Video: Hoffman goes primetime

Can’t find any exit polls yet so this feature segment from last night’s “Hannity” will have to tide you over. Watching this, I’m struck by how serendipitous it is for conservatives that the man of the hour is a mild-mannered accountant who’s bad on TV. The left is dying to demagogue this guy as some sort of terrifying tea-party boogeyman, but … he’s just horribly miscast. He’s the opposite of scary. And his awkwardness, which only seems starker with the Thompsons flanking him, makes him seem that much more “authentic” and populist. More from Dave Weigel:

It all led up to a political speech that was notable largely for its meekness. As Hoffman shifted his weight from side to side and glanced down at his notes, he tossed out only two pieces of red meat — an attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a promise not to let government “take over health care.”…

At the same time, Hoffman’s mellow nature, and his ability to avoid committing to specific conservative policies, have been the cause of amusement in the press corps and in the candidate’s own campaign. In a mid-October interview with TWI, Hoffman had strayed from the dogmatic conservative response to the stimulus–opposing it outright–and mulled over redirecting more stimulus funding to infrastructure and “job credits.” He gave the same response to another reporter. And another reporter told TWI that interview footage of Hoffman was so bland that it wasn’t worth using. After the Watertown rally, Sandy Caligoire, a Hoffman spokesman, argued that Hoffman’s lack of charisma had become a boon to the campaign.

“People look at Obama and they see how a slick politician can turn on them,” said Caligoire. “Doug’s a regular guy. He’s gotten better as the campaign’s gone on, but he’s a regular guy, and I think that appeals to people.”…

Later in the day, Hoffman fielded another question about Limbaugh from Jude Seymour of the Watertown Daily Times. Asked whether he agreed with Limbaugh’s remarks that Scozzafava had committed “beastiality” by “screwing every RINO (Republican in Name Only),” Hoffman was taken aback. “I’d have to talk with him first,” he said. “I don’t know–that’s Rush Limbaugh. I have no comment to that.” Conservative reporters immediately chastised Seymour for asking the question.

Follow the link for details about how many Beck supporters are apparently on the ground up there right now. Hoffman’s interesting in that regard, too: There’s certainly some overlap between right-wing libertarians who follow Beck and Reagan Republicans who follow Hannity, but the media, at least, seems to be plugging Hoffman into the first category even though he fits both. I wonder why. Exit optimism: As of this moment, he’s north of 80 percent on InTrade as a favorite to win.

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David Strom 8:41 PM on January 30, 2023