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Damn, I Love This Stuff. (updated)

1) Obama wins Iowa behind a huge turnout. Youth voters actually showed up. First time since . . . ever.

Hillary may come in third. She's hurt. Bad. Dodd and Biden will drop out and their people will go to Obama.

Edwards will stagger along hoping for a miracle in Nevada or South Carolina, but he's done. No one gives a shit about Nevada: we'll let ourselves be bullied by Iowa pig farmers and New Hampshire cranks, but not by croupiers and cocktail waitresses.

Look for Hillary to go negative. Look for Bill to go after Obama. It's a knife fight now.

It's Obama's to lose.

2) On the red team it's the Huckabuffoon big over Mitt the Flip. Romney's done for. McCain will kill him off in New Hampshire. The GOP establishment then faces a choice: rally to the despised war hero who could actually win the general election, or pander to the Jesus! wing of the party and go down the tubes with Huckabee.

Why am I writing off Huckabee in the general? The numbers in Iowa show huge Democrat turnout, which means independents going for Obama. I guarantee you 99% of Huckabee's voters were hardcore GOP. In a general Huckabee would get dick from independents.

I have to believe the Republicans will choose winning over losing. I have to believe they'll rally to McCain, starting with Fred I-offer-myself Thompson. Look for Thompson to throw in for McCain.

3) Obama as the Democratic candidate would stall the Bloomberg flirtation, especially if it's McCain for the Republicans. The idea that independents had no viable choice would be laughed off.

4) My cuh-raaaazy prediction? Lou Dobbs considers getting in. McCain is "soft" on immigration, so is Huckabee. Neither will please the Mexican-haters. Lou Dobbs is a power-mad race-baiting bigot and he may decide to pull a Pat Buchanan and step up to represent the resentful.

(updated.) Look through the comments. Various writers have various alternative interpretations. Here's what's so cool about this election year: they're all valid. There is no certainty. Everyone gets to write a scenario, and all the scenarios are possible.

This is the greatest election year ever! Now we just need a brokered convention or two.

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“Damn, I Love This Stuff. (updated)”

  1. Blogger Transplanted Lawyer Says:

    Obama can keep this up. Huckabee cannot. Why? Money and machinery. Obama already has truckloads of it. Huckabee, however, is tapped out and he's spent all of his machine-building efforts exclusively on the Des Moines-Dubuque axis for the past seven weeks.

    The Huckster has exactly four days to raise and spend money in New Hampshire to sustain his momentum. While Iowa is a stronghold for Jesus! Republicans, NH is a place where they like Money! and as you note, McCain is leading there now.

    Do you discount Hizzonner's wait-for-the-big-pot-states strategy as too crazy to succeed?

  2. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Let me challenge your otherwise brilliant analysis:

    I have to believe the Republicans will choose winning over losing. I have to believe they'll rally to McCain, starting with Fred I-offer-myself Thompson. Look for Thompson to throw in for McCain.

    But McCain won't get the Jesus! wing of the Republicans in the primary. He's tried to kiss and make up for 2 years now, and it hasn't worked. And I think it's only the other two wings that will choose winning over losing. Jesus! is not thinking about "electability"... they're too principled for that.

    NH is far less important to the GOP than the media would have you believe. McCain won it in 2000, and that didn't seem to help much. Would you believe Pat Buchanan edged out Dole there in '96? If Huckabee stays respectable (better than 15%, even if that means 4th place), he's golden. South Carolina is all Jesus!, and a surprising amount in Florida too. Thompson might bow to McCain as you said, but I don't see that being enough to push him over. Giuliani and Romney will both stay in until after Super Tuesday; they've got too much money and ego. With three Money/Bombs! candidates still around, a unified Jesus! vote might just trump them all.

  3. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    TL:
    I discount Giuliani because wherever he actually campaigns, he loses ground. He's a the more you see him, the less you like him, kind of guy.

    Money will flow to Huckabee now, but not Romney-sized money, I think.

  4. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    Anon:
    I agree, no question SC is the big one for the GOP now. NH is only important insofar as it sticks a second knife into Romney. NH is his neighbor state, if he can't win there, coming off his beating in Iowa, I don't see where he goes to get a victory. (Last night he was mentioning Wyoming. How sad is that?) If he hangs in it will be in hopes of staggering into a brokered convention, where he'd have a chance.

    I still believe the Money! Bombs! guys will sit down and get real serious, and ask themselves how in hell they stop Huckabee. If McCain wins NH they won't be able to push him out, but they might be able to convince Romney to go away. I doubt they'd have much sway over Giuliani, though, which leaves McCain and Rudy splitting the anti-Huckabee vote.

