11 February 2008

McCain, Mike's 335, and the small prospect of a backlash

John McCain is looking in a pretty strong position after the Republican Super Tuesday primaries. Although he didn't win most of the Super Tuesday states overwhelmingly, he benefited a lot from a split opposition - Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney were both courting the 'real conservative' vote, but Huckabee had difficulty reaching outside the hardcore evangelical Southern Christian base leaving Romney with a motley crew of everyone else in the Republican party who didn't like McCain. As most of the Republican primaries are 'winner-take-all' this meant McCain piled on delegates - he's now more than halfway towards the nomination.

The immediate result of this was that Romney threw in the towel last Thursday. Actually that's not quite accurate; he's "suspended" his campaign, meaning that his delegates will still be in play at the Republican Convention. I'll explain why this is important in just a second. But overall, many will be glad to see the back of Romney, so let's dwell on his misfortune for a second. A slimy cheeseball punk who made George Bush look like an honest man, he spent extraordinarily heavily to low great effect and his campaign ran second only to Giuliani's in its ineptness. To their credit, the Republican voters seem to know an unelectable turkey when they see one. McCain is definitely their best shot at the White House, despite the fact that he is older than Michael Foot was when he was leading Labour in the 1983 UK election. (Now that is an interesting comparison...)

Something weird happened in the primaries this weekend just gone, though. Mike Huckabee suddenly went back into overdrive, winning in Kansas and Lousiana. Could this be the start of a conservative fightback? Mike certainly knows how to strap on a Gibson (at 00:57 in the video), but I think it's all too late. Still, it all depends on how well organised the Christian anti-McCain hard right is (and how many of them actually don't want McCain to win; Bush and selected other right-wingers have already endorsed him so that may well be enough.) I'm still hoping we'll be hearing that 335 a while longer...

No comments: