Jon Tester got more positive buzz last night on "Real Time with Bill Maher" than Conrad Burns probably got in three terms. I was too dog-tired to get up and write it down, but it went something like this:
First, Rainn Wilson said something like Tester is 7 feet tall and weighs 400 pounds. Just on presence alone, he should be the Democrats' candidate for president in 2008. Perhaps a Tester-Pelosi ticket.
Then, in New Rules (which should eventually be posted on the website) Maher singled out Tester's haircut. Not only does the hair make Tester look sincere and responsible, Maher said (or words to that effect), it makes him the one person in Congress who is literally level-headed.
As for why Tester won, I can't say that I have much to add to the usual punditry, except perhaps to point out that in a race this close almost anything could have done it. Perhaps if Burns had said "piss-poor" one less time in his life, he might have won. Perhaps if he had cast one less vote that helped Abramoff, he would have won. Perhaps if Burns had stood up even once against the president's misguided policies, he would have won. Perhaps if the Burns campaign had wasted a few less dollars pounding on his base in afternoon talk radio and had instead dumped an ad or two in less hospitable quarters, such as the Outpost, he might have won. Who knows?
The temptation is always to read too much into election results. But I can't recall a year in which I have heard so many members of the losing party admit at the national level that they deserved to get beat. I won't quarrel with that.
UPDATE: Maher's best joke: A fake political ad at the beginning of the show lambasted Democrats for the failures of their first three days of control of the Congress. Among their shortcomings: They have failed to find a way out of the endless quagmire in Iraq.
UPDATE TWO: Here's the actual New Rules quote: There's just something about a crew cut that says, "You can trust me." There's your boy. This is Montana's new senator, Jon Tester. I don't know much about him. And I don't need to. His hair says it all. "I'm friendly, I'm dependable, I'm literally level-headed." If hair could smile, it would look like this. And most importantly, it's hair that says, "You will never ever, ever, ever find me snorting meth with a gay hooker."