Yeah, yeah, anecdotes aren't proof. But they get your attention. Two that have gotten mine:

* The truly startling one was a conversation just now with a very close family friend who, through a lifetime of voting that began in the Harry Truman era, has always and only gone Republican and still refers to G.W. Bush strictly as "The President." The friend said: "If Obama is the nominee, I'll vote for him. I'd never vote for her" -- meaning Hillary Clinton. This friend lives in a swing state.

* Speaking of Hillary Clinton, just before the Iowa results I was struck by this fact: I had come across countless people in the previous two years who assumed that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee. In fact, I can hardly think of anyone who didn't assume that. But in all that time I have met only a handful for people who were actually for her. And in my experience, every one of these people had been part of the Greater Clinton team.

There had always been away to explain away this paradox. Perhaps Hillary Clinton '08 would be a version of Richard Nixon '68 -- beloved by few, but still grinding out a win. But the other possibility was that the tensions couldn't forever be contained -- if people don't really like a candidate, in the end the candidate won't win. The Nixon scenario isn't looking so likely now.

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