Wednesday, February 06, 2008

SUPER TUESDAY SPECIAL: The Sheeple Have Spoken

There are primaries yet to come, and it’s a long way out till the party conventions in summer. Still, after yesterday’s Super Tuesday contests, it might fairly be said that the “sheeple” (pictured, left) have spoken.

Prospects for the wannabes shifted but didn’t effectively change. Save for Mitt Romney, who surely is dead mutton no matter how hard he says he intends to keep fighting. His big chance to make an inroad into the Tuesday gains of John McCain and Mike Huckabee was California, but he trailed McCain by 17% by the time a third of the vote was counted. Heck, he even came in third in Missouri. You can keep on going, but you can’t keep on losing. Romney finished third in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee too, all states won by his arch-nemesis Huckabee. That had to sting. Too few victories overall, insufficient drawing power in the South, and getting trounced by McCain in New York, New Jersey and Illinois spell the end for the Mittster, and he oughta withdraw before they make an eponym out of him. (“Yeah, I interviewed for that job three times, but I pulled a Romney.”)

Huckabee made an impressive showing, especially for a guy whose campaign is running on fumes. He won five states, including his home state of Arkansas, and clearly certain folks rally to him in ways they don’t rally to Romney. Huckabee doesn’t hide the religion thing, but that’s not all he’s about. He speaks reasonably about every topic, and he’s surely more worldly than your average Bible-thumping Baptist. (McCain, by the way, is also a Baptist, in case you didn’t know.) And Huckabee’s got this Fair Tax idea, and it’s not bad at all. In that regard, he’s probably gained the attention of Libertarian types, who otherwise voted for Ron Paul in modest numbers. Paul didn’t do badly for a third-party candidate masquerading as a main-streamer. A serious third-party could be built around what Paul has pioneered in ’08, so long as his followers really want to excavate for the future.

As for Dem wannabe Barack Obama, well, he had a good night. He rung up more victories than Clinton and proved to be an impressive percentage vote-getter. When he beat her, it was usually by far stronger numbers. The guy has charisma and all, but alas he couldn’t halt the Clinton machine in New York, Massachusetts and Cali. Obama did snake out a crafty little “W” in Connecticut, practically Clinton’s backyard, and that was a good sign. But where he could have sent a real message was in Missouri, where the vote was closer than anticipated but where Clinton emerged with more delegates. Obama kicked Clinton’s (fairly) fat ass in Illinois, which is his home state, but—good to remember—is also her home state, where she was born and raised before embarking on her lifelong indulgence in carpetbaggery. Yet his Cali performance was a huge disappointment. That was where he could prove something big—like, maybe, he could actually win Hispanic votes?—but even Oprah couldn’t save him there. Joining the ticket as veep looks like his destiny (if he's got the stomach for it). Heck, he wouldn't even have to finish out his first term as a U.S. senator.

So while the nominations remain contested, it’s probably wisest to get used to the inevitable: Hillary Clinton (“The Pantsuit Who Would Be King”) vs. John McCain, who will rapidly size up as “the doddering old man who is not Ronald Reagan.”

You might as well also get used to hearing White House reporters hollering “Madame President!” at press conferences. (At least that’ll be something new for crusty old hen correspondent Helen Thomas, who’s been cackling “Mr. President!” for about a century.)

Even at this early juncture, projecting the general election doesn’t look too tough. Billary—yeah, don’t forget, Bubba’s back in town (Gawd! Chelsea, too!)—and McCoot will cancel each other out on many issues, including immigration (’cause he’s a softie on that, and if he gets tough he’ll lose all the Hispanic voters who love Mamacita Clinton).

Unless something extraordinary happens between now and November, watch for the inevitable tide of Democrats to ride in on the heels of eight dour Bush years that even real conservatives are tired of. So tired they may all stay home.

At least we've all been here before: Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton... It's dynastic deja vu all over again.

So you’ve been warned. Get ready for the new sitcom: "The Harridan of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." (You won't laugh even once.)

The sheeple have spoken.

[Update: Barack Obama eventually won the Missouri Democratic primary, defeating Hillary Clinton 49% to 48%. Each candidate emerged with 36 of the state's delegates to the national convention.]

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