News from the Votemaster
In the unlikely event you missed the news, Mitt Romney has dropped out of the race saying it was for the good of the party and his dropping out would help fight terrorism. Literally he said: "Frankly, in this time of war, I simpy cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding the surrender to terror." English translation: I spent $35 million of my own money on this campaign and all I got was 286 lousy delegates. That's $122,000 per delegate. If that wacko from Arkansas hadn't run, I might have won this and then the terrorists would be quaking in their camel-hide boots." This is why people have such low respect for politicians: they lie all the time. He's not dropping out for the sake of the country. He's dropping out because he lost. Seems pretty clear.
Now the big three Republicans are John McCain, Mike Huckabee (for the moment), and Ron Paul. There is also a small Republican, Alan Keyes. Huckabee needs a job and wants to be McCain's Veep and he has to make a choice now. He could drop out quickly to ease McCain's path or he could continue for a while to demonstrate his vote-getting ability to McCain. If Huckabee drops out but Ron Paul stays in, it is likely that Paul will actually win a substantial number of delegates since the anti-McCain forces will have no where else to go. Paul doesn't have to drop out; he has raised tons of money. Besides, in many ways, Paul is really the conservatives' dream candidate. After all, he is strongly against abortion (which might have been expected from him--a former gynecologist). But better yet, he doesn't just want to cut taxes, he wants to abolish the federal income tax altogether, a position McCain will certainly never endorse. A McCain-Paul race would also give Paul a lot of publicity, something he clearly enjoys.
Not all Republicans are pleased now that the party has nominated the only person potentially capable of beating Hillary Clinton. Here is what Ann Coulter, a well-known conservative writer and speaker, had to say. At first blush, she does not appear to be a happy camper.
On the Democratic side, it will almost assuredly go on until Denver, barring some catastrophe. The math, as reported by Paul Kane on Political Wire is this. There are 3,253 pledged delegates. About 55% have already been selected, with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each getting about half. There are about 1400 pledged delegates left. To win the nomination based on pledged delegates, one of the candidates will have to get about 1100 of them. Given the proportional representation used in the Democratic primaries and caucuses, that seems virtually impossible. Thus the PLEOs are likely to decide the nomination, possibly after a huge food fight in the credentials committee about seating the Florida and Michigan delegations. Clinton will want them seated (since they are largely pro Clinton). Obama might be willing to allow them in the hall, but only as nonvoting observers.
Colleen Shannon is making wonderful animated maps again. Click on "Animated maps" on the menu above and watch the election come alive. Thanks Colleen.
This election has been very informative. We have learned things from many candidates, as follows.
From John McCain: Actually having principles and sticking by them even when some people in your party don't like them is a good thing. Voters like candidates they believe are telling the truth, even when they don't like everything they are saying. Authenticity counts for more than policy papers. McCain may be "older than dirt and have more scars than Frankenstein" (his own words), but What You See Is What You Get. People like that.
From Rudy Giuliani: You can't skip Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina and expect to be teleported into the White House. These early contests are no fun. You have to slog through the snow (well, maybe not in South Carolina) and meet all the voters personally. They take their roles seriously. Also, if you have opposed your party's core principles all your life, probably you have no chance no matter how many pairs of snow boots you wear out.
From Mitt Romney: The White House is not for sale. Just because you can can afford to spend $35 million of you own money and can hire excellent advisors who can make a great business plan starting with wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, it doesn't mean the voters will go for you.
From Fred Thompson: You don't have to spend $35 million of your own money, but you do have to want the job. If you can't make up your mind whether you want to run or not, and having decided you probably want to run, you don't make much of an effort, people are going to notice. Makes a poor impression.
From Mike Huckabee: If you are in tune with the voters in your party and are a friendly, folksy kind of guy, you have a chance, even without $100 million. Friendly definitely beats mean and angry. You need a bit of luck (like Brownback not catching fire), but you might do well.
From Ron Paul: Having a fanatical, but tiny base is not enough, even if they donate vast amounts of money. You have to strike a chord with a fair number of people. And try to avoid kooky ideas (like abolishing the income tax) if possible.
From Duncan Hunter: If you have nothing to sell, nobody is going to buy it.
From Al Gore: You can't become President if you don't run. Well, there is a 0.001% chance that a deadlocked convention will draft you in desperation, but don't count on it. Doesn't work most of the time.
From Hillary Clinton: No matter how much you think you have a right to the job, you have to earn it. Even if you are smart, knowledgeable, and very hardworking, you have to compete right along with everyone else. Telling everyone you are inevitable and other candidates should kindly go away turns off the voters.
From Barack Obama: Being black is not a fatal handicap any more. If you are charismatic and have a couple of Ivy League degrees and stand for something, people will listen to you. You might not win, but being black is not a showstopper any more.
From John Edwards: Politics isn't always fair. You can work your heart out to help the disadvantaged, but the disadvantaged don't always recognize your efforts. Only in America can a homeless person living in a cardboard box oppose raising taxes on millionaires because he hopes to be a millionaire some day.
From Bill Richardson: Resume is not destiny. You can have filled every job in government in a highly competent way and be fluent in two languages, but if you are equally boring in both of them, people won't vote for your resume.
From Joe Biden: While not having any ambition (see Fred Thompson) is fatal, having lots and lots of ambition is not enough. You have to be able to connect with real people. Addressing them in Senate-speak ("I oppose the motion to reconsider tabling the first motion") might work in a Senate committee, but with real voters you have to be able to explain in English what you will do to improve their lives.
From Chris Dodd: Nothing we didn't learn from Biden.
Polling is starting in Virginia. Only for the wrong party.
Time Magazine has published a poll showing that Barack Obama would beat John McCain 48% to 41% while Hillary Clinton would deadlock McCain at 46% each. The difference is that with Obama in the race, the independents go for him; without Obama they go for McCain. As the Democratic race moves forward, expect to hear Obama talking about electability a lot.
CNN is keeping track of the delegates for the Democrats and for the Republicans. Note that other sources may differ because CNN is trying to count the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and other unpledged delegates. When different reporters call a PLEO and hear "Well, I like Hillary, but Barack has his charms too" they may score it differently. Here is CNN's count:
-- The Votemaster