Since politics is really starting to become fun for me once again, I've decided that I need a forum for my thoughts. Even if only read by me or maybe MQA, there is an intrinsic worth in examining the issues and the candidates with word and seeing where one falls within that picture. Iowa and New Hampshire have now spoken. In less than 1 month we'll know the two individuals who will be the choices for our next president. With that said, let us begin.
The Democrats -- The lesson to re-learn from tonight is a familiar one: don't ever count out the Clintons. We should have known the writing was now on the wall for a Hillary victory when reports surfaced last night of Clinton dropping out of the campaign. Please. The Clintons and their familiar and trusted inner circle (James Carville, Lanny Davis, Ann Lewis, etc) don't like losing and, frankly, they simply don't do it much.
I think Hillary's surprise win in the New Hampshire primary means EVERYTHING. Obama had so much momentum beginning about a month ago with the great success of his campaigning with Oprah Winfrey. Almost nothing hadn't gone his way since then. And with Hillary still leading considerably in national polls, momentum was Obama's only ticket to an upset. He needed to use the dominoes of this new primary system where a series of small wins could make possible a large shakeup on Super Tuesday. But this is a real setback. Last spring I wrote that I thought he was essentially running for the ve-ep spot on a Hillary ticket. The past 6 weeks has proved me wrong about his motivations. But in the end, it still may be exactly the way it turns out.
How did the polls get it so wrong in such a small state with a limited voting population? My best guess is the power of the Clintons. They got the vote out. They worked the system. They did what they do best. Otherwise, there's the race theory. Did people talk themselves out of voting for Obama at the last minute to fall back on the status quo of another Clinton? Hope not. But I don't doubt it played at least a tiny factor. Also the presence of John Edwards in the race is killing Obama.
The Republicans -- Conversely, I don't read too much into McCain's victory. I do think it's possible he will emerge as the GOP's nomination. I've thought that all along because I still think the Republican party is self-destructive. The primogeniture theory has always played a part in the GOP's nominating process and it still may do so again. McCain can win in an attrition strategy. He needs the field to stay large and needs candidates to cancel each other out. In other words, he simply needs the most delegates.
Tonight's results pretty much end Fred Thompson's hopes. I look for him to drop out prior to Super Tuesday and immediatley endorse McCain. Romney's money will help him remain competitive, as will Huckabee's natural evangelical base. And Giuliani is still the strongest national GOP candidate. He's playing a dangerous game ignoring these early state contests but a win in Florida could lead to wins in the big states of Super Tuesday. And Ron Paul won't win, but he represents a cause and I'd expect him to continue to draw his 5%-10% of the vote wherever he goes.
After tonight, I concede both races are far from over. But I sure do fear Hillary Clinton FAR more than I did 24 hours ago. And that's a shame. Because she is the one candidate in the bunch I could never support. I greatly respect Obama and Edwards. And each of the GOP contenders have their own positives and negatives. But I still hate the Clintons!
There's nothing brilliant or ground-breaking from me here but I thought it was a good time to put down my thoughts. I think it's safe to narrow the combined field to 7 legitimate candidates. And I'll close with my odds following New Hampshire.
Clinton 3-1, Obama 6-1, Edwards 25-1. (Richardson - eliminated)
Giuliani 4-1, McCain 6-1, Huckabee 10-1, Romney 15-1. (Thompson - eliminated)