    How the establishment resolves the McCain/Rudy issue is an interesting question. The hard right hates McCain, but rationally they should hate Giuliani more. McCain is pro-life, Giuliani is not. So rationally the estblishment should rally to McCain, push Romney to drop out, try to cut off Rudy's money and hamstring his organization, so as to give McCain a clear field against Huckabee.

    Then again, that word "rationally" . . .

  5. Anonymous Kevin Says:

    If I'm advising Huckabee right now I'd be telling him to coozy up to the anti-immigration crowd right now. He'll never convince the bombs crowd to take him but if he can unite the God crowd with the I hate brown people crowd, he'll have enough of a coalition to win the nomination.

  6. Blogger Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    When it comes to McCain, you gotta consider the effect of open primaries. If Obama wraps things up quickly, a lot of independents (and even some Democrats) may vote for McCain. Open primaries are in some big states including Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia and Washington. 19 states in all have open primaries and another 5 have semi-open systems, including Illinois and Ohio.

    This could really become a fight for the soul of the Republican party. The Jesus wing can turn out the votes but that may not be enough if McCain can capture non-traditional support. I predict McCain will get the nomination in the end.

  7. Blogger Tom Strong Says:

    Call me crazy, but I think lazy Fred Thompson is the real winner here, not McCain (though I'd prefer McCain). He slipped into a tie for third while barely bothering to try. And unlike the rest of the GOP field, there's no one out there trying to stab him in the back.

    I think the GOP campaign is about to go negative, big time. Huckabee's strengths are inimitable, but his weaknesses are glaring and still mostly unknown to the public. Since Romney's too invested to quit, but unlikely to win anything in the next three or for weeks at best, he has a strong incentive to try and drag Huckabee down with him.

    I don't think you should write off Giuliani either. He polls much stronger in the big states than the small ones; he can afford to lose for a while, then turn up the volume in New York, California, and Florida.

  8. Blogger Transplanted Lawyer Says:

    Tom, that's especially true for Florida, where Giuliani has staked a big claim to credibility.

  9. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Michael: I still believe the Money! Bombs! guys will sit down and get real serious, and ask themselves how in hell they stop Huckabee.

    Tom Strong: I think the GOP campaign is about to go negative, big time. Huckabee's strengths are inimitable, but his weaknesses are glaring and still mostly unknown to the public.

    Is it possible that, rather than turning against Huckabee, the Men in Smoke-Filled Rooms cut their losses and go all in on Huck? I mean, he's got his negatives, and he might not have crossover appeal, but especially if Obama continues picking up steam, no Republican is going to match his crossover appeal. So when you've got nothing else going for you, why not try Rove's patented Shore Up the Base(TM) method one more time?

    Money! and Bombs! might not like Huck much right now, but it will be much easier for them to jump on his ship than for Jesus! to follow any of the other front-runners. As a former governor, he's a blank slate on foreign policy; he just needs to pick the right VP and/or advisers, and he's got Bombs! As for Money!, I think they're far more scared of a Democrat, who is all but guaranteed to raise taxes on the wealthy, than Huck, who for all his populist rhetoric might still be talked into toeing the party line once in office.

    Again, all this rests on my earlier contention that Jesus! is more "principled" (read: save the stem cells and purge the sodomites, all the rest be damned, lest we make Baby Jesus cry...) in its voting than Michael believes. If that's the case, then TPTB might just decide they can't risk losing Jesus! in November, and will have no choice but to rally around Huck. (And clearly, I'm so confident in this prediction that I'm willing to stake my good name on it...)

  10. Blogger Randy (Internet Ronin) Says:

    Meant to post something here earlier - actually read your comments before wandering off elsewhere and only now realized I hadn't tossed my 2 cents in here. As my remarks elsewhere were studiously ignored, I'll confine myself to responding to your post:

    1) The big increase in turnout was impressive. So was Obama's margin of victory. Edwards second place showing was bad considering all the time and money he spent here. His failure to congratulate Obama was particularly graceless. Clinton was only .28% behind Edwards so it really was essentially a tie for second. Still, it looks like the bone-headed decision to run around saying her nomination was inevitable is haunting her. I think she needs Edwards to limp along. There is a ceiling for her in primaries because she staked out a more centrist foreign policy than the other two.

    2) You heavily discount Giuliani, I know, but the movers & shakers and the hard-core voters, really do hate McCain. They'll hold their noses and continue to push Giuliani, I think. It all depends on how poorly he does in these small states and how much money the others get in the meantime. Right now, the two you mention are supposedly near-broke. Huckabee's economic populist pandering is anathema to the big money in the party. Given his pandering there, I'm wondering why he's such a relative softie re: immigration. Guess he knows there is no point in pretending his record was otherwise, unlike a few others in both parties currently running.

