Thursday, February 21, 2008


So all of a sudden I have a big ol' comments thread again. Nice. Makes me feel nostalgic for the "you're an idiot, Den Beste" days.

Just to be clear: this might not have anything to do with the other campaigns. What struck me is that the timing is so beneficial to Huckabee, and that there had to be something new here for the Times to buck the legal assault and publish the story. The real question is what that new information is, who has it, and where it came from.

Several people have pointed out that Romney just "suspended" his campaign, so maybe it's him. Well, yes, but I think he thought he was done, and was just holding on to those to extract whatever concessions he could at the convention, or to get his face back into the news cycle by supporting McCain when it's maximally convenient for him.

(Much like Edwards.)

If he were behind this, he would have stayed in the race, because Huckabee is a massive competitor for conservative votes, and any potential benefit from McCain dropping out would be accrued by Huckabee, the last man standing. But he's out, and poorly positioned to take advantage of the situation. Giuliani suspended his campaign too, but I really think that doesn't have anything to do with this.

Others are saying "it would have been earlier if it were a hit. He's already the presumptive nominee, and this won't get traction in the main." If you were talking about anybody else, I'd agree with you, but this isn't a bad time for Huckabee because McCain is the presumptive nominee. The fundraising for everybody else is over, the party is already settling into a traditional B.S. convention, and everybody's focused on the Hillary/Barack fight.

By dropping this now, he creates the possibility that McCain will have to drop out after everybody else (including Romney) had already given up. Again, that leaves him last man standing. It puts the Republicans in a very nasty position: how do they spurn the candidate of the social conservatives without driving the SoCons away from the party? Even if they don't nominate him, he must be named Vice-Presidental nominee, or else all those dark mutterings about third party candidates are going to get a lot louder.

The Republican party as a whole doesn't benefit from any of this, even if they do hate McCain. Even the Dems don't, because it'll remind people of Pres. Clinton's issues, and that hurts the image of Dems as a whole too. The only person who out-and-out benefits from this, with no caveats whatsoever, is Mike Huckabee. Something like this is his only path to the nomination.

Even if he isn't behind it--and it's very possible he isn't--this is his "miracle" to a T. It's just too convenient to ignore.

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