Deep Freeze Lifts

Wow, what a difference a few degrees makes. Today's temperatures climbed into the upper teens and that made it bearable to be outside. It lifted my mood inside, too.

I just got in from stoking the stove. It hasn't required additional wood for about 30 hours. It still was plenty hot. The twenty degree warm-up makes a big difference on wood consumption.

Things are also heating up in Iowa. I admit to watching the presidential races on a daily basis. Part of the reason I am enjoying this is I am heartened by three developments: 1) the rise of Obama over Hillary 2) the rise of Huckabee over the other hucksters and 3) the continued financial viability of Ron Paul.

Obama continues to run a clean, almost completely positive campaign. Reports from his rallies say that they are almost completely absent of the typical left-wing anger which shows up at Hillary rallies. In a time when anger is the predominant political fact on both sides, that would be refreshing.

Now, why pull for Huckabee? Because he is just what the Republican party has been moving towards for years. He is more legitimate as an evangelical Christian than Bush. He doesn't soft-pedal his positions. So now when the journalists dig up old quotes of his talking about this country being taken over by homosexuals, pedophiles, necrophiliacs and environmentalists (I am not kidding) he doesn't step down one bit. He knows those statements will be red meat for his crowd. They will love him for his refusal to fudge. And they particularly enjoy sex graphically described even as it is condemned. He will grab a good chunk of the support, perhaps enough to snag the nomination. And it will be a delight to watch the media try (and fail) to figure out what makes his followers tick.

I admire Huckabee for his unabashed consistency, as much as I think he's a bit of a nut case.

Romney and Guiliani are in decline and good riddance. Guiliani would keep us in a perpetual state of panic in order to justify more executive branch power grabs and Romney will do whatever the polls say this week. His religion speech of last week was far from the triumph his supporters claimed it was--he basically said that as long as you believe in something you are qualified to be president, but it is wrong to start asking anything but the most general questions about what that something amounts to.

I once liked McCain, and I admire his willingness to unequivocally oppose torture. If I had to chose a Republican to be president, it would be McCain. He has some temperamental difficulties. He's one of those people with few personal friends. I guess having friends isn't a qualification for the presidency, however.

On the Democratic side, Obama is my pick. Hillary and Bill have too much of a sense of entitlement. She's a bit of a technocrat. No, she's not part of any vast conspiracy, and no, she wouldn't bring us socialism and no, she's not a proponent of world government and no, she's not the anti-Christ. In fact, her rabid drooling detractors almost make me like her. But when you have a centered, talented idealist like Obama available, why settle for an old-style politician?

Edwards is a phony. There's some scandal brewing about him on the internet tonight, too--we'll see if it comes out in the next few days. He supposedly got one of his staffers pregnant. Whatever. Wouldn't surprise me.

Bill Clinton made a fool of himself on the Charlie Rose show, making it obvious that he is absolutely furious that Obama has the gall to get in the way of Hillary's ascension to the throne.

In any case, on both sides, this is the best presidential field we have had in a very, very long time. And, it is the most interesting presidential race we have had in my memory. With the internet, events move at lightning speed. It can consume you.

When it is below zero outside, and when the Twins aren't playing, it makes for a passable spectator sport.