James Carville at Radio City: "Clinton's Pretty Close to Tap City"
And - She's done "if she wins PA by less than 8 pts…"
Last night I made it to the first of Radio City's Music Hall Speaker Series. CNN's Anderson Cooper moderated (barely) a panel that included Tucker Carlson, Arianna Huffington, and that Ragin' Cajun -- James Carville. The evening was both illuminating and incredibly frustrating for this attendee.
While Tucker -- sans bowtie to the shock of the man behind me -- was quippier and faster on his feet than expected, Arianna was as well-prepared as ever. Carville, however, was ever the single-minded Clinton partisan (despite saying that he'd support Obama "1,000%" if he's the nominee). What irked? In sum, he was rhetorically inconsistent, even dishonest. When the conversation turned to issues broader than the Democratic primary, he demonstrated a fast, keen mind. But when Arianna pointed out, for example, that Hillary originally agreed to Michigan and Florida's delegates not being counted - and did so with a metaphor - he took a wide Hail Mary Pass and manipulated her premise even as his argument came out like sand pouring through a clenched hand.
Today's Times reports that the Clinton fundraising machine isn't doing so well. Whether or not Carville got a heads up, Clinton told Cooper that "She's Pretty Close to Tap City." The Times notes that her campaign owes $10.3M in outstanding primary debts but has only $9.5M in assets. Does that even include the $5M loan that Clinton made to the campaign during the Ides of Winter?
When I made my way home, it was just in time to catch Barack's satellite-enabled appearance on The Daily Show. After a truly amazing deep bit with Larry Wilmore - on whether Obama had scratched his face during the Philly debate or was really flipping off HRC (Larry facetiously responded: "Yes. It's actually part of Blanguage.") - Stewart got a loose and rangy Obama. At one point Stewart probed: "The American people want to know: Should you be elected, will you do a bait and switch and enslave the white race?" Barack Obama: "Your paranoia might make you suitable as a debate moderator."
Looking back at the evening, I am beginning to grasp why Carville got under my skin: He's a political mercenary. After a fashion, he and wife Mary Matalin exercise tremendous influence on how the game is played, if not the actual outcome. In that Clinton ain't-got-no-money piece, the Times reminds us that once Hillary has settled her tab, Mark Penn and his firm will have been paid $18.5M (that's not a typo) for their expertise. The problem with the Carville's of the world (and I note this non-ideologically) is that in their eyes "voter" and "citizen" have become mutually exclusive.