After disappointing results, Sen. Joe Biden and Sen. Chris Dodd both
dropped out last night to go back to their cushy day jobs as U.S. senators.
It's indoor work, you get $165,200, and there is no heavy lifting involved.
However, Rudy Giuliani is staying in the race, despite
coming in 6th and being beaten almost 3 to 1 by maverick Ron Paul.
What does this all mean?
The media are licking their collective chops at the prospect of
the new, clean politics of an Obama-Huckabee race.
Ain't gonna happen. To quote Shakespeare: "It is a tale
told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
If we look at all the polls since the middle of December, Huckabee is
running about 10-12%, far behind Romney and McCain. While Iowa may
give Huckabee a boost, the demographics of New Hampshire work against him.
Too many crusty old farmers, telecommuting yuppie bankers,
Dartmouth professors, free-spirited artists, and not enough evangelicals.
The race in the granite state is between Romney and McCain
and the Republican establishment
and right-wing blogosphere are going to attack Huckabee mightily this week.
They have little use for a tax-raising outsider who believes Jesus'
true message was helping the poor.
Although Huckabee is broke he might win South Carolina and maybe even Florida,
(two Southern states with many evangelicals),
but what happens when he hits the major media markets of New York and California on Feb. 5?
That is where the guys with big bank accounts step in. Romney and Giuliani have plenty of
money and if McCain wins New Hampshire and maybe one or two others, his gravitas and
name recognition could make him a player on Feb. 5 even though he doesn't
have much money either. Despite Huckabee's win yesterday, the GOP contest
is between Giuliani, Romney, and McCain. Thompson will drop out sooner
or later. He's like Al Gore: he'd take the job if someone gave it to him,
he just doesn't want to campaign for it.
On the Democratic side, it is different. Obama has almost as much money as Hillary
Clinton and a large cadre of enthusiastic, young supporters. But in the national polls,
Clinton still has a 20% lead. Obama has a month to whittle it away, but it won't be
easy. If Edwards wins big in New Hampshire, he is still in the race,
otherwise we are going to witness a truly historic battle in the Democratic
party--one without any white men in it.