My favorite Aunt points out (correctly) that I must have a lot of time on my hands to be blogging so much lately. With the foot in a cast and school still out, that's an understatement. My sister complains that my blog is basically unreadable--too much politics, and too nerdy. Again, guilty as charged. But that's what I'm thinking about right now, and I DO have all this time on my hands. So here's the first politics blog of 2008.
With the Iowa caucuses tomorrow, every pundit is making their predictions. It's probably safer to be non-commital and lay low for 24 more hours, and then pretend that I saw it all coming. But predictions are no fun that way. Here's my take on Iowa, which is no more or less guesswork than the pros. On the Democrat side, Obama edges Hillary by a little, turning what once looked like a coronation into a horse-race. John Edwards places third, but a close enough third to stick around a while. Regardless of the order, there are three tickets out of Iowa. And no matter how well he does there, Edwards is in third overall. I keep hoping for Obama in the long run--I might disagree with all his policies if he goes on to be President, but I wouldn't spend the next four years thinking he's as dishonest as Clinton or as transparently fake as Edwards. On the Republican side, I think Romney nips Huckabee (or at the very least finishes a close enough second to position himself well for the next several primaries, and deflates the Huckaboom). The big question is whether the third ticket to get punched is Fred Thompson or the resurgent John McCain. I'm thinking McCain, but hoping Thompson. Either way, both of them could do better than Huckabee in New Hampshire, setting the stage for a Thompson vs. McCain race to be the anti-Romney. I could definitely live with that scenario, no matter the outcome.
Now that a vote for anybody other than Romney does not seem to play as much into the hands of Giuliani (the social conservative's worst-case scenario), I think that I'm going to vote for Fred Thompson in the SC primary. Neither Rudy nor Huckabee is a "real" conservative (Rudy on the social issues, and Huck on just about everything else, plus he's probably the weakest general-election candidate). Any of the other three would be an acceptable nominee in the general election. The math says Romney has the best chance to emerge out of the pack, but I just plain like Fred best. His positions seem the most policy-specific and he's the most consistent conservative out there. The knock on him is that he doesn't seem to covet the job as much as the others... but for me, that's a plus, not a minus. He also just radiates common sense.
There's also my "streak" to worry about. If I vote for Romney as the "safe bet" and he goes on to win the nomination, that ends a 20-year streak of my voting for someone who eventually goes on to lose the nomination. I supported Bob Dole (YOUNG Bob Dole) over George Bush the elder in '88. I supported Lamar Alexander (anybody remember him?) over old Bob Dole in '96. And I supported a younger John McCain over George W. Bush in 2000. In every case, my guy lost, which preserved my right to complain and second-guess.
So there you have it. Let's see how my "expert" analysis holds up.