Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thoughts on Super Tuesday and beyond

McCain could put Romney away today. Romney can slow McCain's momentum, but it will take more than a Romney victory in California. Is the groundswell of anti McCain sentiment enough?
On the Democrat side, a draw in popular votes and delegates today - even a narrow win for Hillary- counts as a victory for Obama, no matter how much the Clintons spin it. Obama has the momentum. Watch for the the gloves to come off in the Clinton campaign. This one really may go to a convention floor fight, and some great television.

Down the road, who do the nominees pick as veeps? If the Clintons go nuclear to stop Obama, Hillary- Obama is unlikely. If Obama wins, to maintain the change mantra he needs to turn to someone else; the same 40 some odd percent of Americans who don't want a Clinton back in the White House, don't want them in the Vice President's home either.
VP's have been chosen for geographic balance (Kerry- Edwards, Kennedy- Johnson) and for party unity (Reagan- Bush). It seems George W. Bush chose Cheney because he liked him and thought they would work well together. (Why did George H.W. Bush pick Dan Quayle?) Bold moves are usually seen as desperate pandering: think Reagan - Schweiker or Mondale- Ferraro.

If McCain or Romney go up against Obama or Clinton, it's arguable that they need to pick a woman, or an African American, as VP. Yet the potential candidates look either politically untenable (Condi Rice, Colin Powell) or are Quayle/ Ferraro political nobodies (J.C Watts, Michael Steel, Alan Keyes.) And would a Michael Steele do the ticket any good?

For both McCain and Obama, the VP choice is critical. If McCain is nominated, his age ensures we'll see stories this fall about President Reagan's Alzheimers. For Obama it is his first major appointment. He needs some foreign policy gravitas to complement all the change. The Democrats have won twice since 1964: Carter, (post- Nixon), Clinton, (post Cold War). Are voters ready to trust the Democrats again in a dangerous world?

The Republicans have one advantage: they go last. If there is a fight at the Democrats' shindig in Denver, the GOP may be able to take advantage of it.
McCain- Giuliani
Obama- Richardson.
But six months is a long, long time.

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