in Aberdeen to cap it off.  Back enjoying the art of coarse travel and how to properly maximize a set allotment of time that was set in motion by an unlikely treble in Athens and an all-too predictable December Champions League draw and...

But enough of that, what news from our American friends?  I watched the Republican debate with cigars and scotch in an inspired setting last weekend, and it certainly lived up to the billing.  And how.  What a spectacle.  Trump's continued presence at the top as mystifying as ever, but the longer he stays, the crasser the tone seems to get and the more difficult it is to see how the RNC stops him.  Oh what chaos that would bring.  Now even the Pope has decided to weigh in.  You almost have to love it, just for the pure randomness and absurdity!

Has a candidate ever won the nomination over such blatant objections by the party brass?  As the governors and senators begin a slow but steady flocking back to their last great Rubio hope, I have to admit that my stark antipathy for some of Trump's xenophobic ramblings begins to wane.  If forced to pick between those two unpalatable options, maybe Trump should be preferred from my perspective after all, as originally thought?  At least it would anger and frustrate the GOP to no end, and could have long term negative impacts for that party that would be welcome.  The depressing predictability of a Rubio presidency really ought to be avoided at all costs, and he does look the likely winner of it all if he gets past Trump.  But then I think of Ann Coulther celebrating Trump sealing the deal.  Ugh.  At least watching and trying to predict how we get from here to there has been far more entertaining than it has any right to be, while remaining mostly harmless (except perhaps to Jeb!'s self-esteem).  To date, anyway...

The next really interesting question in this increasingly chaotic and fractious campaign is whether Bush will face reality and pull the plug right after SC.  Is he ready to choose sides and fully back Rubio?  I am convinced that Kasich will hold on in order to win Ohio - he's enjoying the retail campaigning too much to quit now.  Which works in the long run for the anti-Trump forces anyway, since it stops Trump from winning all the delegates from that massively important state, and there's no way Kasich backs Trump at a contested convention.  Is there?  Meanwhile Cruz seems to have carved out his own little niche within this field, but surely his ceiling within the party is even more limited than Trump, or so it seems as the stories out of South Carolina kick on?  Tim and I will no doubt weigh in with some firmer predictions pre-vote come the weekend, as we look to crash a primary party in Oxford after some FA Cup antics. 

Meanwhile, the Democrats continue their quixotic exploration of the Sanders candidacy.  I would like to believe he could win, I would, but have seen nothing to convince me that he would not nose-dive dramatically once exposed to some good ol' fashioned negative campaigning.  Eight years ago you would have had quite the time convincing me that I would be firmly in Hillary's camp come 2016.  She has some very important days ahead.  As usual, Talking Points Memo has some excellent commentary and reader input on the debate happening within the party.  And Mr. Silver seems to be ahead of the curve again with this definitive primer on how to track whether Sanders has a real shot at the nomination based on the trajectory he would need to hit as they work through the various states.

Otherwise, wait we must.  For minor flight delays flights, and vagaries of fate, and the big reveal, and more.  Until the whirlgig of time unveils what is to be, and brings in its revenges.


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