Saturday, February 09, 2008

Nomination Countdown- 2/9/08

Bleh, I do not really feel like writing too much this week, but I am going to soldier through it. While I have certainly come to terms with the end of the Romney campaign and moving over to welcome my new McCainiac Overlords, (let me interrupt myself to say that I will support and donate to any candidate, of any party, who will ban commericals for, I am in sort of a post Super Tuesday political hangover. Truth be told, that probably started to happen right after the dissapointing results of the very pivotal Florida primary.

I have been debating whether or not I want to include a lengthy post, mostly for my own benefit, and as a sort of therapy, detailing my thought process, and all that stuff, about what happened to Romney, and why it is so crucial to elect John McCain President, and how I hope to see a McCain/Romney ticket this year. I guess if I do that in the near future, it will be based on if I have the time and on what my mood is.

So anyway, I am just going to try to hit the nuts and bolts of what is going on in this party as of today, as the Republican nominee appears to be all but certain (despite the fact that many rank and file Republicans are upset about that), and the Democrat nomination process should have a tough month in store for Hillary Clinton, but still basically a race that is going to go on for a while, and in which she may have the final upper hand. As a Republican, while I think she would probably be a tougher opponent than Obama in many ways, since we have settled on McCain, I think we need to run against Hillary, for a variety of reasons.

On Super Tuesday, the two candidates largely split the delegates, and while Obama won more states, many of them caucuses in typically Republican areas or states with large African-American populations, his supporters were probably dissapointed by significant Clinton victories in Massachusetts and California, in the face of what was seen to be mega-Obamamentum, due to heavy campaigning and prominent endorsements. New Jersey also was believed to be very competitive, but Clinton ultimately prevailed. The best news of the night for Obama was a narrow victory in the Missouri primary, after the Clinton campaign had publicly declared victory for that state. At present time, New Mexico is still too close to call.

Obama is expected to win most, if not all, of this weekend's contests in Nebraska, Washington, Louisiana, and Maine, due to the nature of the caucus process, in which he has done very well, or the fact that the states which will be voting on the Democrat side are expected to be heavily influenced either by upscale white liberal voters or by large African-American populations. Next Tuesday will probably see more of the same with "Potomac Tuesday", as Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia go to the polls. Public opinion surveys indicate that Obama should cruise to victory in those locations.

All of this will have the media and many Democrats proclaiming that Obama has moved into the frontrunner role. While it is certainly true that his campaign has been impressive, and that Clinton's weaknesses may have been exposed earlier than expected, if she manages to hang on through the month of February and wins the key states of Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania this Ssring, she probably will manage to at least go to the convention in a strong position to win, even if it takes the superdelegates. Suddenly, June's Puerto Rico primary looks like it may be pivotal in a crazy Democrat primary process, which already has some party leaders quite worried about a potential "train wreck" this summer in Denver.

From my perspective, a very interesting thing is ocurring with the brouhaha that has erupted over the now suspended MSNBC reporter David Schuster's use of the term "pimping out" to descibe Chelsea Clinton's campaign activities on behalf of her mother. While I certainly do not approve of what Schuster said, and I will also note that both he and many others on that network have a history of being patently unfair and personal in regards to describing Republicans, the outrage appears to be a bit manufactured. Clinton is now publicly taking issue with what she sees as a pattern of disrespect from NBC News. Many people believe that MSNBC is in the tank for Obama and the fact that her campaign appears to be wanting to keep this Schuster controversy in the news indicates that they may be looking for ways to portray Hillary as a "Mom first, and candidate second" and hope that she can gain votes as part of an anti-media backlash, especially from women.

Moving on to Republicans, once the dust from Super Tuesday settled, Mitt Romney, despite winning seven states that days, came to the conclusion that his delegate total which just not be enough to realistically overtake John McCain, and as he put it, he felt the need to stand aside for the good of the country and his political party during this time of war.

That leaves Mike Huckabee as the last remaining credible candidate standing between McCain and a formal clinching of the nomination. While it is virtually impossible for McCain to be denied, there is a serious anti-McCain vote that still exists among conservatives. Huckabee surprised many people by finishing first in a handful of southern states on Super Tuesday, and that may have done as much to sink Romney than anything else. Some in the party are now ultimately calling for Huckabee to drop out, but the formal Arkansas Governor insists he will not do so until the delegate magic number is technically clinched.

I think it is very possible that McCain wants Huckabee to stay in the race as sort of the political version of the "Washington Generals", (and so that he can finish with more delegates than Romney) so that McCain can continue to make headlines by vanquishing his last remaining foe in many remaining states. However, Huckabee happened to take advantage of his new status as the only alternative to McCain by winning Kansas today by a hefty margin, and he could wind up with victories in Louisiana and Washington as well by the time the evening is finished. A lot of oberservers will be really surprised if Huckabee really starts going after McCain. If he has any prayer of receiving the nomination, he definitely needs to become more aggressive, but of course, that might do nothing but make the McCain campaign completely unlikely to consider him as a running mate. The two campaigns certainly demonstrated collusion on Tuesday afternoon when they combined forces to deny Romney the delegates from the West Virginia Convention, and the it will be interesting to watch the dynamic between them. Personally, I hope Huckabee is stubborn enough to stay in, or that McCain gets upset with him enough, to rule out the possibility of a Huck for VP movement.

If Huckabee continues to have a strong Saturday, pundits will give him a lot of attention on the Sunday shows tomorrow, but come Tuesday, McCain should probably be able to sweep the Potomac contests and then go back to trying to win more favor from conservatives.

Until next week.....


At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you think I felt when Richardson dropped out? Not very happy, since he was the one I initially supported. So we have to get on different bandwagons. I got on Obama's when it was clear he could actually win states.

I don't know, but it seems like Hillary's initiating a "big-state" strategy with Texas, Ohio, and PA. If Obama continues to rack up wins this month, it may not play well come March 4th for Clinton. I know another candidate that such a strategy didn't work so well for. I'm looking at you, Rudy.

That said, in TX, the delegates are awarded by state senate district. This cuts Hillary's stregnth, since the lion's share of delegates come from the Houston and Dallas areas. Black populations there will help Obama, as will upscale liberals in Austin and Fort Worth. Hillary will surely be extremely strong in San Antonio and the border region. It will be closer here than people think, I'll bet. The democratic establishment is in such a shambles in this state, there's no endorsements or anything that would make a difference.

I wonder if Huckabee's evangelical appeal would make a difference down here? McCain has never been very popular among republicans here that I know of.


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