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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The New Hampshire Review...or Rumors of Hillary's Demise Were Greatly Exaggerated

My favorite political pundit is Dick Morris. I recently wrote about his prophetic words in the aftermath of the 2006 election about the troubles the Dems would have controlling Congress. He turned out to be right and for all the reasons he mentioned. In the beginning of the year, he also said that the Democratic race would go back and forth in a bitter struggle and he predicted that Hillary would win in the end. While we certainly don't know a winner yet, his prophetic prediction of a back and forth struggle appears to be quite accurate.

A day and a half ago, the punditry was writing Hillary's obituary. She was all but written off and now she is the favorite once again. There are two ways to look at this race. The first is that the two first states were split and so there is no momentum. If there is no momentum, then Hillary is the favorite since she has a rather large lead in the national polls. The second way to look at it is that Obama nearly swept the first two states and we haven't even gotten to any states with any significant African American voting block. I won't make the mistake of other folks and even venture a prediction, however I will state the obvious: it is definitely one of those two.

On the Republican side, I must first admit that McCain's victory speech was so powerful I nearly switched my support, nearly I say. The only thing we know about the Republican race is that we know very little. The conventional wisdom now has McCain as the frontrunner though the same CW had Huckabee as the frontrunner after Iowa. I think Romney is through, however there is no doubt he is going to make one last stand in Michigan. He had the traditional strategy, win Iowa win NH, and he needed it. While he lead in both states for a long time, he was far down nationally. Without victories in either state, I don't see him getting the kind of momentum he would need to compete in important states like Florida, California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.

Now, I referred to McCain as Rudy's proxy in NH. I believe that McCain needed to win NH in order to stop the momentum of Romney and Huckabee. He did that however there is a divergent school of thought. The other school of thought is that McCain's victory will push Rudy to the side because they occupy the similar tough, strong on the GWOT, moderate space. It is hard to know who is right, however Romney becomes Rudy's proxy in Michigan and Fred Thompson will become Rudy's proxy in South Carolina. If those two folks win each of those two states, then the race opens wide for Rudy to win Florida and ride super Tuesday to the nomination. Well, as a late friend of mine loved to say...

if if was a fifth we'd all be drunk

What I think the scenario I laid out shows is that Rudy's strategy is terribly flawed. He has a supposed fifty state strategy however it includes none of the early fifty states. There is something to be said for focusing on the huge delegate count of Florida and not overemphasizing Iowa and New Hampshire, however not only does this strategy have huge and obvious risks but he could have at least been competitive in each of these states while maintaining his overall strategy.

It is onto Michigan. The DNC has shunned the state for moving their primary up so it matters not to the Democrats but the results there will make the Rep race a bit, a bit I say, more clear

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