A few things we should take from last night:
Obama has the momentum. If California hadn’t been voting for weeks already he would likely have picked up more votes there. He wins almost everytime he has a chance to show up and on a night with very little chance to show up everywhere, he still won the majority of the States in play.
Huckabee proved a couple of things. “Front-runners” aren’t necessarily front-runners in Middle America. A few thousand votes in Missouri and this would have become a VERY different race. Romney supporters can rest assured that if anything HE ruined HUCKABEE’s chances at the nomination and not the other way around. The person responsible for Romney’s lack of success is (well…other than Romney) Rudy Giulliani, who engineered winner-take-all-ism in the Northeast, and endorsed McCain.
Huckabee is less of a factor in Romney’s demise than anyone is willing to admit for three reasons:
1) Polls have shown that the majority of Huckabee supporters’ second choice is not Romney, but indeed John McCain…the assumption that Huckabee supporters automatically dislike McCain is flawed and is born of ignorance of the media about how Southerners really think. No big surprise there…except possibly to members of the media.
2) Huckabee WON 5 states yesterday. Winners are not “spoilers”…third place finishers are spoilers…and in many cases it was Romney who finished third, thus making HIM the spoiler for Huckabee (Missouri being the best example, but Oklahoma as well). And in those states where Huckabee finished third he was hardly even a factor.
3) Add up Romney’s, Huckabee’s, and Paul’s delegates and you still can’t equal McCains.
But number 2 is the rub. Romney fans have forgotten that this is a National Election and winning a few key states (even handily) cannot win you the nomination anymore. Delegate counts from Southern states in the Republican primary get bigger and bigger and bigger and will play a key role for years to come (it’s warm there…and there are jobs there, and people keep moving there–maybe global warming will help solve that problem). If you doubt me look at the “Blue vs. Red” makeup in the previous two Presidential General Elections. All the “big-important” states are blue…sometimes heavily blue…and yet there’s still a southern redneck Republican in the White House.
So what lessons should we all take from this:
1) The South is still important…and will continue to be more and more important (Thank God.)
2) Nothing against Mitt Romney; I actually like the guy…but a smooth-talking New England governor who is only recently towing the Conservative line does not do well in the South. Believe it or not Southerners read the paper and consistency is fairly important to them. They prefer Huckabee AND McCain over Romney, because they TRUST them. Right or wrong, that’s the deal. And I’m saying this as someone who in a two man race between McCain and Romney would DEFINITELY support Romney.
3) Not a lesson, but instead a position. I have decided that if Obama gets the nomination he actually has LESS of a chance to get the Presidency than Hillary Clinton. The reason I believe this is because once the nominations are over Obama can (thankfully) begin to talk about issues…and the Clinton machine will be less of a factor. Once real issues are being discussed again (finally–hopefully)…Conservative ideals will win the day. Either of the three on the Republican side can win the argument on ideas. Obama’s blatant liberalism would finally be on full display, while Hillary can continue to hide around her faux-Moderateness “If I would have known…”
The reason I believe this is simple: Many people are dissatisfied with the current administration NOT because President Bush has adhered to Conservative principles, but because he hasn’t. But he WON on them…twice.