Sunday, February 10, 2008

Stupor Tuesday 2008 Post-Mortem

National Primary Day was only about 50% successful. It appears to have decided the Republican primary, but the Democratic primary is still a dead heat. Something is about to happen that I don't think I have ever experienced: the Texas primary will actually mean something, this year.

How very interesting...

I have grown accustomed to making largely symbolic votes. In every previous election that I've participated in, the party's nominee had been pretty well decided by the time I cast my vote. I was either agreeing with the sense of the voters who'd come before, or flinging a protest vote into the wind.

But not so this year, at least, provided that you're voting in the Democratic primary. (If you're a Republican and you don't like McCain, well, sucks to be you.)

Now, what exactly did Super Tuesday do? Two things, really. As I expected, it forced a down-select to a two-man Republican race. What I really didn't expect was that Romney would punch out as quickly as he did. I figured that since he had the cash to stay in, he'd hang around a bit longer. You never know, McCain might implode. He made a good case in his concession speech, though, about America needing a strong war-time President. He's done his party a huge favor, here. Huckabee isn't going to mount a serious challenge, not really. He'll show strength in the small, rural states, but probably not so much in the bigger states. He's basically making a case for VP, at this point. Which means that, even though it's still technically a two-man race, McCain would have to actively try to lose the nomination. It is still mathematically possible for him to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but I don't think he has it in him. He can start trying to unite the party around him now, and prepare the ground for November.

This makes it a much more sporty proposition for the Democrats, who are still engaged in a two-way knife fight in a phone booth. Super Tuesday clarified exactly jack. Clinton and Obama are still locked in a tie for the national delegate count. What's interesting is that Obama took some recent wins in Maine, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Washington. Interesting, but not conclusive ... but nonetheless, Clinton is shaking up her campaign organization. You can tell a lot about the state of a struggle by looking at who is dictating the pace and tempo of the conflict. It's all about the initiative. It doesn't matter if you're talking about small-unit tactics, football, or political campaigns, the principle is still the same. As I said earlier, it's pretty clear that Obama is inside Clinton's decision cycle. Hillary is still on the Decide portion of her OODA loop, while Obama is already Orienting on his next cycle. I don't think this shake-up is going to be enough. She has to do something absolutely gob-smackingly spectacular to regain the initiative. The question is, is her campiagn sufficiently agile to make that happen?

It makes for a fascinating question. I just don't know yet. It should be interesting to find out, though.

No comments: