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HISTORICAL QUOTE OF THE WEEK - "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other." ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Sunday, January 20, 2008

MCCAIN WINS SOUTH CAROLINA - WHERE DOES THE GOP STAND - THE SUNDAY COMMENTARY

Reversing his devastating defeat in the 2000 Presidential election John McCain won the South Carolina primary with 33% of the vote. Mike Huckabee came in second at 30% with Fred Thompson third at 16%. Mitt Romney who pulled his campaign out of South Carolina last week garnered fourth with 15% of the vote. Because of the difference at the top of the Primaries and Caucuses thus far there is still no clear leader but the field has narrowed down to basically a two and maybe three man race.

As of this morning the delegate count is as follows:

Mitt Romney - 72
John McCain -38
Mike Huckabee - 29
Fred Thompson - 8
Rudy Giuliani - 1

On the other side of the country Mitt Romney won the Nevada Caucus while McCain was winning in South Carolina. This boosted Romney's delegate total keeping McCain in second passing Huckabee. Though Giuliani has but one delegate, he is presently leading in Florida and the absentee ballots are already cast which equate to about 30% of the Florida vote and Rudy was campaigning actively while those ballots were being cast. As such he remains a strong factor in the race despite his low delegate count.

Which brings me to the three candidates who are still in the running for the nomination. They are McCain, Romney and Giuliani. Because of his third place finish in South Carolina Fred Thompson, though not bowing out yet would need a miracle to be able to gain the nomination. He can force a brokered vote at the Convention but he would need enough support in his camp at that time in order to stand a chance of pulling a victory out of his hat in September.

His numbers though have given him enough clout to help define the GOP platform to a more conservative one rather than moderate under a McCain, Romney or Giuliani ticket. Giuliani is still in the running because of Florida and the Northeastern State like New York and New jersey who have a high delegate count and have Rudy well in the lead because of his having been Mayor of New York City.

Historically though the South Carolina Primary has been a key indicator of the eventual nominee and also the winner of the General Election. Every Republican who has won the White House in the last three decades won in South Carolina. Only Bob Dole won South Carolina and did not go on to the White House.

For Mike Huckabee coming in second in South Carolina begins the end of his campaign. Though his delegate count still has him in third, his need to win the evangelical vote became a problem in the Palmetto State. McCain and Thompson picked up a large percentage of the Evangelical vote. If Huckabee could not get a majority of that vote in this strong Bible Belt State then he is in trouble in other Southern States where his support is not a good as it was in South Carolina.

Though Romney finished fourth his win in Nevada increased his delegate lead and he remains strong in many of the Super Tuesday States as does Giuliani. McCain to has strong support in many of the 33 States who will vote on February fifth.

This combined with a strong bump that McCain will receive from his win in South Carolina gives McCain an edge over even Romney as we approach Super Tuesday. In his victory speech from Charleston , SC McCain was very obviously speaking to the conservatives who make up the base of the Republican party. He spoke of cutting taxes, securing the border, cutting government spending thus limiting government size and strong national defense. All key issues with conservatives.

McCain in the past has angered the conservative base because of McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform, his teaming with Ted Kennedy on the defeated Amnesty Bill and the gang of 14 during the appointment hearings for John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

He has since realized the mistake of the Amnesty bill and supports secure borders first and has stated as such many times in the campaign. This olive leaf approach to conservatives also shows that McCain realizes that without conservative policy he not only cannot win the nomination but also must follow the lead of the Reagan Coalition in order to return the GOP and the Presidency to the strength that both found while Ronald Reagan was President.

McCain's South Carolina win also has Democrats worried. Hillary's win in Nevada gives her a strong lead for the nomination and with the Clinton Machine getting into high gear most including this writer believe that Obama will not know what hits him as Hillary steams her way to the nomination.

Most polling show that McCain has the best chance among Republicans in beating Hillary because of his backing by Independents and Conservative Democrats. Thus his win in South Carolina is causing concern in most Democrat circles.

McCain has had at his side from the very beginning of his campaign South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham who is thought to be a possible running mate if McCain wins the nomination. But Fred Thompson's run for the nomination has garnered enough support that McCain, who is a close friend of Fred's, may consider the former Tennessee Senator rather than Graham because of Thompson's strong consistent conservatism and his popularity with conservatives in the GOP.

