Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Post-Super Tuesday Race Analysis

The most surprising thing during an otherwise lackluster Super Tuesday week was Mitt Romney's surprise termination of his campaign the day afterwards. Although he was handily beaten in many states by John McCain, he still had a fighting chance, and many Conservatives who refused to support McCain or Huckabee, like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and other hard-liners, had endorsed him after the exit of other, more Conservative candidates such as Fred Thompson. Mitt Romney, the slick, corporate campaigner may have had the credentials, but he didn't connect with voters like Huckabee or even McCain. I wasn't really surprised that he dropped out, but that he did so not on Super Tuesday-night, after McCain's large victory was clear, but late the next day, after he made the customary, I-don't-have-a-chance "We will keep fighting" speeches the night before.

That leaves Huck and McCain. What a race it's been for both of them! John McCain, who started as one of the three frontrunners, was dead by July but came back, his turning point being the NH primary, where he smoked Romney and Huck. From there, he went up and Romney went down, aided by a mainstream media barrage in his favor. Huckabee, the surprise winner of the Iowa caucus, failed to win anything else until Super Tuesday, where he did surprisingly well. These two candidates are both mavericks in some way; Huckabee with his overtly religious down-home campaigning style and non-conformist stance on many issues, and McCain, 70-0dd years old and always a little liberal.

On the Republican side, at least, the voters threw out the establishmentarians like Romney and Thompson, and now Huck is fighting an almost vertical battle to keep the nomination away from the almost-certain winner McCain. It's an interesting race, and I fully expect McCain to win, but Huckabee has the charm and the votes to make it close. Good luck to him.

The Democratic race is in a little bit of a deadlock, with Obama beating Clinton during Super Tuesday with a minuscule two delegates. Obama cleaned up handily in the primaries after Super Tuesday, but if Hillary can keep the race close, the decision will go to the so-called "Superdelegates"--Dem bigwigs who, according to DNC policy, can make whoever the heck they want as the nominee, and to heck with the Democratic process. If it comes to that, Clinton will almost certainly get the nomination, but I'm hoping she won't escape unscathed. She has undeniable baggage, and my bet is that the Obama-Dems will raise heck if she's the nom--they can't afford to lose this election, and Obama has a much better chance of beating McCain.

So, the most likely outcome in my opinion: McCain v. Obama. McCain v. Hillary is a serious possibility, and after Super Tuesday it would have been my definite choice, but Obama is a serious force in the liberal, educated late-primary states--such as Wisconsin.

Either Hillary or Obama will have to trounce the GOPer, most likely McCain in the election. If so, they'll call it "historic," and a "triumph over the forces of darkness," and so on. If it's close, though, like a Dewey-Truman affair, then it would be seriously bad for the Dems. They could still give their, "This election shows us that America wants CHANGE!" spiel, but it won't be as enthusiastic. If McCain wins, I think it could be the death of the Democratic party as we know it. If I were the Democrats, I'd lock Obama into the nomination, because if Clinton loses, the country will have a Republican for twelve years running, something that didn't happen in the 20th century.

An interesting side-note: the hate among Conservatives towards McCain is so rabid that Ann Coulter has said she would vote for Hillary (!!!) over McCain. Typical Ann. I think this shows a serious disconnect with Conservative America. To hate a REPUBLICAN candidate more than a Dem, and especially HILLARY, of all people, is to show that Ann doesn't care so much about the issues as she does about keeping libs out of the Republican party. And while it may not be true that the worst Republican is better than the best Dem, A decent if under-achieving Republican, Gerald Ford for example, is much, much, MUCH better than his Dem equivalent, like Carter. Frankly, I think Ann is dead wrong. We CANNOT elect a Democrat. While we may survive it in the short term, it may be talked about in the history books as a turning point: where America went wrong.