Conventional political wisdom hit the canvas Tuesday night, knocked senseless by the new order of voter thinking, attitudes and actions.
When the bell rung, the old way of thinking stayed down for the count, unable to rise again, possibly brain dead.
Conventional wisdom once said endorsements matter in political contests, particularly nods of approval by high-powered celebrities, political heavy weights and media giants. Yet the powerful Kennedy name, support by the state’s two Senators and a spate of media approvals could not tip the scales in Massachusetts to favor Barack Obama.
Robert DiNiro couldn’t deliver New York. The jury is still out on Oprah’s impact.
Big name stamps of approval didn’t help much in California either where endorsements by the state’s First Lady and its largest newspaper couldn’t push Obama past Hillary Clinton.
Perhaps the laying on of hands from established names flies in the face of Barack Obama’s campaign image as the outsider pushing change. Perhaps he would be better off if the big names would just shut up and go away.
Conventional political wisdom said Obama couldn’t pull enough votes from whites to offset Clinton yet he collected more than 40 percent across the country Friday night, almost double his tally from South Carolina’s earlier primary.
Conventional political wisdom said rabid right wing blowhards like Rush Limbauch could rally the brain-dead right wing of the GOP to stop John McCain. McCain emerged from Super Tuesday as the established front runner as voters told Rush, Hannity and the others to stick their big mouths where the sun don’t shine.
Conventional political wisdom declared McCain dead in the water last summer when his campaign ran out of cash and he faltered in the polls. Now he’s headed for the nomination and could wrap it up before the end of February.
Conventional political wisdom declared Fred Dalton Thompson the new Ronald Regan. Now he’s just another old political joke.
Conventional political wisdom said money controls elections. Rudy Giuliani spent $85 million to secure one delegate before quitting. Mitt Romney has spent far more – most of it from his own pocket and must decide this week whether or not to give up the ghost or face further humiliation from the polls.
Conventional political wisdom said unions would regain their old power base within the Democratic Party this year. John Edwards was thought to be the fair haired boy of the unions. He’s long gone. Barack Obama went into Nevada last month with the support of the large and power service employees’ union. He lost. No exit polls from Super Tuesday show any voters giving a damn who the unions endorsed.
Finally, conventional political wisdom said the front-loaded primary season would settle the nomination question for both parties by Feb. 5 – Super Tuesday.
It’s Feb. 6 and this overblown, under performing process called the American political primary system is far from over. The fat lady ain’t singing. She got tired of waiting and left town.