Every political season has its pleasures. With the accelerated metabolism of the frenzied fight for Super Tuesday now behind us, the two parties are settling in for the more discreet political pleasures of late winter and early spring. Republicans are entering the teeth-gnashing stage, as they come to reluctant terms with their ideologically cross-dressing ancient mariner nominee. Sen. McCain is condemned to wander about with the albatross of his former conservative apostasy around his neck. I suppose he hopes that he will be excused, just as the mariner is in the poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Eventually, the mariner's curse is lifted when he sees sea creatures swimming in the water. Although earlier in the poem he had called them "slimy things," he eventually sees their true beauty and blesses them: "A spring of love gush'd from my heart and I bless'd them unaware."
But for the political gourmand, it is the Democratic Party's race that offers the more delectable morsels. Obama, the young Icarus, flies gorgeously above the clouds -- shining, perhaps ominously, in the blazing sun. Meanwhile, Hillary, the earthling, looks over her hunched shoulder, snarling to keep her reluctant followers from raising their vision to the hopeful sky: "And, therefore, since I cannot prove a lover, to entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain, And hate the idle pleasures of these days. Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous, By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams " ("Richard III").
Her practical problem at the moment, as a shrewd Democratic strategist pointed out to me earlier this week, is that she runs the risk of having the Giuliani problem: going for a month without winning any primaries or caucuses. Most experts don't expect her to win any more until the March 4 elections in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island. In a normal primary season, one would expect that Obama's string of victories that started last weekend would give him the momentum to overcome, by March, his current deficits in Ohio and Texas. But so far this strange season, momentum has been the dog that didn't bark. If that pattern continues, perhaps Hillary can wait through the "winter of her discontent" and come back strong in March. But the dangers of momentum returning and the Giuliani effect kicking in clearly have driven the Clintons to various "plots, libels and dreams."
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.