Primary Morn in New Hampshire. Of the midnight votes, Kasich and Sanders took Dixville Notch and Hart's Location, but Millsfield went for Cruz (a stunning nine votes) and Clinton.
Let us note that Mark Stewart Greenstein, who describes himself as "a liberty-oriented Democrat" from the Live Free Or Die Alliance, got two votes in Hart's Location, so he's currently tied with Rubio and Bush and he's got as many votes as Fiorina, Christie and Gilmore combined. We'll see if that holds up throughout the day.
Otherwise, so far, the votes are:
And on the Democrat side:
I doubt that early GOP cluster will hold throughout the day, but the Democrat spread well might. I'd say we're looking at a strong Bernie win over Hillary, and among the GOP field Trump in first place. After that, who knows? I'd put Kasich and Rubio in second and third, although which order they come is a tougher call. Likewise with Cruz and Bush in fourth and fifth. Everyone below that will be folding their tents on Wednesday.
But if you absolutely nailed me down, let's say:
~An obligatory note on "Let's dispel with the fiction Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing": Given that someone wrote this line for Marco Rubot and programmed it into his software and then pulled the string at the back and sent him out on stage, you'd think they could have got it right: You "dispense with a fiction" or "dispel a fiction", but you don't "dispel with a fiction". So, at the very least, let's dispel with the fiction Marco Rubio has a competent speechwriter.
There's no getting over the weirdness of that moment in Saturday's debate. An executive presidency with a three-year electoral process in a mass-media age will, by definition, attract mostly weird, psychologically unhealthy candidates. But Rubio's selling point is that he's the most electable because he's the most normal - young, fresh-faced, with a telegenic family. Nice and normal - unlike the bullying Trump, the unctuous Cruz, the grouchy Kasich, the unsmiling Fiorina, the princeling Bush, the bruiser Christie... But the dispel-with moment suggested Rubio may be weirder than any of them. What normal person does that? How can a guy be so rattled that when he's attacked for being a canned phony who retreats to his rehearsed soundbite all he can do is retreat to a rehearsed soundbite even as his opponent is providing a play-by-play mockery of it?
~Have you seen Bill Clinton stumping for Hillary in his plaid shirt (top right)? Those checks are almost as big as the ones he gets for Saudi speeches. Unlike his leaden, charmless wife and daughter, Bill is still supposed to have the magic touch. It hasn't been in evidence on the Granite State hustings. He's meandering and unfocused and entirely un-self-aware - as in his claim that the Sanders campaign is "sexist".
There was a Bill with a magic touch, once, long ago. No one's seen it in a while. Indeed, this century, apart from fat layabout sheikhs paying him for gazillion-dollar speeches or the jailbait hostesses on Jeffrey Epstein's Lolita Express, very few people have seen much of Clinton at all. To "millennials", his name means no more than that of Gerald Ford or Lyndon Johnson - and the croaking, emaciated, exhausted, terminally-fellated wraith on stage across New Hampshire this weekend isn't going to do anything to bring Bernie babes back to the fold. The Clinton-with-the-magic-touch has been blown out of all proportion.
At the height of Bill's cool, Tina Brown was invited to some celeb-studded bash at the White House: "His glamour is undersung," she panted. "A man in a dinner jacket with more heat than any star in the room. He is vividly in the present tense and dares you to join him there."
Not anymore. In 2008, Hillary ran on the radiated heat of Bill's deflected glamour. In 2016, her problem is that he no longer has any to deflect.
~The great Jo Nova, an indispensable voice on the climate front, has an over-generous preview of my Australian tour:
For me it's unmissable. Mark Steyn is top of my gifted-writers-list, and is the most fearless pundit in the West today. One of the things I most admire is his classy ability to cut down dumb ideas without also cutting down the humans behind them. Steyn genuinely seems to like humanity for all its outrageous flaws. His writing is elegant, cutting â€” he's an artisan experimenting with words, punctuation and ideas. His ability to transfer an abstract concept from one brain to thousands is a gift.
Jo is too kind, but do read the whole thing. The tour kicks off in Perth this Sunday, Valensteyn's Day. It's sold out, except for my debut appearance at the Post Office Hotel in Cloncurry. But, if you want to put your name on the wait list for Brisbane, Sydney and whatnot, please email the IPA here. As Miss Nova says, they're thinking of offering some standing-room-only slots at the back and sides for the sold-out dates.
I'll be getting into Oz a little early to swing by Chris Kenny's show on Sky News live on Friday evening. Next Monday, by the way, I'll be making a return appearance with Tony Jones on Q&A, which is always fun to do.
~Me and my cat Marvin's new CD, Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin' Cats, has a four-and-a-half star rating over at iTunes and continues to rack up five-star reviews at Amazon. But I'm especially touched by the personal letters we get here at SteynOnlne:
Just a note on Feline Groovy. I love the whole album, but especially "Chase Me, Charlie," because I have two cats, and one is actually named "Charlie," and the other (Lili) totally does love being chased -- not over the garden wall, because they're indoors, but all over this place which is practically a giant cat condo.
Thank you for that, Michelle. "Chase Me, Charlie" is an unusually sweet NoÃ«l Coward waltz that we oomphed up a bit. But we kept it in three-quarter time, which I never find the easiest signature, particularly at the lick the band are going at in the final stretch, when I'm clinging on for dear life. So I'm glad you enjoyed it, and hope it aids your Charlie in his pursuit of Lili. Attaboy!
Oh, and our headline today comes courtesy of Sir NoÃ«l's "Mad About The Boy". If I run into Bill Clinton in the course of the day I promise to serenade him with "Plaid About The Boy".