Friday, January 04, 2008

Congratulations to Obama and Huckabee

So, in case you haven't heard yet:

Obama 38%, Edwards 30%, Clinton 29%, Richardson 2%, Biden 1%, Dodd 1%.
Huckabee 34%, Romney 25%, Thompson 13% McCain 13%, Paul 10%, Giuliani 3%

I'm cheerful about last night's outcome. Before leaving work yesterday, I was chatting with a coworker who leans somewhat more liberal than most Texans, but she likes Ron Paul and hates Clinton. I told her that since Ron Paul didn't have a prayer (and I was right) I hoped Hillary wouldn't be the nominee so that would guarantee that she'd vote Democratic for president.

My favorite candidate, Edwards, didn't win, but he came in second and Clinton came in third. I think Obama is a solid candidate who might pull it off in November, and I know many people who love him. I disagree with a few of his positions, but on the whole I think he can win and I believe the mood of the country is with him.

On the other side, I'm delighted that Mike Huckabee won. Not because I want him as president, but because out of all the candidates, I think he has just about the least chance of being elected.

This isn't a case of sunny optimism, of the same variety some of us applied when we thought "George Bush will never be (re)elected, he's too dumb." Nope -- this is a very divisive nomination. The religious Republicans like Huckabee, but they're the only ones. Many other Republicans HATE him. He's not part of the "old boys' club" like Giuliani or Thompson; and he's got some distressingly quasi-liberal views on law enforcement, social programs, and immigration.

Now, the religious right may have a strong influence on Republican politics, but I don't believe for a minute that they can win an election by themselves without support from the huge political cash machine.

I can picture three things happening in the event of Huckabee continuing to win states:
  1. Republicans eventually grit their teeth and fall in line, with the full force of the Republican noise machine finally backing him. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh will, as Rush said before, continue carry the water for people he doesn't really believe deserve it.
  2. Float a third party candidate they can support. I don't know who the hell it would be at this point (Gingrich?) but either way I think that would be AWESOME and guarantee an Obama victory.
  3. Largely not vote. Sure, the fundamentalists will turn out in droves, which will give Huckabee pretty big final numbers. But not enough, that's my guess.
Giuliani sat this one out, and time will tell whether that was a good move. He's skipping Iowa and New Hampshire, and going straight to Florida. It's possible he'll win Florida, but I think his pathetic 3% showing in Iowa is really going to hurt him. Maybe coming in third with double digits would have left him still viable, but it's hard not to see him as completely hopeless now. Which is great, considering how much everybody hates Giuliani and all.

I think McCain has the best shot at winning the general election, but Huckabee just creamed him 2-1.

1 comment:

  1. The religious Republicans like Huckabee, but they're the only ones. Many other Republicans HATE him.

    But can you prove this with mined data from Google News and Digg? :-)