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January 6, 2008
'There will be Blood'
Dick Morris, former Clinton campaign guru, on some scenarios coming out of New Hampshire for the Democrats:
Hillary cannot be knocked out even if she loses all the early primaries. Her berth in the finals is assured by her national standing, her strength among “super delegates" (Congressmen, Senators, Governors and State Party Chairmen who automatically get votes at the convention) and her financial clout. But she can and will be bloodied. He believes Edwards has no chance and will drop out soon after New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, if Obama wins in New Hampshire, particularly if he does so by a convincing margin (which we think is likely) he will probably go on to sweep Nevada and South Carolina, the other two early primaries. His status as front runner will be solidified - and that's where his troubles will start.
Once Hillary is no longer in the dock, undergoing the scrutiny of being a front runner, Obama will have to endure the slings and arrows. Hillary will probably play the race card. Not overtly and not directly, but she will speak in code saying that Obama can't win. What that really means is that a black cannot prevail in 2008 in the United States. We, presumably, aren't ready. But Obama will benefit from a generational surge that animated his Iowa victory.
In the caucuses, he carried voters under 30 by four-to-one. In a contest that had been about transcending race and gender, the key factor on which it turned was age. Generation X saw in Obama a way to push the boomers off the stage, taking their drugs and permissive lifestyle with them. To these young voters, Obama is the future and the Clintons are the distant past.
As for the Republicans:
Unless Huckabee shows real momentum by a Michigan or a Florida win. If it appears likely that the GOP field will come down to Rudy, McCain and Huckabee, the economic conservatives (Rush Limbaugh et al) will realize that they have no horse on which to bet. On taxes and fiscal issues, they see McCain as too liberal for opposing Bush's tax cut and worry about Huckabee's spending and tax policies in Arkansas. They might back Rudy but his pro choice position scares them. The prospects for a brokered convention are still remote. But if the Republicans have 3 (or more) viable candidates emerging from the Super Tuesday gaggle of 21 primaries where more than half Republican convention delegates will be chosen, the chances rise dramatically.
So . . . they may need to breathe new life into either Thompson or Romney. The former task is like raising the dead, so they may settle on Romney giving Mitt a new lease on life. Most likely, Rudy, McCain, Huckabee and Romney all compete on Super Tuesday and none of them wins a majority. Then it goes to Ohio and Texas who vote in early March . . . or, quite possibly, to the convention floor.