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Notes On New Year’s Eve: The 96 Hour Campaign and Timothy Dalrymple

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The four days before an actual election represent the moment when promises either become reality or excuses. For many years the GOP held an edge across the country in the work of getting voters to actually show up. One thing the next few days in Iowa and New Hampshire will show is whether there is the beginnings of an organization to rival President Obama’s. All the organization in the world cannot make up for a lousy candidate, but a handful of states in November may come down to a few thousand votes, votes which turn out because of organization.

With so many reporters in Iowa even brief stops at the cable channels between football games are amusing as journalists compete with each other to say the same five or six things. Absurd mini-stories like Newt’s heartfelt tears and whether Romney tweaked him about them –the Twitter class decided late in the day yesterday that Romney hadn’t been tweaking Newt but just noting his own widely known capacity to tear up when talking about his own parents– spring up and pass away. Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina used a “tone of outrage” (how did Politico’s Alexander Burns write that without cracking up?) to object to Matt Romney’s joke about releasing his dad’s tax returns when the president released his birth certificate and transcripts. (I think every time you see a story that mentions “Romeny’s tax returns” you should substitute “Obama’s transcripts” for fun.) Campaign autopsy reports are being prepared and political obits put in the can. It is a wild time for the campaigns and the media. Fun to watch and comment on from a studio, but a pain in the New Year’s neck in Iowa. (We will be broadcasting a six hour show from 6 PM to midnight Tuesday, FYI, with all the usual suspects from The Weekly Standard, Politico, The Washington Examiner and Townhall).

Amid all the repetition there are a lot of funny one liners –Twitter is amazing for this period of time and will be forever during run-ups to elections– there is very little being written that is actually worth a serious read, but one such offering is Timothy Dalrymple’s “Myth Romney v. Mitt Romney.” Dalrymple is one of the senior editors over at Patheos.com which will mature in 2012 into one of if not the most influential portal in the online world of faith –it is also the blogging home of three other of my favorite online authors Mark D. Roberts, Nancy and David French and the Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia— and Dalrymple is also a serious evangelical scholar. Like the folks at Evangelicals for Mitt and Article VI Blog, Dalrymple is a talented and increasingly influential new media voice on the intersection of faith and politics that most of the MSM haven’t heard of much less read closely.

It isn’t hard to stay ahead of the herd, but reading Dalrymple this AM makes it easier still.

And for Guy P. Benson’s sake and all other Northwestern alums desperate to avoid a thrashing in Houston, Go ‘Cats!

Follow Guy on Twitter at @guypbenson for real time exposure to the approach and consequences of football despair

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