Monday, June 09, 2008

Post-Primaries: Where I was right and wrong

Well, it's finally done. I've never seen a primary election cycle go this deep into the year, usually because it's all said and done by February with less than half the states having a say. So now I'd like to take a look back to what I thought about the candidates for both the Republicans and the Democrats, and whether or not I got any of it right.

I was right about declaring Huckabee a more successful dark horse candidate than Ron Paul: Huck actually won a few state primaries/caucuses whereas Paul got moral victories just by disrupting some of the last few voting turnouts after McCain had locked up the nomination. I was right about Giuliani's scandals hurting him as the primaries revved up, but even his dismal failures during the actual voting (only one time did he garner above 10 percent of a state's vote, and in half of the contests he polled below Paul) was a surprise. Rudy also managed a pretty poor campaign, focusing almost all his efforts on a handful of states (New Hampshire and Florida) and losing every one of them miserably. I was right about almost all of the third-tier guys dropping out pretty early (Ron Paul, like the mini-Rottweiler that he is, stayed in until the last one). I did think that Romney had more of a chance, though, thinking that he was the more palatable of the top choices available to the hardcore GOP constituency... which tells you I have no idea how the hardcore guys think. The Republican base took a few taste tests with the Romney brand and spat him back out. Amazingly, the guy whom the base didn't like much - McCain - was the eventual winner. It all depends on if a) the GOP Base finally woke up and realized they needed to back a guy whose reputation transcends the party and could bring the moderates and independents back, or if b) the GOP Base realized that for all the talk about being a maverick McCain was actually a hardcore conservative they could support.

As for the Democratic ticket... At one point it did become what I expected it to be: a three-way race between Clinton, Edwards and Obama. I knew that the candidates with the bigger and better resumes (Biden, Dodd, Richardson) didn't stand a chance as they lacked the one thing successful candidates have to bring to the table: charisma. I was right, and in all ways disappointed, that Edwards' media coverage was almost nonexistent, other than to mock him for $400 haircuts and for campaigning on an End Poverty platform while living in a big house (so if only poor people can campaign on ending poverty, can we therefore make it law that only poor people should run for office then? HMMM?!). And so it came down to Clinton v. Obama. Part of me dreaded a successful Clinton nomination, all because I feared how desperate and arrogant and vicious she could get about the acquisition and use of power... and as Obama kept scoring more points and securing more delegates, as Obama proved to be a better campaigner, you saw Hillary get worse, more desperate. My God, she had a sit-down with Scaife! SCAIFE! The one guy on the planet who made her life so fricking miserable during the 90s and she was actually sitting right next to him at a meeting working to earn his endorsement (which she GOT!). And Hillary's biggest fan got to be Rush Limbaugh! LIMBAUGH! And at no point did it ever occur to her or her handlers that the Far Right Noise Machine was so eager for her to win the nomination was so they could have a convenient target to aim at the next four years so they could keep their book deals going. (insert Facepalm) It was Hillary's determination that made this primary season so prolonged, where in previous years the race was done by February. It proved an exception to one of the reasons I'd been giving that a One-Day Primary was needed to give all states a say in the candidates, so thanks a lot Hillary! Grrrrr...

In the beginning I had hoped for a McCain/Edwards contest above all. Still getting McCain, and getting Obama instead. And I don't think I'm the only one who notices this plays out like the last season of the West Wing with Vinick v. Santos...

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