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Economic issues have now come to matter more than national security. Republicans can't fight back because they would have to turn on the Bush administration to do it. They are straight-jacketed. It hurts me to see the party of my choice in this position but there it is. As a commentator, I have to call it for what it is. McCain and Huckabee are in the same boat. They have no money . . donors won't back then unless they continue to make the kind of appeals that got them from the back of the pack to the front. To win, they have to be more honest and more specific than they are.
Having said all that, let's look at a new wrinkle in the calculation. GOP tacticians now have to decide who they'd rather go up against in a general election. Obama's lack of specifics would seem to make him the ideal opponent because he can be taken down with specifics. The trouble is that if they beat him, Republicans can be labeled as the racists who took down the first viable black man. Don't think for a minute that the Dems wouldn't play that fiddle. They would. My speculation is this. They will back off on Obama and focus on Hillary so that they can be seen as defeating the better candidate. Hillary's girl-factor isn't so pronounced. There is also the fact that Obama isn't like to fare that well on Super Tuesday. Even if he does, Hillary will turn on him fast enough.
Obama himself still has one choice to make. Does he want the Presidency enough to risk an all-or-nothing throw of the dice? Or, does he settle for VP and wait his turn to be President? I say he settles for the VP. When it comes to politics, "some" is better than "none." There is no combination of candidates on the Republican side that can beat a Clinton-Obama ticket. If the economy was on solid footings, the GOP could beat the Dems on a national security platform. As many ATS posters have pointed out, the economy is not on solid ground. It's melting as we watch.
If Obama wants that VP job, he'll have to continue his credible run. If he slacks, he risks giving Edwards a shot at undermining him. If Hillary and Barrack both run hard enough through Super Tuesday, they might shake Richardson and Edwards. If the race becomes too spendy, those two would have no choice but to drop out. It's now being reported by overseas news sources that Bill Richardson will drop out of the '08 Presidential race. It's too early to tell if there's any truth to this. We should not be surprised. He doesn't have enough money to compete. He'd have to drop out after being crushed during the blitz on Super Tuesday.
I expect Edwards to stay in the game. At this point, he has just enough delegates to be a tease to Hillary and Barack. He's still a spoiler, and a contender for the Vice Presidency. We should not be surprised if Hillary and Obama come to some sort of understanding regarding Edwards. My sentiment is that Super Tuesday will break Edwards, and he'll be forced out.
Tonight's Fox debate in South Carolina was very partisan. the moderator was openly hostile to Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.
It's worth noting that Bill Richardson hasn't endorsed anyone yet. He did this deliberately, so that his delegates would still be in play. that makes him a possible VP pick if Hillary can't stand Obama. My sense of the thing is that she dislikes him, but she may dislike Edwards more.
Michigan is the next state to hold its primary. That will be on Tuesday. I predict a loss for Romney, a win for McCain, and another slim win for Mrs. Clinton. It's altogether likely that the Obama "movement" will stumble in Nevada. The media seems to be turning on him. I sure hope he has clean underwear.
I noticed something today that I should mention to this discussion group. As the media and various special interest groups try to hurt the Clinton campaign because of Hillary's botched MLK remarks, I caught a glimpse of what I think is yet another sign that the press is about to turn on Obama. I think they read the Nevada tea leaves and see a Clinton win. Are they backing off to avoid looking foolish when she pulls away from Obama after Super Tuesday?
I've just come from watching the Democratic debate in Nevada. I wasn't at all surprised to see Clinton and Obama do such an elaborate hat dance to "bury the hatchet," but I was surprised to see Hillary seize the initiative on the "black and brown debate." Wow. That's brass.
If she can continue stating her case in those terms [experience], she will erode Obama's support base. Forcing him to talk specifics will eventually cause him to say something that sounds just uninformed enough to slow his momentum.
Meanwhile, over in Michigan...Romney wins his home state by nine points. Ron Paul makes another eight point showing, and Fred is...well...Fred is Fred, even if he did lose to Ron Paul. At least he didn't lose out to Rudy.
It's worth noting that Israel has recently tested its new Jericho III intermediate range ballistic missile. This test launch was done deliberately to send a message to Iran. We should assume that the Presidential candidates know about this. It's important to understand that Israel might act on its own to prevent the Iranian nuke plant from going online in July of '08. They can do this by conventional air strike, or by missile attack. Let's remember that they do have GPS guided weapons. Jericho III is a nuclear delivery system meant to deploy city-killers.
Bear in mind we are presently talking about Hillary Clinton, we're going to see a lot of Hillary ads. I recently started a science and technology blog, and its interesting to see the ads that pop up on that. Health care, as Don points out, is a big deal during this election cycle. You will note that the Republican candidates are saying very little on the subject. You would think that conservatives would be ideally placed to talk about health care reform, and the numbers associated with it....but...they are staying quiet.