Monday, November 26, 2007
So, Who's Going to be President?
I've stayed away from politics for a while (ever since I realized that my entry on Philip Murphy's blogroll halfway around the world read "Coach GOP Sal"), but it seems that with primary season bearing down on us, it's time for a little prognostication. Now, I teach US History and Civics for a living, so, while not an "expert" pundit, I like to think I at least understand the process in a little context. Let's get one thing out of the way--Hillary Clinton WILL be the Democrat nominee. I like Obama better, and one poll shows him leading (but within the margin of error) in Iowa, and he's got Oprah on his side. But Hillary leads by too much in too many places to not have the delegates she needs by convention time. Period. On the GOP side, only two men have plausible paths to the nomination: Romney and Giuliani. Right now in Republican circles, it's Rudy vs. everybody else--but Romney leads the pack to become the "anti-Rudy." And since Romney has the capacity to win or finish high in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, and SC, it's quite possible that he could be in a position to be the only serious non-Rudy candidate on Super Tuesday. Even if Thompson or Huckabee (or even McCain) catch fire early, none of them have the resources to simultaneously campaign in all the Feb 5 primaries. At that point, it comes down to whether social conservatives (read: pro-lifers) hold their nose and believe (a) Romney's recent conversion to conservatism or (b) Rudy's pledge to appoint only strict constructionist judges. And more importantly, to which one looks more electable compared to Hillary. My best guess is it will wind up being Romney, but I admit to that being a complete hunch. Whichever it is, neither puts enough blue states in play to make a big dent in Hillary's electoral base, so we're looking at another very close election. I keep thinking, though (and this is only based on anecdotal evidence from a couple of my lib friends, so it's not quite scientific), that there is some segment, even of the blue-state population, who just won't vote rather than vote for Hillary (some on Bill issues, some on honesty, some because of her vote for the war). That's combined with the 40%+ of voters who hate her guts. One poll even showed Ron Paul getting 48% against her! So her negatives make it interesting. In the end, though, one thing's for sure. Our next president will be a shrewd politician from a blue state who is at odds with some portion of his or her party's base, in a tight one. And (for now) that's all I'm gonna predict.