    3) I agree that Obama as the Democratic candidate stalls Bloomberg. It will be very hard for the GOP to wage an effective campaign against him. As Kaus mentions, even friendly reporters are afraid of saying anything negative about Obama lest whatever they write being perceived as racist. Imagine how easy it will be to charge any negative GOP ad or press release as being blantat or latent racism. Makes it really hard for them. He can continue to pretend he's running a nice guy campaign while others do all the dirty work. Very effective. Very smart. Look around and see how many are sold on him being a centrist when there's nothing centrist in his record except a few lines in speeches.

    4) I hope Lou Dobbs gets in. I would really enjoy seeing him getting his head handed him on a platter (if they can find it - perhaps they ought call his proctologist for directions first). He'll sound as crazy as that Texas billionaire without all the money.

  11. Blogger kreiz1 Says:

    Huckabee can keep it up- he's got the Jesus! faction solid- not a majority but a sizeable slice. As Rick Moran notes, about half of state GOP parties are controlled by evangelicals. The GOP is now thrown into a 2004 Dem electability scenario (the narrative reads- "we like the guy but he's nuts and can't win.") The Dems opted for Kerry (who they liked).

    The question becomes- will the Money! and Bombs! wings coalesce around a single non-Huck, and if so, who? Not Romney, not Thompson, not Rudy. That leaves Mac. But will McCain be the GOP's Kerry? I dunno, man. Lots of GOP regulars hate the guy, and I question whether religiously-convicted voters are all that practical. I think non-Reps wholly underestimate the power of the Jesus! wing.

    But that's just me. Agree with MR that it's all joyous and ridiculous speculation- there's a narrative (hate that word- what's wrong with 'story'?) for every scenario. I'd just like to make Russert's salary speculating about this stuff. How good would that be? All ya gotta do is have a markerboard handy.

  12. Blogger Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    I really don't like Giuliani's chances. His big state strategy has taken him completely out of the spotlight. A good example of how this strategy is already failing is a Texas GOP poll I saw in the local paper (can't find a link, sorry). The poll was taken in late December, showing Giuliani's support had shrunk from 43% to 21% while Huckabee's had risen from 8% to 25%.

    While Giuliani has been sunning himself in Florida, voters around the nation have been hearing about the candidates running in Iowa and New Hampshire. Now, maybe Texas is unique because of its high Jesus-loving contingent. We'll just have to wait and see -- if enough of us make predictions, at least one should be right.

  13. Blogger Randy (Internet Ronin) Says:

    alan: Most voters throughout the nation have not paying any remotely serious attention to what has been going on until two days ago. A lot of the poll numbers in states with primaries weeks away are nothing more than name ID. No one has seen an ad or many of the candidates in their neck of the woods. So the game just began in earnest, which is why such dramatic changes in both the GOP and Dem numbers in New Hampshire. (If Obama does win NH, expect a big change in South Carolina's polls because at least one big voting block there was still giving HRC a good plurality and that will probably disappear as Obama is now seen as a viable candidate.)

    I read that Edwards wants Clinton to get out of the race so he can go one-on-one with Obama. Made me laugh. The Unhappy Warrior who specializes in angry class warfare reminiscent of fifty years ago thinks he can beat the only candidate in either party currently running with a genuinely positive and inspirational message? Oh yeah, fat chance that, unless Democratic primary voters are completely bonkers. Fortunately for Obama, he's attracting independents in droves and a high proportion of upcoming states allow for party selection at the polling station. The hard-core perpetually angry core that Edwards appeals to looks to be overwhelmed.

    Given the huge sums spent by all candidates in both parties and the close races in both, the Iowa turnout was an impressive reminder that the GOP continues to be in deep trouble. Dem. turnout was about twice GOP turnout. Lots of independents apparently turned up at Dem. caucuses and ID'd themselves as Democrats. Young voters actually showed up in numbers equal to older voters (normally a 5:1 difference). All of the momentum is, for now, definitely on the Dem side. Noonan says GOP'ers are actually crossing party lines/changing registration to vote for Obama in the primary. If that really is happening in any significant numbers, then, provided he gets the nomination, Obama stands a good chance of doing what Reagan did. (Remember all those Reagan Democrats?) I don't care for his politics, or the disconnect beween his rhetoric and reality, but it is definitely true that he inspiring and looking forward. He's almost the only one in either party not appealing to fear, class hatred, the glorious not-so-distant past, or religious bigotry to get elected.