Tuesday, February 12, 2008

8 Questions From Potomac Primary

From The Washington Post: The responses are mine not the Post's

1) Will a Sweep by Obama Make Him the Front-Runner? Although it should, it won't. True he will be ahead in the delegate count, but he doesn't want to be tagged as the front runner because that alters expectations. The current expecations are that either a) Hillary will stage a comeback, a la her husband, or that the candidates will run even. If Obama is a front-runner, it puts him in a position he won't like.

2) Will the Clinton-Obama Race Split the Party? Only if Bill Clinton opens his stupid mouth. Both Obama and Clinton seem to step back from the ledge when the rhetoric gets too heated. The most plausible reason is that Obama himself understands there is a very small margin of increased support in pushing the envelope and then ratcheting back as it wins him some new supporters who come over and take a look, but doesn't ostracize his fence-sitters. Hillary Clinton probably stops when her negatives take a big spike.

3) Will Edwards Endorse Someone Soon? Why should he at this point? Right now, the endorsement would get lost in teh noise. The best bet for him, in terms of playing kingmaker, is to hold on until the weekend before Ohio/Texas or Pennsylvania. But more importantly than an endorsement for Edwards is what does he get out of it. A VP slot is probably not in the cards, but some other high level position quite possibly is in the offering.

4) Will Obama Catch Clinton Among Superdelegates? Yes. If for no other reason than the Super delegates themselves cannot afford to offend a growing segment of voters who don't want these "elites" making the final choice. If the superdelegates are even perceived to go against the grain of the primary voters, look for a wholesale decimation of those individuals in the coming elections.

5) Does a Long Democratic Contest Help McCain? Of course. It helps versus Obama a little more since he has a smaller bank roll of general election money as compared to Clinton. But the longer they battle it out, the more time John McCain has to find independent voters to support him and solidify his based amoung conservatives.

6) Will McCain Prove He Can Win Over Conservatives? Not this week. Watch for Huckabee to do well in Virginia, perhaps even win and to run pretty strong in Maryland. Amoung the half dozen conservatives in DC, he will do okay as well. However, McCain has some time to appeal to conservatives and with Huckabee still in the race, watch for some rightward shift in McCain.

7) How Long Will Huckabee Keep Going? He knows he can't win and right now I think he sees his role as one to pull McCain further right. Probably within the next couple of weeks you will see him step down, but it will be a crucial few weeks for McCain.

8) Which Local Politicians Will Be on the VP Short List? MD Governor Martin O'Malley had aspirations, but if he can't deliver MD for Hillary, you can forget it. Mark Warner would make an excellent VP for Clinton or Obama, but more for Obama. Warner can provide a little more centrism for Obama, a southern tilt and a great deal of executive experience. The problem is that Warner is thinking about the Senate race to replace John Warner. VA governor Tim Kaine is a dark horse possibility.

On the GOP side, Bob Erhlick might be on McCain's short list. Although Ehrlich endorsed Rudy Giuliani early on, Erhlich has exective and legislative experience, a history of dealing with an objecting legislature and is more conservative than McCain. I used to think George Allen had a shot, but McCain can't afford the macaca references which might offend centrist voters which he is clearly going to be banking on.

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