Thoughts on the “state of the primaries” after South Carolina:
- Maverick wins. The guy who has “learned from the voters” could very well win the Republican nomination. Looks like the GOP will have their way with their preferred candidate after all. That is, if McCain doesn’t self-destruct. In the south, Maverick knocked off the two most conservative candidates, Huckabee and Thompson, and should have little trouble with Romney and Giuliani.
- Gasping after his Iowa win, Huck needed South Carolina to coast into Super Tuesday. He didn’t get it. He’ll likely have to snatch Florida up now in order to win, which of course, is unlikely.
- Rush started 2008 off by impugning McCain and Huckabee. Yet they finished a hairline one and two in one of the most conservative states. Perhaps Rush’s influence isn’t as extensive as he believes.
- If McCain wins, he may offer Huck the VP slot to shore up the social leg. Huckabee would do better to decline and re-load in 2012. This time, he’ll need a financial director, a national security adviser, and more offices in Super Tuesday states. Of course, he’ll have 2008’s momentum to feed off of in the grassroots, which carried him further than anyone thought possible and will provide a formidable launching pad in 2012.
- Fred’s done. Early on, I jumped on the FredHead bandwagon, but got off sooner than most after realizing he never had it. Read Jeff Emanuel’s excellent post, “Not with a bang, but a whimper.”
- When McCain’s nomination becomes painfully clear to the conservative blogosphere, they’ll realize Huckabee was far more conservative than what they’ve been avowing since November. Though I won’t hold my breath looking for any admission of the aforementioned, that doesn’t hide the fact that Huckabee would be a far more conservative candidate than McCain and the conservative pundit’s back-stabbing of Huckabee hurt their cause more than it helped. As I said many times before, it would be far more helpful to put forward reasons to vote for your preferred candidate, rather than bash another. But it seems the pressure on pundits to break the next Rather-gate outweighed any logic from small time social conservatives. Experience always is the most effective teacher. But it’s also the most expensive.