Thursday, January 08, 2004

Tracking poll/Movie Club

A couple of interesting links of note:

For political junkies, The American Research Group has daily tracking polls posted for the New Hampshire primary. In the last couple days, Clark is now poised to become the anti-Dean candidate by overtaking Kerry in New Hampshire and gaining momentum for a strong second finish. Of course, wacky results from the Iowa caucus, which will be held a week before New Hampshire, might shake NH up. (Late addition!: Kerry is (shockingly) surging in Iowa, which would turn the NH race upside down.) But if we assume Dean or Gephart wins a close race, the dynamic will remain constant. And right now, we're heading towards a Dean/Clark showdown. Why? There are three crucial elements to winning the nomination: (1) money; (2) organization; (3) momentum. Only Clark can compete with Dean on the first two. And momentum depends on largely on "expectatations" (read: media-determined conventional wisdom). If there's any crack in the "inevitability" armor of Dean's, you can bet the media will capitalize on it to shake up the race (if to generate excitement). For the media, who better to annoint as the savior of the Democrats from the Dean Disaster than the Clinton-supported General, who is clearly finding his voice and gaining ground among the grass-roots. All that's needed is an opening. If Clark breaks 23% or so in NH, the media will open a big hole for him to run through.

This year's Movie Club (a discussion of critics run by David Edelstein on Slate) has been quite fun, though not quite as contentious as some years, when Jonathan Rosenbaum would throw bombs at the media establishment. Manohla tries for provocation, but she doesn't have J-Ro's self-righteousness. Anyway, I especially like the sober intellectualism of A.O. Scott, whose hiring by the NY Times a couple years back I had derided on a movie nerd discussion group.

* Got a lot of drafts in the queue, but haven't had time to finish 'em. Included will be a review of SECRET THINGS, a long piece on Howard Dean, and diaries of my trip to Shanghai and Taipei. But between work pile-up and new personal developments, all of this will be dribbling out pretty slowly, I'm sure.