Also Thompson is much better known throughout the country than Graham because of his Presidential campaign and his Television and Movie career. So a McCain/Thompson ticket is not out of the question were McCain win the nomination.

So where then does the GOP stand ? If Rudy loses in Florida, and polls have him with only a slight lead over McCain, his run for the nomination is virtually dead even with his strong backing in New York and New Jersey. Which would take the GOP into a two man race with McCain and Romney.

McCain's bump heading into Florida with a win in the Sunshine State or a strong second would give him a decided advantage for Super Tuesday. A Romney win in Florida with a McCain second would help to even out a McCain advantage still giving McCain greater strength for February fifth. A Rudy win and a McCain second in Florida will keep Giuliani alive and give McCain a strong advantage over Romney. A Romney win with a McCain third in Florida would shift the Super Tuesday advantage more in Romney's favor.

So the race is on with Super Tuesday just around the corner providing the first in United States history, national Primary Day. The advantage at least now is McCain's but he still does not have a clear lead. Florida will define the field even more and give us a better idea going into Super Tuesday. But as we have seen over the past few weeks, anything can happen in the race for the White House in 2008.

Ken Taylor

13 Comments:

Blogger Noah Taylor said...

To be honest, Im not a big fan of Mccain. Im a Fred Thompson supporter all of the way, as a matter of fact, I have been running a Fred 08 sticker on the rear window of my truck, before he even officially announced his bid for the President. All of that said basically to say, that Mccain will probably win the Republican primary, and if and Fred could come together to run as President and Vice President, I could definetly handle that. Does anyone else think that this has a good chance of happening ? Also Ken this is the greatest site on the internet!!!!!

3:05 AM, January 21, 2008  
Blogger Rob said...

There is no way that McCain is going to pick Thompson as a running mate. He isn't going to want to create a ticket that could be dubbed, "Grumpy Old Men" or something similar. In a year of change, the imagery that would go along with two old guys together is completely unappealing.

He will pick someone younger - perhaps Huckabee. Huckabee is engaging and a favorite for evangelicals. He is also more appealing to younger voters.

Fred also has been too lazy a campaigner to take him seriously. He wants to get back to his Hollywood crowd, smoke his cigars, and enjoy himself.

10:03 AM, January 21, 2008  
Blogger Noah Taylor said...

Thats a really good point, to be honest a McCain Huckabee ticket would not be as conservative as I really like, but it would be better then the alternative.

3:25 PM, January 21, 2008  
Blogger The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Thank you Noah. I like the idea of a McCain/Thompson ticket., Rob, the reason I don't beleive that mcCain will pick Huckabee is:

1. He is reaching out to conservatives and Huckabee is NOT anywhere near a conservative. Also when you look at the internals in the SC voting. McCain actually di as well as Huckabee with Evangelicals. So that would not be a necessity for him.

2. Thompson and McCain are friends and have some common link in the Senate. Plus Fred does appeal to conservatives because of his record. Also Democrats see Huckabee as an easy win and really do not take him seriously. At least that is what I have picked up in my browsing and from many that I talked to today at the debate sight here in MB.

4:56 PM, January 21, 2008  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

I'm still sticking with Fred till the end!

We didnt draft this man for nothing and if he isnt willing to throw in the towel yet, why should I?

He must have something up his sleeve or something.

Because I remember when he tested the waters before he decided to run to see if it was even a possibility of a win. And they obviously got the opinion they were looking for.

He's come in 3rd a couple times that's better than not at all!

5:09 PM, January 21, 2008  
Blogger The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Agreed Marie, and I think what he has up his sleeve is the VP spot.

5:19 PM, January 21, 2008  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

It must be Ken,

Because I think tomorrow Fred's going to make an announcement.

UGH! And you know what that's going to be!

Well we gave it our best shot. And there hasnt been a Presidential election quite like this in what 40, 60 years?

I will just watch yall and see who garners my principals, and who I could actually vote for without feeling guilty.

I will be distrought for a little while, but I'll get over it!

1:35 AM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger Noah Taylor said...

Well I just heard the news that Fred, dropped out. I understand completely, but I really hope that he is willing to take a VP bid. Im going to have a lot of trouble pulling my FRED 08 sticker off. Hopefully I can replace it with another one!!!

5:23 PM, January 22, 2008  
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