As I predicted, Mike Huckabee has come from being statistically off-the-map in July to winning the Iowa caucuses in convincing fashion, even having been outspent 15- or 20-1 by Flip Flopney, his chief rival there. Now, Flopney is on the ropes, with John McCain (which I certainly did not predict) rising from the seeming ashes to a lead in New Hampshire. I don’t think Flopney will drop out if he loses there, but if New Hampshire isn’t a must-win for him, Michigan unmistakably is. Fred Thompson, tied for third in Iowa with McCain, might drop out before New Hampshire, and almost certainly will afterward; his campaign hasn’t been going anywhere for a long time. Ron Paul will live to fight another day, mainly because he’s Ron Paul, and it isn’t about winning the presidency anyway. That leaves Rudy, whose strategy of basically sitting out the first two and aiming for Super Tuesday might well backfire, McCain, and Huckabee. Here’s what I’m believing right now: John McCain and Mike Huckabee look like the best bet, IMHO, for the ultimate Republican ticket. They’re saying very nice things about each other. They complement each other pretty well. The only question is, who will be the presidential nominee, and who the vice-presidential?
The only sure thing is that nobody really knows how this will play out. Maybe Flip will right the ship. Maybe Rudy knows what he’s doing after all. Maybe Fred…nah, that won’t happen.
The conventional wisdom is that Mike Huckabee won Iowa on the strength of evangelicals, and it’s true that he won the state with 35% of the overall vote, and 46% of the evangelical vote—but that means that more than half of Iowa’s evangelicals did not support Mike Huckabee. Michael Medved believes that the reason Huck won was his support for the FairTax, and he might be right. I’m getting really cheesed at people (Rush being among them) who dismissively say, of the FairTax, “it’ll never happen”. You know, they might be right, but how against the spirit of Americanism is it to say, of an idea that is so good, “it’ll never happen”? How does any new idea take place? It begins to swell in the imagination of the public, it takes root, and eventually it comes to pass, many times. Look, the IRS is way past overdue to be dismantled. What do we replace it with? Or are we saying, “ah, there’s no point trying; let’s just learn to live with the income tax.” I, for one, am not willing to do that.
Now on the Democrat side, wow, is Mrs. Bill on the ropes. New Hampshire has become close to a must-win for her. If Obama wins New Hampshire, he’s on the way to the nomination, and the once “inevitable” status of Mrs. Bill suddenly is in shambles. I said months and months ago, when the pundits had awarded the nomination to Mrs. Bill and Rudy, that it was ignorant to try to prognosticate so far out. Shoot, I even feel stupid for ignoring my own advice just a few weeks ago and dismissing McCain as having no chance. How much more foolish should the media feel for anointing Mrs. Bill a year or more ago as the presumptive nominee? But they’ll all keep their jobs, of course.
And finally, I think that there are some evangelicals who should be feeling pretty foolish right about now, namely Pat Robertson and Bob Jones III. Pat endorsed Rudy a few months back—how’s that working out for ya, Pat? And Bob Jones III had already endorsed Flip Flopney. I tell you, I don’t get it, why these guys rushed to judge Mike Huckabee as untenable. Stupid mistake, and harms their cred even more than it was already harmed (which some would say is tough to do…).