Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday and Moral Calculus

Ash Wednesday
After finding out that I threw in with Mike Huckabee before Super Tuesday, a friend and fellow Catholic opined that the Huckaboom is over, so he was going with Romney rather than McCain in what he's taken to be a two man race. I responded that I was going to wait for the actual results, rather than assume the polls and the conservative punditry are correct, before stepping away from the 5 non-negotiables. With over 1300 delegates still at stake, I theoretically could still consider Ron Paul into March before he's eliminated mathematically.
Well, scoreboard is scoreboard, and Romney and Huckabee are both essentially regional candidates, and it is certainly not yet a two man race. Up until yesterday, I thought each of the candidates represented a separate leg of the Reagan coalition's conservative stool: McCain-national defense, Romney-economics, Huckabee-social. However, this breakdown doesn't really hold with McCain's strong showing yesterday among those who view the economy as their top issue, suggesting Romney's real strength is more regionally based, perhaps related to his strong private sector resume, and not on strictly economic expertise, per se.
If it is ever to become between only Romney and McCain, there is no question for me it's Romney. Not even close. But we're not there yet, and I'm not sure we're going to get there. The states where Romney has won either held caucuses rather than primaries (AK, CO, ME, MN, MT, NV, ND, WY) or have a personal connection to him (MA, MI, UT). If I looked at the schedule correctly, only Kansas and Washington remain with caucuses, he's out of states with a direct connection, and the only "M" states left, which he has nearly swept, are Maryland and Mississippi. For this to become a two man race, much less for Romney to overtake McCain, he's going to have to figure out a way to connect with more than just the wonkish types who attend caucuses, or make nice with Huckabee, or both.
But, again, we are not there yet. It is still a three man race. 
Re scoreboard. This morning, actually it started yesterday, I heard a lot of whining about the McCainiacs at the West Virginia convention giving their support to Huckabee, so Romney wouldn't win. So what. That's politics. Welcome to the NFL. Whatever. Regardless, it is rather amusing to watch how the Mitt-heads, who spent the last week advocating that Huckaboomers vote strategically to prevent McCain from getting the nomination, are reacting.
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