Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Yesterday I Spoke Too Soon

Defying all the polls and the pundits, Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire Democratic primary yesterday with 39% of the votes, compared to Barack Obama's 36%. Among Republicans, John McCain emerged as the victor, just as many polls and pundits had predicted.

And now, a side note: The media's coverage of the primary process can be a little confusing, if not misleading. The early contests are important, sure, and a win in Iowa or New Hampshire can give a candidate the public opinion boost that s/he needs to win later contests. But what the candidates are really competing for is delegates to their party's National Convention. This primary season a Democrat needs 2,209 delegates to win the party's nomination, while a Republican needs 1,259 delegates. After his first place finish in Iowa and his second place finish in New Hampshire, Barack Obama has collected 25 delegates; after Hillary Clinton's third place finish in Iowa and first place finish in New Hampshire, she has collected 24 delegates. And after finishing second in Iowa and third in New Hampshire, John Edwards has collected 18 delegates. This competition is far from over, but prior to the New Hampshire primary, the media outlets had viewers thinking that Hillary Clinton's campaign was over. And today, after the New Hampshire primary, the media outlets maintain that Barack Obama's campaign needs to regroup. The media's tone seems just a little extreme.

Don't get me wrong, I'll continue to tune in to the non-stop coverage just as much as the next political junkie. This is just a friendly reminder to myself (and to similarly obsessed viewers). Beware!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The First Week of 2008 Has Been an Eventful One

The first week of 2008, in brief:

1. Monday night's BCS National Championship Game wasn't exactly a nail-biter. The game began and ended similarly to last year's match-up between Ohio State and Florida. Ohio State surged ahead in the beginning of the first quarter, only to be crushed by LSU during the rest of the game-- the same way that Ohio State was crushed by Florida last year. It was a predictable end to an unpredictable season.

2. The Business section of Sunday's New York Times included a feature on Burt's Bees (the eco-friendly cosmetics company that went green before it was cool to do so) that rivals US Weekly's cover stories. The man and woman behind Burt's Bees, Burt Shavitz and his one-time lover, turned Burt's beehives, which were nestled near the Maine turkey coop that Burt called home, into a multi-million dollar company that left Burt's lover rich and Burt himself with a few more dollars than he started with and a slightly larger turkey coop. Click here for the full article (it's absolutely scintillating).

3. On the political front, last Thursday Iowa decided that Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee would be the early victors in this year's presidential primary season. The New Hampshire primary is today, and early indications place Obama in first place among the Democrats and either John McCain or Mitt Romney ahead among the Republican candidates. It's unclear what happened to Hillary Clinton's campaign--she went from being the "inevitable" choice to battling John Edwards for second place in the early Democratic contests. What is clear is that the Obama campaign is taking the nation by storm. Voters are embracing Obama's message of hope and change, and Obama's fellow candidates--Democrats and Republican's alike--appear to be attempting to incorporate elements of Obama's message of change into their own campaigns. (MSNBC's unbelievably extensive coverage of the primary season can be found here. )

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year, and There's Always Next Year...

So the Florida Gators began the new year on a disappointing note. Despite an honest effort from Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow and star receiver Percy Harvin, the Gators lost to the Michigan Wolverines, 41-35, in the Capital One Bowl. Two things made the Gators' loss easier to swallow. First, it was nice to see Lloyd Carr end his 28-year coaching career at Michigan with a bowl victory. Second, my dad was pulling for Michigan, and he was thrilled (and shocked) to see the Wolverines win.

In honor of my New Year's resolution to be more optimistic, I have decided not to dwell on this loss and instead to look ahead to the Gators' 2008 season. With Tebow and Harvin returning, the Gators will be tough to beat.