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January 30, 2008

Florida Primary Aftermath

Last night, for the first time, I was glad that only half of Florida's delegates will count.  With McCain's win he picks up not just 57 delegates, but he also now has the momentum required to win the Republican primary. 

I will try not to dwell too much on Romney's loss, but there was much screaming at the Mr. G house last night.

So where does this leave us?  There are a few things we learned on the Republican side last night:

1.  McCain can win without appealing to Conservatives.  The conventional political wisdom for a while has been that Republicans don't have to run Conservative candidates because Conservatives if pitted with the choice of voting for a non-conservative Republican vs. a democrat will normally pick the Republican.  This political strategy hasn't been put into practice often because Conservatives energize the party and make the race that much easier.  But for whatever reason, whether it is because some Conservatives are believe McCain is the most electable or because Romney and Huckabee are splitting votes, or that Conservatives just aren't energize, McCain is showing that he can get along just fine without really targeting Conservatives.

This is a pretty significant shift in Republican politics.  If McCain is able to win because of his broad appeal, it will set the standard for Republican candidates to come.  I've heard many argue that McCain is a good candidate because he will set the stage for a Conservative candidate, but I don't see that happening.  Once the party begins to go down the road towards solidifying in the middle it is going to be a tough task to get back to the right.

2.  The only chance for a Conservative to beat McCain is for Huckabee to drop out.  With Giuliani's impending endorsement of McCain, Huckabee and Romney can no longer afford to split votes.  As last night's results showed, Romney has a much broader base than Huckabee and is in a better position to win.  Huckabee has been sold as the strong pro-life and pro-family candidate.  Folks have joined him because of belief in those causes.  But it is now time for Huckabee to put those causes before his campaign.  The longer Huckabee stays in the race, the less chance a Conservative has of winning the primary.  It is time for Huckabee to take one for the team and do what is best for the causes we believe in; drop out and endorse Romney.  An exit by Huckabee after Super Tuesday may be too late.

I will also say that watching the post results speeches that Romney looked more presidential and was more inspiring and energizing in defeat than McCain in victory.



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Comments

What would you say to this:

McCain - Huckabee

??

John McCain will win the nomination. It's a matter of time.

If Huckabee is smart, he could be the VP candidate -- then if McCain loses to Clinton (God forbid!) Huckabee moves to the front of the line for 2012. Right next to Charlie Crist.

There's your ticket, Mr. G: McCain-Huckabee '08!

Oh, and I don't think "Conservatives" are as united... there are Fiscal Conservatives and Military Conservatives, who support McCain... and there are Social Conservatives who support Romney... and Religious Conservatives who are split between Huckabee and Romney.

For years, these groups aligned behind one candidate (Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush). This year, they are split... and the Fiscal-Military 'alliance' is beating back the larger Social-Religious segment.

To be honest, I think that is good for Republican chances in November.

A race between Clinton or Obama and Romney would put a Democrat in the White House.

McCain doesn't need Huckabee. He's proving that. My bet for VP is either Joe Lieberman or Charlie Crist at this point. McCain is going to pick up someone who will add appeal to democrats and independents. If he wins the Republican nomination he'll already have Conservatives locked up anyway. They have no where else to go.

And I don't consider fiscal or Military Conservatives true Conservatives, unless they are also Conservative on social issues.

McCain/Huckabee would be the world of both worlds for conservatives. I think Huckabee is a stain on our party with his identity politics and class warfare rhetoric- he should have been relegated to Pat Buchanan status. Instead, because he looks like a puppy dog and he can give a charming stump speech, he's all the rage. Mike Huckabee is an opportunist who never governed conservatively, but convienently became one just in time for the primary season. Combined with McCain, there will be plenty of indigestion to be spread around amongst conservatives.

The entry above should read "worst" of both worlds.

McCain won't pick Lieberman and I don't think Charlie Crist would accept. (I could be wrong about Crist).

McCain may not be a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, but he knows he has to shore up the conservative side of the party. A unified party is critical to success in the fall.

As for Conservatives having nowhere else to go -- that's not entirely true. They could sit this election out.

We are in real danger of watching Clinton or Obama being sworn in on January 20th...

John McCain / Condoleezza Rice in 2008. Being an academic, Vice President Rice doesn't run in 2012 after McCain successfully concludes Iraq and Afghanastan in one term and retires to enjoy more quality time with his beautiful wife and beer distributor heiress. Jeb!, after serving somewhat successfully as US Education Secretary in the McCain administration, runs in 2012 on a platform of transforming American society by eliminating our labor forces' skills defecit with a choice-based education system and transforming the tax code to reward free enterprise and investing. You heard it here first.

Whoever typed this article really needs a good assistant that can proofread...

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