Feb 6, 2008

Super Tuesday: Winners, Losers, and Questions

I stayed up too late last night watching the primary election returns roll in on the networks, and even after I pried myelf away from the television, I drifted to my laptop for another half-hour of electoral overload. I woke this morning to the sound of the campaign spin machines in action, with each candidate claiming victory.

Here, then, is my take on the ramifications of Super Tuesday, what the pundits are describing as the "first national primary":

Mike Huckabee: A surprisingly strong showing yesterday by the former Arkansas governor breathed life into what semed like a gasping campaign. Victories in five states means that Huckabee lives on to fight another day, though Huckabee's momentum must translate into upset wins in important states like Texas, Oho, and Wisconsin if he wants to battle McCain on the convention floor.

John McCain:While some question the McCain strategy of spending time and money in Romney's home state of Massachusetts, McCain clearly benefits from the Huckabee-Romney wooing of social conservatives. McCain will likely roll to the nomination unless he commits some unprecedented collapse, and I suspect that this veteran campaigner is too smart for that.

Ron Paul:The unlikely libertarian surge ran out of gas weeks ago. Paul still has a few million from the cash he raised in that fleeting moment of Web-mania, but he has racked up only 14 delegates to date, which is not enough to make convention noise if we spotted them a dozen bullhorns and a truckload of Papermate pens.

Mitt Romney: Cooked. Done. Even if Romney digs deep into his own pockets and finds another $30 million, there seems to be no way he can stop the momentum that McCain gained yesterday, especially with Huckabee splitting the conservative votes. He vowed today to fight on to the convention, but this rings hollow after McCain moved to more than a 2-1 lead over Romney in the delegate count.

Hillary Clinton: Yes, she won California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, but Obama beat her in Missouri and Connecticut. Clinton victories in those states would have been deadly to Obama, but she failed to deliver the knockout blow she needed. And, for months now, Clinton campaign strategists have been touting Super Tuesday as the moment Hillary would gain a commanding lead. Instead...

Barack Obama: Obama won 13-8 in states, with New Mexico still being counted, and appears to have gained 10-15 delegates over Clinton after Super Tuesday. While Clinton has something like a 70-delegate lead at the moment, Obama raked in over $32 million in January, more than doubling the Clinton haul. Polls also show Obama performing quite well in the upcoming Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, Maryland and Virginia primaries.

Some lingering questions:

1. Can Hillary Clinton milk her extensive PAC contributors to make up for the tens of millions of dollars that she is behind Barack Obama?
2. If Obama pulls a Chesapeake Sweep in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, is there any hope left for Clinton?
3. Is the Huckabee-McCain love fest just a run-up to an eventual presidential ticket designed to keep conservatives on board with McCain?
4. Is Romney, the astute businessman, willing to risk any more of his fortune on what appears to be a sinking campaign?


microdot said...

I find this arcane business of super delegates to be really reminescent of 19th century smoke filled rooms and good old boy crooked politics.
It's time to revamp this system because instead of inspiring confidence in democracy, I think it only inspires cynicism.

Anonymous said...

Obama will probably take Virginia (Va Gov Kaine endorsed him), and most likely DC, but I think Hillary has MD.

The MD Kennedys have come out for Hillary, and the state looks strong for her.

Personally, I would love to see Obama take it.

The Clintons have degraded into a pretty sleazy machine, and the Jesse Jackson comment was out of line.

I would like to see them lose and learn their lesson from it.

Barb said...

Seems to me that the conservatives need to consolidate behind either Huckabee or Romney,because their supporters together outnumber McCain.

I believe McCain is the worst idea for how to beat the democrats. He isn't enough different from them. He will lose because he looks and sounds old and tired. And because he doesn't inspire confidence in more than 40 per cent of the republicans. the other 60 want a social conservative.

The A-Hole Lawyer said...

It looks like McCain is going to be the republican nominee. Question is, if he is facing a Clinton/Obama ticket or an Obama/Clinton ticket (less likely) who can republicans put up to win.

I know she has said NO WAY for years, but if the ticket for the democrats is that strong and historical, would Condoleeza Rice reconsider a vice presidency, for her country, for her party, for her race and for her gender.

McCain/Rice would be electable. She might reassure conservative republicans who are worried about McCain's liberal leanings. She would draw moderate, independent, and undecided women and African American voters to the right, and, she is probably the smartest person in the current cabinet.

CMON CONDI - Please - for God and Country - take a four year job in the Vice President's quarters. If you don't want to be President, so be it.

The A-Hole

Billy Pilgrim said...

I would like to politely disagree with the comment left by anonymous about Maryland leaning towards Clinton next week. As many of you know, I write and blog from Washington, D.C., and the buzz for Obama in the Mid-Atlantic is legion. D.C. is surely Obama's, and with its large population of African Americans and suburban progressives, Maryland is likely going for Obama as well. The only toss up is Virginia, but a "Chesapeake Sweep" (great phrase by the way, Mike) is quite probable, and could be the proverbial nail in the coffin for Clinton's campaign.

Anonymous said...

Okay "Billy", I hope you're right, I would like to see MD to Obama.

A Chessypeek sweep would be great.

But, I will have to see it to believe it.

And one day may you actually make it to DC.

Good luck!

historymike said...

Agreed about the failings of the American duopoly, microdot, though I must admit I find myself hooked by the plotting, subterfuge, and strategy of the electoral game.

historymike said...


Not sure about your 60/40 numbers. I also think that McCain will help the GOP collect independents, especially if Hillary is the nominee.

historymike said...


(still shaking my head at the meme):

Condi would be an interesting choice, negating some of the gender and/or racial gap the GOP possesses. I also fins it interesting that Condi is much less of a war hawk since moving to Foggy Bottom. Who would have believed we'd be saying that about Rice in 2003?

historymike said...

Thanks for the kudos on creating "Cheseapeake Sweep," Billy. If you hear Chris Matthews, Sam Donaldson, or George Stephanopolous using it, you now they read my blog.


Barb said...

I just read Newsweek on McCain -all about his hot-headed reputation. That will be played up if he is the nominee --as will his age --he just does lack sparkle, energy, charisma --because he is aging so much.

Huckabee-Rice --Now THERE'S the ticket. Does he still have a chance? Media calls McCain the nominee --but what if the romney voters go to Huckabee in the next round of primaries??

Barb said...

I did think Romney knew more about money than the others and I'm disappointed to think ANY of the senators (old D.C.) could beat a governor.