02 February 2008

Thoughts on the campaign

These absurdly front-loaded primaries have had their winnowing effect.

To the extent there can be any real justification for the existing primary-election calender, I suppose it is this: the parties don't want a long bruising knock-down drag-out fight over who their nominess is going to be, akin to Ford/Reagan in 1976.
When there is a dispute, the party elders (in each of the majors) want it settled quickly, then they can rally around the choice and get down to the task of knocking the other party.

If that is the telos for this process, then the elders seem likely to get their wish. The nominations might be pretty much settled this week.

On the Republican side, due to the winner-take-all nature of several of Tuesday's events, it is very likely that either McCain or Romney will emerge not just as the front-runner but as the nominee presumptive. By the way, four of the winner-take-all races are northeastern states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware. This is why Giuliani's strategy wasn't as crazy as it seemed. He banked everything on the support of northeastern retiree snowbirds in Florida, in the hope that a strong showing there could give him some "Big Mo" going into this week, and allow him to focus on those four states, his 'back yard.' (It didn't work, but that doesn't imply it was an irrational plan.)

On the Democratic side, the lovey-dovey nature of the latest debate between Clinton and Obama indicates that they both suspect their upcoming primaries are going to decide the matter, they both know that it is possible the other guy/gal will become the presumptive nominee this coming week, and each is positioning him/herself for the "healing process."

But of course on the Dem side things aren't winner-take-all. I don't believe they have ANY primaries with that sort of rule. So its perfectly possible that we still won't know where we stand Wednesday. In that case, things could get nastier quickly.

No matter how things play out, I wouldn't expect a "dream ticket" out of the Dem convention. People who are talking up a Clinton/Obama ticket, or Obama/Clinton, are just trying to fill out their assigned column inches.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.