Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hedging and Hugging

Enter the Hedge Maze

Hillary Clinton’s media and political departments deserve a day off. The research and polling shops should pay for it. Going in to Tuesday’s primaries, every Clinton spokesperson was spreading the word that it would still be a victory if she were to only lose by a close margin. All of the efforts to lower the bar for her to continue the campaign proved unnecessary as she claimed victory in Ohio, Rhode Island and the Texas primaries. Her campaign had been spreading the word that she would continue on if it were a close race. The added padding has allowed her to continue forward unquestioned. This suggests that it could be an ugly denouement to the foregone conclusion: Barack Obama will win the nomination.

Voters in Vermont’s primary agreed with this and gave him their nod as did Caucus-Goers in Texas’ Second Act. Yes, Texans get to vote twice. If Iowa used the most-least democratic system for awarding its delegates, Texas utilizes the most-least-most democratic system. Moderately interested politickers are able to mail in an absentee ballot or vote in traditional fashion for their preference. Those worried that their vote will not go far enough can return at 7pm and stand in a caucus to demonstrate their support.

Obama’s campaign has enjoyed the grassroots organization that the popular “new” campaign normally receives. He has new voters not just showing up to cast a ballot, but attending rallies and getting truly involved with the election. Thus, he had the sincere supporters to win the more involved election -- the caucuses. This is an important factor to consider for general election time when he looks across the nation to people to do the ground work of winning an election.



Are we there yet?

Not hardly. Tuesday’s elections have provided Clinton with enough momentum to continue her campaign. If she had barely met the expectations of a “close defeat,” she would have felt heavy pressure to bow out and yield to the media darling that has brought out new support across the nation. With wins in two major states, she will demand that the Pennsylvania voters voice their opinion before she makes any move. Dreams of the primary being finished have been crushed.

Many statisticians point to the numbers as her biggest burden. Superdelegates aside, the 100 delegate lead Obama currently has is going to be insurmountable with the Democratic Party’s practice of apportioning delegates. Just as Huckabee was eliminated as he looked forward to winning many upcoming elections, Clinton sits in the same position. She will still win states across the nation, but she cannot cut into Obama’s overall lead.

How this plays for the three remaining contenders will be interesting. Will McCain be forgotten as the media hounds over the confrontation between Obama and Hillary? Will Obama and Clinton tear each other down as they secure the nomination? Will it really go all the way to the convention floor before the nomination is secured? Ok, we can shoot that ridiculous idea down. One of the two will emerge victorious with at least one state still waiting to vote.



McCain Embracing Defeat

Upon being formally crowned the representative of the Grand Ol’ Party, John McCain did what every savvy politician does -- he went to DC and embraced our popular President. Before he could even step out of the limo, Bush was at the door pulling him out to steal the big warm embrace that so many other candidates for public office have dodged. Remember when Bush came to help Sen. Domenici raise money for his legal defense at the Mayor of Los Ranchos’ home? Finished career or not, Pete still kept a few arm lengths between himself and the grim reaper of political careers and kept the cameras at the property’s edge (and then Bush’s motorcade killed a cop). But what does McCain have to lose. "I'd rather lose an election than a war," was McCain's way of rephrasing Huckabee's parting words as he ended his campaign: "I'd rather lose an election than abandon my moral values." I'd rather sit quietly than rip off a day-old phrase.

McCain supported Bush’s unpopular immigration reform. He has been singularly the staunchest supporter of the Iraq War and has no problem seeing troops stay in the region for another century. Maybe he cozied up to Bush to establish his conservative credentials. Maybe at 71, his eyesight couldn’t differentiate the Bush from a bush. When a reporter asked, “who could you benefit most by campaigning for them in the upcoming election” the lame duck squawked “If he wants me there, I’ll be there.” . . . will his phone ever ring?



Who else is coming with me?

Now that he has officially eclipsed the number of delegates needed to earn the nomination, his campaign turns to find some help. Yes, they want your money and will eagerly accept any major or minor credit cards, cash and checks, but they need another person to bring in the money. Running for president is a two man job at the very least and he now gets to survey the party that has, at times, tried to ostracize him and select someone to run along with him.

Names have been floating for months of who will be nominated as the GOP Vice Presidential nominee and shore up worries that McCain is too old, too liberal, too hawkish or too bald. Former Presidential Candidate and Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee’s name has been a popular pick to engender the support of people that vote as their pastor instructs. However, ‘popular’ doesn’t translate to ‘likely.’ Don’t be surprised if you don’t recognize the name of the VP choice. Did you know who Dick Cheney was in 1999?

Other possible names include Condo Rice (there is no “i” in Condoleezza), Rudy Giuliani and Steve Forbes. Safe money is on a pick that hasn’t muddied his name in a yearlong presidential primary race so scratch Rudy and Huckabee from that list. Steven Colbert was at the front of the line of celebrities volunteering their service. Roger Clemens and Chuck Norris have also been offered as suitable good ol’ boys that could round up younger voters that don’t appreciate the 71 years of experience John McCain brings to the table. How about Joe Liberman? The fellow Senators have collaborated on many pieces of legislation and the war support has to give Joe at least a semi.



Fighting Elves

If it wasn’t devastating enough to dash the dreams of Presidential Hopeful Dennis Kucinich before his presidential campaign got off the ground, Ohio Democrats made it more difficult than ever for Kuci to reassume his post in the House. Like our own Governor, he was attacked by his competition for neglecting the home while he trotted the globe pursuing the White House. Most confusing is the campaign of wannabe Congresswoman Rosemary Palmer who ran on an anti-war platform. Wasn’t Kuci the peacenik of all peaceniks?

Hooray for his 50-35 victory and for one more reason to tune in to CSPAN!

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