10 February 2008


As we soak in the results from Semi-Super-Saturday, Huckabee won 60% of the Kansas Republican Caucus. Once again Huckabee showed strongly with evangelical support in a state that is almost adjacent to Arkansas. Huckabee also bested McCain by a couple of points in the Louisiana primary, which is another Dixie victory for the second boy from Hope. McCain barely won the Washington State Republican caucus, even after Mitt Romney, his major national opponent, suspended his campaign.

In the delegate count, McCain has 719 and Huckabee has 234 of the 1191 delegates needed for nomination. In order to win, Huckabee would have to garner 83% of the remaining delegates, which is almost impossible as the rest of the contests have proportional delegate allocation.

I’m not sure how much of a victory McCain considers Washington, as he only won with only 26% of the caucus. This tempered result was in a moderate to liberal state. Huckabee drew 24%, which was slightly better than he had done in other contests in northern states, but seemed to hardly add any conservatives to his Evangelical and ardent anti-abortion coalition. Even after his withdrawal from the race, Romney garnered 16% support.

Kansas’s strong support of Huckabee seems to show that squishy center politics of McCain is repudiated by the midwestern base Republicans who participate in caucuses.

On NBC’s Meet the Press, Huckabee denied wanting the Vice Presidential slot and admitted that McCain probably had other names on the VP short list ahead of Huckabee’s. This begs the question of why Huckabee is still in the race. Does he really care about influencing the platform? Is he running for the future? Does he think that he can play kingmaker? Perhaps he’s hoping for a better broadcast syndication deal? Or does he still think that he can deny McCain enough delegates for a lock on the nomination and take his chances on a brokered convention. But a brokered convention is a distant dream for the GOP at this time.

McCain has scored an alluvia of endorsements of conservative luminaries like the current President Bush, John Bolton and Senator Coburn. McCain made the right overtures at CPAC, we just need a level of trust to believe that those promises are not just camouflaged pandering.

So I hope that this series of primaries was a cathartic flare up of A-B-M (Anybody But McCain) from the conservative base. McCain may be girding for the general election, but if he does not satisfy conservative activists, he might be an Army of One in November who’s campaign is torpedoed by his own base.

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